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‘OnBonding’ I Verb I from ‘bond’ and ‘onboarding’ I to assist and support ScreenClouders in reconnecting with the business and colleagues after a long period out of office.
While we have always been a remote-friendly and flexible workplace, the enforced COVID working pattern has meant a lot of time out of the office; and for new joiners, no time in the office at all.
As with a majority of businesses worldwide, we not only had to adapt when it came to onboarding new joiners during the pandemic, but we also had to ensure that all our colleagues felt connected to each other – and the business – as well.
We have written before on how to engage remote employees, and we practice what we preach across our four global hubs. But, there’s nothing quite like connecting with your colleagues in person to drive home company culture and build great working relationships.
As a global company with hybrid and asynchronous working patterns that pre-date the pandemic, we’re no stranger to virtual onboarding. It’s part of the make-up of ScreenCloud’s working culture. But we believe that in-person interaction – and forming social connections via creating shared experiences – can greatly complement the overall, blended, onboarding experience. It’s nice to know who you’re working with; this is one of the core values behind our annual ScreenCloud Together events.
Many of our colleagues missed out on this blended experience due to COVID, so as soon as we were given the green light for returning safely to the London office (for those who felt comfortable in doing so), this gave us the perfect opportunity to get everyone together for what we called the ScreenCloud Summer Re-OnBonding event.
While we may have conjured-up this portmanteau, there is real meaning behind it.
The onboarding period in a new company is an incredibly important phase in anyone’s career. For us, it doesn’t end after the first couple of weeks; our onboarding period is what others term ‘probationary’, and lasts for the first few months our new employees are with us. It’s how we like to set our colleagues up for success.
As an ambitious scale-up with big plans, teams that work well together are crucial. Creating a bond via shared values, and a company culture that encourages social interaction, helps our employees feel connected to something bigger than just their own work.
Simply put, ‘OnBonding’ is a mix of onboarding and bonding. And it’s ‘re-’ because we’re doing it again!
Our Summer ReOnBonding event was therefore to repeat (in a super-condensed manner) the onboarding experience for all ScreenClouders, regardless of how long they have been with the company.
Aside from being a great excuse to get back together in person, there is some psychology behind this; as our CEO wrote in this article, employee engagement is critical to a business’ success – companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%.
Part of our approach when consulting with businesses about their digital signage initiatives is to help them strategize ways to empower their employees via impactful content. Part of achieving that comes from repetition; this helps drive recall (even if it is subliminal).
So it was important for us to take our own advice and turn our screens back on, repeating our onboarding content to reinvigorate and re-engage.
While we would have loved each of our hubs to enjoy a Re-OnBonding event back in their respective offices, unfortunately our colleagues in Bangkok are in the midst of another lockdown; we’re thinking of you!
As much as we were encouraging our colleagues to interact with each other in person, we used our screens as a supporting medium; we showed the weather (essential viewing in the London hub), the agenda for the day, company announcements (birthdays and work anniversaries), as well as timely announcements – like countdowns to the next of the day’s activities.
The strategy behind this kind of screen content was to incite real-world interaction.
But in our other hubs, we used ScreenCloud Broadcast to live stream the day’s main event: the speeches.
After a rousing speech from Lish welcoming us back to the office (who, along with People Team colleague Anna co-ordinated the day), ScreenCloud’s CEO Mark took to the floor.
The "Great Reset"
Reverting back to his days as a student historian and channeling his impressive storytelling abilities, Mark delved into the history of ScreenCloud revisiting the ‘why’; why we do what we do, why screens matter and why it’s important to continue to evolve our product – all against a backdrop of using Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ as a metaphor for producing genius under pressure. As Mark proved, storytelling is a powerful medium for learning.
He split our history into ‘books’, with the founding story of ScreenCloud through to today (2015 - 2020) - including the struggle of the last 18 months - forming Book 1 of the ScreenCloud annals.
Book 2 is all about our “Great Reset”, and the Re-OnBonding Event marked the start of this.
It may sound like an obvious thing to say, but connecting in person can feel incredibly different to communicating through a screen.
Getting our colleagues in the London and Belfast offices to line up in order of tenure length (asking any question they could think of apart from “what was your start date” in order to do so) was a gentle icebreaker, after which we re-introduced ourselves. We all got to learn a lot about each other from our respective “interesting facts”. In Bangkok, this had to unfortunately be virtual.
The ice-breakers led nicely into some more teamwork;
London: Design a vessel for an egg and drop it from the balcony to see whose survives.
Belfast: Ride a multi-seat party bike round town.
LA: An American football match on the beach
Bangkok: Enjoying a virtual lunch on the company while taking time away from work to connect and chat… albeit virtually.
At ScreenCloud our core values are just that - core! We have three sets of values that operate as effective and complementary themes to describe the mindsets and behaviours that make us uniquely successful. Our values are not ‘rules’ to be followed; everyone has a variety of personal values and experiences and we work hard to create inclusive space for this diversity . Our values are a statement of what we don’t tolerate. They are embedded in every element of the people experience at ScreenCloud, and that starts with onboarding.
To ‘re-onbond’ all our ScreenClouders in each hub, we took creative approaches to visualise these values, and reflect on how our core values ‘show up’ in everything we do. This incited conversation around them – and also a lot of laughter (turns out, there aren’t many ‘artists’ in the company!) We enable our team in Bangkok with Thai translations of our values. The Thai team were able to use this to ensure nothing got lost in translation in conceptualising our virtues and behaviours.
The conclusion to this was a ‘fireside chat’ between Mark and our VP of People, Ginni.
Thank you to Lish and Anna for orchestrating such a brilliant event. Thank you to Barry and Joergen for organising the activities in LA, Michael and Jonny in Belfast, and Siri in Bangkok.
Alice Gardner, Content Manager
Alice is ScreenCloud's resident wordsmith, based in the London hub. When she's not writing about digital signage you'll either find her in Greenwich Park, one of Greenwich's many pubs or talking about how great Greenwich is.