Joining Allstate NI During a Pandemic

Published: April 7, 2021

Joshua Smyth, FinTech Apprentice

I remember signing in on my first day and joining a call with all the other new apprentices. Like every call ever there was that moment of absolute silence at the start before anyone spoke but that soon ended as we spent some time getting to know each other. Right away on the first day some of my nerves were put at ease as I met different people and immediately felt how much they were willing to help with anything I needed. As the first few days went on, the company had plenty of activities and talks planned for us to get to know each other and other people in the company. This made it a lot easier to settle in and feel more comfortable asking questions while onboarding which I think was very important in the virtual context. Overall, the first few weeks of onboarding made me feel a lot more at ease and familiar with how to communicate with people before moving to join a team.

Joshua Smyth - Joining Allstate NI during a pandemic.

Joining a team was the next step. It meant meeting more new people and more introductions via zoom. However, this time after the onboarding process I felt more prepared to do this. Again, I met supportive people who wanted to help and encouraged me to ask as many questions as I needed to no matter how small they were. This made it so much easier to settle in because after a while I felt comfortable asking these questions and now anytime I need help I know who to ask. Another thing that has made me feel settled is how much people give credit and support you in any work you do. I've found that getting a simple well done can make a big difference to how confident you feel and also how much you feel part of the team which can be difficult at the start when everything is remote.

I think while joining remotely presented obstacles and unique challenges, it also provided some lessons. Particularly it has shown me that to make the most of the people and opportunities around you, you need to take the initiative and ask questions. Being online made this clearer as you aren't going to bump into someone on the way to your desk and be able to ask a question. You have to reach out and build connections.