The COVID-19 pandemic has created a huge amount of upheaval since the beginning of 2020 and many businesses are trying to embrace the ‘new normal’. Ayming is no different, and our hiring process had to evolve in order to keep up with the rapidly changing global situation. Based in the USA, Sophie Van Horne joined us in April as a Consultant in our Operations Performance business line and talks us through how the hiring process worked for her…
When I got the call from Ayming to offer me a job in their Operations Performance department, I was thrilled. I couldn’t believe that I would be starting a new job during such a period of upheaval. With stay-at-home orders in place, public health advisories issued, and travel limitations instituted, I felt blessed and relieved to have some semblance of order back in my life, and to get back to that beloved 9-to-5(ish) life.
But very quickly, it became apparent that joining Ayming wouldn’t be the typical new-hire process I’d experienced before. There was no office, no in-person onboarding, no HR rep to greet me on my first day and hand off all my official materials and a big packet of paperwork to fill out. Instead, my new work laptop was set up offsite and shipped directly to my house, my phone arrived from Amazon, and my SIM card is en route. I printed, signed, scanned, and emailed all the documentation I needed to sign to get set up as an employee. I will say, though, that my commute can’t be beat.
Our HR group has been fantastic, setting up weekly check-ins for the first few months to make sure I’m settling in well and taking care of any IT access issues promptly. I’ve had virtual one-on-ones with every member of my new team to get a chance to meet each other and hear about their current projects. Microsoft Teams has been an absolute lifesaver, with screensharing taking the place of popping your head over to the next desk and asking a quick question about your data, and group meetings all moved to the virtual environment (shockingly, with a minimum of technical difficulties).
Although I’m not physically in the office, the agility of our highly connected project teams has meant that there’s been no delay in jumping right into client work. Delivering on my new project from day one has been particularly rewarding against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, working to realise tangible benefits to the bottom line that can help my clients survive in these strained times and set them up for success as the economy starts to slowly reopen. This kind of deep, detailed connection to recognisable business outcomes was one of my primary reasons for joining Ayming.
While it also felt odd to join without ever meeting any of my new co-workers in person, the significant effort that everyone has put into welcoming me has mitigated any reservations I might have had. From my first interview, I was happy to find that my personality meshed well with everyone I spoke to. In a team where every individual interaction is so key to ensuring good working relationships, I’ve been delighted that all of my new colleagues have made me feel like an immediate part of the team. I also love joining our virtual team events on Friday that kick off the weekend. So far, they have included two excellently designed quizzes from my colleagues set in an atmosphere of relaxed camaraderie that naturally includes socially-distanced group consumption of our beverages of choice and reinforced the general positivity that is evident in our day-to-day work.
But through all this, there still is that strange uncertainty lurking in the corner of my mind. During this global pandemic, how can it be possible that life in the consulting world can soldier on (almost) as normal, or at least as best we can in this new normal? My favourite part of past projects was always being on site, sitting down in a big meeting room, drafting out a new process on a whiteboard, and hammering out decisions on what was next. How can the creative spirit be adapted to a virtual meeting room where we all screenshare a single document, but meetings are peppered with ‘let me know when you can see my screen’ and ‘was that a question or an echo?’ What happens when you can’t grab a pen and sketch through your new idea with your manager offering a quick tip here, or erasing and rewriting a data point there?
There are no easy answers to these questions, and there is no singular way to work. In the upcoming weeks and months, there will undoubtedly be growing pains as I adapt to a purely virtual workplace, then to an as-yet-undetermined new normal. And yet, all I can think of at the moment is how lucky I am to be at a company that has implemented the kind of technology-enabled workplace that can be transitioned to be fully work-from-home-friendly under the restrictions necessitated by a global pandemic, and to be able to help our clients adapt as well to the logistical, social, economic, and financial pressures that coronavirus has created.
While this is certainly not like any joining process I have ever experienced, I am amazed at Ayming’s resiliency in the face of uncertainty and commitment to making the virtual workplace as connected as real as any face-to-face office, as well as the positive outlook from the whole Operations Performance team for the future.
Follow the links below to find out more about what it’s like to work with us at Ayming: