Onboarding – Northland Controls style

Welcome new staff during the Covid 19 lockdown. Here’s a success story.

Whatever your job, the current crisis is presenting some ‘interesting’ challenges, but spare a thought for a group that’s affected more than most: those just joining a new company

With offices closed due to lockdown, day one is certainly looking different for many. No doubt there’s anxiety too for some over whether they’ll still have a job to go to.

All of this makes professional staff onboarding doubly important – and especially so in the Security and Fire industry, where retaining skilled people is so critical to success.

Onboarding when your offices are closed: shining example

During March our client Northland Controls welcomed project manager Lewis Richardson and project engineers Emmanuel Olajide and Suren Vadgama to the team.

The company’s a global player in large scale security systems integration, providing end-to-end services that range from strategic planning, through technical development, to project execution and support.

Most employees are now working from home and were doing so by the time Lewis, Emmanuel and Suren were due to start.

So how did the HR team manage the onboarding process?

A ‘virtual’ day one in the office

With the normal welcome process suspended, the HR team followed the usual company approach (‘Whatever it takes’) and turned to technology.

They completed pre-employment and security checks using scanned documents (the originals will be vetted when safe to do so) and turned to Microsoft Teams to provide the usual first-week HR orientation programme.

Ashlea Lewis, Northland Controls

Says Emmanuel: “Ashlea Lewis (from HR, pictured left) didn’t want to overload me with too much information, but I was able contact her with any questions and she would set up a call. Since then my manager Jeff’s been checking almost daily, so I feel well cared for!”

Over the coming weeks the three new team members will be able to access structured e-learning courses and industry materials provided by their line managers to get up to speed; and they’ll train alongside their colleagues in online sessions.

All of which will be part of a planned programme of work.

The industry materials include online product training courses now being released by many of the major security manufactures. See Zitko’s comprehensive course guide.

Getting down to work

One small but reassuring detail when you start a new job is being issued with your work kit. The company couriered out laptops, phones, PPE etc. to arrive by day one, while IT reached out with the necessary induction training and personal log-ins.

Alongside this material reassurance line managers (including Jeff mentioned above) got in touch straight away to provide a personal welcome. And they made the necessary introductions to the rest of their teams.

Lewis, Emmanuel and Suren were included straightaway in online team briefings and project discussions, so they could assimilate. And they’ll be assisting with live work wherever possible, so they’re ready to hit the ground running when normal service resumes.

A worthwhile investment

Alethea O’Dell, Northland Controls

Alethea O’Dell, Chief Marketing Officer (pictured right), comments:

“In all things restrictions can either inspire or defeat you. We prefer to use them as a spur to focus on what really matters. In this case that means extending a warm welcome and full reassurance during what are strange and unprecedented times.

“We’re delighted to have Emmanuel, Suren and Lewis onboard.”

A new team member’s view: Lewis Richardson – Project Manager

“With the current issues surrounding Covid-19 I was slightly worried about starting my new role, but Ashlea at Northland kept in constant contact and put me at ease.

“My company laptop and mobile phone were couriered to me prior to my start date and were already set up with the necessary software and accounts, working and tested.

“My first day was different from a normal one. It was completed remotely, but with the use of Microsoft Teams I met my programme manager via audio and visual link.

“This was also the way we completed my HR induction and IT training. Everything was easy to use and high quality.

“A plan for my time had already been developed, with certain tasks for me to complete until the office is fully functional again.

“The organisation and commitment of all Northland staff I’ve met so far has me excited about the future ahead.”

Looking forward

If you’d like to find out more about Zitko or Northland Controls, please get in touch with Nadine Jones on nadine@zitko.co.uk or 07538 931019.

Categories: Industry news

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