Q&A: CitNow’s Laura Haskins
CitNow’s head of HR, Laura Haskins, discusses how the smart video services firm looks after its employees
What are the key education and training requirements for people entering CitNow?
While functional requirements and skillsets are in many cases needed to fulfil a role effectively, it’s equally important to us that we hire candidates who are aligned with our culture and team values. Known internally as our DNA, our three-day induction programme provides new starters with a blend of CitNow business knowledge, a meet and greet with team members and practical product insights. Our induction experience will soon be accompanied by a ‘Welcome to CitNow’ e-learning module too.
How do you source talent for the company?
We aim, where possible, to source all talent directly, recruiting candidates through platforms such as LinkedIn, social media channels and job boards. In our most recent engagement survey, 84% of our employees said they would recommend CitNow as a great place to work.
We therefore encourage them to do exactly that with a generous referral scheme that encourages employees to share our vacancies with their wider professional networks.
Providing our people with opportunities to develop and progress is also a key area of focus. All roles are advertised internally only for the first two weeks of the recruitment process, with a dedicated internal communication channel for our vacancy promotions.
What initiatives do you have in place to support employee wellbeing?
The wellbeing of our people has never been more important. Every year we hold wellness week where we focus solely on all aspects of employee wellbeing. This year we also launched wellness days: a new benefit which enables all employees to take two half-days' paid leave per year that they can use to focus on their personal wellbeing. So far this year, over 450 wellness hours have been booked or taken. We supplement our wellbeing initiatives with webinars run by experts who focus on topics such as mental wealth, wellbeing for working parents and switching off.
What staff and leadership development programmes do you run?
In the past 12 months we partnered with an external agency to deliver LeaditNow – a comprehensive training programme focused on the development of our line managers. This was closely linked with our wellbeing strategy, meaning that all line managers received mental health awareness training to ensure they continue to be equipped to support their teams effectively. We have also used Tetra Mapping as part of our management and leadership development to enable a commonality in language across the business that drives understanding and collaboration in the way we work together as a team.
How has the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown affected your training and development programmes?
The CitNow Academy became contactless in response to COVID-19 by launching a virtual training offering for all CitNow products.
Prior to the pandemic, 96% of CitNow training was delivered on-site. Since mid-March, we have trained over 300 sites through our Contactless Academy. Our employee learning also transitioned into multi-channel delivery, including virtual and digital programmes that support the effective onboarding for our new starters along with self-development programmes for existing employees.
What strategies do you have for ensuring your employees are engaged at work?
Our annual global engagement survey, combined with qualitative focus groups, drives our engagement strategy and subsequent action plan. Engagement and participation with our survey remains high and in addition we provide our teams with an anonymous platform to ask our leadership team questions and/or make suggestions as to how we can make CitNow a better place to work.
Running in parallel to this is our One Team forum with representatives from across the business who meet regularly to focus on engagement and varying people initiatives. Finally, our global employee of the month programme enables peer-to-peer and wider company recognition.
What is your key focus for the next six months and why?
Attracting, engaging and developing our greatest asset remains our top priority along with employee retention. Our focus and projects for the next six months remain closely aligned to this overarching strategy.