Can you believe it’s already been one year since much of the world moved to remote work? I vividly remember sitting in a conference room with the executive team this time last year trying to figure out the best way to keep our teams safe and healthy. Ultimately we, like so many of you, sent our people home. We’ve been there ever since—and I know that for many of them, the prospect of working from home back then might have represented a mix of feelings. Many of us were relieved to be with our families and scared about the state of the world. Candidly, I was also unsure how we would continue to replicate our incredible in-office culture in a completely virtual environment. But if there’s one word I can use to describe the way our team has adapted over the last year, it’s resilience. I know that in the long term, we’ll be a stronger organization because of it.
While we have had our fair share of challenges adapting to our new lives, I’m impressed every single day at how our team has come together to lift each other up and Deliver Joy to our clients, members, and colleagues. Humbly, this hasn’t gone unrecognized — this week we were named one of America’s Best Startup Employers by Forbes. Based on a methodology evaluating employee satisfaction, company reputation, and company growth, this award is a testament to our team’s commitment to making HealthJoy a great place to work no matter where we’re located. In fact, it’s actually our second award recognizing this workplace in 2021. In January, we were also awarded three “Best Place to Work” Awards from Built In Chicago.
I asked our People Operations team to share a little about what they’ve learned and how they’ve helped our team excel from home over the last year.
Adjusting our onboarding process
Remote onboarding has always been a part of the new hire process at HealthJoy. But previously, most of our remote employees could benefit from coming into the office for a few days early in their employment. We removed that component over the last year while ramping up our recruiting efforts and expanding our US team by 72 people. We found strengthening our onboarding process is one of the biggest ways we can ensure we’re a top place to work in the years to come.
“We want to continue our focus on providing an exceptional candidate experience and thought about how we could bring the “in-person interview” experience to Zoom,” Technical Talent Acquisition Specialist Amanda Ernst said. “Our recruiters have created virtual tours to share before an individual has their final interview. We log into an interview early to check for technical glitches, answer last-minute questions, and make an effort to connect with candidates even more frequently during their interview process. As we onboard new employees, we provide our managers with a virtual onboarding training guide along with other resources so their new employee feels a part of the team from day one.”
We also prioritized hiring a new talent acquisition coordinator role to help smooth out this process for employees. Like many of our new employees, her onboarding took place remotely, and we think her experience speaks volumes about how well we’ve adapted to this new world of work.
“I was lucky enough to get to find out for myself just how excellent remote work can be at HealthJoy. My entire interview process was incredibly smooth and the onboarding process was nothing short of remarkable,” Talent Acquisition Coordinator Loren Chastain said. “I have felt fully supported the whole time and although I wish I could meet and collaborate with my fellow coworkers in an office, I am very thankful that we have the means to stay safe at home and still be able to do our best work.”
Putting the employee experience first
Helping employees is at the heart of what we think about every day, but at the start of our remote work period, it certainly required some adjustment from our team.
“We’ve had to become really intentional in helping employees set boundaries and find creative ways to recharge. Pre-pandemic, vacations and days away from the office were the main ways employees recharged, and that can’t happen now. Over time, we learned and evolved the balance that keeps us connected as a team while giving everyone the freedom to not work,” our Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist Courtney Wilson said.
Like everyone, our team experienced the fluctuations in safety and circumstances that make maintaining a consistent employee experience so challenging while we’re remote.
“As the year progressed, we encountered new layers of complexity — communication best practices, building camaraderie, and, most importantly, ensuring employees were unplugging at the end of the day. Despite all of the challenges 2020 and 2021 continue to bring, our People Operations team has done a tremendous job at supporting and maintaining a culture of empathy, flexibility, and balance,” Director of Talent Acquisition Megan Deporter said.
Creating a strong remote work culture
Like many in the tech space, the last year has forced us to reevaluate our conventions around office work, remote policies, and ultimately, how we view our company culture.
“Prior to remote life, my priorities when looking for a new job were office culture and perks – and I truly loved seeing my coworkers every day. Obviously – the world had to make a pivot and I really had to learn how to still feel company culture over a computer screen,” Talent Acquisition Specialist Chelsey Powell said.
Rather than something we build around happy hours or catered lunches, our culture is built around our people. We’ve uncovered ways to keep them at the forefront no matter where we are.
“Our team has learned how to have coffee chats and check-in conversations, not only about work – but how we are actually doing. I will set up a 20-minute meeting with a certain colleague to discuss a new crime show or book I have read, or to learn about their weekend. It’s a nice way to really stay connected. While I haven’t met my coworkers in person – I truly do feel like I know them so well by having these conversations,” Chelsey said.
As we look ahead, we’re no longer concerned about the state of our work in the future. Over the last year, we’ve learned that the same things remain fundamentally important no matter where we work. Nothing will ever be as important as a strong company culture that provides clarity around our mission, vision, values, and objectives. We’ll stay focused on building that clarity, and we’ll be ready to handle any changes that come in the future while building the best experience possible for our employees.