Digital Technology as an enabler

By Tatiana Martinez Coto | Divisional Manager 

Starting a new job is always challenging, now with the “new normal” it has become even more so. 

We are used to having days or even weeks of onboarding where we get to know about the company, our team and our boss, facilitating our understanding and development within the company. The days from 9:00 to 6:00 go quickly because we go to meetings, we participate in calls and we talk with our colleagues, sometimes they give us specific tasks but in general the initial days keeps you busy.

But What about the “new normal”? I recently had the opportunity to join the Kilpatrick family in Mexico. Living in the middle of a pandemic, all my interviews were digital as well as my first and the following days. I had the opportunity to meet my boss once before accepting the proposal and in the three months since I started this new challenge, I have not had the opportunity to meet anyone else from the company in person.

This opportunity has definitely represented in addition to the challenge of entering a new company, doing it remotely has been a bit more difficult. As human beings we need direct contact with people to establish coexistence relationships more easily.

My first day started at 10:00 am with a digital meeting with the Mexico team. One of my colleagues helped me by scheduling different meetings with the rest of the team around the world.

During the week I had a meeting with the team where they explained to me how the tools we use every day at Kilpatrick work. In the first few weeks I had two to three one-hour meetings a day. But what about the rest of the time? If your boss doesn’t give you specific tasks, what are you supposed to do? Your team is working and by not being physically with them it is not possible for you to “stick” to them to learn and develop good practices.

In my case it was easier because I was hired to develop a new solution for digital validation of candidates. A completely new service for the company where my knowledge and expertise were the reason for my hiring.

When I didn’t have a meeting, I spent my time researching the market, the competition, making a work plan, critical routes, etc.

Due to the nature of my job, I had the opportunity to keep busy for the first few weeks, but as the project progressed, the more I needed to be in contact with the IT team, MKT, etc. I was used to working in the office, so if I had a question or needed something, it was very easy to approach a colleague and ask for help, but now I had to do it by means of a message or an email, which made the job slower and more frustrating.

The learning processes, including integration, have become more complicated, despite holding virtual meetings week by week, being a new person on a team who knows each other physically and who have had the opportunity to interact and talk about issues not related to the work allows you to generate a link that cannot be developed so quickly in a virtual way. The opportunity to go for a coffee or sit down to eat with your colleagues to talk about personal matters no longer exists, if you have a meeting it is to see work topics and all these personal connections are lost.

The schedules and limits are no longer established, we were used to having a very marked schedule and limit, when we left the office “the day was over”, our lunch hour was a moment for us. Now, being all the time in the same place working and living, schedules and limits become more and more blurred, affecting our family relationships and emotional balance.

I can say that I was lucky, it is true that our virtual meetings week after week are for work, but my team are very human people who are in line with the culture of the company. What does this mean to me? That I can feel part of the team despite never having met them in person. We spend time talking about ourselves and how we are doing.

Our director always starts meetings with “how are you?” If it is on Monday with a “how was your weekend and what did you do?” 

These are situations that we previously took for granted, hallway talks that we can easily forget to integrate into our day to day now that everything is virtual, but now more than ever they are of the utmost importance. We are living in a time full of anguish and frustration where we should not lose human relations.

As I mentioned at the beginning, it is definitely a much greater challenge than the one we faced before the pandemic, but it is also an opportunity from which we can take advantage and learn a lot, especially if you are lucky enough to do it in a company with a culture as open and inclusive as Kilpatrick.

In short, the “new normal” presents us with the possibility of learning to be “more human” and develop skills that we previously took for granted.

These skills will be what make the difference to achieve a pleasant work environment that encourages improvement.