The onboarding is an important part of the recruiting process: a well structured onboarding process can determine how quickly new employees find their fit and how long they will remain in the company. Mariana (Communications, Culture & Engagement Officer at BlaBlaCar), Silvia (People Operations Officer at Bending Spoons) and Henry (Co-founder and HR Director at Caffeina) shared with us their best practices in welcoming new hires in their respective companies.
At BlaBlaCar People team is fundamental in the coordination of the full hiring process: when any manager recruits, the People Team centralizes all the information about the new hire and put them in the HR software which sends a notification to the IT, and to the Engagement and the Facilities Teams, who also take care of making sure the new hires have everything they need on their first day. The hiring manager tries to connect with the new hires before they enter the company and takes care of welcoming the them on the arrival date.
“I take care of the engagement part of the onboarding process: when a new hire arrives I collect their photos and I ask them to write a short bio that includes something unexpected about them: every week I publish an article announcing new hires of the company in our internal blog and a send a message to all the employees on Slack” says Mariana.
On the arrival day, the new joiners get a welcome pack with all of our goodies, a t-shirt and a hoodie plus everything they need to start working (computer, utilities etc.), then they receive 2 e-mails: the first consists of a presentation with all the relevant information they need (internal software, HR information and general contacts), the second consists of an onboarding presentation containing own-produced videos, called “BlaBlaLearn”, featuring the heads of each departments explaining what they do and their future challenges.
Once per quarter, a team building event is organized in Paris for the new hires: during this event company Principles are explained in detail, presentations from different teams of the company (e.g. finance team) are given plus the CEO gives a speech and answers questions.
Two of the coolest part of this team building day are the Speed Lunch during which new hires have 10-minutes Q&A sessions with various representatives of each departments and the Bingo during which new hires are challenged to guess to whom the “unexpected things” previously declared in the bios belong to. The goal of this part is to start building links between new hires and the other employees.
“When I joined BlaBlaCar, the onboarding process was only done in one phase: only presentations by each team and no team building activities. There wasn’t really the chance to build connections between the new hires and the employees who were delivering the presentation.
It took us two months to put in place this new onboarding process, the most time-consuming activity was to produce the videos”
At Bending Spoons new hires start working on their paperwork immediately after they accept the formal offer. A member of the HR team helps them with the bureaucracy and, when that’s done, introduces them to the company through a Welcome Document explaining the tenets of the culture as well as many practicalities useful for their first day (like the WIFI password, how to unlock the office door, or useful Slack channels based on their interests). When possible, new hires get their hardware in advance so that they can start customizing its setup.
The arrival of New Spooners is notified on Slack even before they start, but on their first day they’re introduced in person during the plenary assembly that kicks off the day at Bending Spoons. Their first day is mostly dedicated to the training, a set of documents and exercises designed by each team to share their knowledge quickly and painlessly. The training varies according to the team, but it can last up to several weeks for very technical roles. The training is balanced out with practical tasks, so that the new Spooners doesn’t get too frustrated with their lack of direct impact.
As Silvia explains: “Even though new hires might take a while to complete their training, we are aware that they are integral part of our team since their first day”.
During their first week, new Spooners also take part to lunches with more senior colleagues, specifically organized to get them acquainted with part of the team.
When we were just 18, we used to have lunches with new hires all together but, as the number of Spooners increased (nowadays we’re 64!), it became inefficient to coordinate so many people, and we switched to smaller groups – says Silvia.
Bending Spoons prefers to not force socialization with colleagues but, rather, lets new Spooners to develop their connections naturally: the several common areas and night activities ease the socialization process.
The days before new hires arrive, HR, Technology and General Services teams collaborate to make sure the new hires will find everything they need ready on their desk (laptop, phone, graphic board etc.).
HR team is responsible for welcoming the new joiners and supplying them with all the tools needed to perform their job plus the Brand Management Team prepares a Welcome kit that they find on their desk.
A “buddy”, generally a Director or a Coordinator of the area the new hires will join, is assigned to support them during the first week, introduce them to the new job and answer all the questions.
“We don’t formally organize meetings between new hires and other employees: our open-plan office space makes socialising and mingling between departments come naturally. In addition, we recently introduced a “hot desking” system, removing assigned work stations and allowing employees to move freely around the office to work wherever it suits them, be it in the main open space, a meeting room or communal area.” says Henry
At Caffeina the first day of new joiners are is left for pure induction, from the second day on the new employees start gradually to enter into their new job under the guidance of their assigned buddy. Within a month after their arrival, a meeting with the CEO is organized: he illustrates in detail the values and the company culture and after that the HR team explain how Caffeina merit evaluation framework works.
“One of the most critical points is the new hire’s understanding of the organisational chart and each employee’s role within the company: in the past few months, we have noticed a great improvement in this regard thanks to Facebook Workplace, a platform that makes sharing information and communicating with other employees and the entire agency much easier.” says Henry
Mariana Maal – Communications, Culture & Engagement Officer at BlaBlaCar
She joined BlaBlaCar on October 2014, and is responsible for internal life at BlaBlaCar: she takes care of employee engagement and makes sure they have fun while coming to the office. She is responsible of the organization of 8 events per year, a team building week per quarter with new hires and 2 international weeks during which all BlaBlaCar employees go to Paris and many other Engagement projects.
Silvia Cerri – People Operations at Bending Spoons
She joined Bending Spoons almost 3 years ago. At Bending Spoons she works within the recruiting team, looking for the next great Spooners.
Henry Sichel – HR director and Co-founder at Caffeina
As Partner and General Manager of Caffeina, Henry heads the Finance and HR departments as well as the Budget, Management Control, Treasury and Procurement activities of Caffeina, working together with his respective teams to ensure stability, order and growth.