Making Monday(.com) magic through the pandemic

How hiring during COVID-19 turned out to be a bright spot in a dark time

Making Monday(.com) magic through the pandemic

The power of monday.com is the people — the company believes in working closely together and being as synced as possible. When COVID-19 hit and employees began working remotely, like so many other companies across the globe, the HR team at monday.com had to reinvent all their processes quickly.

“We changed the workflows, the tools we have come to rely on, and had to do all of it while working remotely ourselves,” says Daniel Weisblat, monday.com R&D HRBP, and recruitment lead. “We looked at all our processes and knew they had to adapt — so we began to invent new ways to do what needed to be done.”

Despite the uncertainty and the challenges faced by Weisblat and her team, hiring actually became a positive experience around COVID-19. First off, monday.com didn’t experience any bumps in the road when it came to looking for new talent. They didn’t decrease hiring or business goals at all — “on the contrary, it gave us a great opportunity,” she says.

Because they have a very data-driven recruitment style and it mandates one of their core values, Weisblat did an analysis of the R&D department during the early Corona period to see what opportunities it was presenting, what the changes are doing to their hiring landscape and figure out how to respond. They discovered they’d had an increase in resumes, a 100% increase in CV hire conversion rate and a 161% increase in phone hire conversion rate.

The quality of resumes they received definitely changed, Weisblat notes, with more quality leads for extremely qualified people — and “if it wasn’t for COVID-19 we wouldn’t have met with them.”

Many companies had to streamline which resulted in layoffs and pay cuts, and this caused more people to actively look for new opportunities which increased the numbers of resumes Weisblat and team got by 76%, which is a lot of scale and a lot of traffic, she notes.

“There’s always a silver lining — it was a huge opportunity for us to get to good talent,” she says, adding COVID brings an awareness about the resilience companies need to have and that stability was something very important for the majority of candidates.

But it’s one thing to have a pool of great applicants — it’s another to be able to interview and hire them in the midst of a global pandemic when nobody is in the office or meeting in person. The hiring process had to be switched to virtual which was especially challenging given that monday.com puts a lot of importance on meeting a candidate onsite in person. They believe in seeing the person, feeling the person, Weisblat explains.

“We started doing simulations for how we would do interviews remotely, with all the platforms we started using,” she says. “It was a major process to move it to remote, but it was very seamless — our product saved us from a lot of issues.”

The company launched internal and external campaigns for recruiting, shifting interviewing messaging to address the challenges applicants are facing as there’s no denying everything is different today than it was even a few months ago, Weisblat notes. The HR team worked together to make sure it addressed changes with applicants to make them feel at ease and lessen the pressure. They now send applicants letters about how monday.com handles the situation and the initiatives the company is doing.

They quickly learned the key to a great virtual interview process is easy collaboration. The interviewer and interviewees need to be able to access and work from the same platform easily.

“Another thing is to train the interviewers — if you want the interviewees to feel at ease the interviewer must feel confident in the new method and tools that they have,” Weisblat says. "Having an in-depth training session with all of the interviewers to make sure everyone was educated, comfortable and informed on the new tools and processes was crucial when building new processes from remote.”

Another important factor in building and refining new processes is open and honest feedback, and implementing as many suggested changes as possible. Weisblat says the team opened up individual Slack channels for every phase so there was a place to get advice and discuss what worked and what didn’t. The team went through all the comments and turned them into action items, “and from there we improved it — we’re still doing it.”

“Once a quarter we address what we need to optimize because everything changes all the time,” she says. “That’s one of the big adjustments.”

Making it through the hiring process was only half the battle. The subsequent onboarding was a worry because monday.com boasts a unique culture with a lot of core values.

“The context is very important — how we do things, how we communicate everything — so it was a big concern about how intense it would be to do everything remote,” Weisblat says. “It’s stressful and we know it, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible.”

Switching to Zoom meetings, Weisblat made sure to bump up her check ins with new hires to weekly. She tries to get a sense of the atmosphere of the new employee and of the team they’re a part of, and try to optimize the experience. This is another area that is constantly being reviewed and adjusted to get the virtual mix for that monday.com magic just right.

What’s most important to the company are still its core values — things like transparency, being impact-driven and data-driven, ownership and inclusiveness. In the spirit of transparency, Weisblat used their product to create boards for new joiners to follow along with the onboarding process. They can now clearly see the steps and could track it, as they no longer had the benefit of a manager sitting right in front of them to guide them. Ownership is another huge part of the culture — but “how do you make people own things when they can’t really see or feel it like they could in the office?” These are issues the monday.com team is still working out.

monday.com increased new member training and ensured existing supports were being leveraged to their full ability, such as assigning every new person a “veteran” employee to act as a launch buddy, a Q&A resource, “an all-around support system to give the new joiners a guaranteed touch point in those first few uncertain weeks.”

Some of the changes that came from necessity ended up making vast improvements to existing processes, and no matter what happens with the pandemic the new way is here to stay. An example is the remote hiring process. Weisblat says it wasn't something they were open to before, “but now we are so open to it because we see it can work and actually even make things faster.”

“Our applying to hire and time to hire got a lot quicker because we don’t have the logistics — people don’t have to come into the office, so we can do more interviews per week. It really changed our KPIs for the better in terms of apply to hire and time to hire.”

Communication has been the key for a smooth onboarding process, and being remote has made the contact between necessary parties more organized and more easily accessible — both wins.

Weisblat says the pandemic was hard on everyone as a company, as leaders, as managers; it challenged their existing recruiting, hiring and onboarding processes. It prompted many changes, adaptations and new approaches — and it opened new doors.

“It tested us in a lot of areas — we did a lot to handle it, we optimized and are still optimizing all the processes as we go,” she says. “It was very empowering to know when we are all together and have our ‘can-do’ approach here at monday.com, we realized we can do anything if we just do it together.”

This attitude extends outside the company walls as well. monday.com believes in sharing its data and insights, and especially when facing a major global event like the COVID-19 pandemic “we should strengthen our connections and strengthen our sharing of knowledge,” Weisblat says.

She believes the key to navigating this time is to hear about the struggles companies have, get ideas from each other and get creative. After all, “I’m sure we’re handling many similar difficulties.”

“monday.com is all about sharing knowledge and being open — do good and make things better for all of the candidates, applicants and employees in the world who are struggling with uncertainty right now. It’s not easy for anybody.”

 

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