Onboard Like MailChimp. The Cool Kids Are.
If you can’t see in the above image; I got a new job! I am still in disbelief someone else hired me to continue doing what I love. I couldn’t be happier. After receiving the job offer there was excitement, then a bunch of freaking out and lastly, the uncertainty of what was going to happen next. But what better way to help with the transition of starting a new job then with a full week of onboarding. This week gave me a chance to breathe. *Woosha* During this week, no one expected me to work. I literally got a week’s worth of pay to learn. This was a huge change from previous companies where I received a five min tour of the office, signed all my HR paperwork and was put to work right away. I was issued with two tasks during onboarding at MailChimp:
1. Ask questions
2. Build relationships
MailChimp takes pride in maintaining its culture as we grow, and understanding its culture didn’t start when I walked in on the first day. It happened the first time the recruiting team reached out. The interview and acceptance process took less than 3 months and there was always a friendly answer to all my many many emails. Even after I signed on the dotted line, the essence of the company did stop. I received a few emails detailing what to expect in the weeks before I started, travel arrangements were made for my week stay in Atlanta, and I filled out a few surveys. The surveys asked me about my favorite snacks, colors, hobbies, and even down to the type of computer I was interested in. I was shocked. It was unbelievable how these little nuances created such a warm feeling. After a long week MC’ing JSConfUS I came home and found this cool postcard in my mailbox.
The first day at MailChimp was just like the first day of middle school plus laser beams. I had my picture taken and went on four-five min tour around MailChimp’s office. We learned about the history of the office and the decor was outstanding. There were tons of kitchens, coffee and places for people to break away from their desk. I was also shown where I could find all the snack. You know the most important thing. I felt right at home. Then I received an awesome swag box that included t-shirts, a mug and a handwritten letter from my team. I started setting up my computer and before I knew it, it was free LUNCHTIME.
Lastly, to finish out my first day, I walked around the office dropping off each of my onboarding mates at their respective desks. Since I didn’t get a desk, after all, onboarding takes place at MailChimp’s headquarter in Atlanta and I am in the Brooklyn office, I was welcome with an almighty Chimp Coin. Now when I first received this coin I didn’t realize how valuable these were internal. To the outside world it is a piece of metal but inside MailChimp’s walls, it’s like winning the lottery. What so great about chimp coins you might ask. Well, it adds to MailChimp’s culture because everyone wants one and they are not easy to come by. Most people get one by doing something outside of their normal day to day responsibilities, or on their work anniversary. And once an employee has one, it is their entrance ticket to the Rainbow Room which I will leave what inside a mystery.
Man, MailChimp back at it again with day two. Not much happened on this day because I had all the required HR related mumbo jumbo. So I won’t bore you… go to day 3. Oh, I also had free LUNCH with my team at one of the restaurants at Ponce City Market. What are you still doing here? Go to day three.
This was a pretty interesting day since it was a lot of learning with a little bit of exercise. The first half of the day was a high-level overview of how each department at MailChimp operates. It included chit chats, understanding our customers and a rap accompanied by smooth jazz. It was priceless. And of course I had free LUNCH but this time with various employees across the company. So far this week I haven’t had to be that awkward kid eating alone. I was able to interact with people from Legal, Design, Product, Support and Compliance, Ops, and Marketing and ask them about their experience at MailChimp.
The second half of the day included the highly anticipated scavenger hunt. I was living for this even before I accepted the job offer. With my partner, I walked briskly around the office in a race to collect all the clues. Different people from around the office guide my teammate and I to various answers. We searched for items like the MailChimp library or the three tiny doors scattered around the office. We all competed in a race to win the grand prize. To conclude the day, I watched some tech talks and continued to build relationships with my teammates.
If you haven’t figured this out by now the theme of this week has been all about learning and day four wasn’t any different. I started the day with the research team to get an understand of our customers. Next up was activity of the learning and development team, which was my favorite activity. Yes, this was even better than the scavenger hunt. This exercise was about relating my core values with the company’s core values. This activity was really personal to me because I’m currently trying to find out my brand and it allowed me to dive deeper into who I am.
Next of course was free LUNCH but with your chimpanion. The technical definition of a chimpanion is “a new hires personal cultural ambassador.” Honestly, it is really just an assigned friend. But what makes this experience different then when I was assigned a friend at past companies is I am paired with someone I have actual things in common. She is perfect and I felt so comfortable chatting with her.
The next hour and a half was set aside for a chat with Ben and Dan, the founders of MailChimp. They explained to us how the company was founded and broke down the company’s values to the core, aka core values. After the presentation time was allotted for questions and open discussion. Oh, and let me tell you the founders were spilling the tea; no question was going too far.
“If you can’t fit your idea on a post-it-note; then you don’t know how to articulate your idea” — Ben Chestnut
Now the best thing about the chat with the founders is that onboarding happens approximately three times a month. And they make sure they make each one. Granted their time is just as valuable as the person who orders all the free LUNCHES. The fact that they do; shows me how important the people who come to work at MailChimp are to them. The experience was great.
MailChimp’s onboarding process has changed greatly from OG employees receiving their HR paperwork and being dropped off at their desk first day to what it was a year ago and finally to what it is now. Overall I had a blast my first week and really appreciate the time and effort the employee integrations team has put into making this week memorable.
The next blog in this series will be about my first 90 days on the job. Be sure to tune in for the next one. Thanks for reading, y’all.