Amanda Pateman - one of our first virtual new joiners - shares her on-boarding and induction experience
Last week three of us joined Moorhouse. Our induction went smoothly and at the end of the day the three of us had a celebratory “get-together”. Shout out to Ed Hamilton & Cyril Kasser!
There were just a couple of key differences to your standard first day - we hadn’t turned up at a new office; we hadn’t met anyone face to face and we certainly hadn’t shaken anyone’s hand.
The impact of the measures taken to combat the spread of Coronavirus means that for now - as of early April - everyone at Moorhouse is working from home and as such, our inductions took place from our front rooms and kitchens.
An induction that was new for everyone
The Business Support team worked really hard to make sure it was as easy as possible for us to start – laptops had been couriered to us with a follow up call to make sure our email was set up and we could get in to our software.
Our induction sessions took place over Microsoft Teams (impressively easy to use). Our new colleagues who walked us through materials were running virtual inductions for the first time. Everyone approached the situation with an accepting mindset – the key for me was that by the end of the day, I knew who to contact about what.
Meeting the client from home
On my third day at Moorhouse I joined a client engagement. Meeting the main client for the first time from my flat on a video call didn’t feel right for what is usually quite an important moment - but everyone had already acclimatised to the new way of working so it was easy to get stuck in.
It was a strange but wonderful thing to not get a pile of printouts as background reading and proves that we can do without paper in most cases. With a good understanding of who on the Moorhouse team was doing what on the programme and therefore knowing who to go to for help – supported by a good filing system on my machine proves that it’s totally possible to operate without paper.
A week in the life of Moorhouse culture
The Moorhouse culture is geared towards wellbeing. Lockdown or not that shone through during my first week - several thoughtful, personal touches made me feel seen and welcome as a new joiner.
Mid-week there was a chance to participate in a seminar by Colin Hiles – long-time mindset coach and collaborator with Moorhouse. Colin has been engaged by Moorhouse to run an eight week series of virtual coaching, development and support seminars. It was interesting to listen through the perspectives of others working from home and consider their challenges.
At the end of the week, the partners hosted a KIT (Keeping in Touch) call to share business performance highlights of the week and key developments in our response to the Coronavirus outbreak. I was impressed by the fluidity of the dialogue between all grades on the call, and the transparency of what the partners shared – particularly during such uncertain times. The partners then rounded off the week by ‘hosting’ virtual drinks over video last thing on the Friday – everyone was invited and anyone available dialed in to check in and say hi…
Tips for virtual new joiners
- Set ‘working from home’ hours and other expectations with your closest team – everyone has a different situation / schedule
- Be proactive about letting people know you’ve hit the ground - 15 mins over Teams will do the trick.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Set up a What’s App group for your cohort to stay connected
- Have an ‘End of Day 1’ virtual celebration over Teams with those you join with
So our first week lacked the ceremonial aspect of stepping in to a new office, getting a feel for the space and meeting everyone face to face. That didn’t mean that I felt any less welcome or integrated, it just meant a mindset tweak. Next week I’ll get time with those on my engagement, so I don’t miss those coffee machine conversations; and I’ll also experiment with my daily schedule to make sure I’m moving around enough, drinking enough water and have good boundaries.
As virtual joiners, this experience is going to be unique to us and something that will bond us; albeit at a distance for now!
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