What is it like to start a new job in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis?: The experience of the latest hirings at Evolution
The implementation of the “state of alarm” transformed the employment situation on 14th March. Words like “ERTE” and “redundancy” started to be more present in our vocabulary.
However, not all companies were affected by this reality in the same way. For example, in this health crisis the importance of R&D is even more evident. Vaccines searching, prevention capacity or treatment investigation becomes crucial. For this reason, Evolution has worked hard to prevent a negative impact caused by the situation. Proof of this is that we’ve increased a 10.5% our staff during these special times.
David Gil, People & Talent Manager, and the new evolutioners (including myself) have met virtually to talk about how it feels to begin a new professional adventure remotely. Even we haven’t seen each other physically; we experienced the same process: online recruitment, onboarding using our corporate platform, and teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was so surprised when they called me for an interview!” told us Carolina Laviana. She joined Evolution as Innovation Consultant on the past 4th June. The rest of us shares Carolina’s feeling of surprise. They hardly believe that someone would offer them a contract amid the employment situation caused by the coronavirus. “Lots of recruitment processes were stopped due to the confinement” points Alejandro Becker, part of the team from 27th April as Accounting & Tax Advisor, “but here, they continued moving ahead and hiring people in the middle of this situation. I found it very positive”.
The interview stage was a bit peculiar too, as they had to adapt it to these exceptional circumstances. “Most of our recruitment processes were presential. Now, 100% of our interviews are telematic”, explains David Gil from People & Talent department, “we noticed how candidates were more reluctant and insecure about what was happening. Because of that, in these times they can’t meet our company physically, we had to show them more empathy and transparency in the whole process. In that way, we could make them feel more comfortable”.
This impersonality of the remote interview process, through phone or video call, corresponded to the impossibility for us of going to the office. “I’ve never worked remotely before. I found two challenges by then: teleworking and starting on a new job”, continues Carolina. Although like Carolina, some of us hadn’t previously teleworked, we were able to begin a new routine quickly. Thanks to the fact that Evolution had already implemented a teleworking policy before COVID-19.
Therefore, our online incorporation was more accessible in a material and software way. “I could incorporate from the very first day. Everything was ready and working properly” told us María José Lubián, Project Manager since 1st June in Vigo’s office. By his side, Alejandro believes that “concerning teleworking, Evolution is highly prepared. Everything seemed very advanced and programmed to me. It’s like they guessed all the difficulties months before and they were ready to keep working”.
In this way, our house became our office. We started an organized onboarding process that made us understand better our position and the company’s values. “The onboarding is very well planned. It helps you to learn everything you need. You have a lot to do and read, but it is structured correctly”, says Isabel Casillas, who joined this week as Senior Innovation Consultant, “and whenever you have a doubt, all the team is there to lend a hand”.
Working remotely, we were losing something fundamental: meeting the rest of the team. “All the departments have been aware of the situation. We all have made an extra effort so these new people could feel close and not experience any difficulties” tells us David. Soon, we were attending team meetings and were receiving some welcome messages through Skype.
During our first days, we could meet those who are our colleagues today. “Even though we were behind a screen, I felt warmly welcomed” admits María José. “In my first week, I told my co-workers how surprised I was by all the situation,” explains Alejandro to us, “they made a huge effort to make us feel comfortable. They’re always trying to include me as a part of the team”. Concerning this, Isabel continues: “even teleworking can result cold, it is very efficient. Everybody is in the same position, and they always understand you”.
These welcomes were complemented by other online experiences that were useful for us to feel ourselves within the organization. We remember fondly some cyber outing initiatives or some informal team meetings that promote internal unity. For example, we always enjoy a monthly breakfast to share all the departments’ news, and playful activities took place. Nowadays, these breakfasts are still on, but through Zoom.
“Monthly breakfasts are an outstanding initiative”, tells Carolina, “it is always very nice to listen to other team members, to know their faces… And, above all, you get an excellent first impression: the atmosphere is excellent”. María José points out that “this kind of activity is very relevant. You laugh and have a good time even you don’t meet them in person yet”. Isabel is willing to attend to her first one: “it is very important to share these moments that are not only about work. Despite the distance, we feel together. It can seem a bit cold, but it is effective”.
And how do we, the new evolutioners, see the future? This paradigm shift involves new onboarding and hiring processes, along with a different role development. It seems essential to contemplate a new digital work scheme, not only necessary in health crises, but also in the modern times we live. “We understand this situation is new and unusual,” says Alejandro, “it is better if we go day by day and adapt ourselves to what may come”. Carolina told us she highly appreciates working from home. It is similar for María José: with teleworking, it’s easier to achieve work-life balance. “I hope more companies start to work remotely. Because it is possible”, adds Carolina.
Even we are fully adapted; we still have a pending task we’re looking forward to accomplishing. We all agree with Carolina: “I can’t wait to meet the rest of the team at the office. In that way, we could learn from them daily”. Alejandro points out “I miss the typical fuss you only get at the office. I would love to meet the rest of my colleagues”. “Coming back would be very positive”, says María José, “because it would mean something significant: the COVID-19 crisis would have improved, and everything would be safer”.
After incorporating six new profiles despite the extraordinary circumstances, David explains to us that “coronavirus has entailed a new situation that caught us unexpectedly. But we have chosen to continue the recruitment processes. All the departments made a special effort to ensure everything worked well. And I think we did great. Indeed, there’s always room for improvement, but I think we can feel proud of the result”.
Even though our personal stories, backgrounds, and professional experiences are different, new evolutioners have a lot in common. We’ve learned how to overcome the obstacles involved to join a new company for us in these particular conditions. By teleworking, we’ve improved our autonomy capabilities. And, above all, we’ve faced personal difficulties in this confinement period. We all can strongly affirm we will never forget our beginning at Evolution, and we will always do as something positive, thanks to the incredible team behind it.
Do you want to become our next hiring? We want to meet you!