Getting acclimated: How 5 NYC companies set new hires up for success

by Katie Fustich
March 19, 2019

Your first day at a new job can be an overwhelming experience. Between deciding what to wear, planning out your new commute and realizing you didn’t apply nearly enough deodorant, new hires already have plenty on their minds.

Fortunately, these five NYC tech companies make onboarding a real priority. From learning the ins and outs of a new technology, to having tea time with members of the c-suite, these companies work hard to ensure that new hires feel right at home, starting on day one.

 

Yext
image via yext

Yext is a one-stop-shop for companies of all sizes looking for a seamless way to manage their presence across the expanse that is the digital universe. Yext’s suite of tools help solve pain points like growing an audience, managing a reputation and understanding a consumer base. Senior HR Generalist Elizabeth Weglarz shared the thorough, multi-faceted approach the company takes to embedding new hires in both their team’s work and culture.

 

What does a typical first month look like for a new employee?

At Yext, we understand that the onboarding experience is both an individual and collective experience, so we’ve designed our programming to both centralize our new hires’ experiences and allow for a unique integration into one’s new role. For our new “Yexters,” month one is all about learning and assimilating to our organization. All of our new hires attend a variety of interactive training sessions with many different internal teams to learn more about our company mission, vision, values and culture. From staffing to audit to product marketing, we ensure that all Yexters, regardless of the team they are joining, have a strong understanding of our company goals, our products and are prepared for cross-functional engagement and knowledge. We have all new hires participate in our “Yext Certification” so that every Yexter feels connected to our platform and business offering. All new hires are assigned an onboarding partner who is a peer and serves as a go-to resource for our new Yexters.

Aside from programming dedicated to all new hires, our Yexters orient to their individual teams so that they are set up for success in their new role. New Yexters work alongside their onboarding partner and manager to learn the day-to-day accountabilities of their role. Throughout the month, HR brings new hires back together for continuous training and education on company-wide goals and initiatives, and serves as a resource for any questions along the way.

We aim to foster a supportive and collaborative environment, where new hires can contribute their ideas, learn their role and integrate at an appropriate pace.”

 

What does the process of transitioning from new hire to full-fledged employee look like?

As a high-growth company, we tell new Yexters on day one that they will not feel new for long. We aim to foster a supportive and collaborative environment, where new hires can contribute their ideas, learn their role and integrate at an appropriate pace. We understand that this may look different across our organization, so we have established check-in points throughout the onboarding process. We have key milestones and events that Yexters take part in, including our Yext Certification, Myers-Briggs training and executive tea time that mark the point in which a new hire is fully immersed from a cultural standpoint. For each new hire, our people leaders establish key milestones for their new hires to track process along the way and ensure that our new hires are getting the enablement and training that they need. After the 90-day mark, we evaluate the effectiveness of our orientation program for each individual new hire through an engagement survey followed by a check-in with a member of the HR team. Based on that information, we’re able to measure the progress of our new hires, and iterate on our programming to ensure we’re maintaining a comprehensive and welcoming introduction to our organization.

 

OnDeck
image via ondeck

OnDeck has established itself as the largest, digitally-based small business lender in the United States. Since its 2007 founding, OnDeck has supported more than 80,000 unique small businesses through the otherwise complicated and prohibitive processes of securing funding. People Operations Coordinator Alexandra Spiegel shared what new hires to the company can expect in their first days and weeks, painting a picture of a thorough and interconnected culture.

 

What does a typical first month look like for a new employee?

It’s important to OnDeck that each team member receive a comprehensive and fun onboarding experience. I once read that onboarding is a lot like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and while it’s a bit out there, it is absolutely true. To meet our new team member’s basic needs, we work to keep them updated throughout the onboarding process. We encourage them to fill out their paperwork before joining, keep them in the loop with start time, dress and location, send all calendar invites ahead of time and make sure their computer is ready to go. Once our new team members arrive, we walk them around the office and let them get to know the lay of the land. Next, we work hard to give them a sense of comfort. We start with a few required trainings including a technology training, people operations welcome meeting, benefits meeting, and a universal training led by our learning specialist. We want each new team member to start off on the same foot, with the same breadth of knowledge. Our learning team has created other resources for new team members depending on role, such as a functional training or manager training to help them grow in more acute ways.

Our people operations team likes to encourage and empower managers to create an onboarding schedule that works for them. Each role is unique, and while we provide managers with best practices and resources, we want them to be driving this process. We encourage managers to set up cross-functional one-on-ones for team members and introduce them to key stakeholders. We want our new team members to know faces across offices, teams and divisions. Additionally, we have bi-monthly breakfasts or happy hours across the company.

It’s important to OnDeck that each team member receive a comprehensive and fun onboarding experience.”

 

What are some fan-favorite elements of new hire orientation?

We’ve got two fan favorites! Everybody loves our breakfast with the CEO, Noah. We host a breakfast for our new hires where our CEO tells them about OnDeck lore and answers any questions team members have. It’s a great opportunity to get to know Noah; he also has a great memory and remembers new team members just by meeting them at breakfast. Team members also rave about universal training where they can deep dive into OnDeck: its history, culture, products, development and more. Plus, all new team members eat lunch during training and it’s a great way to meet new people.

 

Teachers Pay Teachers
image via teachers pay teachers

Teachers Pay Teachers has established itself as one of the largest online marketplaces for educational content created by, and for, educators of all levels and subject areas. Visual Designer Juhee Kim explained how the onboarding process is designed to give new hires the necessary footing and context to start showing their value and building trust with their new colleagues within weeks of their arrival.

 

What does a typical first month look like for a new employee?

The first three weeks are highly structured. Weeks one and two begin with pre-scheduled one-on-ones with all the other designers, as well as a range of cross-functional partners. The goal of these one-on-ones is simple: get to know everyone, who they are and what they do. Spending face-to-face time with people throughout the company gave me valuable insight into the company’s culture. The casualness was helpful too, meaning we spent time together over coffee or lunch. By the fourth week, new employees have the knowledge and context to start running with their work.

It was nice to feel that the energy in the recruiting stages wasn’t just a front: the team has continued to be warm and welcoming.”

 

What are some fan-favorite elements of new hire orientation?

The best part of starting with TpT was the welcoming energy from everyone in the company. From the barrage of welcome emails (right as I received my job offer) to a notebook filled with welcome notes at my new desk, all the TpTers made sure that I, along with three other new employees, truly felt we were a part of the team. It was nice to feel that the energy in the recruiting stages wasn’t just a front: the team has continued to be warm and welcoming. Healthy corporate culture is such an important factor that is too often overlooked. I couldn’t be more impressed with TpT’s proactive approach to great culture and values; It truly reinforced my decision to join the team. I’m looking forward to contributing to the process and energy of bringing new designers into the team and organization.

 

GroundTruth
image via groundtruth

GroundTruth is a location platform that uses real-time data to create actionable marketing insights that drive business performance in a whole new way. The company has helped major players in industries spanning retail, automotive and hospitality meet consumers where it counts, and drive a whole new layer of conversions. HR Generalist Leah Press shared the in-depth training that all new employees receive, with the goal of teaching not only technology, but also culture.

 

What does a typical first month look like for a new employee?

We’ve tried to build a robust onboarding process that makes people feel at home from day one and keeps them engaged throughout their first few months working at GroundTruth. New employees go through the orientation program either in New York or in our Mountain View Tech Center. This covers a deep-dive into our products and technology as well as overviews from key departments. The program is also a retention tool because new employees are given essential information needed to excel at GroundTruth and accelerate their performance as they ramp up, while also giving them the opportunity to network with others who have joined the company at the same time.

This is followed by 30, 60 and 90-day check-ins with HR and their manager. We want employees to know that HR is their partner, and truly a resource for them as they navigate the complexities of starting a new job, joining a new team and getting oriented in the new environment. The learning curve can be quite steep since the technology and positioning is complex, but the training, goal setting, and continuous performance management tools are in place to provide support for all new employees. I think this creates an environment where people feel comfortable to be themselves and to give it their all at work because they are not afraid to fail as long as they are learning.

We always aim to ask silly, unique and cheesy questions that lead to interesting stories to help loosen up the room.”

 

What are some fan-favorite elements of new hire orientation?

The new hire happy hour is definitely the highlight of orientation. The new employees get to meet many members of the team, enjoy some food and drinks and relax after a long day of learning. The office services team always does an amazing job of picking a fun theme and making sure we have fun games, decorations and snacks to match.

I also enjoy the new hire selfies that we use to welcome each new employee at our company’s all hands meeting. I also personally love giving new hires ice breakers. We always aim to ask silly, unique and cheesy questions that lead to interesting stories to help loosen up the room. We end up learning a lot of funny information about each other in training.

 

Amplicare
image via amplicare

Amplicare works to help pharmacies grow their businesses while simultaneously providing first-class patient care. Amplicare’s suite of products helps keep providers and patients connected, and identifies numerous ways to improve healthcare interactions. Chief Revenue Officer Regina Jaslow shared the company’s extensive processes for welcoming new hires, and making them feel like a real part of the Amplicare team.

 

What does a typical first month look like for a new employee?

On day one, we cater a team lunch to welcome them, which gives them a chance to mingle with other employees in a more casual setting. Each employee is asked to fill out a fun profile of themselves so that we can get a sense of who they are as a person, such as where they are from, favorite food, pets or fun places they have been.

New employee training is typically an intensive two weeks. It covers the healthcare ecosystem, tools we use within the company, our software application and its benefits and basic processes in their department or role. We also set up weekly check-ins with their immediate supervisors to make sure the process is running smoothly. At the end of each month, employees have a one-on-one meeting with their supervisor to go over things they have accomplished or learned, how their personal and professional goals are coming along and how they can work better with their supervisor and team. Since we're in the healthcare space, new employees also have to complete HIPAA compliance.

To get a pulse on how everyone is feeling, including new hires, we have a monthly huddle and send around a survey each quarter.”

 

What does the process of transitioning from new hire to full-fledged employee look like?

Over time, employees grow their skill sets and knowledge base in a collaborative environment where co-workers and their supervisors are focused on helping them succeed in their role.

Twice a week, a “know your company” question is asked to the team. It can be an employee-generated question about the company or something fun (my all-time favorite was “What's your favorite keyboard shortcut?” I learned SO many awesome shortcuts!). To get a pulse on how everyone is feeling, including new hires, we have a monthly huddle and send around a survey each quarter. This opens the door for people to bring up any concerns or ask questions that may not have already been answered during the orientation process. We also organize fun parties and team-building activities such as attending professional baseball or basketball games.

After the first three months, new employees are given a new swag item to celebrate completing their 90-day probationary period. They will also be scheduled to visit a healthcare provider, such as a pharmacy we work with, to see our software in use in the field.

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