18 May 2020

How to remotely onboard and build a new team during the lockdown

In no time at all, the whole business world has changed. Our usual routines have been transformed and we have a fundamentally new way of dealing with everyday tasks. Digitisation is prevalent in the vast majority of industries, and Fintech is no exception. But now it’s a necessity, rather than a preference. When the Prime Minister announced on 23rd March that the country was going into lockdown, for UK-based companies this meant a move towards remote-working.
3S Money’s experience: How to onboard and welcome new people during the lockdown

For 3S Money it was a big change. Just before the lockdown, we announced the start of a fundraising campaign which directly correlated with our growth strategy and should have led to the immediate expansion of our team.

In mid-March, during a bi-weekly team update, 3S Money’s CEO Ivan Zhiznevsky stated the following:

"We’re hiring actively and expect at least 4 new people to join our family in the coming weeks. All of them will be in Riga. These will include 2 compliance specialists, a settlement officer and an IT person."

When it became clear that the quarantine wasn’t going to end, and the borders wouldn’t be open anytime soon, we were unanimous: 3S Money had to continue growing, no matter what. We’d already made that promise to our partners and clients, and of course to ourselves, so hiring remotely during lockdown was one obvious solution to bring about this crucial change. We also knew that if we could make it now, in these challenging circumstances, then there’d be nothing to stop us in the future. 

We decided to bring in an outside HR firm and entrusted this mission to them. And it didn’t take long to see the results. After a few emails and a couple of Zoom calls, at the beginning of April, Ivan introduced a new employee to the team:

“First things first, let’s welcome a new member to our amazing team – Jelena Litvinova. Jelena will be a settlement officer, which means she’ll look after all our payments, push them through when needed, and investigate them if they get lost. Jelena will work in our Riga office. Please help Jelena to settle in. Jelena, welcome aboard! I trust you’ll enjoy the show!”

Jelena hit the ground running, and this was the turning point in making us feel more confident about recruiting people remotely. It was also a great start to our relationship with WorkingDay Latvia  – the agency we’ve chosen to help us with this new employment scenario. 

Since then, we’ve been stepping on the gas! During the next couple of weeks, we welcomed aboard more team members. On 19th April, Ivan updated the team again:

“Please meet our new team members who’ll be joining our Riga office – Karlis Feldmanis (IT), Janis Valters and Igor Minajev (Compliance). Gents, welcome to the Club – you have our full trust and support from day one. The Riga office has grown from 2 to 9 people in less than 4 months. Incredible!” 

Following the route already paved by WorkingDay Latvia, we had a shot at a new method of recruiting, called “world of mouth”. With the help of the mighty Datcom and our networking contacts, at the beginning of May we recruited 2 more people: a lead sales executive in the UK & Ireland, Gearóid Fallon, and a marketing specialist, Ksenia Tochilina.

Ivan Zhiznevskiy proudly said:

“3S Money has had a fantastic response to our payments service. We’re delighted to have Gearóid and Ksenia, two amazing professionals, joining our team in London and Riga. We hope you’ll enjoy our exciting journey!”

Jolanta Saukane from WorkingDay Latvia shared her wisdom on how they’ve adjusted their HR services, allowing business to continue as usual, as well as meeting and interviewing people remotely:

“If so far 10-20% of the negotiations (interviews and meetings) took place remotely, then during this time all the negotiations took place 100% remotely (from home environment, etc.)."

As always, it has its advantages and disadvantages:



  • This significantly speeds up the recruitment process: faster and easier to agree on a time when there may be an interview, etc.;

  • Opportunity to get to know the candidate a little from the other side (what is the behavior in the home environment, etc.). For example: the candidate gives her child candy after candy just to be able to focus on the interview or the candidate shouts rude at his teenager so that he could focus on the interview;

  • To make such a conversation more informal, for example – I liked and it inspired me that the candidate had chosen the quiet edge of the forest as a place for our remote interview! :)



  • It is necessary to think about communication skills from a distance, for example, to feel the other person, not to talk at the same time;

  • There is a lack of opportunities for the candidate to get to know and feel the potential workplace, the environment, future colleagues.

"Dominant conclusion: During this time, stability and a sense of security are especially important for candidates. And the business potential of the company, its perspective in the future (when thinking about a new job). It is important for candidates to know the boarding process in the company.”

Jolanta also gave us some tips on how to stay positive during the lockdown and what actions might help in keeping the team spirit high:

  • Communicate regularly with colleagues remotely via various online platforms (provide feedback and status updates);

  • Humor is an integral and very important part of everyday life during this time;

  • It is also very important to encourage and cheer each other up (especially younger and less confident employees), as well to be patient, tolerant and understanding with each other;

  • To be involved in adapting the day-to-day work of the company to the current circumstances;

  • Notice, highlight and celebrate even the smallest achievements.

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