It is extremely encouraging to see that many of our clients have quickly recognised the need to adapt business critical activities since the COVID-19 crisis began. Critical appointments still need to be made to keep businesses moving positively and senior finance hires are especially crucial with cash management and short-term business planning high on board agendas. At Rutherford Cross, we are still supporting the onboarding of both permanent and interim employees and working in partnership with some incredible companies who are taking it all in their stride.
In the second of our virtual onboarding case studies, Kenny Burns, Finance Director at Leca Dental Ltd shares his recent experience of virtually onboarding into his new role.
What was the importance of regular communication with your new employer in the lead up to your start date?
As I worked my notice with my previous employer having accepted the role at Leca, the world began to change beyond recognition. Naturally this led to concern around the effect on the new position or if it would even still exist. Fortunately Leca were good at giving me regular business updates and continued assurances around my role which really set my mind at rest.
I’d encourage anyone in the same position whose new employer is less forthcoming to stay in regular touch with them. Trying to second guess the effect of the current climate on your new business can be an anxious experience.
How did your ‘virtual’ first day work in practice?
The key part of any first day is to shake hands with your new colleagues and begin settling into your new surroundings. To have a first day at home therefore had an unusual feeling. The reality however is that I was given as strong a welcome via phonecall and e-mail as I would have in person, and the required IT equipment was couriered and set up remotely.
I think keeping a sense of perspective is important. One positive was that I felt particularly valued in that my new role was still underway despite the challenges everyone is currently facing.
How has your virtual induction enabled you to get a feel for the business, key stakeholders and culture?
One advantage of joining a business while it operates at reduced pace is that there is more time to familiarise yourself with the systems, processes and the wider industry. Often when starting a new role you can overlook some of the fundamentals as the pace of role takes hold so quickly. I was able to have discussion with all of my key stakeholders who themselves are in the unusual position of home bound working. There is nothing to prevent strong early relationships forming, you just need to be accepting that cementing them over a beer or two may take a bit more time.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the key focuses for your first week compared to when you’ve started in other roles?
Finance professional worldwide will currently be spending a lot of their time monitoring cashflow and for me this is no different. While this is a difficult time for business it can be rewarding trying to explore new revenue streams and challenge the normal thinking. The government support measures are a focus for many businesses right now so understanding how they operate is important in a time of rapid change.
What advice would you give to anyone about to undergo a virtual onboarding experience over the coming weeks/months?
It is a wearing enough time for everyone right now without the added anxiety of uncertainty around a new role. I would encourage anyone approaching a start date not to be hesitant in communicating with their new employer so they feel more informed of what lies ahead. Day to day life can feel mundane right now so in that respect it’s a great time to take on a new challenge with all of the learning and interest that it brings. Modern technology can overcome most obstacles around induction and it’s important to keep some perspective knowing the current situation, no matter how challenging, is a temporary one.
If you would like any more help or advice on virtual onboarding or related topics, please contact [email protected]