In recent weeks I have encountered challenges I was yet to experience within my career in finance. Having qualified as an accountant last July, I was ready to broaden my skills outside of accounting and eager to take on something completely new to me. I moved into a role with line management responsibility and so became a direct manager of people for the very first time.
Not only was this an entirely new role for me, it was made considerably more challenging by the announcement that the team would all now be working remotely to combat the spread of COVID-19.This development, although for the best, put clear and obvious barriers between myself and my direct report who started employment on the day of the announcement.
At risual we utilise the application Microsoft Teams, which enables us to remain entirely connected whilst remote working. Having initially had to understand the expectations of me in my new role, I was now tasked with working out how to engage, motivate and embed a new employee without being able to spend any time with them in person.
I approached this by initially spending time with my direct report (on the one and only day we had together in the office) focussing some time specifically running through how best to utilise Teams knowing the benefit it would have in the coming weeks.
I then scheduled a session to replicate a remote working scenario by training through Microsoft Teams, even though we were physically sat working side by side. We were quickly thrown in at the deep end when the advice was given that, with immediate effect we all work from home where possible.
The aim of an induction is to welcome a new starter to the team, and help them prepare for their new role to maximise the benefit for both the business and the new starter. The induction process helps integrate new employees into an organisation, however Covid-19 made that extremely challenging. Microsoft Teams was again utilised to help introduce and integrate the new starter into the team and organisation.
Every morning I host a call with the finance team, with the objective being to; catch up, prioritise and plan for the coming day/week. Further to this we have video calls with the wider operational team in which we discuss individually what we have all been working on and towards. The video chat function has been valuable in introducing the new starter to the rest of the team which in the long term will enable relationships to be established quickly on our return to normal working practice. In a time where we are all working remotely and are isolated from one and other, the video chat really does enable everyone to connect as a team and it helps to maintain a strong team bond in uncertain times for us all.
Teams has also helped with training; the shared screen function has enabled the new starter to literally ‘watch and learn’. This will prove to be extremely valuable and will enable the new starter to quickly learn how we operate at risual. As a team If we are working on, or learning about something new we can have a group discussion through teams and questions and ideas can be bounced around as they would be under ‘normal’ working conditions. Sharing files within the team or individuals is also a great function in Teams.
Going forward I can see how Teams will help with the continuous development of my team and the finance procedures.