Clyde Q+A: Demonstrating and Creating Culture in a Virtual Workplace.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first began, many organizations implemented a hiring freeze in an effort to avoid additional payroll expenses amidst economic uncertainty. But eight months later, as we await a vaccine, many organizations have to plan for 2021 and continue staffing for the future, rather than just surviving the present. A number of organizations will have to conduct the entire interview process, not to mention starting every new employee’s professional and cultural life cycle, through a computer.  At this point, the hiring team at Clyde Group has been through six hiring and onboarding cycles as we’ve continued to grow even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though tools like Google Hangouts, Zoom, and Webex have become second nature for most, virtually interviewing or onboarding can still be difficult and awkward. We believe most of those difficulties can be mitigated or avoided altogether with some strategies we developed this year. 
  1. PREPARE. PREPARE. PREPARE. No matter how many times you’ve done an onboarding meeting or interview, there are always unexpected moments, questions, and answers. The more you coordinate with your co-interviewers and plan how you’re going to introduce the company to a new employee, the better!
  2. Create additional touchpoints. Virtual processes often feel more confusing or isolating than being in person. Do your best to make the candidate or new hire feel comfortable: build additional email outreach or video meetings into your timeline to give a candidate or new employee a chance to ask any questions, clarify logistics, and feel like a priority. 
  3. Focus on culture. Company culture is difficult to convey in a virtual onboarding meeting or interview. But even amidst the pandemic, culture remains an important factor for many potential and new employees. Use creative solutions to bring new people into the fold. For example, at Clyde Group we implemented a scavenger hunt in the first week of a new employee’s tenure, filled with tasks like “have virtual coffee with the longest-tenured employee outside of our CEO” or “share a fun fact about yourself in the team Slack channel.”
These tips could go on and on, but it’s more worthwhile to hear from one of our recently and remotely onboarded managers, Joe Connelly, who shared his own experience with Clyde Group. 


1. What was virtual interviewing like for you? Was there anything that stood out to you about certain interviews over others?  The virtual interviewing process was awkward at times. I always try to make sure my interviewers get a good sense of both my professional capability and my personality.  Without some of the cues that exist in an in-person format, it can be tough. I think the interviewers at Clyde did a great job of making me feel comfortable and relaxed and allowed me to really show how I would be a good fit. Every step of the hiring process felt intentional. From a writing test to a case study to the interviews, I had a clear understanding of Clyde Group’s culture and expectations.  2. When Clyde Group extended you an offer, was there anything that you were specifically nervous about? Excited about?  Throughout the process, it was clear that Clyde Group was a place I wanted to work, and when I got the offer (which happened to come in on my birthday!) I was thrilled. But after accepting the offer, some nerves set in. I was concerned about how I would smoothly integrate into client teams, teams I would likely not meet in person for months. Some of those initial fears were put to rest when, within hours of accepting my offer, I received an email from every single member of the Clyde team welcoming me to the agency. And the rest of my concerns abated during my first week of work through a seamless onboarding process.  3. On day one, when you went to log on as a Clyde Group employee for the first time, what was that like? Can you explain the parts of the onboarding process that made you feel welcome?  My first day at Clyde was as smooth as I could have hoped for. My calendar was full of onboarding meetings with my new account teams, managers, and Clyde leadership. Throughout the day, my new coworkers sent me slacks to welcome me to the team and set up virtual coffees. I had several calls with account leads where I was given a great sense of the work I would be doing, my team, and our goals. Everything was codified in thorough onboarding documents that I still reference four months later.  4. Is there any advice you would share with anyone doing virtual onboarding or hiring right now? The importance of communication cannot be overstated. The uncertainties and anxieties of interviewing or starting a new job are only exacerbated by a remote work environment. But these concerns can be easily assuaged by constant and clear communication.   


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