Onboarding a new company is an exciting time. It can also be stressful, but in a positive way: Going to a new office, meeting all your colleagues and introducing yourself, learning more about what is expected of you and when, etc.
On top of that, joining PayFit means joining a company in hyper growth with a Work from Anywhere policy -- in the middle of a global pandemic. These are interesting topics worth talking about.
If you are about to join PayFit, are thinking of joining PayFit, or are just thinking of applying for a job, then you may find in the next lines some relevant information that will help you.
Spoiler Alert: Joining PayFit is a good decision to make 🚀
It’s often said that you only have one chance to make a good first impression. This is true for you when following the hiring steps, but it’s also true for the company towards you, when you start in your new role.
That first impression can start from the first call with the recruiter/hiring manager, but here I will focus on key steps before your arrival and your first weeks at PayFit, based on my own recent experience -- I joined PayFit in January 2021.
The BBQ Test
...or pizza test in my case :)
If all the interviews so far have gone in the right direction on both sides, you are just one stage away from your job offer. Congratulations!
There is an extra step, and it's an important one: The BBQ Test. It is the final occasion for you to know your potential future team and colleagues and them to know you.
It is not really meant as a test, and there is no barbecue involved, really: it is a very relaxing moment where you can chat with your potential colleagues, and you just need to be yourself and talk about anything you like, ask whatever you want, related to PayFit or not.
The old-fashioned BBQ Test, with everyone toasting with drinks and food in an open room at the office, has not been happening lately due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Still, the virtual “barbecue”, happening behind a screen, is still a good way to meet everyone, ask questions, and see how your feature team members interact with each other. Do you imagine yourself chit-chatting with them every day ? The BBQ Test exists for you to assess that, in a very informal way.
If you are lucky to be in the same city as some future colleagues, you can have a “pizza test”, like it was done in my case. Of course, not every PayFitter can join, but you still can meet a few and enjoy a pizza together.
The BBQ Test is the final test -- you could call it the “culture fit” test, but it’s really just a way for you to see whether you like being with the PayFiters you meet, and whether they, in turn, see themselves as sharing ideas and lunches with you.
If that worked on both sides, it won’t be long before you receive the final offer.
The Pre-Onboarding process
So there you are: you have accepted PayFit’s offer and have agreed to the start date of your contract. Nice!
Before you receive your laptop (or join the office, whichever comes first), you need to provide your information to HR: full name, ID number, social security number, land address, etc.
To do so, you need a seamless process, so that all administrative and legal issues are handled before your arrival. You need a great onboarding product.
And guess what? We have it, and it’s called PayFit! (you knew this was coming, right?)
Through PayFit, all the data you need to start your new job is entered by you, so there is no back-and-forth sharing personal data and making mistakes.
And if you are lucky enough to have had PayFit in your previous company, you will have much less info to share: it’s already there!
The First Hour as Paybie
A Paybie is a new PayFiter. This nickname is really used during the first 3 weeks, after which you’re considered a true PayFiter.
Finally, the first day is there and you are super excited about that! Depending on whether you live in a city with a PayFit or elsewhere in the country, your onboarding may happen live, or remotely, with all hardware being sent to you. It is recommended that you come spend a week in the office for those first few days, but there’s no obligation to that.
As I live in a place where PayFit has an office and my manager also lives there, we agreed we would meet in the office.
After an initial meeting with HR and IT to have my equipment, to set up my initial account and some important info about the company (such as the Work From Anywhere policy), I was able to sit down with my manager and start my new job as Product Manager in PayFit.
The onboarding phase really started then.
The Onboarding first steps
PayFit is a very new company, as it was only just 5 years ago. Hence, you may think that it’s reasonable to expect some lack of structure and process and a lot of improvisation.
Well, my first impression was that it was totally the opposite. When I had the first meeting with my manager I was amazed at how well-structured the onboarding process was.
The first thing to take into account is that the first 3 weeks at PayFit are exclusively dedicated to onboarding. Of course, you want to start contributing to your team right away, but before that, PayFit wants you to set back and settle down comfortably.
Experience has proven that 3 weeks is the required time to understand how the many teams at PayFit work and interact, how the Product group and the whole company moves forward, and how you can find the right formula for your contribution, diving into the intricacies of topics you might never have heard about before.
This learning period won’t be over after 3 weeks, for sure, but in this first step as a PayFiter, growing into your role is the only thing to worry about. Be prepared to meet A LOT of people, from all walks of life (and of business).
The Personalised Onboarding Board
Once the technical aspects of configuring your laptop are taken care of, most of your onboarding time is clearly explained to you in your onboarding board.
This is a key element of your onboarding. You might be an experienced PM and you may already have a good idea of how you want to do your onboarding. You may also have a good manager to guide you through it. You will also greatly benefit from having a PayFit buddy. But over the course of your weeks of onboarding, the most reliable “checklist” you will have is your personalised onboarding board.
This board offers a clear structure on everything you should be learning and doing the first 3 weeks. You don’t need to follow it step by step, but it will for sure give you clear guidance -- and will be of great help for those who don’t want to be asking a question every minute or start digging in tons of documents without a clue!
It’s divided into seven main steps. I won’t go into the details of each one, as you can have some idea based on the titles in the image above. But I can tell you that each section has a comprehensive list of things you should do, documents to learn, people to meet, etc. Based on different factors, you will focus more on certain things, but this guide is always there for you when you need to refresh your mind on something.
Having this kind of guide it’s extremely useful, as although everyone is very open to answer your questions, this helps you to go more independently.
So, my first three goals for the first weeks were clear:
- Knowing the company and main people I’ll be working with.
- Understanding the industry and our users.
- Knowing our product.
The First Week
After an exciting first day, mainly meeting other Paybies (8 of us that week) as well as my closest colleagues, setting up my equipment and logging in on our various platforms (Slack, Notion, Google Workspace, etc.), I was ready to go ahead for my first week at PayFit.
Going back to goals, the first week was mainly about knowing and understanding the company. The onboarding board gave me a lot of visibility to what I need to know, who I need to contact, and what I need to read.
One of the most impressive things to me is that, before I even connected to my professional email account, there were already plenty of notifications for meetings set in my calendar. Some of these meetings were the standard with all Paybies from my onboarding group, offering a high-level introduction to the different teams within the company -- even ones I will probably not have to work with! Other meetings were specific to me and my new role in the company.
In between meetings, I had the chance to read more documentation and start playing with the product. I also had a daily check with my Manager and my Buddies, and of course constant communication through Slack for anything that was needed. Also, they made sure that Paybies had time-off in order to rest and digest everything!
At the end of the first week, my head was filled with information and of course many things were not clear, but that was part of the process -- and the feeling of being in the right place was big!
The Second Week
I started my second week with new feelings. I had already met a lot of people and I started to understand how they interact -- but there are still millions of things to learn. If the first week was focused mainly on the company and the people, the second week was about getting more in-depth knowledge about the industry and the different parts of the product.
Of course, getting acquainted with the industry and the product is an ongoing topic rather than a single-week training, but the onboarding is the perfect opportunity to set a good base.
Still following the guide, I could read plenty of information about Payroll and HR, our target clients, our competitors, etc. And my training was not just about reading. It was also about meeting more people that could give more details on this. Colleagues from Sales, from Marketing and other PMs from other parts of our product.
In terms of learning and understanding, the second week was quite different than the first one, but the constant was that my manager and buddy were there to talk to me daily, to answer any question I might have, and just to check if I was doing well.
Of course, by the end of the second week, I was getting impatient to dive into the day to day work. But it was important to take things at a good pace and, as everyone I met told me, to enjoy the first 3 weeks -- because after that, many things would start!
The third and last week of Onboarding
Starting my third week, I was particularly excited as I knew that I was going to be more involved in meetings with my direct colleagues, and start doing day-to-day work. Now was the time to start knowing the members of my team in depth -- and they would start knowing me as well.
Also, that week I started working a lot more with my TriForce. What is that, you say?
The TriForce it’s one of the key concepts of how we work in Product at PayFit. Every squad is led by a Product Manager, a Design Manager and an Engineering Manager, forming the squad’s TriForce. They have equal say on the directions taken by their team.
The TriForce is one of the key elements of the PayFit Product organization. It’s also key to the onboarding process, as it’s another group of people that can bring you into the day to day focus, and help you with more details on everything that we are working on and how we do it.
So, the third week was a mix of more learning and meeting people, with getting a better feeling on how my next weeks, months, years… would be.
When the last day of onboarding arrived I was extremely satisfied with the process and excited about what was coming next. I felt confident in my knowledge, in my role, and what I could bring to my team’s projects.
Joining a company that is so young and in such a hyper-growth process, one might expect a bit of chaos and everything to be a “work in progress”. Although there are of course plenty of things to be built into the onboarding, it’s amazingly good and it was a nice surprise for me to see how great everything was structured, and how it allowed me to feel alignment with the different levels of the hierarchy, and the willingness to grow.
Moreover, this great onboarding removes a lot of uncertainties that all newcomers feel when joining a company, thus improving the fulfillment of PayFiters tenfold!
So, was it a perfect onboarding? Of course, not everything is perfect and between doing remote work, the Covid reality, and a growing company, there are plenty of things to adapt and improvements we can make.
Part of my feedback in terms of things to improve was the fact that when you are remote you don’t get to talk a lot with other Paybies like you. You get to see them in many introductory meetings but not to really share some more time with them, which is always a good thing to be together with others in similar situations. Also, it’s a great way to foster collaboration between different teams in the future. So, if you can spend these onboarding weeks on-site, I’m certain you will feel a lot better about being part of the PayFit crew.
That being said, my impression after the first 3 weeks was more than positive.
My recommendations for future PayFiters
So, if you are about to become a PayFitter and you want some recommendations for the first days:
- Enjoy the first 3 weeks to meet people and learn, and don’t focus on the operational matters that will become your day-to-day soon. It was recommended to me, and it’s true. Of course, adapt that to you
- As much as you can, try to at least get to do one or more physical connections. A breakfast, lunch, introductory meeting. Whatever you can do. If you are in the same location as your manager or a direct colleague, it’s much better, but if it’s anyone for any other department it will also be a good thing.
- Daily connection with your manager and buddy is a must. You can probably schedule a predefined slot in your respective calendars, but don’t forget that Slack and Zoom are there to be used at any moment. Your manager and buddy are there for you
- Follow the guide but make it your own. There’s a standard onboarding guide based on your position and it’s partly adapted to your background and experience, but you know yourself better, so adapt it to your needs and knowledge
- Don’t be afraid to ask anything to anyone. Everyone is extremely open and happy to answer feedback. Just introduce yourself and ask what you need
- Join fun/social events. In this road to a fulfilling remote working experience, the company is promoting virtual events, that based on your interest you can join and meet new people.
Are you soon joining PayFit! We are all here to help make the day to day a fulfilling working experience, so don’t hesitate to talk to me or anyone if you believe we can help!
Looking forward to meeting you soon!
PS: We are hiring :)
Edoardo Ferrara is a Senior Product Manager at PayFit.