I moved country, team and business group in the midst of a pandemic. There – I said it!
I have been waiting to share the news with you for a while; 10 months to be precise. With the borders closing down, multiple lockdowns and the virus showing no sign of disappearing, the move took much longer than planned, but I’m finally here. As you may have realized, the move impacted my writing schedule. I had vastly underestimated the life changes that come along with moving halfway across the world by yourself. The writing was meant to continue but life got in its way.
I am now in Dublin, Ireland with the AWS organization. It is the start of a brand new slate which could go either ways but I am optimistic.
The past ten months brought with it multiple doubts regarding my decision to move, right up to the moment when I missed my flight at Heathrow. I took it as a sign that I should return to my own country and it took every bit of willpower in me to make it across the sea.
And then Day1 happened. I received the kindest welcome that can be rolled out to any human on Earth given the conditions and while the doubts still linger, they aren’t as strong. The only question I kept asking myself at the end of the day is why couldn’t I have thought of this for the new team members I welcomed on board the past two months?
So let’s take a minute to pay tribute to the power of little big gestures. I call them that because sometimes it take a little effort, but the returns are always disproportionate. Here are some gestures extended to me that you may want to consider for your new hires joining at this time:
- Get the team together to share welcome notes. My team put together photographs of them, their family, pets, their favorite things, etc. along with a personalized note welcoming me. Some wrote hand written notes and took a picture of themselves with it. My favorite ones were from a colleague who bundled himself in winter wear and warned me about the cold Dublin winter (given that I was arriving from a city where 24⁰C was winter). The other was a hand drawn welcome from another colleague’s daughters which included restaurant ratings at the back that I discovered while going through the notes for the 3rd time.
- Put together a care package. Mine included an introduction to all the Irish snacks the team could fit into the largest box ever, a warm fleece jacket, some candles and other bits n bobs. I spend a fair bit of time going through these. It was akin to having a toy store delivered at my doorstep.
- Take them out for lunch. I know that this is the trickiest bit but even virtual works. As long as they don’t have to eat alone the first day of work.
- Say Hello. All the above are great gestures but what trumps them all is having the team members also drop a message or a quick call via the internal communicator saying how great it is to have them on the team. Easy!
- Get their laptop up and running. This should ideally be #1. The first four had a much more lasting impact because I didn’t have to spend as much time fretting about how to get myself connected to work. Sure, it took longer than an hour or two but by the end of the day, I knew that Day2 was going to be perfect!
It helped that the Irish weather was on my side too. It didn’t pour and the sun peeked out. I couldn’t have asked for a better start. Ok, now I am going to go back to the welcome notes and shed some happy tears once more.