The world of securing a new role or hiring a new employee has been given a virtual makeover as many candidates and employees face their first day at a new job from their own homes.
We have put a blog series together each week where we have interviewed a candidate who has gone through a virtual interview or onboarding experience.
At the best of times starting a new job or onboarding a new hire can be overwhelming as they integrate into the team and business. All law firms and Legal Assistant roles are unique, so the onboarding process is paramount in ensuring the new hire’s success. I wanted to share the positive experiences of virtual onboarding which I am hoping the broader market are able resonate with.
Candidate 2: Senior Legal Assistant – Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Tell me about the interview process?
The actual interview process wasn’t so much affected, it was just when Corrs were starting to do 50% at home and 50% in the office, then the week after my interview was when the whole firm started working remotely.
Talk me through your onboarding process
I have been working from home since day one, so they sent me a laptop and headset which I use with my own keyboard and mouse. On the first day I had technology training with a tech trainer, systems training, process training etc. Just the usual training that I would have normally had except it was all conducted virtually.
What mediums were used for your onboarding
We use BlueJeans, which you can do videoconferencing on. All my introductory training was done via that. We would use screensharing to navigate around programs, which helped as a visual aid when running though programs and software.
Tell me about your first few days
So mostly training, any time joining a new law firm, processes and systems vary so the first few days is normally heavy on the training. The trainers have been great, continuous follow up checking that everything was okay and that I did not have questions. Starting from home definitely felt strange, but because there was so much training and support from the firm, I just felt like starting any other job once I started getting into it. They did a good job considering the situation.
How have you been introduced to the team and stakeholders?
So, with the Legal Support Manager and other Legal Assistants, there is a weekly catch up meeting so people can jump onto BlueJeans and discuss anything from any news to struggles to just a general chat to keep the communication up. It’s great for new people like me to actually see people as obviously you don’t know anyone, so it’s been a good platform to start to get to know your colleagues. I have also set up a ‘get to know you chat’ over BlueJeans with all of my authors, so I have that extra time to get to know them but also their working styles and how they operate. I also have a weekly catch up with my Partner to discuss where things are up to, have open communication and again to get to know each other.
On reflection, what did the company do really well?
I think having a buddy has been great, so Mel has completed a thorough handover with me. I catch up regularly with her and she has been so supportive throughout this. I’m often screen sharing and on the phone, so I’m continuously learning from her.
The training, so on day one there were training sessions scheduled in my diary so I knew when I was learning what.
The communication has been amazing, Leica (Legal Support Manager) has been really good. Again, the LA meetings are good to keep us informed. Also, the support from the other Legal Assistants has been fantastic. I’m starting to get to know them and have a few go to people for questions which has been really good. The firm CEO also does weekly updates on a video. Basically, a bit of a Q&A on the firm and how we are tracking with the situation.
How did you need to adapt, what have you had to do differently?
I guess just getting used to working from home mainly, the same as everyone else. I have had to be more proactive in asking questions and my learning where I am just at home.
What advice do you have for employers/employees in the same situation?
For both sides to keep the communication open and regular. Also, for employees just take it day by day, it’s obviously going to take a bit of time to understand and settle in, but that isn’t any different to any other role. Ask questions, learn and don’t stress yourself out too much.
Some very good things to take away from this, personally I liked the idea of a ‘get to know you chat’ and also the idea of a buddy. A lot of time gets spent with the practical onboarding of someone in terms of getting them logged in and across their work. But the social interaction is so key as it gives new starters the confidence to know who to go to in order to get what they need done.
For more information on these insights or if you are interested in sharing your own experiences please feel free to write comments or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org