Love at first sight: How to make IT happen during onboarding

The first steps in any company can sometimes be a bit stressful. Questions may arise, such as “What kind of people work there?” “Will I fit in?” or even “Will they like me?”. This is entirely natural because the one thing we can’t know in advance is the vibe. We may say we believe in fairness, but it’s down to our new employee to judge that. So what is an onboarding process? What can we do to make somebody trust us? Be consistent and transparent. Be reliable – just like an old friend you have known for many years. Being trustworthy is sticking to your values and not breaking the rules. 

Sounds easy. But we all know how many challenges we can face while trying to go only by the rules. We can become robotic- even a little distant from each other. So if the rules don’t work, change them. 

In Scalac, we have three main rules that we try to follow every day: work hard (obviously), have fun (we really do!), and do the right thing. And we try to live and work in the Scalac community according to these values. 

How do we do it? 

The first rule is pretty simple, and I guess, doesn’t need too much explanation. We just try to do our best. That doesn’t mean we don’t have lows sometimes, or we never make mistakes. It just means we focus on the task in front of us and our work. The second rule: wouldn’t it be too obvious to say that we like to have fun? We simply try to embrace it and have fun – together at our integration meetings (which are a couple of times a year!) or on any other occasion. We like parties, sports, sharing knowledge, or just during (sometimes not so) simple technical discussions. And the last rule: do the right thing. Well, we try. Internally and outside the company – as Scalacers, we want to be supportive. 

Let’s shift our focus. We tend to think about the onboarding process and see it through the eyes of the people who already know and understand the company. But what about thinking about the first day from the perspective of a new Scalacer?

Now, bring some more understanding to the table and try to emphasize the mechanisms and good practices of not just being a great company but also a great host. Just like that only person you know when you are at a party full of strangers. Or a smiling face on a train to work – let’s go through the onboarding process that we have here at Scalac.  

When does the onboarding process start? 

At Scalac, we put our main focus on communication. From the first email we send out to the candidates: we try to make it as clear as possible. We welcome our new team members and introduce them to our Scalac community by messaging them beforehand and describing what the first day is going to look like. What their responsibilities are on the first day? What time do they need to get to work? All of this information is sent before the first day to make sure everyone is on the same page. 

We introduce every Scalacer to everyone by email and also on Slack (which is our main communicator). We ask our newcomers to tell us about themselves (OK, we know it’s not the most original question – but how can we get to know somebody, without ever asking them THIS question?), and then we leave it up to the mentor to introduce the newbie.

What will your first day look like? 

We know that first impressions are always the most important. So from the very beginning, we try to do everything right. When working in our HQ, Bartek or Kasia, our office managers will make sure they set up a welcome pack and any necessary equipment. Or if there is a new Scalacer who works remotely – Bartek will send it straight to their doorstep, wherever the location is. The mentor will also be a big help during the first couple of months – newcomers can ask him (or her!) anything about Scalac. 

We don’t believe any new employee needs yet another gadget to toss into the bottom of a drawer – so we provide a welcome pack that is eco-friendly and sustainable. Also, before arrival at HQ, we make sure we have everything ready (the welcome pack, equipment, and the desk) to greet our new Scalacer.

How long does the onboarding process take?

In Scalac, we focus on guiding our employees and simply deciding together on the right path. The first few months are put aside for our new Scalacers to define their goals (with our help!). Also, to see what they want to focus on.

Well, you may ask: how does Scalac help when it comes to deciding on a personal development path? (I guess nobody has really asked that question, but I’m going to answer it anyway!). At Scalac we have three feedback talks: the first after one month, the second after three months, and the last after half a year, where we give final feedback to our newcomer – to learn and figure out what kind of path he or she wants to pursue. 

The first feedback is crucial: we want everybody to feel they are being seen and heard. Additionally, we want them to grow, so if there is a lack of anything, or our newcomer needs some more support in certain areas, we also want to help. This feedback is also given by a mentor – and what mentors do is that they keep new Scalacers on track and want the best for them. 

The mentoring process takes about six months, and we strongly believe that after these six months, any newcomer is ready to take the journey on their own. The feedback, however, should not be stressful. It should be an excellent framework for development, so let it be as it is.

This probably all sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? We try to focus on the candidate/employee experience and always try to make sure that every side is satisfied with the outcome. So, if you are interested in gaining more insights into the HR processes here at Scalac, you’re more than welcome to share your interest with us – by email or social media.

Thanks for taking the time! 

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Authors

Aleksandra Lesner
Aleksandra Lesner

Recruiter at Scalac. My interests include not only searching for the best Scala Devs but also psychology, horse riding, and plants. I believe that humor can save you in the most challenging situation.

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