09 Jul 2020

Starting a new job during COVID-19

By: Manola van Diest

Three new colleagues onboarded in the Talent Peaks family during the lockdown. Read their story


This year, we welcomed three new colleagues at Talent Peaks. Challenging, and a strange time for onboarding, since COVID-19 suddenly forced us to all keep our social distance. In this interview, Caroline Smet, Mariska van de Velde and Ine Moens share how they experienced starting a new job in times of Corona.

And suddenly everything was different ..

Ine: “You can say that again. I was traveling abroad when the lockdown was announced. So it was pretty tricky if I would be able to make it on 1 April for my first working day at Talent Peaks at all. And then, someone asked me if my job as a sales manager would still be there, given the precarious situation with COVID-19. Luckily, all went well. I managed to get back in Antwerp in time and Talent Peaks made it clear they had every intention of getting through these challenging times with the complete team. That gave me a really good feeling.”

Caroline: “I never thought about the possibility that my job wouldn’t exist anymore for a moment. I simply had to become part of the Talent Peaks family! The past 4 years I’ve been searching for my true passion in work. After being a Salesforce administrator for two years, I knew I wanted to master all ins and outs of Salesforce and the best way to do that is to be a consultant. For me, Talent Peaks is the perfect place to work. Now I will be involved in (multi) cloud projects in a place where I can keep on learn, grow and develop.”

Why did you go for Talent Peaks?

Mariska: “I’ve always worked at large implementation and consulting companies. I learned a lot there. Project management, scrum, Prince, consultancy skills. But after 13 years, I really felt the urge to be part of a small team, that was more like a family. In my interview, it felt as if we’d known each other all our lives. We instantly got to the heart of the matter. Who I am, what drives me and what makes me happy and what role Talent Peaks can play in all this. As a Talent Peaks consultant I am involved in cool, integral Salesforce implementation projects in which I can really make a difference with my skills and personality. ” Ine: “I can totally relate to that. In the interviews, they made me feel like I was part of the team already.

How did you experience the onboarding process?

Ine: “I worked in Paris before this, but already in February I was lucky enough to have met many colleagues for Friday Afternoon Drinks. But it surely was strange to start a new job working fully remote and keeping the social distance not only with colleagues, but also with customers and prospects. Fortunately, every expectation I had during the hiring process, was met after I started. My new colleagues are truly involved, outgoing and genuinely interested in me as a person. And I get complete freedom and support to find my way around and create my own success.”

Caroline: “Talent Peaks did a great job in onboarding us remotely. We are guided by our sherpa’s and colleagues and at least weekly someone of the Management Team checked in to ask how we were doing. What was especially cool during the uncertainty COVID-19 caused, is the open and transparent culture. We get regular updates on the company strategy, where we stand and what’s on the roadmap. I feel very involved and recognized as a professional.”

Remote consultancy. Does it work?

Mariska: “When I started, I was lucky enough to have been able to physically work together with my colleagues and customers for one month. Once the ‘lockdown’ was a fact, I was pleasantly surprised to experience how flexible Talent Peaks was in adapting to the new situation. Everyone immediately went looking for ways to continue business and serve our customers in the best possible way. We embraced new technologies and discovered all kinds of cool tools to help us be as impactful as ever by working remotely.”

Virtual celebrating Go-live with IG&H - Talent Peaks

Visual: Virtual celebrating Go-live with IG&H

How about virtual collaboration?

Mariska: “For the first time, I was introduced to apps like G-meet and Teams and it works better than I expected. COVID-19 forced us all to be creative. And there are some many amazing tools. For example Jamboard, and Mural, with which you can organize a remote design session complete with post-its, flowcharts and everything.”

Caroline: “One of the core values of Talent Peaks is having FUN. Which could be a challenge if you can’t meet each other in person. But we had some really good times honoring our slogan #doingcoolstuffwithcoolpeople. Colleagues organized an epic online Quiz with Salesforce, someone hosted a remote cooking workshop. And we had a full blown Talent Peaks MeetUp in which every single colleague showed his workplace, talked about the perks and challenges of working at home and performed a personal assignment, like doing a French rap, singing a tearjerker or performing a puppet show :-).

Ine: “To colour my working week, I especially love the Slack Donut App, which randomly connects you to a colleague for an informal remote coffee break.”

Hilarious puppet show by Paulien van der Krift

Hilarious puppet show by Paulien van der Krift

What was your biggest challenge these last months?

Ine: “It is hard to relax when you are using screens all day, with work and with friends. I am really happy that things are loosening up a bit now and I can go meet people again. Caroline: “Yes, I used to see my hockey-team three times a week and I really missed those moments.”

Mariska: “What I found difficult was when the childcare was closed and I had to combine working in a new job with taking care of my son. Work and private life intertwined completely. Talent Peaks leadership team took measures to help the parents get a better work-life balance. And on top of that they made sure they kept in touch, checking in how I was doing and if there was anything I needed. It really made me feel that we were in this together.

Do you have a tip for peers when starting a new job?

Caroline: “I’ve learnt that for me it is important to take time to process all the information that comes to me, analyze it and then act upon it. There is so much to learn, so many things to discover. I feel like a kid in a candy store.” 

Ine: “My number one priority when I start a new job is connecting with my colleagues. Those are the people you can fall back on when things get tough. Join company outings, go for drinks, meet with your colleagues and have fun. And the second tip is: take time to take in as much information as possible and be open for new things. I love deep diving in unknown situations, meet new people and learn new things. So for me Talent Peaks really is the place to be.”

Mariska: “When it comes to my career, I always made decisions based on my gut feeling. I had various job opportunities to choose from but this time, I asked myself what I found important in a job. What do I want, what do I need and what makes me happy? By doing that, it became clear that working for Talent Peaks checked all the boxes. And boy, that feels good.”