Sqreen-starts: how we help our team succeed from day one

Alison Eastaway
Oct 29, 2018 · 5 min read
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Welcome to the Sqreen family!

At Sqreen, we’re on a mission to build the future of security and having the right team will be essential to our success.

We know that a successful hire isn’t just about having your offer accepted — it extends well into your new team member’s first weeks and months. Here at Sqreen, we try to set our Sqreeners up for success with two key things: a great onboarding experience and a well-managed trial period.

Onboarding for success

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the tools and best practises for onboarding. We try to keep ours as simple as possible.

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Be prepared — nothing says “welcome!” more than an organised desk complete with computer and a few goodies on day one.

The opposite is also true.

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Our onboarding Trello — complete with beautiful team photos

Get the basics right — that means work contract, health insurance and other paperwork signed and completed on the first day, access to email and all other tools done in advance and a central place to find the information a new Sqreener might want over the next days and weeks. We use a Trello board to coordinate this, but I suggest sticking with whatever tool your team is used to using (JIRA, anyone? :) ).

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Eating is a team sport at Sqreen

Share your culture — it’s no secret that Sqreeners love to eat, so we make sure to share breakfast on the Sqreener’s first day and plan a team lunch in a restaurant and an (drinks and snacks night) during the Sqreener’s first week. If the new Sqreener is also new to the city (Paris or San Francisco), we go out of our way to share our favourite addresses and things to do (spoiler alert, many of them include eating).

We onboard all of our San Franciscan team here in Paris, and ensure all of the Paris team travel to SF regularly.

As well as ensuring all new Sqreeners have a great onboarding experience, we are also careful with how we manage their trial period. This is particularly important for our Paris team, though the principle applies to all Sqreeners.

A quick recap on how trial periods work in France

Depending on the type of contract and professional category, French employers can (and often do) include a trial period in their work agreements. This trial period allows both parties to end the contract with minimal delays and obligations. For permanent (CDI) contracts they vary in duration from 2–8 months including renewal.

Trial periods @ Sqreen in France

At Sqreen, we previously contracted 3 month initial trial periods with 3 month renewals. We systematically renewed trial periods.

As we didn’t yet have a clear framework, 6 months was a good amount of time for us to get the information we needed and for the new Sqreener to be fully onboarded and delivering to expectations. However, we guessed that with a proper assessment framework we could improve the former system.

Our trial period philosophy in a sentence is:

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Sqreeners now have 4 month trial periods as standard, with a possibility for another 4 month renewal.

Hold on… isn’t that a longer trial period?

It’s a longer trial period, but the goal is to stop the systematic renewal, and replace it with a more rigorous follow up process during the first 4 months.

Will we still renew trial periods? The nature of some roles means 4 months might not be adapted (for example: a long sales cycle, an abstract dev project). We’ll handle this on a transparent, case by case basis.

Regular check-ins — wherever you’re located

Sqreen also operates in San Francisco, where we follow the California at-will employment relationship and don’t provide trial periods. We believe that no matter where you’re located, the key to a successful onboarding and ramp up period lies in regular, structured check-ins. We use the below questions, feel free to use them and adapt them to your company’s culture!

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Check-in more often than seems necessary, especially at the beginning

HR <> Manager

Check-in after 1 week, 1 month, 2 months and 3 months

  • How does the Sqreener compare to the candidate you saw in interviews?
  • What is better / easier / faster now they’re here?
  • What is worse / harder / slower?
  • They are better than all of us at _______.
  • Do they add to/improve our culture? How?
  • Things that surprised me about them were _____.
  • When I talk to my friends, family, partner after work about my team, I say these things about the new Sqreener: ______.
  • Knowing what I know now, would I enthusiastically choose this person again?

We ask the same questions at each check-in and create an immediate action plan to handle any red flags that come up in the discussion. The manager then checks in with the Sqreener during their next scheduled one-on-one.

Manager <> Sqreener

Check-in after 1 week, 1 month, 2 months and 3 months

  • What has been your highlight so far?
  • Any lowlights?
  • Does your experience of Sqreen (role, team etc) so far match your expectations?
  • Do you feel productive, is anything missing for you to feel this way?
  • Are there any small or silly questions you’d like to ask but haven’t had the opportunity to?
  • How can I, as your manager, help you more?

HR <> Sqreener

Check-in after 1 week, 2 months

  • Is there something we could have done to improve your recruitment and / or onboarding process?
  • What’s one thing we could have done differently to improve your first week/ month?
  • Does your experience of Sqreen (role, team etc) so far match your expectations?
  • What’s something you’ve seen and loved in another company that we don’t yet have here?

And you, how do you make your new hires feel welcome?


This publication features articles written by the Sqreen…

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