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Navigating your career in 2020

We spoke to five new recruits about how it feels to start a new job during a global pandemic

Changing career and starting a new job is both exciting and scary at the best of times. But what is it like when you change jobs and even countries just as global pandemic strikes and the world goes into lockdown? We asked five of our new recruits in our Luxembourg office to share their experiences of starting life with Aztec during the crisis and discussed how they navigated the ‘new normal’.

Schalk Smit, Fund Accountant

Emigrated and relocated to Luxembourg to gain global accounting experience

I moved from South Africa to Luxembourg in March to begin my new life and career with Aztec. Talk about great timing! On my very first day in the office, we heard the first COVID-19 case had been reported in the Grand Duchy. So, my sense of enthusiasm very quickly turned into concern about my safety and wellbeing. I was in a different country, having just started a new job, so I wasn’t really too sure what to expect.

Once lockdown started to feel ‘real’, it became clear that working from home would become a priority. Aztec’s remote working plan was called ‘Project Nebula’, and the rollout of this project was nothing short of spectacular. Everyone was issued with the best possible equipment, including brand new Windows Surface laptops, while apps such as Microsoft Teams became the new way to work remotely and connect with colleagues. Video calls with the team are fun and interactive, and work never feels isolating or lonely. Everyone got to know each other, and I had the sense this was a group of people who would not let a pandemic get in the way of anything!

I travelled half-way across the world to get here at the craziest time, but I could quickly see that joining Aztec was the best decision I could have made.

Martyna Kobialko, Junior Fund Administrator

Moved to Aztec from a competitor

It was a strange time to be joining a company during the pandemic, so when the HR team got in touch to tell me my start date was being pushed back, I couldn’t help but worry. But the way that they handled everything was so reassuring and open, my worries were quickly put to bed. I was told that my role was still very much mine and I would be paid from the agreed start date. It was exactly what I needed to hear – you want to know the company you work for will do the right thing for you.

I joined Aztec at the beginning of May, and I was immediately impressed with the tech delivery, which made working from home completely seamless. All the user guides, and instructions on how to complete online training with the Aztec Academy were so easy and clear you couldn’t put a foot wrong. But the most important aspect of my training came from the human interactions that I had heard Aztec was already known for. My manager and everyone in the team made a point of regularly checking in on me during my first few weeks – often offering to help before I could even ask! I was so impressed.

My favourite thing this year has been the regular online catch-ups with my teammates. They made me feel welcome and part of the team from my first day, and as well as having a really close working relationship, we enjoy making each other laugh. No-one speaks in ‘corporate’ jargon or buzzwords to make themselves sound important, and I know I can reach out to them with questions and they will always find time in their schedule to help me. I feel really lucky – it’s honestly been the best on-boarding experience ever.

Anna Amy, Client Relationship Manager

Relocated to explore Europe and joined Aztec from a competitor

I never expected to start a new job under ‘lockdown’ in the middle of a global pandemic. But during that first week, I was reassured and knew I was in good hands. Everything was in place to get me up and running straight away. I had my induction pack, my objectives from my line manager, and support from the Aztec Academy and all of my new teammates via Microsoft Teams.

Even so, taking my induction training remotely meant it was hard to feel ‘integrated’, but everyone was incredibly understanding and supportive. Taking part in live video calls with my new colleagues helped, and my allocated ‘work buddy’ encouraged me to build relationships across the business. And, although face-to-face social events were not possible, there were plenty of virtual events to take part in instead.

Aztec’s culture resonates from its people, even when we’re working remotely. It’s a way of life rather than just words.

Evangelos Karasantes, Senior Fund Accountant

Career change – switch to fund accountancy from banking

Looking for a job during the coronavirus crisis was nerve-wracking. I had no idea what would happen to my job application after lockdown began. For example, would a company hire someone they hadn’t interviewed face to face? I was really impressed with the way Aztec arranged virtual interviews, it made the recruitment process so much easier!

When I joined, I got the same feeling that Aztec was a highly organised business that really cares about its people. They demonstrated this by making sure everyone was working efficiently despite all being at home, and it was a really thoughtful touch to arrange a Microsoft Teams call with all my new colleagues on day one. Working from home hasn’t caused any delays or disruptions. If anything, I think everyone is more responsive, because when your colleague calls you with a query it’s a welcome interruption!

My start with Aztec was definitely unusual and something I will certainly never forget. But I now feel settled and a fully pledged member of the Aztec team. I’m learning a lot from my new colleagues and enjoy being a part of this unique culture.

Yashweena Takoory, Senior Fund Administrator

Career move – joined Aztec from another financial services provider

No one, especially me, saw the COVID-19 pandemic coming. Moving to a new job during this period felt like the biggest risk I could have ever taken, but my gut feeling was that this was the right move for me, and despite everything it was the right time too – I needed to take a leap of faith. I’m so glad I trusted my instincts – it has definitely paid off!

Being shown around the near-empty Luxembourg office on my first day was such a strange experience. But as soon as I sat at my desk and started browsing the Intranet, I already felt at home, it was wonderful getting to know about the Group, its different jurisdictions and people. My first week featured video calls with my new team, which instantly made me feel integrated. My induction and virtual training were perfectly delivered, and the content was both relevant and comprehensive.

The determination to get everyone connected, and then ensure everyone could stay connected, was really inspiring. I give kudos to our IT teams and project developers for delivering such great systems and making them part of our day-to-day working life. Their approach really sums up the character and the values of the people here, and the values of Aztec as a Group.

I am impatiently waiting for us to work normally in office in the future, so I can get the chance to meet and greet more of my new colleagues in person!

If you’re interested in finding out more about a career with Aztec, we would love to hear from you! Drop an email to our friendly HR team at careers@aztecgroup.eu 

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