How Sandvik’s Onboarding of a New Consultant Worked

How Sandvik’s Onboarding of a New Consultant Worked

Sandvik is a world-leading supplier of machinery and technical solutions for industry. It is also the workplace of Natascha Lundell Sundqvist, product owner and manager of a tech team. We had a chat with Natascha about her experience of onboarding a consultant from Unicus.

It all started with Natascha being on the lookout for someone with skills in the platform ServiceNow. A colleague mentioned Unicus; an IT-consulting company where all consultants have aspergers/autism. Natascha says she didn’t have any preconceptions before the first meeting. In fact, she felt inspired by the opportunity.

– We don’t treat someone differently just because they have autism, she says. However, we strive for clear communication so everyone knows what to do and how to do it.

The onboarding of a consultant starts with a visit from Unicus’ consultant managers. Natascha says that is an unusual event, when hiring other consultants she has only talked to the consulting company on the phone. She had never been asked if they have a resting room, or if the office has a kitchen with a fridge and microwave; questions that show consideration for the consultant’s working environment.

– I find that very positive. It is evident that they really care about their employees, she says. In that way, Unicus is truly a role model.

The Importance of Open Communication

When hiring a consultant from Unicus, the first step is an informational meeting with the entire team on the client’s side. By discussing autism, which is a form of neurodiversity, the team will have a better understanding as well as the opportunity to ask questions. The challenges and strengths vary between individuals; someone might need peace and quiet, while someone else tries to manage social expectations or a stressful environment.

The introduction continues with a meeting between the consultant, the consultant manager, a selected WorkBuddy, and Natascha. They will have an open conversation about the conditions the consultant needs to use his strengths to the fullest. The purpose of the meeting is to reduce the risk of misunderstandings, by creating a safe environment with open lines of communication between the WorkBuddy, consultant, and the consultant manager. With open communication, they collectively create the best possible conditions for the consultant to succeed.

– I have a team coach with a lot of experience working with ServiceNow and Sandvik’s applications. It’s a perfect match, he is the WordBuddy and can also explain how things are solved on a technical basis.

Successful Onboarding Strengthens the Collaboration

The team has members in both Sweden and India. Natascha tells us that autism isn’t discussed in the same way in India as it is in Sweden. It felt important to explain it properly for everyone, and thanks to a thorough onboarding process the team was up and running very quickly.

– It’s like hiring any other person; it just requires a bit more clarity and guidelines, says Natascha. The same goes for our colleagues in India: Have they understood? As a leader, I must ensure the team has the right information to do what’s expected of them.

Unicus keeps in close contact with all clients. This nurtures dialogue, and allows all parts to address any challenges in good time. Natascha says that the support from Unicus has been excellent. Three months have now passed since the consultant was hired:

– We had two days of onboarding, and then he started working, she says. He exceeded all expectations! It helps that the consultant himself is open and reminds me when I have forgotten to explain something. He really strengthens the work ethic of the entire team.