Growing a Team During Covid (and beyond)
Since early 2020, Covid-19 has taken the business world by storm and disrupted the traditional hiring and onboarding process the majority of us were most familiar with. Although some time has passed and many companies have adapted quickly, it's important to take what was learned from the experience and implement it into future hiring and onboarding to improve new hire experiences.
Metric Marketing was quick to respond and adapt in March 2020 when the pandemic first surfaced in Canada. Since then, we have hired 14 new team members—all hired and onboarded remotely. Along the way, we learned a lot about what works and what could be improved, and we’ve adapted our long-term HR strategies to incorporate these discoveries.
BEST PRACTICES FOR HIRING & ONBOARDING REMOTELY
1. Cast a Wider Net
A remote or flexible work environment allows employers to cast a wider net when looking for new team members - and allows potential new employees to find a place that’s a perfect fit for them. Shifting to a permanently flexible work structure has allowed Metric to hire from outside Winnipeg - wherever we find talent and a good culture fit.
Erin Steeves (Office Manager/HR since October 2021) shared a recent experience. “Our latest hire at Metric is Aaron, a developer who is based in Toronto. Before the pandemic, we may not have considered expanding our search to outside Winnipeg - but we would have missed out on someone who’s a perfect fit for our team. The pandemic forced us to try new things… and those new things are here to stay.”
2. Implement Video Interviewing
Although virtual interviews were already increasing in popularity, the pandemic fast-tracked their success and importance in the hiring process - and we believe they are here to stay. Video interviews are easier to schedule on both ends and offer a chance to meet face-to-face earlier in the process (when a phone interview may have been an option).
We see video interviews as a permanent part of our hiring process. Even after it’s safe to meet in person, keep offering video interviews as an option for candidates - and ensure you are adequately prepared for the interview on your end. This includes choosing a common and easy to use platform (like Zoom or Google Meet), testing your technology prior to the interview, creating a professional virtual scene, and adjusting the camera appropriately to ensure you're not shuffling during the meeting.
Erin Steeves, Office Manager/HR, recommends making candidates feel comfortable during their video interviews. "It’s very common to feel uncomfortable on video - it can be difficult to express your personality on screen rather than in person, and it’s always awkward to see yourself in that little box in the corner. The number one thing is to ensure that any candidate feels comfortable, but also able to adapt and thrive in an online environment.
"Coming from someone like me, who is very keen on making a great first impression (right from the initial handshake, attire, and so on), the mindset of 'was my handshake strong enough' and 'am I dressed professionally enough?' had to completely change. Now it is more important to make a good first statement about yourself and focus more on your attitude than anything."
3. Keep Your Culture in Remote Work
With many companies embracing a remote or flexible model, it’s so important to find new ways of capturing that same company culture your current employees enjoy so much. Just because people are working from home doesn't mean you can't find ways to connect and bond remotely — including virtual games and get-togethers.
Metric’s new hires have a chance to meet the whole team and introduce themselves in our Monday video huddles. Lindsay Wright (Creative Director since January 2021) shared: “Before I started at Metric, I had a chance to meet with our CEO John on a number of video calls and I shared a virtual happy hour with the other directors where we had a chance to meet and get to know each other. I started my first official day with a full company meeting where I had a chance to meet the entire crew virtually - and to introduce myself. I felt welcomed right from the beginning. From there, I spent (virtual) time with my team, with HR, with the other directors… and it didn’t take long to feel like I’d been at Metric for years. The culture was obvious. People here take their work seriously and really enjoy what they do - and they love to do it together.”
4. Have Daily Check-Ins
Before the pandemic, you could easily check in with a new hire when you saw them in the office. Now that everything is primarily remote, it can be easy to forget to check-in and make sure they're fully up to speed on everything they need to know about their position and responsibilities.
For Ryan Story (Senior Graphic Designer since May 2021), it was the daily check-ins from co-workers that he appreciated most about onboarding with Metric. Our teams start every morning together on a virtual call where we say hello, share what we’ll be working on that day, and call out anything we’re missing or need some support on. It helps us all feel connected as a team.
WHAT OUR TEAM MEMBERS ARE SAYING
Keeping these tips in mind, Metric has brought in a lot of incredible talent during the pandemic. Even better, our new hires are raving about their positive hiring and onboarding experiences with us - and we’re learning from them about how to do this even better.
Here's what they say helped them feel like part of the Metric team.
Office Manager/HR - Hired October 2021
Our regular Culture Days - when we all come together and work from the office once a week - are super important. Before coming to Metric, I worked at a small start-up during the pandemic… and from the time I started to the time I left, I had not physically met a single one of my co-workers. I think having those interactions and seeing people outside your home is super important. I look forward to Wednesdays and getting to chat with people, and learning more. I think that's one of the most important aspects of HR. How am I going to help you if I don't know you?
Digital Marketing Specialist - Hired March 2020
I really appreciate the daily digital team meeting in the morning, where I get to talk with the team every day. It helps me to know more about other people and understand the work process at Metric.
Digital Marketing Specialist - Hired April 2021
The digital team has a weekly meeting on Thursdays where we share our wins, we discuss any important topics, and then we play a game online together. Playing games was a great way to collaborate with them, joke around, and get to know them. It 100% helped me feel like a part of the team.
Project Coordinator - Hired March 2021
The Metric team welcomed me with open arms (virtually). They made me feel comfortable and confident as I took on my new role. Our Monday morning virtual meetings with the entire company are a highlight for me. We share our wins, goals, and everyone leaves feeling ready to take on the week.
This company navigated the pandemic with grace and patience, ensuring their people came first always.
Senior Designer - Hired May 2021
It can be strange starting a new job from home, but everyone was helpful and generous with their time. They would reach out to see if I needed any assistance. I definitely felt like part of the team in no time.
Digital Strategist - Hired August 2021
Johan Manrique was hired remotely while living in Korea. Here is what he has to say about our global hiring process:
Metric made me feel so comfortable and at ease. They provided me with all the help I needed to understand all the processes, as well as understanding how the Canadian hiring process works. While in the interview process, you are shown the warm collective team. You feel calm, relaxed, and engaged with all the processes within the company. My HR department considered my time difference when processing my visa, onboarding, and bookings, as well as provided me with all the information regarding my visa application.
This is a company where you can thrive, learn new things as well as get help getting on board.
Creative Director - Hired January 2021
I joined Metric in a leadership role, but didn’t meet my whole team face-to-face until September - nearly nine months after I started. That sounds crazy, but it felt seamless because we’d been so intentional all year - scheduling daily meetings to start each morning together, having more in-depth weekly meetings with the team, and spending one-on-one time with each team member on a regular basis.
I think that intention is the key. When you’re all in an office together, it’s so easy to have little conversations or share ideas or chat about what you’re working on when you walk past someone’s desk and see their work on a screen or when you’re grabbing coffee in the lunchroom at the same time. When you’re working from home, you need to make those interactions happen un-organically - and that can only really work if you’re intentional about it. My team has been committed to this, and I really believe that contributes to loving your job and doing better work together.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BEING A PART OF OUR TEAM?
Metric Marketing is committed to employee satisfaction and experience. Taking care of our employees and making them feel like part of the team from Day One is our priority when hiring. If you're considering your career options or potential partnerships, and want to know more about our company, feel free to contact us or visit our Careers page to learn about current opportunities.