Onboarding process: how we do it?

7 mins read

Starting a new job might seem overwhelming for some of us: meeting new colleagues, understanding the workflow and projects, getting used to the company’s culture, remembering names, and so on. The nervousness before your first day, plenty of questions that pop-up regarding how your life at that company will be like, if you’ll be welcomed, will you be able to keep the pace, is there a ladder you can climb? Reluctant communication, shyness, and wanting your work to be appreciated are some aspects that occur in the life of every employee, especially when the work environment changes. These reasons are normal, and that’s why we focus a lot on the onboarding process for our new colleagues.


The eternal challenge of the newcomer

Each one of our team members have their uniqueness, and our way of working might seem different to new colleagues as they haven’t encountered it before. Get to know your colleagues, how they work, but also what everyone’s responsibilities are both in projects and in the company.

Our client portfolio contains various industries that are either on a smaller or larger scale. Behind all our projects there are several departments, such as digital marketing, development, UI/UX Design, that are working as one to deliver on time and within budget for our clients. All this will be explained to the new colleague from the beginning, and he will gradually be involved in those projects rather than being given a big responsibility from the very beginning.

What is the onboarding process?

The onboarding process represents a period of time and activities meant to help the newcomer integrate into our team. He will come into close contact with the teams’ composition, the organizational culture, but also the company’s specifics.

During the onboarding period, we focus on the new colleague, his expectations, and his integration pace. We make sure to tailor the process to their needs, depending on the teams’ availability as well. Being often seen as a time of transition, change and learning, it’s still difficult to move from one company to another. That’s why it’s key that the transition is kept simple, controlled and sustainable. All this is possible if the company takes a series of measures that make it easier for the new colleague to integrate within the company.

How can the onboarding process be efficient?

Although the onboarding process can help a new employee integrate into the organization, a harmonious and long-term relationship requires a collaborative effort from both parties. Also, the fact that the new colleague is easily and quickly integrated into the team from the start contributes to his happiness inside the company and enjoys working with his colleagues. The idea is supported by the fact that effective onboarding can boost employee retention by 82%.

Although the onboarding process is found today in most companies’ organizational culture, we focus on research first and foremost and constantly improving the processes as we go. That’s why we always ask for feedback from our colleagues, thus we are open to tailoring this process according to the needs of each person.

We never forget about our remote team members and need to feel like they are part of the team as well. We make ongoing efforts to make them feel connected to the company and know they are truly valuable members of the team. Likewise, we aim for happiness in the workplace and are dedicated to communication built on trust and support.

The structure of our onboarding process

For us, the path to a successful integration process is reflected in an onboarding process that is tailored to the integration pace of the newcomer. A company’s organizational culture, values, and a comprehensive document encompassing the entire inner structure are just a few elements that should aid in this process. Moreover, if the company organizes a series of activities and meetings, you can define a real bond between the newcomer and his new colleagues from the beginning (also, it’s fun!).

What would the new colleague’s first day at Grapefruit look like?

The first day will be marked by a few introductory meetings. Two meetings will be with the HR manager, who will explain all the organizational procedures of the company in more detail. Being already familiar with the HR manager, the new colleague will be more comfortable asking questions to clarify. 

Afterward, there will be a “get to know your team” meeting where the newcomer will get to: 1. Meet his department and 2. Learn about the project details, way of working, and receive tips and tricks on how to work on specific tasks to ease the process. Moreover, he will get to know more about each colleague as they’ll be all introducing themselves both on a professional and a personal level.  

The next meeting will be with the Office Manager. In this one, our new colleague will find out about all the financial, contractual and organizational procedures related to the administrative area. We focus on clarifying all administrative aspects from the beginning so that the new colleague will have a firm grasp of how the company works. 

Last but not least, on the first day, the newcomer will finish all the paperwork needed to be taken care of. Besides, he will have access to another document that plays an important role in the onboarding process: The Newcomer’s Guide.

What is The Newcomer’s Guide?

A lot of important information regarding how the company works is shown and explained in the newcomer’s guide. The team’s traditions, values, organization, followed by the responsibilities and descriptions of each role, clients, and projects, with all pertinent information summarized. 

At the same time, this guide provides an overview of the company’s benefits. These benefits include private medical insurance, Pink Friday (a whole day dedicated to sharing and learning), game nights, social events, trainings, an amazing team building and rewards for people that go above and beyond. 

The guide not only helps him have a better understanding of how the organization operates, but it also allows him to design a series of questions that will be answered later by the team members. The newcomer gains a better understanding of Grapefruit’s vision after learning about the professional development process.

What would the new colleague’s first week at Grapefruit look like?

Even if the first day may seem full of different activities, the first week at Grapefruit is actually reserved for the colleague to accommodate with the new work environment. He’ll be briefed on the tools we’re using, the clients he’ll work with, the project he’ll work on and meet his department. He’ll receive small tasks to get used to the project and be able to ask any questions that arise in the meantime before deep diving into the project. 

The Mentoring and Buddy programs are also part of our onboarding process. First, the Mentor is a colleague from the department that will guide the newcomer throughout his journey in the first couple of months. The Mentor’s role is to clarify aspects related to projects, work processes, blockers, unclear tasks and other circumstances the new joiner will find himself in while working. There will be reflected as short 1:1 meetings in which the new employee can discuss with his Mentor the issues that have arisen during that specific week and ask for any technical explanations or advice.

The Buddy, on the other hand, is a person who’s not necessarily part of the newcomer’s team. He has the role of a somewhat “work friend”, a person with whom the new colleague can grab a coffee with, get to know, discuss, laugh, and relax. There will be a few short 1:1 meetings at first, getting to know each other and learning about their experiences. The Buddy is meant to help the new colleague integrate and better understand how the company works, and what’s the team’s vibe. They will be meeting for half an hour each day for the first week, and then 2-3 times a week until the new colleague celebrates his first month with us. Usually, they create a strong bond between one another and end up as good friends.

But this is not all, not even close. In the first week, the new colleague will have meetings with each department as well. Through them, he will be able to get to know every colleague in the company, presenting each other and even finding out common interests. Those activities will focus on the new colleague and will be organized by the HR Manager. Oftentimes, the department meetings are filled with questions about the new colleague, lots of jokes and laughter and, la pièce de résistance: plenty of promises of hanging out after business hours. Honestly, we got to give credit to everyone for keeping their promises every time.

What would the new colleague’s first three months Grapefruit look like?

The first three months in the company will fly by, being a period full of pleasant and interactive activities, carried out together with others. All of our colleagues will do their best to integrate our new colleagues, help him, and to make him feel part of a whole. This is what makes the first three months at Grapefruit go by pretty quickly.

Professional development is a crucial part of our culture. Customizing the employee’s learning plan to match our seniority principles and his goals is an essential part of the process. Seniority principles that are also part of our organizational culture. These seniority principles are a set of skills that each employee should improve in order to advance to the next level of seniority. The learning plan will be reviewed over time with the employee and his team leader. We use the learning plan as a form of guidance for an employee towards achieving his career goals, while offering a clear vision of what are the next steps. 

In the first three months, a series of evaluations will be organized. First, the new colleague will be evaluated each month by both his team leader and the colleagues he has interacted with. He will receive feedback and recommendations, so that he will keep improving his skills from the beginning. Moreover, the new colleague will also evaluate  both his Buddy, and his Mentor, offering feedback and recommendations on their involvement.

Onboarding really helps. That's what our colleagues say.

The satisfaction and enthusiasm of our new colleagues has made us realize over time that both our recruitment and onboarding processes are efficient and useful. But we were not only guided by our own perception, as we also asked for feedback from newcomers on their experience in the first months with us. 

Among the answers, we noticed that there is a correlation between the recruitment process and the onboarding process. The discussions and questions during the interviews were meant to relax and make our potential future colleagues feel comfortable. For this reason, they go through the onboarding process efficiently and will adapt faster to the team. All our colleagues are talkative and eager to tell stories and share experiences. This is another thing that makes newcomers open up and feel comfortable sharing experiences, hobbies, facts about themselves.

Buddy program is another strong point that our new colleagues have noticed from the beginning. Some of them correlated this program with the idea of ​​going to a party. A party where you don’t know anyone, but at one point a colleague of yours also appears. At that moment, you are comfortable and feel that you have someone to talk to. There’s someone you’re familiar with and know things about. 

Even if the meetings with new people seemed lengthy at first, they didn’t go unnoticed. Our new colleagues told us that after a while they did understand the importance of getting to know the teams early on. From the very first days, new colleagues are encouraged to communicate, share things, and get to know as many people as possible. This helps them a lot in the integration process and accelerates their feeling of belonging in the team and company as an essential piece to the Grapefruit’s puzzle.

We’re glad when we receive such good feedback from our new team members. Besides the feedback, we are most pleased to their evolution with us from their very first day.

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