Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

After over 2 months at Shippeo, I am confident that I made the right decision when deciding to change jobs and this is mainly due to the great onboarding experience I had. A successful onboarding has an essential part in your company’s success: did you know that 22% of departures occur within the first 45 days of employment ?(according to the Wynhurst Group)

In this article, I’ll take you through Shippeo’s onboarding process and a few best practices when onboarding a person remotely. And also right steps to take when you’re a newcomer. I hope this will help you lower departures within those first few months!

The Shippian Onboarding

An onboarding team was dedicated to my arrival and welcomed me. First impressions are important and yes the first impression was on point: breakfast, coffee, office tour, the special package (laptop, phone, laptop bag, tot bag…).

I attended my first meeting with 160+ Shippians and when I sat there, the first slide was a picture of me. For 20 seconds, I had to present myself and talk about what I'll do at Shippeo. Quite intimidating, but actually definitely worth it because everyone remembered me from the meeting.

Then, I got some time to set up my computer, phone, different accounts and get started on some important reads on supply chain, our company, our values, and our vision.

Following that, I had my first one on one meeting with my manager, Agnieszka Goulin, Head of Talent. She took the time to go over her expectations and mine of the first days. She also presented her vision of collaboration and suggested a way to work together, she wanted to get my opinion to make sure that her method was suitable for me.

The rest of the day is dedicated to meeting each person in your team (shoutout to the best team: Talent Acquisition 😎). It's not just a simple meet-up, the purpose of the meeting is to understand what has been done so far, the team's objectives for this quarter and this year, and what will be my role.

During the first day, make the newcomer feel that everyone is prepared, let everyone know how important this first day is for them… remember how important it was for you!

Throughout the idea that you can fully onboard someone after the first week, an onboarding is a long term process and the more you invest in your onboarding, the more the newcomer will be able to deliver quickly. At Shippeo what we decided to do is to organise team presentations that are spread out throughout the first month. These presentations aim to explain to us each team's role, goals, how they interact with one another and their team members. Understanding how Shippeo works as a whole allows anyone in any team to understand their value and why they have been hired.

Let’s be honest, COVID-19 and the lockdown affected the way we interact with people, specifically with colleagues. At Shippeo, the happiness team decided to organise "Cyber-Coffees" with random Shippians mixed together every 2 weeks. It’s a great opportunity to meet colleagues that live in different countries (🇫🇷🇩🇪🇳🇱🇸🇪🇪🇸🇮🇹), that speak different languages and that work in different departments! This definitely helped me (the newcomer) meet some people at Shippeo and get integrated.

Make sure the onboarding is thought through to last in time because it is important for someone to feel at ease and not like they should deliver right from the first minute. And make sure they have opportunities to meet people within your company.

Best practices of onboarding

So after telling you all of this, what are the good practices when onboarding someone remotely? Here are a couple of things you could copy in your own onboarding process from Shippeo.

  • True for a small startup of 10 people or a company of 500
  • Push your new members to present themselves in a different way via Slack or mail to the whole team (they’re not only a “project manager” or a “back-end developer”, they’re probably an amateur chess player or a great wine taster!)
  • First lunches (make sure to plan the first lunches so that they don't feel lost and lonely…)
  • First breaks (newcomers have a tendency to be "over" professional on their first days, so ask them to take a coffee break with you)
  • First drinks (yes, bars have opened…finally. So please, go get a drink! It's great getting to know colleagues outside the work environment)
  • Have a to do list for the newcomers so that they don’t need to ask 1000 questions on what they need to do (at Shippeo we go through Asana, very cool tool)
  • Start building a company Bible. During my onboarding, if I ever had any questions I just had to type it in Slite where I would always find my answer. (Shoutout to Slite, the Office Management and HR team)
  • Make a list of readings that are important about your company (obviously) but also the sector, the competition, the product…
  • Everyone works differently, so during the onboarding, it is the best moment for a team and a manager to talk to the new joiner and make sure that their way of working is suitable for them
  • The best way to build the best onboarding plan is to ask feedback from newcomers at the end of it (anonymously if possible)

Shippeo’s onboarding was great but it is always in constant evolution. Secret sources tell me that the team in charge of organising the onboarding is already working on a new improved version. 🤫

The newcomer’s role during the onboarding

Let’s talk about YOU. Achieving a great onboarding is not only the company’s job, it’s also your JOB (it is mainly your job actually…)! What is your part in this?

Put objectives on what you want to achieve after your first month, second month, and third month. These do not have to be based on your job but should be based on how well you will be integrated into your new adventure.

Example:

My first month objectives were:

  • Read articles about the supply chain sector and its evolution
  • Read every article possible about Shippeo (Press releases, in-house articles, client’s feedbacks…)
  • Check out the competition and read articles about them
  • Meet Shippians through Cyber-Coffees, lunches, drinks and ask them what their day-to-day looks like (this means getting out of my comfort zone)

Companies translate into words how their culture works. One amazing example is Pat McCord’s Netflix Culture Deck which has inspired the whole Silicon Valley. However, culture has to be lived more than anything.

As a newcomer your role is to understand the dynamics of the people in your company, ask about the culture and their thoughts on it and adapt to it. When you will feel fully integrated in 3 to 6 months that’s when you can add your little grain of salt to it.

Especially when you join a startup, history is everything. You can arrive at a C-level position or as an intern, you HAVE TO be curious about the past. The bricks that were laid in the past are the foundation of the company you are working for. So take the time to ask questions to your co-founders about what happened since the beginning, they will take the time to talk to you.

At Shippeo, we had a meeting with Lucien Besse, our COO, he shared Shippeo’s values and vision. Yet, the special moment was when we were able to ask any questions about Shippeo. And yes, we dove into Shippeo’ s history: the very beginning, our first client, the difficulties… (kudos to Lucien for taking the time to answer ALL of our questions).

It is important for the C-levels to take the time to meet new-joiners.

Thanks Shippeo

To sum up, I had a great onboarding experience and it really changed my vision of Shippeo and the role I have. So once again, kudos to the whole Shippeo team for this warm welcome 🚀

Final tips: Make sure as a company to continuously improve your onboarding process and to give the best experience possible to your new joiners. And as a newcomer, make sure to be proactive during your onboarding, your role is as important as the company's.

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If you want to learn more about a newcomer's role during an onboarding, I recommend the book The First 90 Days from Michael D. Watkins. Amazing book, great read. It gives you the reasons behind why the first 90 days are crucial but also gives you the tools to make your new integration or your new promotion a success.

If you have comments and feedback please leave them below, I would be happy to have a discussion about onboarding as a whole.

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Yann Bidaux

International Talent Acquisition Specialist @Shippeo | Alumni at Concordia University | Startup Lover, Amateur Mixologist & Photographer when I travel