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Verbit’s ‘Buddy Program’ hoped to make onboarding a little easier during Covid-19

HR Post Covid

Verbit’s ‘Buddy Program’ hoped to make onboarding a little easier during Covid-19

It’s not easy for new employees to join large companies when they spend months working from home - here’s how Verbit tackled the challenge

CTech | 08:59  15.03.2021
When Verbit sent its employees to work from home for Covid-19, it also created a system to help with onboarding new employees and helping them fit into a company that was now operating completely from computer screens.

“To make it easier for our new employees, we established the 'Verbit Buddy Program,'” explained Renana Schamroth, VP HR. “This program entails a ‘veteran’ buddy being assigned to each new team member for their first three months on the job.”

Renana Schamroth, Verbit’s VP HR. Photo: Verbit Renana Schamroth, Verbit’s VP HR. Photo: Verbit Renana Schamroth, Verbit’s VP HR. Photo: Verbit

According to Schamroth, veterans would offer advice, resources, and guidance regarding the day-to-day aspects of the work - something especially important if they were joining a $100 million company from their living room.

“The program is a win-win for both current and new employees. The new employee benefits are one-on-one assistance, a jump-start on networking, a single point-of-contact, knowledge of ‘how things really get done’ and a smoother acclimation and onboarding process,” she said.

Verbit has joined CTech for its HR Post Covid series to share some of the ways they helped welcome new employees during the pandemic

Company Name: Verbit.ai

HR Leader: Renana Schamroth, VP HR

Field of Activity:

Voice to Text. Verbit is the leading interactive transcription and captioning solution. Verbit’s in-house, AI-based technology can transform both live and recorded video and audio into 99% accurate captions and transcripts for the higher education, legal, media, and enterprise industries. The combination of Verbit’s in-house ASR (Automated Speech Recognition) technology with human transcribers provides a competitive advantage and quick turnaround times. This hybrid model provides high-quality, word-for-word, interactive, collaborative transcripts, and captions in customizable templates. Verbit offers accuracy, scale, and customization that professionals and students depend on for ADA, FCC, and privacy compliance. Users are provided with domain expertise, top technology, 24/7 support, and a tailor-made solution for individual customer needs. As a result, businesses, legal agencies, and universities can increase operational capacity, provide accessibility and serve more clients and students. Verbit offers top customer success and service to more than 400 enterprise-grade customers from the legal, education, media, and enterprise industries. These customers include the likes of Harvard University, Stanford University, and Coursera.

Number of employees/location: Verbit is made up of 120+ employees based in Tel Aviv, New York City, and Kiev.

Professional background of HR Manager:

I am the VP of HR and have 10 years of experience in human resources. I hold an MBA and majored in Organizational Behavior at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a B.A in Psychology from Bar Ilan University.

I am responsible for all HR-related tasks, including strategic planning with executives, HR strategy, talent acquisition and workforce planning, employee experience and well-being, C&B, manager and leadership development, talent management and key employee retention plans, change management, OD and learning, HRIS, payroll and HR administration. I also support organizational changes for the company in hypergrowth. I previously served as VP of HR at LiveU Ltd.

On a scale of 1-10, how much did the coronavirus pandemic disrupt operations at the company?

Verbit continues to be well-positioned to handle the evolving needs of our customers and the changes presented by the pandemic. The majority of our university, media, and business customers moved to remote and distance learning, and we’ve been able to support them with this transition. Our dedicated team worked tirelessly to support the legal space as well with the move to remote proceedings and digital depositions. The impact on businesses is unknown. We’re listening to customers and developing our products to support hybrid models of learning and work across sectors. We’re aiming to support the new world of work. Our commitment to innovation and listening to the market has instilled confidence in our customers.

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Due to the pandemic, Verbit had to react quickly and make its employees feel safe, motivated and connected to each other, to the company, and its goals. Therefore, we executed a wealthfare program that aimed to touch four main areas: improve employees’ environment, increase communication & motivation, keep physical health, and support mental health. We started a hybrid model of working from home and in-office and continue to offer Covid-19 funds for all employees to build their own mini home offices or pay for babysitters. We have initiated social games with prizes, fun Zoom happy hours, mindfulness workshops, as well as a health month with remote yoga classes and healthy food delivery. We’re also sending our employees ice cream, cocktails, and fun toys for their children, which we’ve delivered to their homes.

In the past year, we are also working with the company’s managers to guide them on current challenges and provide more tools to better strengthen their managerial skills to keep their team connected and motivated.

What interesting technological tools do you use in employee management/recruitment?

Comeet and HiBob

What positive and/or negative impact did the outbreak have on the human capital of the company?

Working from home can be challenging if you live by yourself. It can cause loneliness and affect your mental health, motivation, and work performance. If you live with your family, it can also cause you to feel overwhelmed in juggling work and family with no balance. At Verbit, we were able to support our employees using different communication platforms to make sure teams stay connected. We’ve initiated fun activities and sent gifts to employees and their families. We’ve also supported the company leaders with leadership management programs. As a result, we were able to keep employees motivated and happier.

What are the two major challenges you are coping with these days?

Our policy of working from home or the office is not set in stone; it’s changing all the time. We need to consider what happens after most have received the vaccine.

Verbit is a hyper-growth company that already secured more than $100M, and with that comes many challenges, such as filling more than 100 jobs. Hi-tech is in a bubble right now and companies are aiming to select the right talent. Remote recruiting and remote on-boarding of new employees who are working remotely can also be a challenge.

Are you actively recruiting? If so, what is the process and where can the applicants find you?

We recruit constantly for all kinds of positions, thanks to our massive growth during the past year. The onboarding process moved entirely online. To make it easier for our new employees, we established the 'Verbit Buddy Program'. This program entails a ‘veteran’ buddy being provided to each new team member for their first 3 months on the job. They offer advice, resources, and guidance regarding the day-to-day aspects of the work. They may also offer encouragement and suggestions as they introduce the new employee to the organizational culture. The program is a win-win for both current and new employees. For the 'Buddy', they’re recognized as a strong performer and given an opportunity to expand their network, encourage and engage others and provide a fresh perspective, enhanced leadership and communication skills. The new employee benefits are one-on-one assistance, a jump-start on networking, a single point-of-contact, knowledge of “how things really get done” and a smoother acclimation and onboarding process.

You can find our open positions here

Which changes forced upon you by the circumstances will stay in place after Covid-19 is over, and which are you most eager to revert back to normal?

The hybrid idea of working from home and the office is here to stay. We saw that the hybrid model worked successfully across our departments, giving employees quiet time at home to concentrate and in-office time to collaborate with face-to-face communication with their peers that we believe is still critical for success. Verbit is like a big family, so we will continue to look for ways to celebrate success together and enrich each other both in the physical office and virtually.

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