I am your Buddy!

  • Scope:
  • Culture and People
Tooploox onboarding illustration

Hello, I am a…new Tooplooxer

Have you ever started a new job and felt completely lost on the first day? Were you able to hit the ground running, or did it take you a long time to adapt to your new working environment, workflow processes, and unspoken rules? Starting a new job can be exciting, but at the same time very stressful and overwhelming. We’ve all been there. Hundreds of questions are flowing through your head. You’re starting a new job, and you don’t even know how to get to the bathroom. You’ve met your team, but you don’t really know where they are heading for lunch (and if you are invited). You already have meetings in your calendar and you are wondering what the “OB-M1”* in the name means. Are there more than 2 kitchens? Can I use them all? How can I make coffee? Is this milk for everyone?

*Onboarding – 1st meeting

Please, take care of me.

Some people integrate into the new company smoothly. They have no problems with asking questions, checking kitchen cabinets and searching for their new favorite mug or hanging around the office to meet new people. Others need some time to acclimatize to the new place before they open up.

The onboarding process actually begins when the candidate accepts the offer. At that point a newcomer receives an email with information about what will happen next, when to send the relevant information to create a contract and when to sign it. This is also a moment to make a decision about the weapon of choice (the equipment they will be working on) and to agree on the date of the first day. A few days before “day 1”, a newcomer gets the access to an email account. And what do they see…? An invitation to the first onboarding meeting. Boo!

At Tooploox several people are involved in the onboarding process. The People and Office Management teams are responsible for the first contact with a newcomer. During the onboarding meeting, they pass the equipment (laptop) and the starter pack (a hoodie, t-shirt and other cool stuff) to a new person. They also describe first days at work and show our wiki (internal platform), where you can find the information from the company’s weekly meetings. Then, a newcomer is taken under a Buddy’s wings.

Who is a Tooploox Buddy?

A Buddy is a person who introduces a new Tooplooxer to the company, team and culture during the first weeks. It is a Buddy’s job to answer questions, show the ropes with regard to Slack, Google calendar and other important apps, help order food from Tesco or find Kaer Morhen/Batcave (conference rooms) in this maze. A buddy also ensures that the new hire is introduced to the project (if there is need, personally). Who can become a Buddy for a newcomer? In the best-case scenario it is a colleague from the assigned project.. If it is impossible, it can be a person working with a dedicated technology or, as a last resort, someone who sits nearby. A Buddy does not need to know all the answers, but only needs to show where to find them.

A Buddy receives a checklist that should be passed on to the new person and the tasks to follow. The list includes:

  • Show how to access the office – alarm, apps or keys
  • Show a newcomer around – office tour
  • Introduce Tooplooxer to the team
  • Show how to use Slack – important channels, muting channels, notifications, pinging, statuses
  • Introduce Tooplooxer to the project
  • Grant access to other tools (Jira, Trello, Asana, test environments, client github…)
  • Lunch with the team
  • Chromecast / Hangouts / AppleTV intro
  • Lunchroom – order the first meal together
  • Show VR basement – how to set it up

In all other cases, a Buddy is just the first-contact person 🙂

The Buddy idea is fresh to our company and right now we are learning how to implement it well. We are gathering the feedback and introducing small improvements. The idea still needs a bit of work and we have already made tiny changes to its original formula. Anyway, so far, both Buddies and newcomers seem to like it.

Here are some opinions

Bartek – Newcomer

I haven’t noticed the concept of “buddy” in any other company – at least, not as official and extended as at Tooploox. I think introducing that role was a great idea. Usually, the onboarding process is really short and a newcomer is expected to deal with all the problems by himself. Thanks to a Buddy, you don’t feel like left alone, and there is always someone to lend you a hand.

A Buddy also helps to break the ice, build relations and quickly find your place in the local community. My Buddy also helped me to find people that share my interests. It was easy, because it quickly turned out that my Buddy, just like me, does horse riding.

For me, this element of the onboarding program is a great initiative and a very positive experience. Even when you are thrown right into the whirl of projects, you have no sense of seclusion because you have your own Buddy.

Paweł – Buddy

As a relatively new member of the Tooploox family and also a Buddy, I really embraced the Buddy Program. I know well how daunting (and sometimes downright scary) joining the new company can be, so I empathize with people going through that “Hi, I’m X” phase. I always hated that – being in the spotlight, shaking hands, frantically trying to commit names and faces and roles to the memory. Having someone at your back is certainly reassuring at that time. Being a buddy not only allowed me to connect better with new hires but also get to know the old-timers and get acquainted with the environment a bit more. By showing others around and making introductions, I felt a bit like I was an old hand myself.

From the newbie’s perspective, I think having a dedicated person to direct questions at – someone to show you the ropes – is very beneficial, especially if “there are no stupid questions” policy is established. It eases one’s stress when entering the new working environment, i.e. people, company culture and office space.  I even  learned a thing or two that I missed during my own induction :).

The onboarding does not take a week or month. It is a long term process, which helps people to soak in the company’s culture. At the beginning it  is more “official” and intensive but then it relaxes to help the new Tooplooxer to go with the flow. It takes a bit of time and involvement to get acquainted with all the members of the company and the tools that are used, and, as a result, to feel comfortable.

It is extremely important for us to make those first months smooth and pleasant. A great onboarding experience gives a newcomer exactly what is needed at the right time.

We are convinced that introducing a new role of a Buddy was a good idea. If you would like to meet one of our Buddies, check out the open positions on our website and apply!

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