“‘Space,' it says, is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. ” Ok, I know. If you are a huge fan of the franchise you probably don’t need any introduction. But, if you were born after the 1990s then maybe you do. In this case, it's my honor to introduce one of the most incredible masterpieces that has ever existed. In 1978, author and comic genius Douglas Adams wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Now you may be wondering what intergalactic hitchhikers and Seibert Media have in common, right? Well, let’s find out!
First, to get you up to speed, the story follows a human man Arthur Dent and his best friend Ford Prefect who just happens to be an alien. But, Arthur soon finds out that the Earth is in the way of a hyperspace bypass, and a fleet of Vogon spaceships is going to destroy the planet. Arthur, for obvious reasons, cannot accept his doomsday is just around the corner. I mean, I can’t blame him. He isn’t the only one who can’t accept a harsh reality, by the way. In the real world, for example, in China, “nail households” refer to stubborn individuals who refuse to move their homes for development purposes. While many people would choose to relocate in exchange for financial compensation, some just don’t even if it means having a highway built around their house!
Anyway, veering back from a likely and possibly lengthy tangent… to avoid certain death, Ford sticks out his thumb and hitches them on a ride, but on the very ships about to destroy the planet! Arthur and Ford become intergalactic hitchhikers and go on an adventure of a lifetime experiencing the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything in between. Just as Arthur and Ford go on an intergalactic journey through space, so do Seibert Media employees! Let me introduce you to our very unique onboarding process.
I am pretty sure we can all agree that the onboarding process can be quite overwhelming. Just like pre-flight jitters, you feel excited but also anxious since there is an overflow of new information, processes, people, and responsibilities you will be confronted with. At Seibert Media, we know this, which is why we created an integrated flight plan (our own "Hitchhiker's Guide") that smoothly pilots you through the process. It's designed to introduce you to the most important tasks that should be completed within the first few months of working at the company, and it gives you the chance to meet your new colleagues.
The onboarding process is a checklist in the intranet with really cool graphics, which makes the process simple and easy to follow. The onboarding checklist is divided into several categories from the “First week” to “Organization” and “Agile Org”. You simply have to check off each task that you complete.
As you complete the task, you collect stars along the way! Some tasks are worth more than others depending on the priority and importance. Tasks include creating passwords, contacting IT support, or creating your first blog post on Linchpin Hey, our company-based microblog.
My personal favorite is definitely bringing in cake. Cool, right? For my first week in the office, I baked an American favorite - Oreo cheesecake. I have to say, it was quite a hit! Are you wondering why bringing in a cake is even a task? Check out why we love it so much. Honestly, the flight plan really is a foolproof guide to ensure nothing is forgotten or lost in transition as you make the journey through the Seibert Media galaxy.
Your guide through the intergalactic universe
Listed at the top of your flight plan is what we call the “pilot” that helps you navigate through the galaxy if you have any questions or concerns. Every employee is assigned a pilot, who is an experienced employee, and your main point of contact throughout the onboarding process.
Throughout this journey, there are several feedback sessions that you organize with your pilot. These sessions work two ways, for both you and the company: to see how you feel about the workload and responsibilities, etc. and for the company to assess your contribution and fit to the company culture.
Once you have successfully taken off and have completed the 6-month probation period, rather than having an assigned “pilot,” it's time to ask a colleague to be your “buddy” for your next phase at the company. After the probation period, we don’t just drop everything and say bye-bye. Your buddy is your point of contact going forward in case you ever need any assistance in the future. A buddy tends to be someone that has worked at the company for a few years and has gathered knowledge of the inner workings of the company. Your buddy can be the same pilot you were initially assigned or someone completely different, with whom you might have connected with while working together.
Calling Seibert Media passengers! Please report at the information desk at gate 42!
Let’s take a look at what some of our current employees have to say about their first impressions of the onboarding process - It's quite unique after all.
Peter, a member of our Draw.io product team, recently completed his onboarding flight plan, so what better person to ask about the process than him? When asked about his first impression, he smiled and remarked, “what did I get myself into?” I mean as an Irish person, you can’t really pass up a good ol’ joke.
On a genuine note, Peter really found that the checklist was very useful and definitely different compared to more traditional companies that often just throw you right into company work or that have an onboarding process that consists of week-long workshops.
The flight plan provides a flexible structure to work with in the beginning, plus it's quite satisfying to check off the tasks as you complete them. Peter really liked the flight plan, but what really mattered and stood out to him about the onboarding process was 100% the pilot that was assigned to him at the start of his journey. His pilot was very genuine and huge support for him through the intergalactic journey - he could not have imagined going through the onboarding process without them.
When reflecting on the onboarding process, Anna shared a rich insight into her experience. Anna has worked a few jobs before joining Seibert Media, which is why she truly appreciates the type of work culture that Seibert Media embodies, which she felt from the very beginning during the onboarding process.
New employees at Seibert Media are warmly welcomed and there are many extra steps taken and benefits available for newbies to make them feel comfortable working. (offering coffee or water in the office is a must - if this is considered a ‘benefit’, then safe to say you are a bit behind in the game) Happy employees, happy company : )
Of course, the onboarding process is still a bit overwhelming given all the tools that Seibert Media uses to function as a company. But the flight plan really helps in navigating it all. Plus, it encourages you to talk to people, especially those you may otherwise not have a chance to. For Anna, it took about a month and a half for all of the puzzle pieces to fall into place.
The structure of Seibert Media requires that everyone have a high degree of independent working, which does entail a lot of responsibility. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right work-life balance since it can easily lead to being overworked or even underworked. Top-notch communication is key throughout the onboarding process and is critical in the daily life at the company.
Seibert Media is growing as a company and even if there are some gaps in the workflow processes, everyone is working together to fill these gaps until the processes have time to catch up. For Anna, this is a beautiful thing to see and experience. If there is one recommendation that Anna wants to make for future employees going through the process is to take your time, don’t be scared, and truly have fun.
Everyone has to go through the onboarding process, even our student workers. I dropped in with Charis to see what she has to say about the onboarding process!
With so much to learn, Charis really felt like a sponge - soaking up information everywhere. The flight plan helped her prioritize tasks and it allowed her to have a structure and order to follow. And it has a cool intergalactic theme that definitely makes it a playful way to go through the Seibert Media galaxy, especially in the first few weeks when everything is completely new.
When Charis first started a few months ago, she was nervous and afraid to start working remotely - that it would be hard to meet other people or that she would feel secluded. Unfortunately, many students worldwide felt this way when university classes were forced online due to the pandemic. But, luckily what she has experienced at Seibert Media so far has been the complete opposite! Due to her flight plan, Charis has met many colleagues remotely and she felt welcomed right away, which was definitely a nice surprise!
For a student, a lot of things are brand new in the work environment, so Charis had so many questions. Luckily, her pilot was very supportive and quick to answer them all! She was always encouraged to ask questions, which made for a very comfortable working environment.
All in all, after chatting with three of my fellow colleagues, it's safe to say that the onboarding process is definitely a hit. The benefit of the flight plan seems to make complete sense. But let’s hear from our HR representatives themselves what they have to say about it!
HR Perspective on the advantages of a flight plan
I sat down with Delaina, our HR representative, to get more insight into our unique onboarding process. She highlighted that the flight plan makes the transition into the company easier for new employees. Anna, Charis, and Peter can definitely attest to this! The flight plan is a pilot that gives employees useful information and relevant tasks to complete at the start instead of waiting around for possible tasks or things to do. Plus it gives employees an idea about all the inner workings of the company outside of one’s own tasks and responsibilities.
The transparency of who is on the right track and how far along with the checklist you’ve gone is an intrinsic motivation to complete the list. Of course, the checklist is completely voluntary and not mandatory, it really is a guide to familiarize oneself well with the job. It's easy to edit and do on your own time and pace. The stars also give fellow employees an impression of how far newbies have come. The more stars you collect, the higher your status becomes! From newbie, rookie, and finally a star! There is no ranking per se, rather it's a kind of benchmarking to be kept in mind. Plus there is a sense of comradery among fellow newbies having started with the company around the same time. It's natural to ask your fellow newbie if they have done tasks X, Y, or Z. It's also easy for fellow newbies to set up a meeting together to complete a task.
And honestly, from the organizational perspective, the whole onboarding process is quite simple and easy to carry over to each new employee. There is a general template for the flight plan, although slight variations of the flight plan exist when it comes to the type of employment. Student workers or interns at Seibert Media have slightly different tasks compared to full-time employees. For example, connecting with other student workers in our google group chat.
All in all, in our attempt to escape death from Vogon invaders, we have brought about our own hitchhiker pilot for survival. More than that, our onboarding process welcomes new arrivals and prepares them to thrive in their new environment - Seibert Media. We are working together not only to create a space for effective working, but one where employees look forward to going every day (or night. I mean, they could be nocturnal). If you are interested in hitching a ride to Seibert Media, check out our current openings for astronaut training. For now, let me leave you with some profound knowledge. The answer to the great question of life, the universe, basically everything is… forty-two.