Having to get on a train and navigate the London tube network after two years of not having to do this was daunting. I was also anxious about travelling during a pandemic. I won’t lie, I was definitely one of those people who frowned at others, from behind my mask, for not wearing a mask. I was, however, keen on meeting the team and doing a face-to-face onboarding. Having been through this experience remotely, something is certainly lost onboarding over a conferencing call, I don’t feel you’re able to build those relationships as effectively.
Onboarding is very important, I know this having been on both sides of the fence. It’s important for integration and alignment, understanding the mission of a company, its vision, and values. A strong onboarding should not only motivate the new joiner, it should accelerate, bringing them up to speed with the why and how so that the new joiner is able to start adding value quickly.
Meeting the CEO and some of the leadership team face to face on day 1 of onboarding was great and incredibly motivating. 101 Ways are very big on their ‘WHY’. This comes through as I hear the journey of 101 Ways so far. Solving a complex problem for a high profile customer led to solving further complex problems and the company continues to grow and go from strength to strength with a strong reputation. People were integral to this story and I’m invited to speak with some of them over the next few days and hear their perspectives.
The ‘People First’ value is something that I think about a lot over the first week as I observe various meetings.
‘Talent time’ replaces the traditional ‘Resourcing Call’ – I learn how using the right language is important at 101 Ways. The unique culture here is something to be proud of, and, as the company grows, scaling the culture is something that is very important and considered by the leadership team.
Supportive leadership is often a slogan but is something that I see in action over the course of several meetings. The meetings are super collaborative. Attendees work together to understand the health of the teams and engagements, if there are any problems, the team swarm. Leaders ask questions and offer support. Difficult conversations aren’t brushed under the carpet… they ARE the conversation. And I observe that there is an openness and willingness by all to have these.
On a couple of calls I hear directors reach out for help, or to pair with someone as they have little experience on a particular task. On another occasion, during a talent time call, a concern is raised around recruitment, the person is visibly stressed about this, and he is put at ease instantly by one of the directors and thanked for raising the concern. The CEO is seen smiling during calls and is not one to shy away from cracking jokes via Slack. These might be small observations, but they scream psychological safety to me.
In an early call with my line manager, I half-jokingly told him that I’ve met with some extremely talented people in the first few days and am equally excited to work with them and also suffering from serious imposter syndrome. My nerves are settled as he jokes with me about it and assures me that the aim is to set me up for success and I will get all the support I need. On Friday lunchtime, at the end of my first week, my dad is admitted into hospital. My line manager instructs me to shut my laptop down and be with my family. People first. This feels like a very safe space.
It’s difficult to not be excited… it’s rare to find a company that aligns with your values and to find yourself surrounded by like-minded, very experienced, and talented folk. As my onboarding draws to a close, I’m very much looking forward to ‘getting stuck in’ at 101 Ways.