Returning to a Mentally Healthy and Safe Workplace Post Lock-down

By Ben Brown,

It is evident that now more than ever the mental wellness of our teams should be front of mind. We were privileged to have Dr Jay Spence the founder of Uprise, a mental health tech startup for businesses lead the conversation on what we can do to ensure a healthy and safe workplace post-lock-down. His research area is workplace mental health and digital health, and he has received several awards including the ANZ Mental Health Service Achievement Awards and the National Invention and Innovation Award. Uprise was voted the Best Startup For Social Good, best new Business App and is backed by Telstra.

Key Insights: 

1. Mental health issues spiking

In the last several months, many Australians have been impacted by fear, anxiety and panic about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and now instead of 1 in 4 having symptoms of mental health issues new findings say this is now looking like more 1 in 3. People with pre-existing anxiety disorders, existing health anxiety and other mental health disorders are at risk of experiencing higher anxiety levels during the COVID-19 outbreak and may require more support or access to mental health treatment during this period.

2. “Aim to achieve” as best practice 

In short, Gall’s Law says this: every complex system that works evolved from a simpler system. To build something complex, rich and remarkable, you need to start with something a lot simpler. As we navigate this uncertain time acknowledge that you may not have all the answers and instead of putting into place some simple things that will initiate steps in the right direction.

    • Provide best practice information from reliable sources
    • Provide tools to tolerate uncertainty
    • Provide myth-busting information
    • Begin to remove the stigma of mental health by having someone speak about their own personal experience and coping strategies with no judgement.

3. Leaders as a real-life feedback pathway 

Leaders are the eyes and ears of business and usually have direct contact with teams on a regular basis. They are more likely to notice more readily changes in behaviour and usually have strong relationships with their team on an individual basis. For this reason, developing a feedback loop that enables managers and leaders to collect feedback is important to keep in the loop of teams mental well-being. Reviews are a great opportunity for team members to self reflect and discuss openly with their manager if they are struggling.

4. Monitor performance equally with empathy

Many leaders and managers are now monitoring performance differently as workers work from home. Some feel that they are losing control as they have a lack of visibility on the day to day of their team. It is important to remember that communication on realistic expectations at this time is important whilst equally being mindful and taking into consideration the vulnerability and physiological safety of the team. When the team are stressed at work due to feeling overwhelmed and overworked or feeling like there is a lack of support presenteeism can occur. Instead of being an absent team are still “working” however at levels that are less than optimal.

5. Supporting your team to flourish

Positive psychology teaches how to harness the power of shifting one’s perspective to maximise the potential for happiness in many of our everyday behaviours.

    • Positive psychology also lends itself to improvements in the workplace. Studies from the field have found that: Positive emotions boost our job performance
    • Small, simple actions can have a big impact on our happiness, meaning that it doesn’t take much to encourage your workplace to become a happier and more positive place

Now is a great time to suggest and implement a few initiatives or tools based on the principle of positive psychology. In general, the greatest potential benefit of positive psychology is that it teaches us the power of shifting one’s perspective.

6. Making it clear where to get the best information and help

With so much information out there it is hard to know where to look (and trust) when it comes to seeking mental well-being support. It is important to point your team in the right direction if they are needing professional help.

Individuals can now access online and through their GP free mental health plans including 10 free sessions. Organisations like Black Dog and Beyond Blue are well known and offer very clear guidance for those needing help during this time.

7. Consider a good EAP to be proactive

Revisiting your employee benefits program to include a reputable employee assistance program (EAP) will enable you to be proactive in assisting employees with personal problems and/or work-related problems that may impact their job performance, health, mental and emotional well-being. A good EAP should be research-based and provide detailed insights on the causes of stress to help you understand the company culture and stress hot spots. Tailored support options to assist you to pivot towards effective remote working and keep employees safe during this transition should also be included when selecting an EAP for your business.

We can all agree that the impact of COVID-19 on your teams mental well being requires constant support and monitoring. An EAP will provide you with a level of visibility and more importantly the ongoing the support your team may need during this time and beyond.

 

 

Digital in Uncertain Times – The Current Climate and how will it Change in Light of COVID19?

By Ben Brown,

Crisis breeds innovation, COVID19 will change the way we do business forever. The landscape will look very different on the other side. A “great reset” will follow. Scary for some, unprecedented opportunity for the ambitious. It’s not about predicting what might happen, it’s about being prepared.

What should we be posting on social media during COVID-19?

Engagement Posts

Devise a communications strategy and keep your community informed:

    • Are you trading, are you open/closed?
    • Do you have amended trading hours?
    • What measures have you taken to ensure customer and client safety is paramount?
    • Keep customers informed on how you are navigating the current situation.
    • Think long term, how you treat your customers in a crisis will pay you back in spades.

Paid Campaigns

Build new campaigns specific to the current climate and test creatives, keep content evergreen. Understand your audience, put yourselves in their shoes and position your product or service as a problem solver.

 

How to build a sensitive marketing strategy?

Practice responsible marketing.

Devise a communications strategy and keep your community informed:

List of Don’ts:

    • Don’t be tone-deaf
    • Don’t take advantage of consumers for a short term win
    • Don’t be pushy
    • Don’t appear desperate
    • Avoid heavy discounting of your product or service

In its simplest form, use common sense and build trust and loyalty in these times.

For example at Digital360 we are in a nurturing phase, We aren’t aggressively pitching new business. Focus on adding value to every touchpoint and customer interaction. Stay engaged with your pipeline, those relationships may translate into a future relationship. Position for the long term and be extremely responsive to your customer base.

Post COVID-19 what will the digital marketing landscape look like, and what will the new normal be?

Savvy companies will take the opportunity to increase their market share.

Others will reduce, pause or go into prolonged marketing hibernation as they await a clearer picture to emerge.

Those who choose to hibernate will find it increasingly difficult to recapture lost market share as competitors accelerate their efforts and budgets in a quieter market.

Companies who choose to accelerate their efforts will increase their market share, allowing them to gain a significant slice of the market for costs substantially lower than pre-COVID-19 market conditions.

Google Adwords impression share data, cost per click data and Google Trends can provide you with excellent statistics of how market dynamics have changed and continue to change.

76% of companies have picked up new habits, behaviours and changed elements of how they operate in light of COVID, adapt your marketing strategy to suit the new normal.

Should we tailor anything differently or pivot to attract and maintain a client base?

For customer acquisition focus your messaging and campaigns to show your prospect that you see the world through their lens, understand their challenges and how you can solve their problems. They are now facing new challenges they have not had to encounter before. Your marketing message should reflect understanding and problem-solving.

Maintaining a client relationship is the easier of the two, they know you, they already trust you. Focus on brand loyalty.

Is there going to be a delay in processing an order? Be upfront, don’t shy away, communicate and get on the front foot.

The human spirit shines bright in times of adversity, customers will be forgiving in these times. Communicate and brand loyalty you will build is priceless.

Developing a user-generated content strategy to drive customer engagement levels is a cost-effective method of driving new business and maintaining existing relationships, the sense of community helps others feel they are not isolated and part of something making a difference.

There are potentially lots of businesses coming out of this, how to get ahead of the competition.

From a business perspective, take the opportunity to get your house in order. Identify inefficiencies and areas of your business that are underperforming and make decisions.

Improve the product delivery of your solution, stand out from the crowd. We have been hard at work internally reviewing every facet of our business. How can you gain a competitive advantage?

From a digital perspective, invest in CRO and test, test, test. Can you improve your conversion rates by 1%? Small changes and improvements compound into substantial wins.

For example, you generate 10,000 sessions per month, your conversion rate to sale is 3% and your average yield is $1,000 per sale. Increasing your conversion rate to sale by 1% will generate an additional 100 sales per month which equate to an additional $1.2 million in revenue per year.

Ensure your content strategy is helping customers skip through the marketing funnel. Customers are lingering in the consideration phase of the funnel, researching now and buying later. Quick converters are taking more time before committing to a purchase. Quality content answering questions at each stage of the funnel will provide you with the greatest opportunity to convert prospects to a sale.

Justifying the spend on digital marketing during the current climate.

It can be a difficult decision, the immediate instinct may be to cut costs ASAP. Revenue is falling, the pipeline is shot and holding onto cash becomes priority number one.

Now the initial panic of COVID has subsided, the question turns to growth. If your business has been affected by COVID what’s your plan to acquire new customers to replace the customers you have lost?

Can you afford not to invest in digital marketing to attract new customers? Invest smarter, understand the ROI of your digital marketing activities and invest in the channels that are providing you with a return.

Many markets and niches are less competitive than pre-COVID. Your spend will get you further, get in front of your prospects and strip market share from your competitors to inherit a larger slice of the market as it rebounds.

At the time of writing, I have seen many industries substantially ramp up their efforts as the race to acquire new customers heats up, resulting in higher bid prices than pre-COVID. The majority of your competitors will spend for the sake of generating activity without doing the maths. Understanding your ROI and LTV (customer lifetime value) will provide you with a competitive advantage to invest more wisely.

How to measure digital marketing effectiveness/ROI when spending needs to be monitored so closely.

Work with a quality digital partner that can provide you with this information, if you are not getting it, find a new provider.

Is your digital partner is showing you flashy reports with graphs of sessions, engagement statistics and conversions? If so, it is difficult to ascertain your lead relevancy percentage, if that lead generated a sale, the value of that sale and the lifetime value of that sale to understand true ROI. (E-commerce excluded)

If your digital partner is unable to provide you with this information, as a minimum ensure call intelligence software with dynamic numbers per marketing source is set up and firing. Ensure goals (such as form fills) are set up in Google Analytics to provide you with accurate conversion data. Ensure events are not set up as goals which pollute your conversion data and reporting.

We are thankful that we have built a platform that provides our clients with end to end marketing attribution so we can show our non-e-commerce clients true ROI on all their marketing investment. If you’re not getting it, work with us?

The other platform which can help highlight lead to sale is HubSpot. Work with a quality implementation specialist to ensure you are getting the best insights from your installation.

Alternatively, many long hours building spreadsheets, normalising data across various sources is another option. Cross-referencing lead and customer lists in your CRM with invoices in your accounting system can provide you with vital insights but is time-consuming and difficult to scale.

There are some great BI platforms that can be custom-built for your business if you have the budget and patience.

What markets are performing, which markets aren’t performing and what are my competitors doing?

Hardest Hit

    • Tourism, Hospitality, Events Providers, Bricks and Mortar Retailers

Biggest Winners

    • Food & Grocery, Homewares, DIY, Professional Services, Trades and Aged Care

Those experiencing difficulties have experienced up to a 70% drop in organic sessions and 90% in revenue. There have been some rebounds from those lows in most industries as consumer confidence increases. Industries fortunate to be in verticals which have benefited from COVID have seen increases in organic sessions as high as 275% in a matter of days and weeks. Revenue increases have also been at record highs for businesses able to facilitate the high increase in transactions over a short period of time.

70% of companies over 500 people, reduced or paused their marketing spend since mid-February. 16% are still to determine what their future budgets will look like. It’s quite a staggering statistic.

Thankfully we haven’t found it to be quite as extreme in the SME space as most companies on a temporary pause or reduced programs have re-engaged to previous retainers as they look to capitalize on quieter market conditions.

Which marketing channel is driving the greatest return?

For new customer acquisition, we have found intent-based marketing, ie. SEO and Google Ads are providing the greatest ROI in this period.

For customers with an existing database of active and inactive customers at their disposal, running email and or SMS campaigns provides an extremely cost-effective method of generating a return vs new customer acquisition. Ideally, a marketing strategy utilizing a combination of both will drive you the greatest returns.

Social platforms currently represent value for money with lower CPM’s however we haven’t seen the same levels of return as intent-based channels.

Is my market expected to grow or contract?

This is a common question we get asked, keen to understand what’s happening in their market.

The initial shock and awe of COVID subsided mid-April and lasted approximately 4-6 weeks before the signs of recovery appeared.

For markets that have contracted I expect these to remain softer as COVID affects our economy in the coming months and potentially years to come. For competitive industries that have experienced a contraction, we expect to see a rush back to the market as companies attempt to recoup losses, however, this will not be sustainable. True market size indicators should be monitored carefully in the coming months.

For markets experiencing growth, I expect many of these to normalise to pre-COVID levels as we embark on the new normal. The best example of this is our supermarkets.

Excitingly, new industries and verticals will emerge. For example, work from home specialists providing turnkey equipment packages for home office spaces, renovation companies as workers repurpose their homes for permanent working from home will all be lucrative opportunities as the workforce adopts a permanent setup or home/office split.

Market activity across the board will be dictated by discretionary spend, unemployment figures and migration.

The longer the borders remain closed the tougher it will be for Victorian and Australian businesses to grow as population growth grinds to a halt.

This increase in population has provided a fertile ground for business growth in the last 20 years. A new playground has now been formed, the best will thrive and the weak who slowly embrace change or have a substandard product offering will not survive.

Is there an opportunity in my market to pivot?

For smaller companies, it’s easier to pivot as they often have the nimble infrastructure to adapt to change quickly. Mid and large size firms are stuck in a series of meetings trying to make a decision, presenting an opportunity for smaller operators.

We have consulted with many of our clients to execute a successful market pivot. Many have adopted a partial e-commerce model or online consultation model in light of their businesses unable to trade in the short term. Many of these pivots will be permanent additions to the business, opening up new revenue channels they never thought possible or realistic to penetrate.

My advice would be not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, pivot to survive but also take this opportunity to work on your product or solution. Those who are investing time and money into these activities be further ahead as the dust continues to settle.

Internally our UX team is hard at work scrutinizing, going deep into a battery of user tests to improve our platform to help us generate a competitive advantage as we adapt our go-to-market strategy.

How have a customer’s behaviours changed online? In lockdown are they are searching more/less in my industry?

Research and buying cycles in many have doubled or tripled upon review.

We are seeing users visit 10+ pages on a website, returning multiple times before making the decision to enquire or purchase.

User experience is so very underrated and I cannot stress the importance of it enough!

More downtime on users hands has allowed them to delve deep into researching the market before making a buying decision as companies compete for customers and consumers spend their hard-earned money in an unpredictable economic climate.

High-quality digital assets, evergreen content and a well-researched content strategy will provide you with the best opportunity to re-engage your dormant database or attract new customers.

How quickly can we build an e-commerce store?

This is probably my favourite question I get. Building a store is often a knee jerk reaction. There is an assumption that building an e-commerce store is a licence to print money. My existing customers will just shop online with me instead of coming into the store, right?

The best short term success with new store launches is marketing to existing customer databases to generate sales and provide your customer base with an alternative, seamless buying experience. On the flip side, we have seen many others in the industry quickly open stores that generate no sales and scratching their heads as to why? Many of these were not digital adopters prior to COVID and are quickly trying to adapt and figure out how e-tailing is a different game to traditional retail.

In bricks and mortar retail, you pay a premium to Chadstone to generate customers and foot traffic. Online stores are no different, digital marketing generates you new targeted audiences and store visits. Instead of paying a landlord for the privilege of that traffic, we need to pay the Gods of Google, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.

If your guiding your customers on transitioning to e-commerce, ensure budgets are available for short and long term marketing strategies and the business is geared in the back end to facilitate online orders.

Is now a bad time to start a new business?

Recessions are tough and there will always be naysayers who tell you starting a business is a bad idea. Throw in a pandemic and social distancing and people will think you’re nuts.

There is never a bad time to start a good business. Businesses such as GE, IBM, Disney, HP, Microsoft, EA Sports all started in the midst of a recession. Google weathered the dot-com bubble bursting shortly after their founding.

Here is a list of advantages of starting a new business in the midst of a recession:

  1. You can run a lean model, with few expenses and minimal overheads you will be able to outmaneuver your larger more established competitors
  2. High-quality talent is on the market and is looking for work
  3. Negotiating power, as suppliers and vendors scramble for new business, MOQs or business terms are more flexible
  4. Less competition. Others will hold off until market conditions improve, some established players will disappear and startups less likely to take a risk
  5. No legacy – build an efficient model free of legacy issues and systems which otherwise would hold you back

 

Considerations to Developing a Remote Working Policy

By Ben Brown,
DEFINITIONS:
  • Working devices – devices that are specific for work use
  • Business systems – systems that are operated or managed by the organization
  • Business systems accounts – the user accounts for business systems
  • Personal accounts – the user accounts that are not for business systems

 


From a management perspective, you would like to achieve the following tasks:

1. Information Assets Management

Have in mind the systems we use, devices we have and user accounts we manage. It is better to have a list of all the systems, devices, and user accounts. Especially the administrator accounts, and keep the list updated.

2. Awareness Training

Continually educate your team with the importance of security. Try to support your team with knowledge and technical assistance.

3. Communication and Reporting

Build up a communication channel for your team to report and update security incidents and identified risks and respond to the incident in a timely manner.

4. Backup plan

To achieve the above task, you may need a backup plan to protect the business continuity and response to incidents, which includes data backup solutions and redundancy services.

 


From a user’s point of view, you would like to follow the instructions and requirements to protect the company’s data and information security:

1. Endpoint Protection

Users work with their endpoint devices such as laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and PCs should protect the devices from being misused and hacked.

    • Keep the endpoint devices in a manageable place
    • Lock the screen or turn off the power when you leave the device
    • Install advance, next-generation anti-malware applications on devices
    • Do not use working devices for personal use (e.g. checking personal emails)

2. Access to Systems (VPN)

Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to connect to the business systems.

3. Passwords

    • Do not use the same passwords for your business systems accounts and your personal accounts.
    • Passwords for business system accounts should be:

1. Longer than 12 characters (preferably 14)

2. Complex by containing uppercase, lowercase, numbers and/or special characters. Or passphrase i.e. Agile-Method-Webinar7

3. Changed once (or better twice) a year

4. WIFI Security

    • Use trusted WIFI
    • Review and harden your home WIFI by

1. Change the administrator password of your WIFI in line with password advice above in item 3.

2. Change the WIFI password once (or better twice) a year

    • Do not trust WIFI without password or login requirements

5. User Account Security

    • Enable multi-factor authentication for business systems
    • Do not share one business system account with other users

6. Phishing Emails

    • Be aware of phishing emails and SMS
    • Do not open emails sent by untrusted sources
    • Do not click any link in the emails sent by untrusted sources
    • Always verify. Be aware if the email asks you to carry out a financial task in a hurry. and always contact your manager or finance department to confirm.

7. Application Security

    • Only download and install applications from a trusted source
    • Do not download applications on working devices for personal use
    • Ensure system patches are always up to date

8. Removable Media (USB)

    • Do not connect untrusted removable media such as USB flash drive to your working devices
    • Do not transfer or store sensitive data via USB flash drive

9. Data Backup

    • Back up your data to an offline data storage
    • Schedule your data backup at least once a month
    • Test your data backup once (or better twice) a year for the availability

10. Update Systems (OS & Apps)

    • Update your systems (include the operating systems and business systems)
    • Update your anti-malware version and database

11. Report Incidents

    • Report incidents and malicious behaviour of your working devices

 


 

Security & The Virtual Working World

By Ben Brown,

DOES YOUR STAFF KNOW THE SECURITY RISKS OF BYOD & WFH?

ARE YOUR PROCESSES ROBUST?

 

This Key Insights Document from our Cyber Security Webinar and key highlights the key topics that surrounded the discussion and suggest tools to mitigate the risks in remote working teams.

 

FUTURE PROOFING THE BRING YOUR OWN DEVICE (BYOD) HOME SET UP

It is crucial that staff know the security risks of BYOD & WFH.

One of the biggest BYOD security risks can be loss or theft of devices. Employees often bring their personal devices wherever they go, this means there’s a higher chance of devices being lost or stolen, and a greater risk of the company data that’s stored or accessed on these being compromised. Thankfully there are heaps of ways to add in cost-effective and user-friendly solutions, processes and policies.

Bring-your-own-device security isn’t simple; however, as a starting point, your organisation needs the ability to monitor employee-owned devices at the device level from the moment they’re provided with access to your company data and every minute of the time they’re used for work or personal activities off-site.

 

ZOOM OR NOT TO ZOOM – THAT IS THE QUESTION

The question surrounding Zoom as a secure platform for virtual meetings can be determined by the purpose and size of the organisation. Whilst Zoom has a bit to go before being considered a secure tool, it is great for casual meetings when a multi-screen is beneficial and as one of the only virtual meeting tools that have this function, the notion, therefore, to dismiss Zoom altogether may not be viable for a business that seeks wider virtual team collaboration. Zoom is continually updating their security features however it is agreed that is is best to avoid it for when more critical data protection measures are needed at this point in time.

 

EDUCATE TO MITIGATE

It is so important to create an internal cultural awareness in business around cybersecurity risks and mitigation strategies. By making employees aware of security threats, how they might present, and what procedures to follow when a threat is identified, you’re strengthening the most vulnerable links in the chain.

Running an effective phishing campaign at work can be the difference between an employee who clicks on malicious links or attachments and one who reports them. For security professionals, a phishing test boosts employee cybersecurity awareness in a meaningful, controlled environment.


BYOD security product that easies cheap and highly rated for protecting against most malicious software. Includes a free version for up to 3 devices or a premium for $52 which is a great value.

https://home.sophos.com/en-us.aspx

Easy to use password manager, long and secure passwords are so important but it’s difficult to remember lots at one time so use a password manager.

https://www.dashlane.com/features/password-manager

Gophish is an open-source free tool to simulate phishing campaigns to help educate your business.

https://getgophish.com/

 

THE EXITING TEAM MEMBER

 

Every time an employee leaves a company, whether willingly or unwillingly, it is advised the security team are notified before the event of a team member departure. There is an incredible amount of data management and protection that needs to be actioned, making off boarding a very time-sensitive event. Mobile device management and smarter access governance are important. If an employee is terminated or begins exhibiting questionable behaviours, the policy should support your ability to immediately revoke access to sensitive data before it’s leaked.

 

PATCHING PROTOCOLS

Failure to patch vulnerabilities in computer code can lead to losses of information that can cost more than your company can afford to pay. At a minimum set a regularly scheduled routine every month to patch all systems should be implemented.

Have a clear process for applying patches – sometimes patches will have to come with no warning and will need to be applied as soon as possible. By having a clear set of steps and expectations for each standard patch release for teams and by making it a regular practice, it will make it easier for when emergency patches are released.


Zscaler for data protection coverage that forces all traffic to be encrypted and with no split tunnelling.

https://www.zscaler.com/

sItPhishing is a service that validates if a URL is a phishing page or not.

isitphishing.org

AusCERT provides members with proactive and reactive advice and solutions to current threats and vulnerabilities. We’ll help you prevent, detect, respond and mitigate cyber-based attacks.

https://www.auscert.org.au/

 

Disclaimer: The content of this document is a collection of opinions from the meeting and is not the express opinions of any representative of Method Recruitment or our guest speakers. All participants in the webinar accept no liability in the event of a cyber attack.

 

Virtual Onboarding

By Ben Brown,

How do we sell a non-salary benefit when we aren’t able to offer them in the present situation?

  • Transition benefits and perks to online – move the wellbeing programs (e.g. boot camps, meditation) to an online session.
  • Being aware of their situation – whether it’s too much family or full isolation – getting to have those conversations to make people feel looked after.
  • Personalized touch that you’d usually get from being at work – sending parcels, or sending a code or vouchers for people to use before they start.

E.g. Include a kid’s colouring book with their usual welcome pack.

  • Using this as an advantage to have more conversations while we have the time.

How do we get the laptop to someone who isn’t tech-savvy enough to set it up themselves?

  • Check the readiness of the candidate, can they BYO device and are they able to set it up themselves.
  • You can personally deliver equipment, use Uber or courier to your IT person’s house, then onto the new starter- so that their new hardware is all set up for them. Courier out Dongle for 5G internet.
  • Assess their internet connection and help them set up if needed, remember it may not be as available as corporate office internet, so allow for slower set up times.
  • Use PSI testing before they commence – find out their strengths and their preferred learning style such as through DISC, Myer-Briggs.
  • Communicate the onboarding plan to the candidate leading up to induction – before the start date.
  • Set up the calendar invite series before they start, send an email on the day before with the invites and the series so they know what they are working on.
  • Keep things basic, find out how they like to communicate – how do YOU like to communicate?
  • Find out if they have WFH experience.
  • Find out their tech capabilities.
  • Forecast how they may like to work and how to adapt.

  • The first day – have structured Touchpoints – set up times with stakeholders to introduce and welcome.
  • Allocate a buddy – Assign a mentor or go-to person (must have more than 1 buddy, and include some from their immediate team, and other departments).
  • Set them up for success with structured communication plans – Communication is KEY.
  • Identify what’s their preferred comms style – text, email, call?
  • First 2 months extra steps in caring and touchpoints, a message goes out at 2 months reminding probation coming up and getting people to start reflecting.

Online Tools: 

  • Zoom
  • Loom
  • Whatsapp
  • Microsoft Team
  • Google Hangouts
  • Slack: Coffee Roulette  “doughnut” Randomly selects people across the business outside of your team, every week get everyone to have a remote coffee, this gets a broader connecting across the business
  • Jib Jab: Send a personalised video for birthdays instead of cake
  • Easy Generator: Create tutorials to simulate a manager sitting next to a new starter teaching a skill
  • Last Pass
  • Liquid Files

Are people using different online onboarding modules which cover more COVID-19 approaches rather than previous BAU approaches?

  • Ensure they have a safe workplace – for new starters – it’s important to make them compliant and safe.
  • Set up online modules.
  • Have a list of FAQs on the intranet.
  • Streamline the processes as required – don’t overload the starter with information and just feed the onboarding info that’s relevant to current circumstances.
  • Remove online modules that only refer to BAU – purely directing people to the separate module that is standard compliance and then having only COVID related onboarding, to not confuse them or waste time pointing out fire exits etc.

How do we get the laptop to someone who isn’t tech-savvy enough to set it up themselves?

  • Evaluate progress more regularly. Checking where they feel they need to develop and being clear on their development areas that you see.
  • Coach team on how to give 360 feedback. 
  • Make sure that you gather the information gained through the recruitment process and utilise this through the onboarding, strengths, weaknesses, development areas. This can be done by having an honest conversation with the new starter in their first week- ask them where they feel their training areas are, then have the line manager respond with where they feel the training areas may be, based on the interview process.
  • Capability framework, self-assessment and manager can assess.
  • Keep 1:1 consistent, encourage the manager to be vulnerable and open about how this new remote process may not be perfect, which allows the new starter to provide honest feedback and feel comfortable asking for help.

How do we sell a non-salary benefit when we aren’t able to offer them in the present situation?

  • Personalise a welcome pack and deliver it to their door.
  • Wine, discount codes, cool stuff, company merch, Subscription to mindfulness apps etc.
  • Friday 30 mins, happy hour where kids and pets are encouraged to share the conversation.
  • Team meetings to begin with sharing 1 thing you are grateful for and 1 thing you are struggling with.
  • Have a welcome party on zoom with the team.
  • Show & Tell with the team- 90 seconds to talk about your item (or skill), then each team member can ask 1 question.
  • “MTV cribs”, desk set up photos and house tours.
  • Giving back – don’t forget to continue volunteer days if that is part of your standard engagement.
  • Many team activities can be transferred online.

  e.g. “Cork and Canvas” can deliver mini individual packs

  • Free subscriptions to mindfulness apps – looking after people’s health and well being.

COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY

  • Important to manage and rationalize the means of communicating with each other – so many different channels and traffic, it’s a lot. So, controlling the stream of info so people don’t feel overloaded.

– Look to set some controls in place and set guidelines around what communication channel to use and when – what info comes across each channel.

– Assign team members to take ownership and maintain communication channels so it doesn’t go out of control.

– Have expected response times.

  • Have regular catch-ups on what works well, what doesn’t, what to stop, is it effective?
  • Have empathy, promote a trusted environment.
  • People with families/kids – Reassure them it’s all ok, everyone’s set up is different.
  • Manage outcomes, not KPI’s – if they can complete the outcome, then it shouldn’t matter how they get there.
  • Be adaptable to individual challenges, accept that one size doesn’t fit all.
  • Show vulnerability on both sides.

One of our biggest conversations was around the impacts of closing schools.

Parents have been reaching out feeling distressed that people would judge them, how can we reassure them?

  • Encourage teams to be understanding of everyone’s circumstances by allowing children in the meeting.
  • If a child comes in on a call, they are allowed to introduce themselves and sit quietly to join.
  • One company conducted a self-assessment survey across their business, of how much their work would be impacted, so they could create a business-wide plan, before conducting individual interviews for tailored plans.
  • Allow work outside of the core hours.
  • Management needs to be honest “try your best to be at the meeting but if you can’t we understand.”
  • Record all video meetings, so if someone cannot attend, they are still included.
  • It is the responsibility for all parties to understand that we are in unusual times and that interruptions from children will occur.  There needs to be an acceptance that everyone is doing their best to with the environments that they are working within.

 

*Disclaimer: The content of this document is a collection of opinions from meeting attendants and not the express opinion of any representative of Method Recruitment.

Mentor(SHE:) – Kate Illsley Experience as a Mentee

By Ben Brown,

 

Method Recruitment Group is so much more than just a working space. The business is built around an incredible culture that is defined by a set of beliefs and values that makes the organisation unique within the industry. Thus, Method provides an environment of growth, transparency and opportunities where employees feel supported and enjoy. In this article, we share how Kate Illsley, one of our Senior Consultants, embodies and embeds our values.

Kate started working for Method Recruitment Group in August 2016, by that time she was the only woman working for the company. At the start of 2017 her director, Ben Brown, suggested her to join VIC ICT for Women, since then she has been part of the organisation and started an incredible journey in the Mentor(SHE:) program; a program that supports women working in the Tech Sector. So far Kate has had the opportunity to be matched with three incredible mentors and she shares with us the responses she gave in an interview.


Mentee Interview 

 

Kate has been part of Mentor(SHE:) for a few years now. What makes her keep coming back?

Each mentor Kate have been paired with have come from a completely different industry and have been able to provide contrasting perspectives. Having access to a dedicated person to bounce ideas off throughout the year has been a tremendous help for her, especially when working to overcome imposter syndrome. 

Kate’s mentors’ stories of how they dealt with certain situations have helped her avoid making potential mistakes because she has been able to share in their learnings. They have helped to remove some obstacles, and at other times, simply giving her the confidence to try. 

How did Kate set her goals based on the ones that were set at the beginning of the program? 

Kate set her goals based on “Lessons from my 20s” by Ryan Allis. Her current mentor, Lisa, helped her break down her Google Doc table into more sizeable chunks so that it became less overwhelming. She helped Kate to prioritise by giving examples from her experience on what is achievable over certain time frames. 

Who are some leaders in the tech industry who Kate watch or appreciate?

The people Kate look up to in the Melbourne tech industry are the people on the ground putting together community events. Through volunteering for the Grad Girls program over the last few years, Kate has had the opportunity to meet some very inspirational people who give up their spare time to push for equality and inclusivity. Those are the people who inspire her to do more and give back. Countless people don’t always have their names in lights who you can learn from! Check out Women Who Code’s hashtag #ApplaudHer for inspiration. 

Kate has been in the recruitment industry for years. What are the changes she has seen? and what does she think job seekers should change or adapt?

Tech is constantly changing, and it changes fast. Kate believes that it is our soft skills that stand the test of time. She would always suggest developing communications skills and stakeholder management abilities no matter the level of the 

Tech is constantly changing, and it changes fast. Kate believes that it is our soft skills that stand the test of time. She would always suggest developing communications skills and stakeholder management abilities.


As part of the learnings of this journey, Kate highlights the benefits of joining a mentoring program and/or reaching industry leaders that are willing to help and share their experience. If you want to learn more – feel free to reach out to Kate at Method Recruitment Group for more info.