How did we set up our new employees during COVID19 time?

We hired some amazing new people, we were ready to introduce them to the local offices and then uhhoh COVID19 happened and we suddenly had to set them up remotely! It is certainly not easy being thrown in the deep end for both the Talent Acquisition and Onboarding team, but we managed. In this blog, we will hear from our new employees who have been remotely onboarded at Tigerspike around the world.

What were the key ingredients that we needed to make sure our new employees felt supported and excited to start at Tigerspike? Delivering an at home set up with IT support, handy communication tools such as Slack, Donut and Zoom, regular check-ins and transparency regarding the process.

While we are yet to meet our friendly new starters in the flesh, we feel like they are part of the Tigerspike family already!


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Kenia Serrette

UI Designer, New York

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Kenia Serrette

UI Designer,New York

“The amount of transparency, check-ins, supporting documentation about Tigerspike processes and design thinking, and communication have not only made me feel welcomed, they have made me feel completely supported and cared for even from afar.”

Starting a new job at the beginning of stay at home orders for a global pandemic was not exactly what I had planned.

For me, a new job comes with a ton of excitement and a bit of anxiety that is equivalent to the first day of school. Will I be a good fit? Will I find new friends in my colleagues? Along with that tiny bit of worry was the added fact that my very first day consisted of picking up my laptop and starting to work remotely from mid March until – ?

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Kenia & Dipty in New York, Jon & Maria in London, having matching outfits

While where I have worked has been from my own space, I can say that after three months of being on the Tigerspike New York team, my manager and colleagues have made this transition for me completely seamless. The amount of transparency, check-ins, supporting documentation about Tigerspike processes and design thinking, and communication have not only made me feel welcomed, they have made me feel completely supported and cared for even from afar.

The projects and work have also provided countless opportunities to meet new colleagues all across the globe reinforcing the fact that even though we are not in one physical space, we are invested in each other’s success as a team no matter where we are.

I feel extremely lucky to be a part of such a wonderful team in a time of such uncertainty. Wishing anyone starting a new journey in this time the absolute best.🧡

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Kenia's workspace in her flat, New Jersey


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Leon Liu

Desktop Support Technician, Sydney

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Leon Liu

Desktop Support Technician,Sydney

“I cannot express how grateful I am to be one of the last employees to be onboarded during this difficult time.”

This has been the most interesting onboarding process I have ever been involved in. When I received my offer of employment, Sydney had just begun moving into lockdown. After leaving my previous job, I was worried my offer would be rejected. However, it was the complete opposite and I was welcomed into Tigerspike with open arms!

My recruiter Miranda had kept close contact by keeping me up to date with my employment process and ensuring everything was moving forward.  A few days later I received my work laptop and accessories delivered to my house.

The week after I was introduced to my line manager Christopher and mentor Corin, whom I have previously met during my interview stage. I was then introduced to the organisation and the desktop team I would be a part of. The transition into the organisation was very gentle, leaving plenty of time to adjust to the working from home situation and understanding work processes. From previous experiences, you’re usually just thrown into the deep end with no assigned mentor.

I am extremely grateful to be one of the last employees onboarded during this difficult time. I am looking forward to returning to the office and meeting everyone in person!

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Leon's set up in his flat, Sydney


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Andrew Cunningham

Android Engineer, London

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Andrew Cunningham

Android Engineer,London

“I would be lying to you if I said this experience has been normal - it has not. But I don’t see how it could have worked out any better considering everything that has been going on. I am so grateful for being able to join this team and looking forward to seeing everyone in person.”

COVID-19

Where do I begin with this? Let’s just say if COVID-19 was a friend, they wouldn’t be getting a Christmas card this year.

When news of the virus’ spread started to get serious I had one thing on my mind – Do I still have a job? It had been just under a month since I was offered the role and I had set everything up to make my move from Belfast to London – if things fell through during an upcoming lockdown I wasn’t sure what I would do.

Two Weeks Before

Thankfully I wouldn’t have to worry about that for too long as I would receive a call from Michelle two weeks before my start date, letting me know that starting my job remotely would be absolutely fine. I would be set up with credentials to get into all my required accounts and I’d be good to go. I cannot describe the relief I felt after that phone call.

After getting set up on my accounts I could see loads of events waiting for me: Onboarding chats with people, Lunch and Learns, Remote Planking* and Yoga, Remote Cooking calls and Friday Quizzes. This looked like it was going to be a lot fun.

* I started remote planking but it turns out I am terrible and have retired until I make the move to London.

Week One

Everyone gets some sort of nerves on their first day at a new job, but this experience was different. I didn’t have to worry about getting the Underground to work for the first time, whether I should bring lunch or if I’d forgotten my laptop charger – only whether I was sitting at a good angle for a video call**.

When I tell you that I’ve never had as many video calls in my lifetime, as I did in my first week, I am not lying. That awkwardness on video calls with people you don’t know has completely disappeared, it’s become second nature really. And about 75% of this new skill is thanks to everyone I got chatting to. Everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming.

I was set up with a couple of Tigerspike “Buddies” who I could reach out to any time (shoutout to Nat and Kishor for being so helpful). And outside of this, Tigerspike uses a Slack extension called Donut to randomly connect you with colleagues for a 30 minute introduction/catch up which has allowed me to meet so many people.

** I have nearly worked out the perfect angle: Raise head, slight turn to the left, no direct sunlight in face – BAM!

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Andrew's virtual coffee with Honoka from Tokyo.

One Month In

I have never heard of an onboarding experience like the one I have had, and I am talking about this outside of the context of the pandemic. The amount of interaction between colleagues creates this culture of trust and openness that I think is very rare. It’s been a month and I wouldn’t have any hesitation reaching out to someone to ask a question.

I am currently starting my second sprint on the project I’m in and I am learning non-stop from the rest of the team. There is an Android sync set up every morning for people on the team to discuss ideas and I can chat to other teams about what they are working on at any time.

I would be lying to you if I said this experience has been normal – it has not. But I don’t see how it could have worked out any better considering everything that has been going on. I am so grateful for being able to join this team and looking forward to seeing everyone in person***!

*** Meeting people in real life is going to be hilarious – in my head everyone is the same height because I’ve only seen them on video calls.

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Andrew's set up in his home, Northern Ireland.


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Mateusz Supel

Software Engineer in Test, Wrocław

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Mateusz Supel

Software Engineer in Test,Wrocław

“After a few calls, I was able to see the "Hi!" text on my screen. I connected and I could meet all the people from the Polish office during a welcome meeting.”

Onboarding? For me, it’s always like the first day at a new school. Will I find a buddy (colleagues)? Will my teacher be cool (manager/boss)? Can I learn efficiently and make good use of this knowledge (daily work)? Sounds pretty stressful, right? What if just before the first day you realise the world is in the middle of a pandemic and you need to go through this stuff remotely? Well, it may sound even more stressful. I joined Tigerspike as a Software Engineer in Test during a COVID-19 and I must say it does need to be stressful at all! 🙂

My new private office in Tigerspike

The first challenge was to make sure I have everything to start. Our office manager in Poland called me, we arranged a short meeting in the office to grab my computer and some mobile devices for the testing (thanks Pati!). It was quite strange to take my laptop when the office is totally empty and it’s 7 p.m. I rearranged my living room so I can work while standing (I really recommend it) and I was happy I’m ready to start!

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Mateusz and Pati (our Office Manager in Wrocław) meet in the office for 1st time, observing social distancing.

Hi, I'm Mateusz

I didn’t lie before that onboarding can be challenging 🙂 I was very enthusiastic when I started on the first day and then I realised I’m not able to log in. Why me? – it was my first thought. In the end, this situation was very important because when you have a problem you can feel the support you get from other people. After a few calls, I was able to see the “Hi!” text on my screen. I connected and I could meet all the people from the Polish office during a welcome meeting. We spent some fun time getting to know each other, it was not that much different from the regular introduction that you can have in the office. I love technology this time!

Stay together and it will be fine

When you aren’t physically in the office every day you realise some people may not be aware you exist. I quickly found how Tigerspike handles this – let’s meet and spend some time together. Even remotely 🙂 It started with meeting my buddy, Filip. He answered the most urgent questions and introduced me to the Tigerspike world. Also, we have a remote morning coffee break when we can talk and see our faces, it helps not to get crazy being locked down at home. If you have not had enough – quiz meetings are a nice way to meet other people. And the donut meetings! A random person is selected from the whole office and you can meet and eat some donuts at the same time (or just talk). When it comes to working I had to find a way to efficiently get familiar with the tools and processes. So I learned one thing – “quick call?” is a very popular phrase here 🙂 You need to ask and someone will help you for sure.

What's next?

I hope the end of coronavirus! 🙂 And also, other interesting initiatives at Tigerspike. As remote onboarding here goes smooth I can’t wait for the time when we can skip the “remote” word. A morning coffee break sounds much better!

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