These are unprecedented times and we are all having to make adjustments in our daily strategies. Most of us, if not all of us, know someone in healthcare, education, human resources, finance and in other sectors. We all need to get together to help our teams, during this time as their work is more important than ever.
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The communication across all industries are going through an adjustment period when it comes to navigating the COVID-19 outbreak, and there are a lot of changes on the horizon. We’ve compiled some helpful resources, articles, and tips to make your job a bit easier.
Since the coronavirus exposure, the world of work has drastically changed, and fast. Many industries are feeling the impact of this pandemic, between lay-offs, business closures, changes in supply and demand, and more.
10 tips from China – Here’s how to run a really great virtual meeting
One result of the COVID-19 outbreak is that, increasingly, people are being forced to work from home, hold meetings, attend classes and other activities through virtual as opposed to face-to-face meetings.
This raises questions of how best to conduct such meetings to ensure they are effective and efficient. Indeed, poorly-run meetings not only waste resources, but also can result in poor organizational outcomes and low staff morale. What should be the rules for staging virtual meetings?
01 – Preparation is key
Virtual meetings are not simply a matter of signing on to a software package or getting onto a free application like skype. Effective meetings, especially in an online environment, require careful preparation, which includes: acquiring the appropriate technology, testing it beforehand and making sure people know how to use it, etc.
Also, have a “Plan B,” typically, a tech person at hand and helping you set up the meeting to ensure all goes well. Effective meetings have a clear agenda. Specify firmly when the meeting will start and end, determine its purpose, desired goals and expected outcomes and communicate them to all participants.
02 Circulate materials ahead of time
Give people a chance to read, study and reflect on the materials so they can focus their discussion on the most important points. Be sure to include an agenda as well as minutes, decisions and actions to follow-up on from any previous meeting. Keep the materials as brief as reasonably possible to maximize the chances they will be read.
03 Be an effective chairperson and establish meeting rules
Those who chair virtual meetings should be masters of process. This includes circulating as part of the minutes reminders about procedural rules.
04 Assign key roles
In virtual meetings, it is especially important to assign roles to other members. One person should be the note-taker. The focus for notes should be on decisions/actions taken, with a clear statement of who is responsible for what and by what date. These notes should be circulated as soon as possible after the meeting.
05 Make sure people know one another
In order to set the right tone, build trust and be inclusive, it is important to introduce all team members or have people introduce themselves. After the introductions, it’s good if the meeting can start with an ice-breaker in which each person reports on one personal and one professional task they had dealt with in recent times. This recognizes that what happens in our personal lives has an impact on work, and vice versa.
06 Be inclusive
When a meeting is a mix of virtual and face-to-face attendees,make sure remote members are included. Consider appointing a person to make sure this happens. For example, remind those physically present to remember to be inclusive of those in a remote location. Make sure all have the relevant materials, for example, slide decks and other materials.
07 Structure the meeting so everyone contributes
It is important also to hear from everyone. Introverts can be especially reluctant to speak up in a digital meeting. Thus, provide a process in which you go around the table and hear from every one. Do not rely on people to speak up–ask them directly by name for their views.
08 Verbal summaries
Provide useful short summaries. In doing so, the chair should indicate clearly what decisions have been and outcomes achieved.
09 Make it fun; keep people involved and keep things moving
With the rapid growth in virtual meetings and rise of digital tribes, there are now many tools available to facilitate discussion, decision making, brainstorming and all other activities.
10 Commit to continuous improvement
Be sure to ask each person attending the meeting to list one to three good things about the meeting and suggest one improvement for future meetings.
Finally, note that effective meeting skills should be a vital part of every person’s skill-set. Educators at all levels and leaders in organizations should provide instruction in meeting skills to their students/employees and thereby maximize the talents of their team members.
VIRTUL MEETING – INTERVIEW BEST PRACTICES BY ZOOM, DOCUSIGN
With 2 in 5 persons sheltering in place right now, more people are working from home than ever before. And although remote work has been shown to boost productivity, transitioning at the drop of a hat from being in-office to fully remote is no small feat for any talent team. A lot of experts are sharing their top tips for creating a strong remote hiring process. Here are some of the best practices for remote interviewing to help you provide a great candidate experience and work more efficiently in the months to come.
Virtual meetings may have some specific norms, such as:
- We will use the technology that most accessible to everyone on our team.
- Test your technology before the meeting and resolve any technical issues.
- Use a phone line with audio clarity and stability.
- Do not multi-task (do other work) during the meeting.
- Follow an organized line-up to ensure each person has a chance to respond.
- Find a quiet space to participate.
- Use the mute button at your site to prevent transmitting background noise.
- Speak up to get attention if you have something to say.
- Turn on your video whenever possible and be camera-ready.
01 Look for Verbal Clues
The trick, says Phil Haynes, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Zoom, is focusing on what the candidate is saying over how they say it. At Zoom, we coordinate our interviews into four simple steps, including a hiring manager screen, and the ability to lay eyes on people to gauge their reactions to questions.
You get so many verbal cues, that doing a video screen with a hiring manager gives us a much better feel for how successful that candidate will be as they move through the process.” – Phil Haynes, Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Zoom
02 Allow More People in the Interview to Streamline Stages
When every interview is remote, panel-style interviews get a whole lot easier to schedule, since you don’t have to rely on travel to get people together across time zones and countries. Which means speeding up the time it takes to move promising talent through your hiring pipeline.
“Allowing for video and phone screens gives hiring managers a lot of confidence when they pass people through. I think allowing for the virtual screening and the ability to assemble panelists and allow candidates to do online presentations via video is also a great way to accelerate the decision to hire or not to hire.” – Phil Haynes, Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Zoom”
03 Ensure There Is Compliance
You might be tempted to record an interview to share it with your hiring team, but be sure you’re up to speed on local, regional, and state laws before you do. If you find it necessary to record, always let the candidate know you’re recording before you start. But remember, recording can often impact the quality of a person’s interview, due to nervousness of being recorded.
“Zoom has an amazing feature when you begin recording that notifies everybody in that meeting that they’re being recorded. It gives you the option to opt out if you’d prefer not to be recorded. But when it comes down to interviews, I try to dissuade as frequently as possible the recording of interviews. The simple reason is, when you notify someone that they’re being recorded, they tend to act differently.” – Phil Haynes, Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Zoom”
04 Know the Cues That Demonstrate Your Company Culture
Just like an in-person interview, you want to help candidates feel relaxed and at ease in video interviews. Only then can you get a feel for whether they’d be a good culture add for your company. That means being familiar with the cues that demonstrate alignment with your culture.
“With an interview process, we always want people at their purely natural, especially as we’re trying to determine whether we have someone that is demonstrating the qualities and attributes that we want at Zoom. We don’t want them to be filtering who they really are.” – Phil Haynes, Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Zoom”
05 Have a Pre-Offer Checklist
It’s an interview best practice to have a pre-offer checklist to guide your interviews, either in-person or online. Why? Because market conditions aside, the benefits and perks your company provides is a big selling point that should be emphasized when interviewing top talent. At Lever, the team likes to have a checklist to guide conversations.
“We have a pre-offer/offer checklist. Some things we think about, some things we dive into before we get that offer out. One thing we like to align on is, not to focus just on salary, there are more things to an offer and/or more things to an opportunity.” Sam Cuerington, Senior Sales Recruiter, Lever”
06 Ensure Excitement About the Role
Chances are good you’re not the only company somebody is interviewing with, so anything you can do to generate excitement is a huge help in getting them to say yes. The best way, according to Haynes, is to convey how they’re going to grow with your company.
“We really want to get down to the nitty gritty of what are the drivers. It could be something as simple as commute time here in the Bay Area, but it could be something as complex as better benefits. The #1 reason why people are leaving jobs is the lack of career growth. The more that we can hire somebody and give them an opportunity to grow as they come in and perform here at Zoom, that’s how we’re assuring that they’re excited about the role.” – Phil Haynes, Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Zoom”
07 Have a List of Great Questions to Ask
When it comes to interview questions, there’s no such thing as the perfect list. But having a strong mix to help you suss out a candidate’s experience and personality is paramount. Equally important for virtual interviews? Encouraging a conversation and connection over video.
“We interact as people, and so trying to make decisions without the ability to interact, see people’s facial expressions, see their body language, again, we’re not trying to create separation with people, we’re trying to create that connection with people. And I think you do that live in a much better fashion than you do in recorded.” – Phil Haynes, Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Zoom”
08 Identify Any Factors That Might Slow You Down or Lead to a Declined Offer
Nurturing a candidate through to offer, only to have them decline, hurts. That’s why it’s important to identify factors in your own process that could slow hiring down to speed them up, as well as any roadblocks to a candidate saying yes.
“We optimize for the speed at the offer letter stage by identifying what are the factors that slow us down. It’s about ensuring that our Total Rewards Team, our HR business partners, the hiring manager, all the stakeholders in every offer that we have, are all aligned on the correct offer for this candidate. Getting everybody on the same page is one of the key ways that we speed to offer here at Zoom.” – Phil Haynes, Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Zoom”
09 Enable DocuSign for Easy Offer Signatures
Printing, signing, scanning, and returning takes way too much time, especially when people are working from their home office. You can make it the work of two minutes to sign your offer letter by using an electronic signature tool like DocuSign. “Getting the candidate to sign the contract via DocuSign, sign the offer letter via DocuSign, and make that written commitment is important,” says Haynes. “But we all know that written commitment only comes to fruition on day one when they actually show up as an excited, happy, new employee.” “Speaking just from personal experience, having joined DocuSign five months ago, one of the most exciting things about the entire interview process, from interview to accepting the offer letter, to actually onboarding, was how easy it was to actually sign the offer letter and get onboarded,” says Elaine Stainfield, Senior Product Marketing Manager at DocuSign.
“I was actually on vacation in Mexico, received the offer letter through my email, opened it through DocuSign on my mobile device, and signed it within 30 seconds. That was really what got me super excited about starting and it reflected on DocuSign, that it’s an innovative company, and it just made me really excited to be working at a company that was forward looking.” – Elaine Stainfield, Senior Product Marketing Manager, DocuSign”
10 Be Sure to Send a Gift Once the Offer is Complete
If you do this as part of your hiring process already, you know the difference a personal touch like a gift can make for engaging new hires from the start. This human touch can mean even more when your hiring process is taking place entirely over video and phone calls.
“At Lever, some of the techniques we sometimes use is a recruiter and a hiring manager call, personalized emails, new hire gifts, and gifts. A follow-up from the team or the panel that they met with, and then congratulations videos as well, so coming at it from a few different angles.” – Sam Cuerington, Senior Sales Recruiter, Lever”
11 Connect Them with Their New Team
Last, but not least, make sure to transition people smoothly from candidate to new hire. This can be challenging when everyone is working remotely, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the window of excitement starting a new role.
“If in between start dates, maybe host a [virtual] lunch, and then that onboarding process. At Lever, we have a Ramp Camp for the first three days, which is really in-depth, around the inception of Lever, but also getting people fluent on not just their department, but also other departments. As of day three, they’re feeling up to speed and really, really excited.” – Sam Cuerington, Senior Sales Recruiter, Lever”
22 BEST TOOLS YOU CAN USE IN VIRTUAL MEETINGS
Making Every Interview Count Even in the most challenging conditions, your team can work together to adapt its process to make strong hires. But you need video conferencing and e-signature tools like Zoom and DocuSign to streamline those critical stages along the candidate experience.
Sometimes referred to as virtual conferencing, Virtual Meetings are the hosting of a meeting in a virtual environment and not face-to-face. Virtual meetings use technology to allow groups to collaborate through an Internet connection. These virtual meeting platforms generally have an audio and video component and are not simply a voice connection. Virtual meetings are easy to conduct. All that is needed for participants at the basic level is: an Internet connection, Audio (through computer speakers and microphone, or telephone), Webcam.
When it comes to virtual meeting event tech, there are several categories and types of tools you can use. Noteworthy and popular virtual communication apps include:
Yes, you can use this video communication app for business too. Apple just announced that it’s launching group chats for up to 32 people with iOS12. The new FaceTime will have tiles of participants faces and highlight those who are talking. Users can also manually select who they want to highlight/see in tiles.
Pro: This new feature should keep everyone on their toes.
Con: It’s for iOS only.
This basic video communication app, allows groups or individuals to conference in with one another without long-distance fees.
Pro: Most people are familiar with this online meeting app and may already be on it through their personal lives.
Con: Sound and visuals can be off from one another. Freezing and dropped calls occur.
Google Hangouts has come a long way since its introduction in 2013. In 2017, Google launched an enterprise-friendly version focused on business solutions and video conferencing under the name Hangouts Meet. The communication platform offers video chat and conferencing for up to 50 participants, and SMS. The app works on Android and iOS Meet will also soon be compatible with Polycom, Skype, Cisco and several other third-party products.
Pro: Meet is fully integrated with G Suite so you can join a meeting directly from a calendar entry or email.
Con: Users must have a G Suite account to invite others. The platform also lacks some of the enterprise functionality of other more complicated meeting software
VIRTUAL MEETINGS TECHNOLOGY
There are a number of tools that will help you make the most of your virtual meeting. Our top choices for communication, notetaking and collaboration tools include:
04 Google Drive
Google Drive offers docs, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing capabilities. Files can be uploaded or downloaded and shared by permission or to anyone with a link, for free.
Pro: Easy to use, real-time collaboration.
Con: Offline editing is difficult.
Slack is a communication platform to tie your team together. It offers messaging app functionality, customizable notifications, and integrates with many office tools.
Pro: One of the most robust employee messaging tools available and a great way to cut down the volume of emails sent between colleagues.
Con: it’s expensive compared to most options out there. Slack charges a per person rate of $8 or $15 a month, although it credits you for employees who are not active during that month.
This Microsoft product helps teams collaborate easily. It’s designed to help employees interact quickly and build upon each other’s work. You can also join and create groups. Some call it a business social network.
Pro: You can invite different types of collaborators like employees and external people such as clients.
Con: Limited customization.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS
In any virtual meeting, there are bound to be takeaways. Project management software can help you keep track of them and additional assignments.
This project collaboration tool allows things like file uploads, task tracking and can move your team away from extensive emails back and forth.
Pro: Integrates well with other apps.
Con: Instant messaging is compartmentalized.
Trello can keep your team’s assignments in check, knowing who’s working on what and what’s still in development.
Pro: Uses visual “cards” which are easy to track and navigate.
Con: No time tracking.
This project management software keeps all components of a project in a central location for easy access and answers.
Pro: Free version for up to 15 people.
Con: No desktop app, works in your browser.
BRAINSTORMING AND STICKY NOTE TOOLS
Capturing ideas is important in brainstorming and strategy meetings. Sticky note tools can also be used as prompts to return to ideas mentioned that do not directly fit the present agenda. Capture the concept and then go on. Top picks of tools in this area include:
This mind-mapping software is focused on capturing ideas and aids in silent brainstorming.
Pro: Even if you don’t have an account, you can be invited to view the boards for free.
Con: No analytics.
Is designed to help visual collaboration among teams through sticky notes. You can create boards with drag and drop pinning.
Pro: Wallpapers allow you to customize a board to feel more like “yours.”
Con: No custom workflows at this time.
This mind-mapping and knowledge management software specializes in sharing institutional knowledge. Content is searchable in order to increase employee productivity.
Pro: Categorization and search make it easy to find the content you’re looking for,
ADDITIONAL TOOLS TO SUPPORT VIRTUAL MEETINGS
In addition to virtual meeting software and apps, it’s important to have the following non-tech virtual meeting tools as well as meeting peripherals such as:
VIRTUAL MEETINGS APPS
Zoom video communications software offers a lot of options that fit every budget. From a free plan through its enterprise option, which starts at $19.99 per month per host, Zoom can handle up to 200 participants with unlimited cloud storage (in its large enterprise plans).
Pro: Even the free option allows for up to 100 participants.
Con: Participants will need to download before they can join. There is a 40 minute limit for group meetings on the free version.
This free screen sharing and online meeting software, allows you to claim a personalized URL, customize your meeting background, and keep administrative control over your account. If you need more options and a larger number of participants, the software offers pricing plans starting at $10 per month per user.
Pro: The whiteboard feature provides an engaging interface.
Con: There are no alerts when someone joins your meeting.
This online meeting software is the longstanding option selected by many businesses as it’s been offering video conferencing services for a long time. It offers a free 14-day trial and after that plans begin at $19 a month, billed annually.
Pro: While their pricing is higher than a lot of options out there, all plans offer unlimited meetings and are based on the number of participants. So if you have a lot of meetings but only a few participants each time, the cost may be worth it.
Con: the download can be problematic. There are no options to participate from the cloud.
Other virtual meeting software to check out:
This free conference calling and collaboration tool has screen sharing and drawing tools, as well as public and private chat.
You can use ClickMeeting as virtual meeting software but a lot of its features seem more webinar-related. It does a lot more than simply allow your team to see each other.
Robust featured virtual meeting tool that allows for participant learning sessions, webinar features, and virtual room options.
18 Cisco WebEx Meetings
WebEx meetings allow for screen sharing, the ease of using a mobile app and they can accommodate up to 40,000 people.
19 Amazon Chime
Amazon Chime works with Alexa for business and provides video conferencing, online meetings, calls, and chats.
This video communication service offers screen sharing, IM, and whiteboard features.
Onstream is cloud-based so participants needn’t worry about downloads. It offers screen sharing, whiteboard features, and customizable user interfaces.
Videxio is also cloud-based so it works on any platform. There’s a free, teams, and enterprise option for this video conferencing software.