January 2020. It feels like a lifetime ago. Coronavirus still appeared to be halfway around the world and there was nothing in the air that made us think we would be quarantined inside our homes in just a few short weeks. So, when I first heard back from a Workhuman recruiter about the job I recently applied to, all was normal. The interview process started over the phone, and in early February I had my in-person interviews in the (beautiful) Framingham, MA office. Little did I know that would be my only glimpse of the Workhuman workspace!
Fast-forward to the end of February - I received an offer from Workhuman to join as a communications manager on the Strategy & Consulting team. I was thrilled. I was saying goodbye to a company that I loved and had been with for 10 years, but the excitement of joining the WH family outweighed the fears and sadness of leaving it behind. I would start on March 31, about a month later.
Two weeks later, U.S. businesses largely closed their office doors and employees that were able started working from home. There was so much uncertainty, I began to wonder if I would even have a new job to go to. But that week my recruiter, Lauren, gave me a call. She brought me up to speed on what was going on at WH, and let me know that they had started working from home and would be onboarding me remotely. A laptop was in the mail and they would send further instructions a few days before I started. I instantly felt at ease. Lauren also forwarded me the email that WH CEO Eric Mosley sent to all employees that week. She could have relayed the sentiment to me over the phone, but it was as if the company was already embracing me as one of their own before I even started working there! By reading Eric’s note firsthand, I instantly caught a glimpse of the way the company was handling and communicating about Covid-19. And it was, again, so reassuring.
I received two more calls from Lauren before I started, just to check in and see how I was doing. She also sent over paperwork, instructions for logging into my laptop, and a complete schedule for my first day. It may seem like a little thing but having an idea of what my first day looked like instead of flying blind was extremely helpful. My husband is also working full time from home and we have a 2.5-year-old to wrangle all day, so the advance look at the schedule truly made a difference going into that day.
My first few weeks at Workhuman were a whirlwind, in all of the typical ways that starting a new job would be – meeting dozens of people and trying to keep everyone’s name straight, jumping into meetings when you have no idea what’s going on, learning a complex business model in a new-to-you industry, figuring out the processes by which things get done on your team and around the company, and then of course, learning your job and the expectations that come along with that.
But…Pandemic. So, every meeting is a video call (staring at yourself for hours each day comes with its own challenges…). You’re trying to get to know your team as people, maybe make some friends, but there’s no natural lunchtime or watercooler chatting. You have a toddler on your lap for half your meetings and Disney Junior plays as your background soundtrack. You and your spouse are ping-pong balls, trading off time in the office based on who has a meeting and who doesn’t. The list goes on.
But this crazy situation that we’ve all been thrown in to has made me appreciate joining Workhuman more than I ever could have expected when I signed that offer letter. Our mission is to bring more humanity into the workplace and boy does this place walk the talk. In my first three months, here are just a few things that have struck me about this company during this unprecedented time.
I’ve learned the power of gratitude first hand. Through our social recognition program, my peers are recognizing and appreciating the everyday moments of working together on a daily basis. This type of connection would be impactful at any time, but in this uncertain, scary, stressful, and isolating time, it’s making a true impact on my life, and the lives of my colleagues and our customers.
Our leadership team truly leads. These are not your typical company figureheads. Our executives are highly visible, even our CEO holds biweekly all-company Zoom calls. There is transparency around how the business is performing, what our business and internal challenges are, and what we’re doing to address them.
People care about you as a person, not just as an employee. It’s not all about the bottom line and producing as much as possible. Our CHRO just asked us all to take a week off over the summer to avoid burnout. We have a ParentHuman group to support each other while working with kids at home. Employees host weekly yoga and barre Zoom classes. We were given an extra company holiday in May. World-class experts were brought in to give us a three-part Resiliency training over Zoom. We are encouraged to spend less time in meetings, get outside every day, take time for self-care and not be tethered to our laptops for eight hours a day. The humans of this company and our wellbeing are the priority, and it’s so refreshing and appreciated.
I could honestly keep going, but to sum up, I can’t say enough positive things about the recruiting / hiring process, my onboarding experience, and the whirlwind three months I have under my belt at Workhuman. I didn’t know it at the time but joining WH has already proven to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.
Tirrill Black, Communications Manager