How we as a business adapted to lockdown.
When the business went into lockdown, the decision to work from home was made on Monday and by Tuesday everyone was working remotely, it was a seamless process. We have always been very flexible and open with our working from home policy and we have an ethos that our staff can start and finish at times suitable for them, in-order to manage their work life balance.
We offer group fitness training sessions twice a week which was being held in the local park. These were set up as a method of supporting staff health and well-being. Moving these sessions to remote zoom sessions was very well received and the sessions continued to be well attended, not only here in Australia, but also our UK staff members were for the first time now also able to join in.
Having everyone working from home did mean people were more conscious of collaboration. When people are working face to face in the office, they take advantage of the fact that their teams are at the desks next to them with the ability to catch up easily. In order to support this, we made a conscious effort to check in on everyone frequently to make sure they were okay.
Recruitment and on-boarding process
During this period of lockdown we also continued our recruitment. Traditionally much of our interview and on-boarding process was done face to face, but we were quickly able to adapt and move this all online.
All of our new joiners receive a signed welcome e-card from their team members. As this was done in KudoBoard format it meant that everyone could post pictures or upload photos as well as leaving welcome messages. Again, the fact that our UK staff could also get involved and leave messages meant that this format worked well for us across the entire business. This was a lot of fun and really helped to make people feel welcome. When people are starting out in a new job they normally are greeted with smiling faces in the office on their first day, now in the days of the Covid home office, we really wanted to do something to make all new joiners feel welcome.
We also sent out welcome packs to everyone who joined us during this time.These were full of the goodies you might normally have access to in the office such as coffee, tea, biscuits, lollies and hand sanitiser as well as our FinoComp merchandise.
It was also important to reassess our on-boarding processes. Normally we would buddy people up when they first start, this was now more challenging because of the lack of human interaction. We came up with a number of ideas around our formal sessions, changing what we did and when we did it, as well as a new live project idea. This enabled new starters in their first week to submit code to a dummy project, this allowed them to come up to speed on how we do things before they start working on real-life code. Involving the scrum masters, product owners and instigating a virtual buddy system did mean we were able to support our new staff as much as we could in these new and unusual circumstances.
Keeping our culture alive (remotely)
We are very conscious of the impact that Covid and subsequent home working had on the socialising aspect of work, for example the kitchen conversations and the usual day to day office chit-chat that takes place. We were keen to put a focus on that and find ways for virtual social contact that would involve all our staff.
We started Tuesday Trivia, a hotly contested weekly competition incorporating ten rounds of trivia, conducted over email. We also ran a guess the employee from their baby picture as well as a charity charades session, and online games such as a lolly guessing competition and Scattergories. .
Our monthly RUMBA sessions (Recognitions, Updates, Milestones, Birthdays and Anniversaries) continue to be a popular and an effective method of keeping staff involved. Here, again in a remote format, team leaders and managers will provide business updates, celebrate achievements, and recognise milestones and birthdays. The birthday wheel is a highlight of these sessions! Spinning the wheel, staff are offered the opportunity to win small prizes such as pens, gift voucher and movie tickets, “boobie prizes” are also included.
These Rumba sessions also offer a great way for new starters to introduce themselves to the teams. They come up with five multiple choice questions about themselves and then everyone tries to guess the correct answer; these are always a bit of fun.
We use Slack frequently have channels such as #FinoChomp to share our baking pictures, #COVID 19 and #FinoDogs. Our teams are encouraged to use these communications channels not only for work related topics but also for a bit of fun and to stay connected to their colleagues.
Finally, we have also instigated more formal one-on-one catch ups with myself and our Operations Director David Dodds. These take place on a bi-monthly basis and offer the opportunity for two-way feedback on performance as well as checking in with how they are doing.
There is no doubt these have been challenging times. We are pleased that during lockdown we were able to recruit and onboard eleven new FinoComp team members and are still actively recruiting for developer roles. We are absolutely delighted to have been recognised for our workplace culture at the recent IMB Illawarra Business Awards and are always on the look out for feedback and new and innovative ways to invigorate and engage our team members.
Stay safe everyone.
Leanne Isabella – Head of HR FinoComp