From scavenger hunts to the buddy system, here’s how onboarding shapes culture at 4 LA companies

by Joyce Famakinwa
September 26, 2018

Welcome to your first day at a new company: The tour of the office leaves you feeling a little lost, and you can only seem to remember what floor the cafeteria is on. You spend the rest of the day learning a ton of useful information that you promptly forget, and meeting a bunch of new faces whose names don’t quite stick just yet.

It’s a whirlwind that can leave even the most excited newcomer feeling overwhelmed, and that’s before diving into the actual work.

Thankfully, that’s not the experience everywhere. The welcoming and training of newbies says a lot about a company’s culture, and the good news is that many LA tech companies go above and beyond when it comes to making sure new hires land sturdily on two feet. We talked to four local companies to find out more about how their onboarding process are structured — so that culture thrives and folks at all levels are set up for long-term success.  

 

Matchcraft team
photo via matchcraft

MatchCraft’s adtech platform helps companies manage and scale hyper-local search, display and social solutions for their advertisers, partnering with resellers and digital agencies all around the world. Senior marketing specialist Avni Agrawal told us that MatchCraft utilizes a buddy system to build bonds among employees and inspire future collaboration.

 

How does your company onboard new hires? What support systems are in place to help them get up to speed?

At the beginning of 2018, our company was split into six teams, and each team was tasked with coming up with new ideas for process improvements. My team tackled the process of onboarding new hires. We talked about the issues we faced as new hires and what would have made that initial transition from newbie to family easier.

The idea of a buddy program came out of these discussions. Every new hire would be assigned a MatchCraft buddy — an employee who has been with the company a year or longer — to make their transition into the team seamless and fun. The new hire and their buddy would meet twice, for a company sponsored lunch and company sponsored coffee break in the first month of employment.

Apart from the buddy program, all new hires receive individual orientations from all department heads in their first two weeks. They also are welcomed to the company with a big team lunch on their first day.

 

A buddy makes navigating the MatchCraft landscape easier for new hires.”

How does this process shape your company’s culture?

A buddy makes navigating the MatchCraft landscape easier for new hires. The buddy is chosen from outside the new hire’s department to give the new employee an alternate perspective and give them the opportunity to create an ally in another department.

This program builds bonds between departments that need future collaboration, provides a big picture of our business and promotes awareness about how MatchCraft works.

This initiative is also a good example of our company’s inclusive culture and the efforts we make to welcome and retain our employees. It also shows how new ideas are always welcomed by MatchCraft employees, and that they are not just heard but also implemented.

Note from a new hire

“Being a new hire at MatchCraft was extremely fun and easy. The buddy program allowed me to better understand the team and company as a whole. The program gave me guidance, and motivation, it made me feel welcome since the first day. I am grateful for the opportunity to work for a company that cares for and values their employees.” — Daniel Tanamachi, SEM analyst at MatchCraft

 

SimplePractice team
photo via simplepractice

SimplePractice wants health and wellness professionals to be able to focus on what counts — helping people. The software company’s HIPAA-compliant platform offers features like integrated billing, paperless client intake, online payment options and more. Paula Torres, SimplePractice’s market expansion manager, filled us in on the company’s unique onboarding scavenger hunt.   

 

How does your company onboard new hires? What support systems are in place to help them get up to speed?

On my first day at SimplePractice, I was surprised to find out that I was going to be the guinea pig for a new onboarding process, which was similar to a scavenger hunt. I was given a workstation, a computer and a letter from the CEO about the resourceful culture of SimplePractice. It was a great way to get insight into the company and how they operate from the start. I found it useful and wanted to provide feedback on what could make it even better. They were incredibly receptive and tasked me with improving the process for the next new hire. It really spoke to the culture of the company that they trusted me to take on such an important project in my first week.

The onboarding activities are meant to encourage new hires to be resourceful. They are expected to reach out to team members for access to systems and answers to questions. This helps them acclimate to the company, understand each team’s function, build rapport and align with our culture. We also encourage new hires to socialize with coworkers, share their interests and even schedule lunch with our CEO.

 

The onboarding activities are meant to encourage new hires to be resourceful.”

How does this process shape your company’s culture?

The onboarding process helps new hires fully immerse themselves in our culture from the start. They are expected to take ownership of their role, persevere through challenges and put our customer’s needs first. By engaging in these activities, they get to see that we actually mean what we say about our culture. We also request feedback from each group that completes the onboarding process. This way we can continually refine the process and make it even more powerful the next time around.

 

Ace Metrix
photo via ace metrix

Ace Metrix works with marketers, agencies and publishers to measure the impact of their video advertisements, providing their clients with data-based insights. Their service helps companies test new campaigns and drive results. Patrik Braun, the vice president of core engineering at Ace Metrix, explained that starting new hires off on a small project helps ease them in to day-to-day life at the company.

 

How does your company onboard new hires? What support systems are in place to help them get up to speed?

After a day or so of IDs, passwords and tool install, team leads or someone else willing to demonstrate their domain knowledge will schedule a training describing architecture and key concepts. Once that’s complete, I’ll pick out some smaller defects or a project scheduled for a distant release to give them a way into the codebase. This always prompts more focused Q&A sessions with the team to clarify the jargon, the code structure, the business rules and, in some cases, the legacy decisions that led the code to this point. These sessions go on for several days as needed since we’re a small enough shop.

 

If it takes a couple months before someone new is ready to be given a new feature, that’s fine. By then they’ve hopefully had a chance to get any major questions answered.”

How does this process shape your company’s culture?

We don’t rush through this process in anticipation of the new person committing code right away. Our release cycle is somewhat free-flowing, so we reflect that by putting few constraints on how the new hire integrates themselves. If it takes a couple months before someone new is ready to be given a new feature, that’s fine. By then they’ve hopefully had a chance to get any major questions answered. 

 

MomentFeed team
photo via momentfeed

MomentFeed helps brands with multiple locations stand out in the digital landscape. The company’s mobile customer engagement tools enable banks, retailers, restaurant chains and other companies with multiple storefronts to drive sales by providing avenues to better reach local customers digitally. Director of Training and Development Chris Dunlap talked to us about how at MomentFeed, training is an ongoing process, and not a one-time event.

 

How does your company onboard new hires? What support systems are in place to help them get up to speed?

Our new hires experience a carefully curated week of learning with cross-functional team members and executive leaders that extends into their day-to-day indefinitely. Training is not an event, but simply part of the way we operate. We use a combination of lecture, self-paced activities and hands-on experience to prepare new MomentFeeders for success.

Our new hires experience a carefully curated week of learning with cross-functional team members and executive leaders that extends into their day-to-day indefinitely.”

How does this process shape your company’s culture?

We believe that learning is part of our culture at MomentFeed. We have a community of leaders and mentors who are willing and excited to be a part of every new employee’s journey.

 

Jobs from companies in this blog26 open jobs
All Jobs
Data + Analytics
Design + UX
Dev + Engineer
HR
Operations
Product
Sales
Content
Operations
new
SimplePractice
Los Angeles
Developer
new
MatchCraft
Santa Monica
Developer
new
MomentFeed
Santa Monica
Operations
new
SimplePractice
Los Angeles
Developer
new
MomentFeed
Santa Monica
Developer
new
MomentFeed
Santa Monica
Content
new
MatchCraft
Santa Monica
Operations
new
MomentFeed
Santa Monica
Data + Analytics
new
MomentFeed
Santa Monica
Developer
new
MomentFeed
Santa Monica
HR
new
SimplePractice
Los Angeles
Design + UX
new
SimplePractice
Los Angeles
Design + UX
new
SimplePractice
Los Angeles
Design + UX
new
SimplePractice
Los Angeles
Operations
new
SimplePractice
Los Angeles
Operations
new
SimplePractice
Los Angeles
Design + UX
new
SimplePractice
Los Angeles
Sales
new
MomentFeed
Santa Monica
Product
new
SimplePractice
Los Angeles
Developer
new
MatchCraft
Santa Monica
Operations
new
SimplePractice
Los Angeles
Operations
new
SimplePractice
Los Angeles
Developer
new
SimplePractice
Los Angeles
Product
new
SimplePractice
Los Angeles
Developer
new
Ace Metrix
El Segundo
Operations
new
SimplePractice
Los Angeles

Los Angeles startup guides

LOCAL GUIDE
Best Companies to Work for in Los Angeles
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Software Engineer Jobs in Los Angeles
LOCAL GUIDE
Coolest Tech Offices in Los Angeles
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Sales Jobs in Los Angeles
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Perks at Los Angeles Tech Companies
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Marketing Jobs in Los Angeles
LOCAL GUIDE
Your Guide to Virtual Reality Tech in Los Angeles
LOCAL GUIDE
Your Guide to Media Tech in Los Angeles