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Navigating your career in 2020

We spoke to six 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 some of our new starters who joined us during lockdown to share their experiences of starting their career with Aztec during the pandemic and discuss how they navigated the ‘new normal’!

Julie FaircloughJulie Fairclough, Director of Corporate Services, Jersey

Moved to Aztec from a competitor

“I recently joined as the UK lead for Aztec’s Corporate Services business. I’ve never started a new role while working from home before, but the warm welcome I received, together with the great technology delivered to my doorstep on day one – along with some goodies – made it easy. My teams are spread across the UK, Jersey and Guernsey, so I’ve probably had more interaction with each of them while working remotely than if I had started out in the Jersey office!

Microsoft Teams has been invaluable. It makes such a difference to see people’s faces rather than just hearing them on a phone call – especially when you’re meeting dozens of new people every day. I’ve been so impressed with the effort everyone has made to stay connected. I’ve also noticed relationships of increased trust developing between colleagues, where we measure performance by outputs, rather than inputs. On a personal level, working remotely has helped me to find a rhythm that works for me and my family, without compromising my career or the level of service I want to deliver to clients and my teams. What I didn’t anticipate was how easy it is to sit down to work at home and not leave for the entire day… so, I’ve learned to be more disciplined and get moving more often!

But for all the positives during this period, I’m pleased that we can now work back in the office in Jersey, as I really missed in-person interaction. I think working flexibly from the office will be the ideal recipe for many going forward, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this allows us to reshape our work, our lives, and our industry.”

Evangelos Karasantes, Senior Fund Accountant, Luxembourg

Career change – switched to fund accounting 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.”

Anna Amy, Client Relationship Manager, Luxembourg

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.”

Athena MynyawiriAthena Munyawiri, Senior Financial Reporting Manager, Jersey

Moved to Aztec from a competitor

“Changing jobs – and joining a new company – during lockdown had me feeling all sorts of different emotions. I had no idea what to expect and whether I would acclimatise to my new role while being far away from everyone I was working with. But it’s been surprisingly easy to feel part of the team. The software we’ve been using – particularly being able to instant message, see when my team members are free, call each other, and have meetings on Microsoft Teams – has helped tremendously.

I’d already known lots about Aztec before I joined. I have friends who work here, and I got a really positive vibe from the senior people who interviewed me. But I was most impressed when my new laptop and screens were delivered to my home by taxi, accompanied with a box of cupcakes! That’s a team and a company that really supports its people and thinks of the big and the little things.

Working from home has had its ups and downs, of course. For me, the hardest part was juggling childcare. But once we settled into a routine that everyone was happy with, things got much easier. And now that lockdown in Jersey is no longer as restrictive, I really enjoy coming into the office and interacting with my colleagues. I’m part of a great team where everyone rallies together and is always ready to lend a hand.”

Martyna Kobialko, Junior Fund Administrator, Luxembourg

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.”

Joseph ConstantinoJoseph Constantino, Financial Reporting Manager, Jersey

Career move – joined Aztec from another financial services provider

“Right from the start, I was impressed with Aztec’s culture. I was pleasantly surprised when I was invited to join a virtual ‘meet and greet’ with the team some weeks before my official start day – I had never had that kind of experience with an employer before. It made me feel instantly welcome, especially as everyone was working from home. These personal touches are really important, especially from a company the size of Aztec. It made starting my new job a lot easier as I had to work from home.

In my role, I’m responsible for managing client expectations and effectively harnessing all of our team’s existing resources. This involves a lot of knowledge sharing. This might be more challenging working remotely, but the technology we use has made all the difference. Of course, nothing beats face-to-face interaction, but Microsoft Teams allows you to talk, meet and see each other whenever, from wherever, and exchange instant messages with individuals and groups, basically, it allows us to stay connected and keep communicating. I can’t imagine the team would have been able to stay so focused – and maintain that all-important group dynamic – without having that direct access to one another. It’s also easy to contact people who are working in other offices or who aren’t in your team. Being so used to social media, apps like MS Teams brings that element of easy connectivity into the workplace and cuts down on email.

Lockdown taught me that the line separating personal and work life can quickly get blurred if you’re not careful. When you’re working from home, it’s important to give yourself a pause during the day. The best tip I can share is to stay personally productive, like learning something new that you can do during short breaks. I bought a ukulele and taught myself how to play by watching YouTube tutorials, practicing during lunch breaks. It had a really positive impact on me, and helps keep me going throughout the day.”

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.co.uk or  careers@aztecgroup.eu

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