Supporting new starters

Most people starting a new job feel nervous as the first day approaches – what will I be doing?  What will the people be like?  Will I fit in?

When the COVID-19 crisis hit the UK, we anticipated that new starters joining MBDA at this time were likely to feel particularly anxious.

Debbie, Head of Resourcing UK, explains how MBDA has supported our newest employees facing just this situation, and what we have done to help make their transition as smooth as possible.

“When the UK went into lockdown at the end of March, we understood that our imminent new starters might be worried that they might be left without work, having already left their previous job to join MBDA, so we moved quickly to address their fears.

The UK Government considers the work MBDA does to be vital to national security. At a difficult time across the country, we have been fortunate that our people can continue working. We quickly realised it was important to contact every person with an agreed start date to reassure them of our commitment to them and their wellbeing. 

The nature of our work requires our people to have security clearance, so several months can pass between between accepting a job offer and agreeing a start date. It’s always really important to us to demonstrate that our candidates are valued, and even more so over the last few months. Our Recruitment Advisors have been staying in touch to keep them updated on progress and to answer any questions they may have.

Once a start date is agreed, all new starters are also assigned a ‘buddy’. A buddy is usually someone in their team who is a friendly and informal point of contact, on hand to answer questions and provide information ahead of their first day, via email, phone calls or texts. Our buddies have played an especially key role at this time.”

What has it been like for new starters in their first weeks?

Because of the work MBDA does is vital to national security, we’re still working, but differently to how we were before.

As many of our employees as possible have been working from home, in line with Government guidance.  This has meant that some of our new starters have only been on site to pick up their laptops and IT equipment, and for those who have required additional protection, we’ve arranged home delivery. 

We’ve provided extra guidance to help managers induct their new team members remotely, and made more materials and resources available online. 

Our managers have been incredibly active in supporting their new starters – getting them up to speed with work, involving them in virtual team meetings, virtual coffee mornings and even quiz evenings so they feel part of the team and can start to build a network.

We also have a virtual community for new starters, where key contacts from across the business and our various communities and networks can introduce themselves and share opportunities for online learning or virtual networking.

So while work continues, it’s taken a huge team approach to adapt quickly.  Debbie concludes:

“The health and wellbeing of our people is our priority and since the beginning of this crisis, the company as a whole has responded rapidly to implement the changes needed to support our employees. This has enabled us to honour our commitments to those joining MBDA, and to continue to deliver for our customers. We are still actively recruiting and confident that we have the processes in place, lockdown or not, to continue to bring successful applicants effectively into MBDA.

Our ability as a company to achieve this has been a fantastic team effort and testament to the passion and commitment of our people. Everyone, across all departments, not just HR, has done everything they can to support the business and its people in continuing to recruit and welcome new colleagues during these unprecedented times.”

If you are looking for a job with unique responsibility that brings purpose to everything it does, as well as flexibility and a number of other benefits, why not look at the opportunities we have to offer.