Many businesses have continued with recruitment and on-boarding during the pandemic. We caught up with Sinead Halliwell who recently joined Newcastle-based Evolved Search as Head of People to find out about her on-boarding experience at a time when the UK was in lockdown.
Tell us a little about your new role
"Prior to joining Evolved Search I've worked in various people-centric roles, most recently as Senior People Advisor for global menswear retailed END.
I’m delighted to be taking a step into such a pivotal role at Evolved Search and support their exciting plans for growth. As part of the senior leadership team I'll shape the people strategy, talent attraction and retention initiatives ensuring they align to the culture, values and strategic goals of the business."
Tell us about your on-boarding experience
"My on-boarding experience was very pleasant. My first day involved a trip to the office for a socially distanced induction with Managing Director, Ian McIntosh to collect my electronic equipment. I was thrilled to receive a lovely welcome basket filled with goodies to get me through my first week then headed home to set up my home office.
During my first couple of weeks I arranged a video chat with each member of staff to complete a culture audit. This really helped me to get to know the business. Ian checked in with me regularly and we have daily/weekly meetings as a Senior Management team to keep up to date with all things COVID related and business as usual."
What people challenges are you facing due to Covid19 and what plans are you making to return to the workplace?
"As a business COVID has impacted us very little and our productivity has actually increased during this time. Our teams are all working from home. The health and well-being of our employees right at the start of the crisis was paramount. We ensured everyone was safe and comfortable at home and sent out video links for Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessments. We sent chairs, equipment and extra screens with employees to make sure they weren't physically impacted by working at home.
There is no immediate need for us to return to the workplace and at this time we currently have no plans to do so. We're putting the safety of our employees at the forefront of any decisions we make right now. It has proven our work from home policy can work from the moon if needed.
We have on-boarded and trained new team members during this time and the feedback we have received has been great. Our recruitment and growth plans have continued during this period.
The company's commitment to its people and their general well-being and personal growth is evidently clear. It is refreshing to see the positive focus on People remains at the forefront during such a challenging period. We have some big projects planned to enrich the employee experience and boost opportunities for all. It's fantastic to get stuck into these initiatives straight away."
What impact do you think the pandemic will have on the future people strategy of the business?
"I hope this helps businesses become more adaptable to personal circumstances and change the way they work to support their people. Being more flexible with people has proven we can be just as productive at home, giving people the time they need with their families. At Evolved we have formally implemented our flexi-time policy during the pandemic and its working great for our team. We want our people to achieve the work-life balance they need at this unprecedented time."