Joining Version 1 ‘from home’

Looking for and accepting a position at a new company is usually a step in a person’s career that brings a certain amount of change.  A new business usually means new people, new tools, processes, and solutions that help us in our role or to meet internal or training requirements.

Typically in my experience, even when working in a remote capacity, a company onboarding process would still entail on-site sessions with either HR, onboarding teams or your immediate line manager to help bridge that initial gap.

But, with the world gripped in a global pandemic and tight restrictions on travel to office locations, I knew when persuing a new role with Version 1, it would likely be quite different from anything I had experienced before.

The Interview

The interview process was to be remotely managed, and naturally working in technology services, I didn’t expect this to be too alien from how I had been working already. COVID-19 ensured that my only option was meeting these new people from behind a computer screen.  Small nuances with an interview process like meeting colleagues and your manager in person, getting that first impression and seeing the offices were all removed. The interview process itself was instead completed by way of video meetings.  Each interview session was not rushed or squeezed in and was scheduled with plenty of time to ensure I could fit it around other COVID-related unexpected factors, such as school-aged children now hogging what was once my own desk space!

Being (virtually) face to face with my new prospective employer allowed me to demonstrate the comfort in which I could discuss my knowledge of the role, the requirements and to talk about my own past experiences, (both work and personal), all while at home.

Welcome to Version 1!

Right from the start, I had been discussing the position I applied for and my progress with Bradley Hall in the Version 1 Talent Acquisition team.  Not only did he keep me updated all through the interview and assessment process, but he also kept me informed of what was to be expected next.  Version 1 Human Resources and talent teams were themselves also reimagining the onboarding experience for new staff, so they were also keen on my feedback as I walked through the process. It was very reassuring to know that while this was potentially different for me, the Version 1 onboarding team actively sought feedback to continue to evolve and refine their own process by listening to my experience.

My corporate equipment arrived at my home address, and with it, the required contacts to get me online to the corporate systems for the first time.  This process all went smoothly, and I could now embark on the remote induction sessions using tools and services offered via the corporate system such as Microsoft Teams.

Despite being again all remotely hosted, my induction felt like it was face-to-face.  Over the week, several bite-sized sessions were on the agenda to avoid information overload.  These were not only with the induction staff themselves but also with others who had joined the company that week.  This engagement is what you might expect when it’s your first week at a company; it felt like I was in a room with all of the newbies, sharing experiences and getting to know new people, not sat in a home office miles apart.

My line manager Daragh reached out as soon as I was online to have a chat.  We talked about workloads being lined up for me to start working with, and we also talked about anything I might need in terms of technology that would help me while working purely from home.  I’ve been no stranger to working at home throughout my career, but that intent of making sure I had everything I needed right away was well received.

We have come to depend on email and video calling services as the tools of choice for us to collaborate and keep in contact with staff, but it’s actually reaching out to make those connections through regular calls or sessions that give it the personal touch. That’s what makes you feel welcomed as a new starter, and for me, this was spot on.

After Onboarding

You have a buddy!

Version 1 has a buddy programme.  As a new joiner, you are assigned a ‘buddy’: another employee within the company who can offer you support in getting to grips with new processes or tools.  Generally speaking, it bridges the gap on those things you might query by lifting your head from the desk in an office and asking someone near you. It’s a great system. My buddy Corrina reached out to me and set up a virtual coffee meet and greet to see how I was settling in and to see if she could help with anything.

I’ve been working in a remote capacity in some form for over ten years, mixed with customer sites for workshop sessions or delivery of implementations.  Electing to get a colleague or peer facetime at my nearest corporate branch was always an option available to me, but it becomes not about choice when that option is taken from you.  Finding a balance with queries as a new joiner can be tricky remotely, especially when you might be concerned with adding to your colleagues’ workloads!

Having someone with whom I could clarify the small things really makes a difference.

What about the social?

Well, of course not everything about a new company has to be about work! 🙂 What about the people, social interaction and unwinding?  I can tell you one thing, having been with Version 1 for only a few months, I have so far participated (virtually) in escape rooms, quiz nights, cocktail making, mixed games nights, and I have many others already pencilled in the calendar!

Meeting people throughout the company in all locations across the world has been amazing.  I’ve even been able to chat about my football team Aston Villa to the CEO of Version 1, who also is a fan! Almost every day brings with it one or more corporate-wide open session to drop into where you like.  It could be for learning new skills or a panel discussion covering an array of topics, both technical and social.

So how did joining remotely go?

Its been a different experience from any I’ve known and any had throughout my 20+ years in IT.  But it has also been one that is unique and memorable; it has been an evolution of a process, where a new staff member’s connection to the company feels every bit as important screen to screen as should do face to face.  So if you’re thinking about joining Version 1 during this unprecedented time, don’t be worried about being miles apart and stuck indoors.