This is a personal reflection by Sheryl, team leader of JurisTech’s Heroes Training Academy (HTA). HTA is a unit dedicated to sharpening skills and accelerating development of all JurisTech professionals. From onboarding employees to growing subject-matter experts, their vision is to maximise and unleash employees’ potential for the present and future growth and success of the company.
JurisTech (Juris Technologies) is interested in its employees’ personal growth and career development. It wants to grow heroes that exhibit excellence in all areas.
It has been… an interesting year for us here at JurisTech.
Beginning 18th March, all Jurisians started to work from home as the Movement Control Order (MCO) came into effect. There was a lot going on in our training unit, Heroes Training Academy, (HTA), as we had just started our monthly onboarding programme called NewHOPe (New Hire Orientation Programme). It is an intensive 2-week onboarding programme for our newbies, aimed at not only equipping them with domain knowledge and skill sets vital in their first steps into the fintech world, but also introducing to our newbies, the company’s culture and values.
NewHOPe is an onboarding training programme that is usually delivered in-person, and with the announcement of the MCO, my team and I were tasked to convert it into an online onboarding training programme. With only a day left for planning, our challenge was to bring the syllabus and coordination online whilst mobilising our newbies in order for them to learn their core skill sets effectively online. Now, why was this a challenge? Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons I am here in JurisTech, is the company’s vision to lower barriers of entry for non-tech individuals to be in the tech industry. We have actually created a more technical version of the business analyst role, a role we internally label as a professional services engineer. During NewHOPe, we onboard and train many from non-tech backgrounds into professional services engineers, a role which combines both business and system analyst skills sets. If you pass our aptitude tests and interviews, JurisTech then trains you in the business domain of our customer’s industry, database language, AND also the basic framework behind our system, so that despite your non-tech background, you will grow into an effective consultant who is able to configure customer-oriented software solutions.
This makes for a diverse range of newbies and we cater to these diverse learning backgrounds by creating a highly collaborative environment throughout our onboarding programme. Moving this programme online limits that, and therefore as mentioned, posts quite a challenge. I wasn’t entirely sure where to begin with the transitioning from in-person to online training, and so, I did the next best thing: I shared my concerns with the HTA team.
Then something magical kind of happened.
The team started by first listening to my concerns and did so in a positive manner. They were energetic and excited to try out something new for how our unit delivers training sessions. Then, we worked out the key concerns and prioritised tasks according to the identified major hurdles (technology, logistics, coordination). After that, the team went into motion – they got up and were ready to coordinate between IT Support and our newbies, re-onboarded newbies with a new training agenda, ensuring accessibility to all remote training environments by conducting a walkthrough. All this while managing expectations and ensuring our newbies that they are part of a unit – our unit – and that ultimately, they will get the training they need. It was quite amazing and a true delight to watch the team launch themselves fully into such an unprecedented situation.
Then came the first day of conducting the online training. NewHOPe’s greatest value is in our own Jurisian seniors training our newbies – we chart the growth of Jurisians by encouraging them to be trainers within our internal training programmes as part of their learning journey to master a certain domain knowledge and improve their communication skills. HTA also uses NewHOPe as an opportunity to observe leadership potential amongst seniors who have a strong inclination towards growing juniors or newbies. So, while it is one thing to have your team rise to the challenge and defy expectations, my next concern was whether or not HTA as a unit is able to help support our seniors through this mode of online training delivery.
Again, something magical happened.
Our trainers started reaching out more than ever before, from understanding the newbies better, to creating a more interactive and engaging content to ease the virtual onboarding process. I started to observe that a lot of our trainers voluntarily set aside time beyond their committed hours to guide our newbies and were resourceful in utilising all modes of online communication available to do so, even looked to improve training material on the go and increased Q&A sessions during the training. To note, there were trainers who were still being positioned at our clients’ offices during the first week of MCO. (A majority of our customers are amongst the essential services listed in MCO guidelines) To see them plan training sessions and work harder at providing immediate feedback online to our newbies while navigating their role as team leads during these times of uncertainty was, to say the least, impressive. Even my team members were grateful for such a high collaborative spirit amongst our trainers; it is really easy to work when you have a team member who shares your objective and therefore guns towards helping you win.
Now, since I don’t believe in magic (especially for something that happened twice), I started to think about what made the difference. Why are our Jurisians different? What made them so responsive to a difficult situation and committed to working with you to make you successful?
There are quite a few of us that think within this paradigm when it comes to leadership: that everything starts and ends with the leader. In the past year, however, I have personally experienced that this is not true. Because by this logic, this means all success should also then be credited to the leader, and to no one else. And, also evident from the wins we have experienced in the past few weeks while collaborating with our trainers, there is no way those wins were due to any single person on the team.
But I still do believe that poor leadership leads to things falling apart and good leadership is key to making things move, happen, and of course, work well. So what is this leadership I believe in if I do not believe that ‘everything starts and ends with the leader’?
What I observed was that each Jurisian we interacted with during these two months responded to a call of leadership within their role and scope of work. I found their responses reflected the fact that they understood their circle of influence, and within what they could exercise influence in, they also looked to improve on what they needed to do. Following that, they were also quick to offer a collaborative hand because they believe by helping you ‘win’, they would as well. Your objective becomes their objective because ultimately, we had only one objective as Jurisians: we are in this together.
The multiple hilarious online communication streams we had through Discord (‘a wild Sheryl has appeared’), mistimings with Zoom meetings, sharing the wrong screen during online meetings, online competitive gaming sessions, the multitude of recipes going around (PLEASE STOP MAKING DIABETIC DALGONA COFFEE EVERYONE), virtual exercise sessions, a birthday surprise delivery for a fellow Jurisian that was planned online but got delivered to the wrong address, the apologies and the assurance that comes from a team member after an intense online meeting that helps you focus not on what you can’t do but what you can… these are testaments to the commitment Jurisians have in building a community and ensuring that as a team, we got you. Even for me who don the official hat of the title ‘Team Lead’, at times I feel that my team members are the true ‘Leads’ in their own right – how they seek to understand my concerns and help carry me through times of uncertainty. Our previous paradigm of leadership is incomplete – everything starts and ends not just with the leader, but with the whole team. Ultimately, great leadership does not come from a stand-alone leader, but from a team that’s in it together. A team that makes you feel that together, we got this!
Well done, Jurisians. =)
JurisTech (Juris Technologies) is a leading Malaysian-based fintech company, specialising in enterprise-class software solutions for banks, financial institutions, and telecommunications companies in Malaysia, Southeast Asia, and beyond.