Since one year, all teams at EBF have been primarily working from their home offices. This has led to some changes – also for our recruitment and onboarding processes. In this blog article, we will share some insight into our remote recruiting and onboarding process, the experiences of our colleagues, and show which opportunities the lockdown has opened up for us.
Plans can change pretty quickly: Originally, we wanted to enjoy our new larger and more modern office space last year, which created a nice working atmosphere. However, as we know in 2020 everything turned out differently, and we had to move to a home office based work model. Among some other processes, we also had to change recruiting and onboarding. After all, we want to continue to grow. Because right now it is important to help our customers realize a digital workplace.
It was therefore quickly clear that we needed to rethink our recruiting and onboarding. And we have done so with success: Last year, we were joined by ten new colleagues who went through the application process and onboarding largely remotely.
Learn more about EBF – remotely
Before the Corona pandemic, video job interviews were the exception at EBF. Today, they became the norm: Following an initial virtual interview with our recruiter and the hiring department, an approximately two-hour introductory meeting takes place via Microsoft Teams. During that meeting, our team members demonstrate their tasks and describe their day-to-day work. Given that Microsoft Teams is firmly integrated into our daily work routine, the switch to virtual sessions was no issue. Applicants also generally get on well with it and thus have the opportunity to get a digital taste of everyday working life and get to know potential team colleagues.
We want to create a pleasant interview atmosphere even during a virtual introduction and enable an exchange at eye level. Of course, sometimes there are technical problems during the interviews – but that happens on both sides and is simply part of the current situation.
IT recruiter at EBF
At the remote introductory day, I was able to get an authentic picture of EBF and get an idea of what my future working day would be like. The conversation with my new colleagues was very open and positive. I had the feeling that everyone involved cared a lot about giving me a realistic impression of the job I was applying for.
Support Specialist at EBF since August 1, 2020
The first day in the office
Once both sides have decided in favor of each other, it is time for our new colleagues` first day at work. Generally, this takes place in the EBF office in Cologne – in compliance with strict hygiene measures, of course. In one of our big meeting and conference rooms, we are able to keep a sufficient distance and thus are still able to welcome our new colleagues personally. In the course of a short welcome event, they receive their work equipment, important documents, and more information about day-to-day work at EBF. This includes discussing questions ranging from “How do I apply for vacations?” to “How do I take advantage of the free Urban Sports Club membership?” Then, our new colleagues are welcomed to the office by their line managers and are provided with the technical equipment they need to work from home seamlessly.
Our familiarization training
The familiarization process takes place in the respective teams according to a six-month plan, which defines the introduction of tools, processes, and tasks, and includes regular feedback meetings. Naturally, this is done with a certain degree of flexibility, as everyone learns in a different way and pace.
Furthermore, the COVID pandemic brought about the idea of organizing short sessions in which the different departments introduce themselves to the new colleagues. This allows them to get a better overview and find out where points of contact exist.
In some areas of the EBF, there is also a mentoring system in place. This involves experienced colleagues taking on a mentoring role for a new colleague. The mentor is responsible for organizing and carrying out the familiarization process and is also the first point of contact for any other issues, questions, or concerns.
The mentoring system helps a lot with the implementation of remote onboarding. The lockdown forced us to work out our onboarding processes and plans in even more detail and to further professionalize them. Because of this, we are now very well positioned for the future and are currently successfully onboarding several Support colleagues remotely.
Team Lead Support Specialists
Communication is the most important thing
One thing is very clear: Communication is the most important thing of remote onboarding. Regular meetings both for professional and private exchanges are crucial. Managers and contact persons of our new colleagues are particularly important in this regard and always have an open ear for questions, problems, or even criticism.
In addition to the team meeting, I have a Jour Fixe alone with my team lead, where my individual tasks are discussed and I can ask any questions that have come up during the week. Of course, if there is an urgent question, I can always call her as well. There's also a Wiki for my team in which relevant facts about our tasks and processes are documented, so I can find many answers myself.
Office Manager at EBF since November 1, 2020
We also want to continue some of our traditions digitally through various formats: such as the virtual after-work beer, the digital lunch break, or the English course. These are opportunities for new colleagues to establish more new contacts.
Of course, I miss the personal contact with my colleagues, but that can't be changed right now – safety first. I look forward to meeting everyone in person in the future and also getting to know more colleagues within EBF.
support specialist at EBF since August 1, 2020
Many lessons learned from the lockdown
All in all, our experience with remote recruiting and onboarding has been positive so far, and we also saw the lockdown as an opportunity to further develop our onboarding concepts.
Needless to say, we are also aware that starting a new job remotely and working from home for long periods of time can be a challenge in itself. We want to help our team find balance through various offers and also provide the possibility to get free expert help in case of any problems or concerns.
Even if remote onboarding goes very well, one thing remains clear: We’re all very excited to get back to normal office life so we can once again enjoy what makes EBF so special: a great team!