Imagine landing a job just before the state lockdown was ordered.
It inevitably happened to some incoming WSFS employees. Fortunately for them, the bank, headquartered in Wilmington, committed to starting all new employees as planned, with a virtual onboarding process and work-from-home accommodations until it’s safe to go back to an office setting again, post-COVID-19.
“We’re used to doing everything face-to-face,” said Peggy Eddens, chief associate and customer experience officer at WSFS. “Connection is really what the company is all about.”
While banks are considered essential businesses, most WSFS employees are in WFH mode. Hiring has not slowed down.
“We have been part of this community for over 188 years,” Eddens said. “We’re here for the long haul. We had job openings before this, and we have them now.”
Continuing through crisis is not a new thing for WSFS, according to the exec: “During the Great Recession, we kept hiring and making acquisitions.”
The COVID-19 crisis put the organization’s digital access for employees to the test: Before March 16, when it moved to its WFH protocol, working from home was something employees would do occasionally as a work/life balance perk — say, if they had to be home for a plumbing appointment or had a child care gap. None of the company’s approximately 1,300 employees were regular remote workers.
At the moment, all but branch employees, who currently serve customers via drive-through only, are home-based. Employees connect via Microsoft Teams, and work through employee access to the intranet platform.
“We’re pleased with how well it’s gone,” Eddens said.
Call center employees are working with customers from home, too, a step made more seamless by a WFH option designed for events like blizzards, which was already in place.
Fifteen new employees have been brought on since the WFH protocol was put into place, their orientation virtual, with papers signed via electronic DocuSign, Eddens said. Books employees would have received as physical copies, including the company strategic plan and company culture tome, are now distributed online.
And this month, there are eight additional new associates scheduled to onboard, with a total of 16 expected by end of April.
Currently, there are about 81 open full-time positions in the region (32 in Delaware); see the listings in the WSFS Career Center. The paid summer internship program is actually expanding, as the company plans to bring on 134 interns this year, with 74 offers presented and accepted so far.
What longer-term impact the current crisis has on the way WSFS operates remains to be seen.
“Being an almost 200 year-old-company, I do think we have always seen difficult times like these as an opportunity,” Eddens said. “I look for the silver linings. Do I think there will be broad changes [post-COVID-19 crisis]? I do not. But we will take a look at what we’ve learned during this time. Some things may never go back to the way they were.”-30-
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