Starting a new job during COVID-19

by Heloise Wauters - Legal Counsel
by Victoria Douin - SAP Consultant and Business Analyst
| minute read

Starting a new job is always a challenge. But starting a new job during the COVID-19 pandemic seems extra challenging. We asked two young starters at Sopra Steria Benelux about their experiences: Héloïse Wauters and Victoria Douin, who are now employed as Project Management Officer and SAP Consultant respectively.

Not only is this your very first job, Héloïse, but you also started it under rather unusual and difficult circumstances. How did your onboarding go in the time of COVID-19?

 “Rather well, actually, all things considered. I started working here in August of last year, so in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, for the first couple of months, I still had the chance to work on-site in our offices, if only two days a week. That gave me the opportunity to settle in at the job.

Unfortunately, then the second lockdown came and we could no longer go to the office at all. At that moment, our company switched to a remote, online onboarding process for all the newcomers. That mainly focused on the social aspects of working at Sopra Steria, explaining the values of the company and getting to know its different departments.

What also helped me settle in as a starter, apart from the actual onboarding effort, was the support and guidance I got from my proximity manager: a senior colleague who acts somewhat as a mentor, I’d say. Your proximity manager not only helps you with your integration in the company, he or she also assists you in your personal development and helps you to grow professionally.”

You started work in February, Victoria. Looking back on your onboarding experience, what are your feelings about it?

“It was definitely challenging. Not so much because of the new job or employer, but because of the time we’re living in. Fortunately, I was somewhat used to the situation already, because in Canada, where I had previously worked, I’d also started in a new job while the pandemic was still raging. So I knew what it was like to join a new company, collaborate with a new team while working from home full time, for instance.

Pandemic notwithstanding, I still got the chance to meet several of my colleagues at Sopra Steria in person, all while fully respecting the government measures and recommendations relating to COVID-19. That really helped to create the necessary human interactions. Which was the main challenge after all, especially when you’re dealing with clients who are also having to work from home.

So my onboarding took place in a wholly different atmosphere than usual. But overall I would say it was a pretty positive experience. I felt connected with most of the people I had to interact with on a day-to-day basis. And I even got to meet a few of them in person.”

Did the pandemic also leave room for special initiatives for starters?

“I know there are a lot of initiatives that simply were not feasible now. And Sopra Steria also let us know that usually much more activities were being organised for starters. But we still had some informal meetings in which we could engage in online games, for instance. And of course, we could always chat with our colleagues, with HR and other business departments. I also learned that within certain teams they were trying to organise actual team building activities. Obviously, all of that will be a lot easier to do, now that we’re able to meet in person again.”

Want to find out what it’s like to work as a Project Management Officer or an SAP Consultant at Sopra Steria Benelux? Read our interviews with Héloïse and Victoria

Interested in a career at Sopra Steria? Have a look at the Careers section on our website. Or better yet: check our current vacancies and apply immediately for the job that suits you!