Rebecca Cooper knows a few things about onboarding. But her years of experience in recruitment did nothing to calm her nerves when Projectus Consulting headhunted her as their new Operations Director.
She almost said no - she was perfectly happy where she was. But founder and CEO Tim Lawrie just happened to call when she was driving back from her fourth business trip that month, missing her children - and with a long drive ahead of her thought “why not”
Being the new kid on the block is always an anxious time - and being headhunted doesn’t necessarily make it easier. Coming from a role where she was well established, had no plans to leave, and had great working relationships with everyone, Rebecca was walking into the unknown and preparing to rebuild all those relationships from scratch.
“It's like going on a date,” she says. “You know that you're going back to square one again.”
Most newcomers to Projectus are in billing/sales roles, so they get the benefit of the company’s formal onboarding and training process, which is currently up for an award. Having Rebecca join in a non-billing role was rare, and there was no formal structure for her onboarding. But she’s deeply impressed with the welcome she received.
Often radio silence can occur between signing the contract and your first day on the job. But Tim, together with co-founder Rebecca Lawrie and Sales Director Liam Newton, kept Rebecca in the loop with calls and emails the whole time (to the confusion of some colleagues, who took a while to realise there were two Rebecca’s.) With the opportunity to meet other Managers with a lunch invitation.
“Onboarding doesn’t start when you walk through the door,” she says. “The run-up is really important to reassure you that you’ve made the right decision, and that's what they did for me.”
Even so, Rebecca had pre night nerves the night before her first day. But as soon as she arrived, the mood changed.
“It was like going to meet a group of friends that you've not seen for a very long time. You feel nervous before you see them, and then when you walk into the room you just feel really comfortable, welcomed and get straight into it.”
Everyone across the business took time to sit with Rebecca and answer her questions. Based on her own welcome, she has no trouble seeing why the company’s onboarding process is up for an award.
“That's the dream,” she says. “The first six months are so important to retain any new member of staff. So when someone walks into a business and you feel as welcomed and at ease as I felt, and still do - you’re winning, aren't you?”