Creating the ideal workplace for the future - Hannah Connaghan

Having spent the better part of my childhood moving from country to country, I am well accustomed to transition - or so I thought.

Should we be working towards a better life-work balance?
Should we be working towards a better life-work balance?

To say the pandemic has shifted the way we work and live would be a colossal understatement. Organisations are now faced with the challenges of having to adapt to “the new normal” and striking a delicate balance between safeguarding employee physical and mental health, whilst maintaining productivity and team spirit. This is no mean feat in the current climate - the Royal Society for Public Health found 67% of people reported feeling less connected to colleagues after switching to remote working.

The challenge becomes even greater when it comes to onboarding new staff. Yet, this presents a glorious opportunity - to innovate and create a better work environment, starting from day one. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s 2020 survey - 42% of organisations are improving their induction process to enhance retention.

Fortunately, the company that I joined during these unprecedented times, Perceptive Communicators, has operated a hybrid working approach since 2006 and so was well placed to embrace a very effective approach to onboarding early on in the pandemic for the benefit of three new recruits, including me.

Perceptive Communicators is a communications agency that practices what it preaches when it comes to communicating effectively. As new starters, lines were open to us from day one. We were encouraged to pick up the phone or schedule a Zoom to speak to our fellow team members if we had any questions. Every single team member was supportive and the time that they invested in me was second to none in helping to grow my confidence and advance in my career. As someone who moved country and changed jobs during the pandemic, I am convinced that this nurturing environment was crucial to helping me quickly settle in.

Though we were unable to do the physical meet and greet style of onboarding initially, my new employer implemented a clear induction plan tailored to this new way of working. The plan included calls with every member of the team and client projects to quickly bring us up to speed. This was amplified by the fact that we were involved in new business opportunities from the outset. It showed a level of trust in our abilities, unlike anything I have experienced in the workplace let alone in the early stages of onboarding.

I joined Perceptive in the full throws of lockdown yet this was tackled by prioritising a home office levelling-up. The company went to great lengths to ensure that all team members were comfortable and equipped in our home office setup. In addition to a laptop, employees had the option of an adjustable chair or standing desk to suit their specific needs and keep productivity levels high.

At Perceptive, everyone works hard, but we are also a sociable bunch. Carving out gel time for a relaxed social catch up during team meetings was a great chance for us as new starters to get to know the team better. This positive work culture is complemented by Perceptive’s focus on employee well-being which is a core value for the business. All employees have access to a range of free physical and mental health support and enjoy an extra monthly allowance to spend on our well-being.

To support company growth, we are recruiting again and our new person joining will benefit from the same approach. Perceptive is among those organisations that are putting good onboarding practices at the heart of the business - showing that with careful consideration and good execution, these practices have the potential to not only unlock staff creativity and protect well-being, but also to provide a blueprint for reimagining the workplace for the future.

Hannah Connaghan, PR & Social Media Manager, Perceptive Communicators

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