Posted on 22/04/2020 by Breeanna Noske
Every business in the world has seen the impacts of COVID-19 over the last couple of months, all with varying outcomes. For Entrée Recruitment, it has meant a period of many changes, both for our internal staff, our temporary employees and our clients. Many of our team members are working remotely from home, we've seen a transition to virtual recruitment, and have had new candidate and client challenges to face. This week a few of us took the time to reflect on our individual experiences thus far.
For Julie, our resident Candidate Consultant, the transition to video interviewing has been an interesting one:
"Transitioning to digital interview processes initially was not plain sailing as it became apparent that one or two candidates had not used Zoom before, or hadn’t trialled a practice run with a friend or family member. I had one interview with visual but no sound as the candidate couldn’t find her audio button. However, we improvised and resorted to chatting through our mobiles whilst looking at each other on the screen! Candidates have also lost internet connections and had frozen screens. Overall, I have learnt at the time of booking our Zoom meeting to ensure the candidate conducts a trial run with a friend before our meeting and make sure they are in a quiet area. At the start of our meeting we smile and wave in place of shaking hands, and I let the candidate know I will taking notes on the laptop as I go (so may be looking down at my second screen as I go through their resume). As we all know, the market is quiet and whilst I don’t sugar coat this, I don’t dwell on it either, asking instead whether they are taking the opportunity to learn new skills, studies, hobbies etc. The purpose is to build rapport with the candidate and set them at ease but at the same time ensure I have got a good understanding of their skills and who they are. Some candidates have admitted they enjoyed the interview as it gave them a purpose to get out of their trackies and smarten up for the day!"
Our Head of Early Years Recruitment Penny has found success in juggling her work responsibilities with her parenting responsibilities amidst school holidays:
"Being organised is key! Whilst the kids have been at home and I have been working it has helped that I have had activities and a daily schedule for them both as a rough guide to stick by. Another thing that has helped has been having the flexibility from Entrée to set my own working times each day. Most days I’m doing my usual hours but if something comes up with my children I can change that to suit their needs. My children also understand that when I am in the office area not to disturb me as they fully understand Mum has to work when she is in this designated space."
Senior Consultant Jo is no stranger to working from home, and has her routine down pat:
"As a part time employee at Entrée, the business needs of my clients certainly don’t stop on the days I don’t work in the office, so for several years now I have been working from home. My routine at home does not deviate terribly much from my day in the office (with the exception of not wearing corporate clothes!). I stay focused by prioritising my ‘to do’ list and doing the hardest things first as I normally would. If I’m being honest, I am often more productive at home as I don’t have the office distractions! It can actually be a very good time to make business calls to candidates and clients. To ensure that I stay focused and productive, I make sure I take regular breaks as I normally would in the office. The upside of working at home is that I can get through my workload in a peaceful environment while I have load of washing on!"
Senior Consultant Renae has found interesting new ways to assist her clients amidst our current climate:
"I have close working relationships with many of my clients – often feeling like I am an extension or part of their own recruitment team. So now more than ever it’s about letting them know I am here to offer support in any way I can, adapt with them, be flexible to their needs, and provide advice to get through this challenging time. We are still recruiting and placing staff – albeit a little differently. I’ve helped facilitate panel interviews with clients who had never held a virtual interview before, given advice to clients who aren’t used to working from home about how to keep their teams engaged, helped transition many temporary staff from traditional office bound roles to “remote help” roles, and suggested some creative approaches to get through a backlog of recruitment administration to ensure the right staff are ready to go in light of this pandemic. I’ve spoken to clients who have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 and suddenly they’re forced to make it possible to work from home. While there’s a lot of fear and anxiety about COVID-19, there is also a lot of support of breaking down the social barriers and just being real with each other. We’ve all got to do our part to keep ourselves and those around us safe… and get through to the other side. I’m just making sure I’m picking up the phone night and day, whenever someone wants to talk, and I’m happy to talk about work, staff, struggles, family, wine choices, plans for once the world returns to normal – we’re all in this together."
Senior Consultant Briony too has been engaging in new conversations with her candidates and clients:
"Recipient of numerous notable awards in his time, Vaclav Havel (1936 - 2011) wrote something quite philosophical that resonates with me during this current crisis, "Isn't it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope, perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity." So, in speaking with candidates and clients I now ask ‘what can you make of this absurdity?’ Perhaps to entertain your dreams, to look at your true self, to take this moment and turn your comforts into creativity and make your decisions based on hope not current fear. In times of crisis it is vitally important that we bring self-awareness to the areas of our life we give energy to. Are you spending countless hours fighting against those things you can't control, or investing in and prioritising those things you can? Start with the smallest of things that you can control, for we can never control what happens outside of us but we CAN control what happens within us."
Our General Manager Megan has been required to transfer her management style to a more remote one:
"I won’t lie, it has been a tough 4 weeks. I wasn’t my usual self for the first 2 weeks but one thing I did know was that this was not the time for me to fall apart. The team needed me to step up and take action. And also honesty and transparency with what was happening with the business was imperative. There was so much that needed to be done with the team and our clients and candidates and it all needed to be done “now”. I just went into auto pilot and had maybe a few too many glasses of wine at the end of day for those first few weeks. We have now adjusted to our “new normal” with most of the team working from home. We have our daily Zoom catch ups and lots of check ins throughout the day. I am now back to my positive self and I am focused on ensuring the team are engaged, motivated and optimistic and we are all still celebrating our wins and sharing and exploring ideas. I can’t say I love managing the team remotely, I miss the hub of activity we have every day in the office. At the moment my constant stream of 80’s music is my entertainment, but I know that the team are all in this together that we will come out of this stronger than ever."
For Operations Manager Laura, these changes meant she needed to quickly adjust policies and procedures:
"From an operational perspective, I felt challenged by the speed in which we were required to react, communicate and then implement various changes to our policies and procedures. But I must admit that I have enjoyed the problem-solving aspect. I also feel a sense of achievement that we were able to provide change so quickly and that has enabled our business to have as many temporary staff employed as possible, as well as continue to provide services to our valued clients. I have also experienced that it can be challenging to be the “go-to” support person during this unsettling time. One thing that I feel that has been a standout within our team is the support we have given one another and the dedication to the business we all share. This has certainly made it easier for me to continue to do my job and support my team."
Front Desk Administrator Jemimah has been inspired by the Entrée team spirit:
"The team have worked hard to ensure Entrée’s quality of service and candidate experience is not impacted by the climate, with every team member being flexible, adapting their working styles and learning new technologies. Morning meetings now happen by video call, and with all the consultants working from home it has been a great catch up time as well as discussing the business. The ideas keep on flowing and being able to see everyone put their minds together to put out the fires we are facing has been inspiring. Although this period is daunting, the team are united by their love and passion for the business and are dedicated to making it out the other side stronger than ever!"
And for me as our Marketing & Brand Specialist, I have been completely overwhelmed by YOU, our followers. I am lucky to get an insight into the thoughts and feelings of our followers, which consists of our candidates, clients, temporary employees, friends and family. I have been incredibly overwhelmed by the sense of community that exists around our social media. It’s so wonderful to jump online and see people coming together and identifying the positives in our current global situation. My regular direct communication with clients and candidates provides for a great energy boost as well, seeing people appreciate the work that we at Entrée Recruitment are doing to help the Adelaide market in whatever way we can.
So thank you for working with us and remaining loyal to our dedicated and hard working team. We are proud of our output thus far amidst COVID-19 but we're also certainly looking forward to resuming "business as usual" and seeing all your lovely faces after this is over.