Digital shadowing

Digital shadowing

Even experienced, otherwise intelligent and talented people get nervous when beginning a new job. And this is normal. It is, in fact, common.

We like to think it’s a product of self-awareness, so it’s a good thing! Right? Right!?

You may think your past work successes are not proof of competency, that it is all in your brain. But that’s just the persistent little piece of your frontal lobe that chirps ‘imposter syndrome’ to you whenever you send a regulation group email.

And this, in this modern age of work-from-home and virtual meetings, is just as common as it used to be, if not more. Without as much constant and consistent exposure to your new workmates, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by their casual competency, las a faire brilliance and downright rude ability to produce great work in the face of unfathomable chaos.

So, at Factotum, we have introduced an old-fashioned technique, to smooth out these little bumps. But, with a modern twist of course.

Oh, and it’s called Shadowing, or Digital Shadowing in these often geographically dispersed times.

The traditional way to shadow is to have a new employee follow around (Shadow), a more experienced worker. With benefits that include the efficient sharing of knowledge, expertise and content about capabilities, work and people. As well as an opportunity to garner all the unspoken nuance around a project and relationships, from the tone of the conversation in email exchanges, to sample outputs; shadowing fills in the intangible gaps that are better witnessed than explained.

The beauty is, the digital version of shadowing is even simpler. Our procedure is to nominate a senior employee to be shadowed to match with the new employee (Shadow) and have them be email cc’d on all non-sensitive correspondence, both important, mundane and everything in between. Thus, enabling first-hand experience of all the outputs, tone, timing and tips to the Shadow.

Not only is this quick and easy for the Shadowed person to add the Shadow to emails, the Shadow can collect, read and ask questions about the information in their downtime, or when they are ready and in the right head space. They are not simply following someone around physically, like a lost puppy, just in case they may have an insightful phone call at some point.

Digital Shadowing is currently in a trial phase at Factotum. So far, it’s working pretty well.