Joining the Sogeti team remotely
Starting a new job is a whirlwind, there’s no doubt about it. From showing up just a few minutes early in a perfectly selected outfit to trying to memorise far too many people’s names and from slightly awkward team introduction lunches where everyone is on their best behaviour to navigating just when it’s appropriate to get up and leave for the first day- we all feel out of place during those first few days. In recent months, our team has expanded and we’ve welcomed new members to the Sogeti Ireland crew remotely- a brand new experience for us as a human resources team as well as a first for many of our new colleagues.
A new experience, yes it was. But for us in HR, we were quick to adapt. We had to handle a bit of extra admin to get our colleagues set up with equipment and to adapt our onboarding process to be handled on Team, but we had the benefit of already knowing the inner workings of Sogeti and, most importantly, we already knew how to work together as a team. For new starts, even ones with previous remote working experience, the experience was altogether different. We talked to a few of our new colleagues about there experiences- here’s what they had to say.
Des Kenny – Account Manager
Des joined our sales team in May, so his entire interview process was handled remotely. One of the first things he noted was how odd it was not to get to the meet his manager and get to know her a bit prior to signing his contract. Of course, Teams made that exchange as realistic as possible and you learn to make do, but it was a marked difference to all of the other job interviews I’ve done in the past.
For Des, one of the early challenges was getting access to teammates to ask questions. It wasn’t because they weren’t available, because everyone was making a huge effort to bring me into the fold. But when you’re in an office environment you benefit massively from being able to ask questions in real time and have off the cuff discussions about what you’re learning. And no matter how often someone tells you “just give me a shout,” inevitably you feel like you’re interrupting them when you’re pinging them constantly. That being said, having a team that’s well connected and who are well-versed in regular communications made things much easier. The sales team followed their typical onboarding process, with slow introductions to clients and regular debriefing after each contact so that the handover was as seamless as possible.
Aside from the challenges though, working remotely has its benefits. For Des, eliminating his commute made a major impact, especially initially. Starting a new job can be really mentally draining, because you’re trying so hard to learn huge amounts of new information quickly and you’re eager to productive as fast as possible. Already being at home immediately when I close my laptop and not worrying about the logistics of a daily commute means I can shut off and enjoy the evenings with my family more.
Yvonne Brewer – Senior Account Manager
Yvonne joined our sales team a couple of weeks after Des in May, and she noted how helpful it was to have an onboarding buddy. With the sheer amount of new information to take in, it was helpful to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to refresh on some of the new learnings.
For Yvonne, building relationships is what’s the most different about starting a job remotely. Yes, you miss out on the coffee chats or people popping by your desk to say hello, but you also gain something totally different. Now, on video calls you find people’s families and pets popping into the frame. People are a lot more open about the things that are going on in their lives and offering up stories about how they personally have been adjusting to this new normal. So, in a sense, we’re all being more understanding of one another’s humanity.
Yvonne has found that while the remote setup has indeed hindered communications in some ways, it’s freed them up in others and she’s gotten the opportunity to get to know people in a way that wouldn’t necessarily happen in the workplace.
Joao da Silva – Cybersecurity Architect
Joao also joined our team in May and has had quite a unique experience thus far. While Joao has previously worked remotely from his native Brazil, his role with us at Sogeti is his first in Ireland.
Sure, he was well accustomed to remote working, but in the past, he’d have at least had the opportunity to collaborate face to face with colleagues. Missing out on that, coupled with working for the first time in his second language has made for an interesting start for Joao. Similar to Yvonne, he’s missing out on the coffee machine chat and the chance to really benefit from the multicultural environment that is Sogeti Ireland.
Typically, you’d expect to have creative conversations about up and coming technologies and solutions, but short of scheduling meetings to shoot the creative breeze, this just isn’t a possibility at present. I really love to learn from the people around me, and even just on the cybersecurity team we have people from so many different cultures and backgrounds. I’m really looking forward to the time when I’ll be freer to build relationships with my colleagues and with people from different teams. As a technical consultant, Joao’s work can be very individualistic and he’s appreciated his own team’s 1-1 meeting and weekly team stand up approach, which has helped him build up an understanding of how Sogeti consultants work under more typical circumstances.
Overall, it seems like the things we’re missing the most when working from home are the face to face interactions with our teammates that make the days go by so quickly. And yet, each and every team in the business (as well as the company overall) have found ways of adapting to facilitate these interactions in new and unique ways. No doubt the next several months will come with their own challenges, but we’re learning with each teammate who joins our ranks and doing our best to improve the remote onboarding process for everyone.