An Insider’s view of starting a new job during a global pandemic


By Tammy Kefford

After a ten year break to raise my family, I decided 2020 was the year to make my professional comeback. As everyone is aware, 2020 has decided against following the norm, and set off down the path of rebellion from the get go. Searching for a job during a pandemic is not the fun experience I had hoped it would be. Instead of an exciting world of varied projects and employers, I was faced with huge market uncertainty and an environment of doom and gloom, particularly in the media reporting hiring freezes, redundancies and thin pickings. I was feeling my career break keenly in a very competitive market and felt great regret at not embracing 2019 as a more stable comeback partner! After all, hindsight is 20:20.

However, this story does have a happy ending. After putting myself out there and plumbing the depths of my network of former colleagues and clients, I got a huge boost from the positivity around my return to work. This confidence led me to contact Donna McWilliams, MD of Electra Learning and we connected immediately. Donna was unconcerned by the length of time I had been out of the workplace, understanding that the potential of ‘the right kind of person’ can far outweigh the effort involved in getting that person back up to speed in the professional environment. As experienced and trusted learning experts, who better than Electra?

I have truly landed on my feet at Electra with a great team of like minded people. Joining a new company can be intimidating, joining a new company whilst in lockdown where most everything has to happen remotely, really adds pressure. So many of our cues are naturally taken from being in an office environment with the people we will be working with. Face to face interaction facilitates the building of relationships, the absorption of company culture and understanding where a new start fits into that established group. There is an organic growth to learning from asking conversational questions which naturally flow when talking to a new team mate. Even more so if that person has been designated as your buddy or mentor to help you get settled.

Thankfully Donna and the Electra team have taken an innovative approach to updating the onboarding process and are delivering an effective and inclusive experience which has helped massively with being comfortable in my new position and professional home. Daily team catch ups and regular touch points with management offer an insight into not only the company and current projects, but also how the team work together to combine individual strengths to deliver the very best to Electra clients. I have a detailed schedule of activities that spans the first month which supports me in understanding what is expected of me and yet manage my progress independently and not feel micromanaged.

Not even two weeks into my new adventure with Electra, I feel included and connected. I have only just started on my return journey to full efficiency and effectiveness and yet I feel my team mates have my back, they assure me there are no silly questions and I am equally sure they will remind me of those silly questions with good natured humour at our first face to face social gathering. ‘Remember that time when….’

Find out more about Tammy, and the rest of the Electra team here.