By: John Boyle >> I started my new role as Community Manager & Engineer at Zenoss this past July 2016. I was very excited to join this team and I was interested to see what the new hire process was like. I’ve learned over the years that the way a company introduces and enables new employees is a strong indicator of how well the company is run in general.
Onboarding is critical to the success of the employee, and in turn, the company. I have to say the immediate onboarding program was the best I have experienced in my professional career. Here are nine awesome values I picked up from my Zenoss New Hire Orientation (NEO) experience.
A NEO class is comprised of everyone hired during a given quarter. In my Class of FY16Q2 we had a new EMEA sales executive, a graphic designer, professional services developers, a sales operations director, software engineers and many more. NEO is a great experience and a top priority at Zenoss so everyone attends regardless of role, location and schedule.
A big part of our NEO agenda is hearing from our CEO, Greg Stock, and the entire executive team. They treat NEO as a priority and opportunity not only to convey Zenoss vision and objectives but to engage with new team members through open dialogue, questions and answers. They genuinely love NEO and so did we!
If we arrived at NEO looking to hang out with our immediate teams in the back of the class we quickly discovered that was not an option … which was great!!! At our NEO seats are assigned. This not only fills out the room front to back to encourage maximum participation, it also fosters new friendships and working relationships across the organization. The approach facilitated me starting some relationships I will continue for years to come.
In the majority of classes, orientations and meetings I have attended at prior organizations, attendees have laptops open and are emailing away, distracted from the discussion in the room. In Zenoss meetings, NEO included, you find laptops closed and team members engaging with one another. The key virtue being reinforced was demonstrating respect for co-workers. Not only is this a common courtesy but things get done in a more effective and efficient manner.
The core of any NEO is the company content covered. A successful NEO will cover a broad spectrum of relevant topics, provide appropriate depth, and be very open and transparent. Zenoss NEO doesn’t limit content by a new employee’s job function. Sales strategy, product roadmap, customer success, etc. are important to all team members and the content for each segment is presented in a holistic, transparent manner. Zenoss seems to understand that employees are more effective and driven when they understand the strategy and goals their particular job functions support.
In addition to the core corporate content discussed each day, we also participated in fun team tasks we were asked to do. Each of course had a purpose. They challenged us to overcome adversity, work as teams, and get to know each other. It’s great to see the competitive spirit this can bring out. One fun fact I learned from a challenge is that we have a published novelist on our marketing team.
Throughout NEO we were asked to make our best artistic renditions of our internal mascot “Zenny the Zebra.” Clay was provided on all the tables and we were encouraged to work on our creations anytime during NEO sessions. Photos were taken of the final creations, and then they were put to a vote by all company employees. The top three were recognized at the big happy hour reveal.
Speaking of happy hour, at the end of day two the entire company is invited to enjoy snacks, beverages, a ping pong tournament, great conversation and of course introductions to the newest team members. It is a fantastic time to chat, laugh, put faces with names and find out who created the coolest Zenny art of the current NEO class. A great time was had by all!
Our NEO concluded with a half day community service project where we get to work together giving back to the community that gives our team so much. Our team had the wonderful opportunity to work an afternoon at the Central Texas Food Bank inspecting, sorting, cleaning and packing donated food items for distribution to families throughout the central Texas area. We not only gave back to our community but we had a fantastic afternoon together.
Zenoss NEO not only got me off to a solid start but also concretely validated my choice to join the Zenoss team.
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