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Expert view: Lauren Jepson

Lauren Jepson, Global Resourcing Operations Manager at Vodafone Group, describes the recent move to home working for employees across 22 countries.
Hello, everyone. I’m delighted to welcome Lauren Jepson on the course. Lauren heads up recruitment operations at Vodafone, a global telecommunications company. Lauren, welcome. So glad to have you. The reason I– Thank you. –invited you is that I know that you guys are doing some amazing things to welcome employees in day one. And I’d like for you to talk to us around the importance of having an amazing experience on day one, given that you can offer candidates the environment of the office, the feel of the team and of the culture. So could you tell me a little bit about yourself and about how you’re making sure that everybody who was joining Vodafone is like they’ve had a perfect day one?
So the first thing we looked at, I guess, is, what does pre-boarding look like? So, in the past, I have to say we were very much looking at using portals, that we had a lot of automation. So we had this great onboarding portal, where you go in, you pick out what your equipment’s going to look like, pick your laptop, pick your phone. You turn up on day one, and it’s magically there, all working for you. But, with COVID, it was all about, how do we get this equipment to people, how do we make sure they’re receiving it prior to day one, but also understanding that a portal lacks that human touch.
And, when you’re feeling really uncertain about starting in a new role, particularly during times like these, a human touch becomes even more important. So we actually flipped it and became a bit more, I guess you could say, human-centric at that pre-boarding stage. They’re actually reaching out to every single new starter several weeks before they join, just to reassure them kind of who we are at Vodafone, what we’re doing in terms of COVID-19 response, what that means for them, and what they can expect leading up to their first day. But also not hiding behind one single mailbox, actually doing that through people, giving them a name that they can contact, the person they can talk to.
We are incredibly lucky in Vodafone that we have a network called Digital Ninjas. So Digital Ninjas are young, millennial employees, who reverse mentor all of our senior executives in all things digital and tech. And they really stepped up to help run sessions with all of our new starters at teaching them how to use collaboration tools, how to get the most out of things like Teams, how to Skype, how to actually collaborate online through Office 365 products, how to feel really supported, because the way that we’re working when we’re all working from home uses that technology so much. If you don’t feel 100% comfortable and you’re more used to people-to-people interactions, it’s really supporting you to understand the tolling.
So we actually made a decision to run global inductions, which is a bit of a change for us. So we decided that there were clearly some cultural topics that actually made sense for us to do across the world. So we have a series of webinars, where we bring in expert guest speakers. We make them really interactive. We utilise tools like Minty and have quizzes. It’s very much a two-way street, where we talk about things like our purpose. Why is Vodafone a business? We talk about our strategy, who we are as an organisation. We talk about spirit to our culture within Vodafone, and also our brand, and who we are in terms of customer loyalty and really customer-centric.
I think, yeah, the key element is that cultural piece. How do you actually feel? Because watching a webinar is great. We have Workplace Live. So, if anyone has those types of collaborative tools, we create a community for all of these new joiners. We have drop-in sessions throughout the week. Come and join us, ask questions that maybe you don’t have time to ask your colleague. But how do you feel part of the culture and part of a team? And you cannot underestimate the importance of the hiring manager in actually creating that cultural sense of what the team is like.
So we also really support our hiring managers to make sure that, one, you have your one-on-one with your new starter in that first week. You get to know them. You don’t just jump straight into that work element. You get to understand your new person. You get to assign them a buddy within the business so that they are able to ask questions as they go. And you really get that sense of supporting them and understanding that, as the hiring manager, you need to do more support if it’s digital rather than less if it was in-person, because they’re not going to be able to ask you those off-the-cuff moment questions that they could in the office.
So you’ve got it really quite planned and scheduled. There’s no one perfect way. You’ve got to think about what works for your organisation, your company. What will actually make people get a sense of who you are? Be creative, be playful, particularly if you’re going with that pure digital lens, because you’ve got to remember people make the business, right? So, if you’re saying actually the pure start is all digital, how do you bring that people element to life? That’s always the advice I give people. And, from our perspective too, we don’t see induction and onboarding as staying still. We always iterate that we think about how can we make it better. We measure it.
We look at what our new starters are telling us actively. We use tools like NPS to tell us how we’re doing. But we also really collect feedback, and we ask our new starters at different points in their journey, so what’s happening in your first month, your first week, your third month? What could we have done to make that better? So don’t see it as something that you build once and then it’s there forever. It’s something that you should be continuously looking at over time.

In this video, Lauren Jepson, Global Resourcing Operations Manager at Vodafone Group, describes the recent move to home working for employees across 22 countries.

She shares how she and the team weaved in empathy and personalisation in the redesign of the global induction program.

Share your thoughts

  • What do you think about the approach taken at Vodafone?
  • How else might you personalise the induction processes? Think about a similar scenario, or consider how this might work in a smaller organisation.
Share your ideas with others in the Comments section.
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