Onboarding @ SnapTravel:
My “Check-In” Experience
Joining a new company is one of the most highstakes exercises in managing expectations vs. reality. Best interview practices will familiarize you with the space and introduce you to future teammates & the problems you’ll be working on. Even so, it’s near impossible to know exactly what you’re walking into on day one. Take this baseline ambiguity, add a startup environment that moves at an incredibly fast pace and you have an unknowable job. Luckily, SnapTravel is in the business of hospitality: creating delightful experiences not just for customers looking for accommodations, but also for team members looking to create impact! It’s remarkable how this industry truth and startup hustle is manifested in my new team’s behaviour.
Always one to record, I’ve jotted down a few observations as I’ve checked-in…
Getting ready for take-off
My former colleagues gifted me a book to get me on my feet here — Michael Watkins’ The First 90 Days — often referred to as “the onboarding bible”. About 3 hours into my first day, I realized that (like most business books) it will grow stale on my nightstand. A significant part of the book’s content is about managing the politics of the office and the stakeholders at play. When everyone is on the same page and in the same room the effort needed to learn about internal networks disappears. There’s only one key influencer here: the hard numbers. It’s super easy to hit the ground running when your leverage is data, not how many favours you can pull with a senior leader.
The manifest, demystified
With organizational complexity stripped away, the real learning curve was the wide world of Travel. Most of the SnapTravel team was once new to the industry, and can attest to the inception-level intricacies of learning about the hospitality supply chain. At 35 and growing, my colleagues have devised many a flow chart/diagram to explain the world of travel to new hires. I sat down with Ryan, the Engineering Manager to talk about SnapTravel’s technical architecture & microservices. There were intensive sessions with Natalia, our Director of Supply based out of Barcelona (Spain), to learn about the vendor relationships we manage and optimize globally. Jon & Lauren from our Operations team hosted workshops on our above & beyond approach to a delightful customer experience, something unique to SnapTravel’s intimate conversational commerce approach.
Ample room to grow
What does one do with all these super-specific company and industry deets? The crazy thing is that once people spend time investing in you, you’re able to start giving back! After sponging for two days, I started getting included in projects on partner performance, or emails for large-scale business development deals. At our scale there is, and often has to be, immediate confidence that you can start contributing from week one. Winston, a Software Engineering intern that started with me, proved that last Friday when he demo-ed the product features he had already built! It’s incredible how much you can grow in a high-performance environment and there is no shortage of opportunities to rise to the occasion here at SnapTravel.
It’s one thing to hear that a startup is lean and focused, and another to see it in action. I’m no Watkins and have no intention of prescribing a 90-day approach, but can confirm that joining a place that brings new meaning to hospitality is a great way to hit the ground running. Having exhausted all analogies to the transition process, I will leave you with one last thought, from SnapTravel’s chatbot experience while the page is loading:
“Two things are infinite: The universe and SnapTravel deals.”
— “Albert Einstein”