onboarding
Barbara Malewska
Barbara Malewska

Not looking back – key takeaways from my onboarding

First impressions can be revealing. Sitting around the office when two months went by recently made me think - how about a short retrospective of the path that brought me to Bee Talents?

Right after my graduation I knew that it is time to begin a real search. I was looking for a heaven, where I could grow, develop, gain experience, and follow the path I imagined at the time to be my calling. That was just the beginning of my list of criteria! I knew I wanted to work with English language a lot, and I preferred to keep close contact with the IT industry. Moreover, as a new (and hella happy!) mom, having flexible work arrangements was absolutely crucial.

Is this a lot to ask for? Hell, I don’t actually think so. But the market is not as friendly to new moms in general as we would all like. Hence, in combination with my other expectations, I was ready to be disappointed with incoming offers. Fortunately, as you can see I write these words as a Bee Talents HR specialist – hopefully, my permanent mooring. I would like to share what I have learned so far, and a couple of surprises from my onboarding process.

Bee Values

Immediately at the door of Bee Talents, you are informed of the company values. You are laid out what they are, what they mean in practice and where the values rubber meets the daily road. Lucky me – I agree with the values wholeheartedly! Partnership, effectiveness, enthusiasm and ownership are the guiding lights which allow the team to coordinate properly. Values can unite the company –  they unify the approach all have towards work, can serve as an additional factor in tough decisions, help set and realize team goals. This made it easier to acclimate myself to the new environment, as the most basic commandments were four words everybody lived by.

Teal Hive

Born in a home, where I saw the effects of overworking with my own eyes (my father is a surgeon), I knew from early days that I want my job to consume my passion, focus and energy, but not my life in its entirety. The onboarding process familiarized me with prof. Blikle thesis, that good life gives success, which in turn gives money – not the other way around! Nice interview with the entrepreneur can be found here (in Polish).

This was my entry into the world of Teal organizations. Despite my strong academic background, I had no idea that there exists a management style that fits my inner composition and personality so well. Teal in Bee Talents touches a lot of things. It is a culture of open feedback, it means the freedom to try and sometimes fail, teal is discussion and collective decision making, and finally – it is real responsibility. Company promotes good life for its employees, even after the office doors close behind us. After all, our work hours are flexible and we can work at home office, so that maintaining a reasonable work-life balance is relatively easy.

Moreover, every Bee in our team is a person first, employee second. We are entitled to have our personal needs, problems and personal situation with specific demands. This style of management is really interesting, as I think it uniquely motivates me more than strict vertical hierarchies. I hope that this will enable me to succeed even more in the long term!

Common effort, one goal

Bee Talents invites you to familiarize yourself with the company major goals very early. After an early agreement is struck, future Bees receive an email chock-full of information about their future workplace. What made me pause when reading it was the part about OKRs, and I was skeptical. I’m wary of management gimmicks and had no prior exposure to working with OKRs. Pretty quickly though I managed to actually value this method a lot.

The biggest advantage to OKRs from my perspective, is that they help to manage the interplay (or sometimes tension) between broad company goals and individual targets of each employee. I essentially had the opportunity to innovate and propose how can I contribute to the overarching company goals. That is how the process starts – first, company goals are set. Next, team leaders and later everybody fits their cascading goals underneath and must have “the” answer when discussing OKRs: “how does this contribute to the broader good?”. Thanks to this I quickly felt an essential part of the team, as at many points you are reminded where the focus of your daily work is and how much it matters.

Transparency – key to decision making

The catalyst to making Bee Talents a teal organization is also transparency. Regular blog readers will know we stress this point a lot, like here in Maciek’s article on our Extreme Agility management style. From nearly Day 1 I was given broad access to company insides. In the first month I received a detailed financial statement from the company on its recent revenues. I got access to projects by others and to documents related to those. Profitability of all projects is public too. This gives everyone an unprecedented understanding of the company situation and makes even hard decisions more palatable – after all, we all know “why”. This in turn breeds ambition and responsibility, as you are feeling integrally a part of the organization failure and success.

Perfect – the enemy of good

I do not want to make an impression that all is magic in Bee Talents. All the onboarding stories above are just a sample. As in every group of more than one human, there are conflicts, there are misunderstandings and crises. Heck in a small office, we all know when someone woke up grumpy 🙂 Even the most elaborate processes and culture cannot help when force majeure strikes. I had an early example of that – in my very first day at our Hive, my Team Leader got sick and was absent. Her replacement – had to be excused for private reasons. Despite the team’s best efforts not to make me feel useless or lonely, I had mixed feelings after my first day! Fortunately, this was only a hiccup and I was really impressed with the rest of the onboarding process.

So now, after two months – you can bet your bottom dollar I would not change to another company. Culture, good management and values do not make organization function flawlessly at all times. But they are both protection against crises, and life rafts when stuff hits the fan eventually. I feel safer, more productive and happier knowing that the current company setup is there for me as well as for the company profits. Rainy day, personal conflict, sudden need to go pick up my son – I can always find support here. And this makes me want to give it to others, too!

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