Adapting to Our Virtual Realities

5 minute read

At Red Ventures, we believe everything is written in pencil. This gives us the courage to boldly embrace change — and that’s more important than ever. 

Now that all Red Ventures employees are working remotely, we’re quickly adapting to face the challenges of our new “virtual realities.” We’re transitioning from holding business presentations in conference rooms to hosting large Zoom meetings. We’re scouting, interviewing and onboarding completely online. We’re also reimagining how we come together as a community. 

How is this all possible? We reached out to some RVers on our Corporate Communications team, Onboarding team, Recruiting team, and Entertainment business team to find out how they’ve been transitioning to their own virtual realities. Here’s what they had to say. 

We plan, over-communicate, and collaborate to solve for obstacles.  

Business Presentations | Margaret Smith, Senior Content Strategist: Before our first virtual business presentation, we talked through logistics and made an action plan — we decided who was going to share their screen so we were ready to go right when our time slot started. We also established who was speaking on what slide so we didn’t step on each other’s words or interrupt the presentation flow. I also checked my microphone and speakers before the meeting to make sure they were working correctly.

Onboarding | Valerie Secker, Program Manager: I’ve been working closely with Recruiting, Human Resources, and the IT help desk to make our onboarding process 100% virtual. It’s definitely been a group effort! Our Learning & Development team quickly pivoted to ensure that the process runs as smoothly and as close to normal as possible. We’re also leaning heavily on managers, functional mentors, and onboarding buddies to help provide support to new hires over the coming weeks. They’re stepping up to make sure their new teammates feel welcomed and set up for success.

Corporate Communications | Sarah Harris, Associate Creative Producer: When we shifted to our WFH status, we knew that people would be feeling a wide range of emotions — worry, stress, and maybe a little discombobulation. Our top priority after providing information was to provide support. We immediately began sorting through our online resources to take stock of what we already had, what needed to be updated, and what needed creating. We worked with our incredible Learning & Development team to establish virtual leadership guidelines for our managers. We also worked with our amazing tech team to ensure everyone was equipped with the necessary online tools to make WFH a success. There may not be an “I” in “team,” but there are definitely a couple in “Wi-Fi.”

We roll with the glitches and learn as we go. 

Onboarding | Valarie Secker, Program Manager: Twenty-four new hires from three time zones joined RV this week. Coordinating the time zones required some super creative scheduling… and we still got it wrong! A few folks who joined South Charlotte teams were unable to move to the east coast due to the pandemic. Since they’re still living on the west coast, that means this morning’s first session started at 6 a.m. PT for them. Clearly, we didn’t get that memo. We’ll be sure to ask every new hire in the future, “Hey! Where will you be living when you start?” We never had to ask that before!

Virtual onboarding is a go!

Business Presentations | Dustin O’Halloran, Associate: Sitting down, presenting to the camera, and seeing my teammates’ Zoom tiles rather than standing and presenting in-person was a challenge I wasn’t expecting at all. It’s weird to not see everyone you’re presenting to, so I tried to focus on the people I could see in the frame as much as possible.

Recruiting | Drake Gordon, Recruiting Manager: Always remember bathroom breaks! A 3-4 hour Zoom interview with 5+ interviewers is exhausting. When we’re in the office, there are natural breaks and transitions built into the day that don’t exist in a virtual setting. We quickly learned that we needed to be intentional about adding breaks into the virtual interview process. 

We grow from the challenges we face. 

Corporate Communications | Kelly McMurtrie, Senior Creative Producer: Hosting our first completely-virtual All-Employee Meeting was one of our biggest challenges this month. We knew it was going to be a little uncomfortable, but it actually turned out to be really informative and fairly seamless. Everyone appreciated getting updates from our leadership — hearing their confidence helped strengthen our confidence, too!

Onboarding | Valarie Secker, Program Manager: We’re providing support to new hires by sharing our WFH Pro Tips, but we also wanted our managers to feel supported. For almost all of them, this is the first time they’ve had to remotely onboard a new hire. We added them to a group Slack channel where they can share ideas, tips, and encouragement — it all goes a long way in making the onboarding process a success.

We share advice along the way. 

Business Presentations | Margaret Smith, Senior Content Strategist: If you have a presentation partner, hold each other accountable during the days leading up to your business presentation. Have daily check-ins and practice a few dry runs to make sure everything goes as planned! 

Recruiting | Drake Gordon, Recruiting Manager: Plan ahead, test your technology. Log in early and ask your recruiter or a friend to do a mock call with you to make sure everything is working. Be ready to adjust though — tech issues are common, so know your backup plan. Is there a phone number to use if the video call cuts out? If so, have it in an easy accessible place. Do you have a secondary device that you can use if needed? If so, have that device close by. Being prepared will make the inevitable tech issues much less stressful and allow you to get your interview back on track quickly. 

We get creative to keep the mood light and our community strong. 

Corporate Communications | Sarah Harris, Associate Creative Producer: We’re getting creative with our virtual events to keep employee engagement up and spirits high! Last week, we hosted a global Virtual Talent Show — we blocked off an hour on Friday afternoon to sing, dance, and enjoy some much-needed laughter. We’re also getting ready to host a Virtual Trivia Night to raise money for charities selected by our teams. Employees are taking their typical team events online, too — they’ve held virtual happy hours, virtual birthday parties, and even virtual baby showers!

Corporate Communications |  Kelly McMurtrie, Senior Creative Producer: While we anticipated stress and worry from employees, we could never have predicted just how much our teammates would step up during this crisis. We are surprised, encouraged, and empowered every day by the good we see happening across teams and offices all over the world. Our Healthline team in San Francisco chose to use their office event funds to purchase pizzas for local hospital staff. The Points Guy team in New York City holds weekly “Charity Chats” to discuss ways they can help local businesses, nonprofits, and the travel industry. People are coming together like never before, and that’s what will help us stay strong.

Want to know more about our virtual realities? Check out 10 ways we’re getting through COVID-19 or our WFH Pro Tips (from RV experts).

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Sarah Bizri

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