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2018: Reflections from the Airtame People team

Inside Airtame
5 min read
2018: Reflections from the Airtame People team
Alexandra Protsenko
December 21st, 2018

Here it comes, the time for reflections. Airtame’s Senior Recruiter, Alexandra Protsensko, reveals the hard lessons learned and taught in 2018

2018 is almost behind us, and most of the team is heading out on for the holidays. The perfect time for me to sit in a comfy bean bag and reflect on the year that was.

It’s been a marvelous 2018 for Airtame’s people team! It started with bringing in two strong players. Mark Gray took a leadership role in People team aiming to scale People Operations through the company’s growth. Ana Visan, the most organized person and the best problem solver joined us as an office manager.

Together we have achieved incredible results that helped the whole Airtame company step it up this year.

An Airtame device floating around reflections from the people team

Here are some of the key 2018 outcomes:

  • Doubled the size of the team from 40 to 88.
  • Narrowed the gender gap 25% of the company is representing our Women in Tech community (while it was only 15% in 2017).
  • Kept a high score of employee engagement (a rating of 9.3/10 – as generated from the service provided by our friends at  Peakon).
  • Implemented two HR systems, Bamboo and Greenhouse, that help us with employee management and maintenance, and recruitment processes, respectively.
  • Successful handling of new and utterly confounding GDPR concerns.
  • Implemented sick and vacation policies.
  • Moved to a new temporary but fantastic HQ in central Copenhagen.
Reflections of a man from the people team standing outside the Airtame HQ in Copenhagen

Beyond the headlines, I discovered some things this year that will help me to make better choices as a People person in 2019.

How to learn from our differences

We grew substantially in 2018 – with 48 new employees joining our now 88-strong team. This amounts to 28 different nationalities.

But it’s so much more than a number. For me, this growth has made me realize that I was amazed at how people with different backgrounds and experience can change my way of thinking, work approach and the overall magnitude of our projects.

I didn’t change my perception of the diversity completely but I grasped it on the deeper level. We learn and improve from our differences, and that’s something we want to focus on in 2019.

Scaling the business while saving the culture

There was a big revelation in autumn this year when our CEO and co-founder Brian stood up in an all-hands team meeting and highlighted that “We are no longer a startup. We are a company now.”

There a lot of cases when startups just fail. We have found a way of succeeding. However, we stay humble and try to make sure we don’t go from a DIY startup spirit to a suit and tie enterprise overnight. That’s a team effort, but the People team are accountable for carrying the torch for our company culture.

The hardest part about scaling a company is not losing track of the things that made you great in the first place.

Airtame today is different from Airtame 1 year ago, but we still have this charming mix of an enjoyable, energetic and balanced environment; where people can try new things, have fun and learn from each other, all while building an awesome product.

The big challenge for 2019, is looking at how we define that culture – built from our startup days – within the new “company” status we have earned.

The importance of a smart workflow

As we have grown this year, we started feeling the urge to build new People processes and optimize the old ones.

One of the biggest issues we had to solve was a decentralized recruitment process that requested a lot of time and resources from team leads.

First, we identified four key interview steps:

  • Initial interview with a recruiter.
  • A task that helps us see how a candidate thinks and rationalizes their work.
  • Interview with a hiring team member.
  • Final, cultural fit interview with potential teammates.

We conducted thorough research about possible tools to help create a harmonious hiring experience and decided to go with Greenhouse. The platform helps us optimize the entire process – from job ads to applications, screenings, and interview scheduling – plus provided insightful recruitment data thereafter.

We also had to establish an internal framework that would let us to optimize the onboarding/offboarding processes and organize HR workflow. We value the role of modern technologies in everyday life, and thus decided to take the Human Resouces Information Service (HRIS) called Bamboo out for a spin.

Bamboo helps us automate the most of internal processes – such as logging sick and holiday days, presenting onboarding procedures and outlining team structure – all while boosting our productivity.

We’ll continue to uncover the benefits of the HRIS in 2019, starting with the way we conduct 1:1s, set team goals and establish performance reviews.

What about 2019?

It has been a busy year, full of challenges and wins. But there is the incredible number of fascinating projects that we will be working on, and a variety of obstacles that we will need to overcome in 2019.

Here are some upcoming projects of People team:

  • Roll out of performance management program.
  • Implement a career development plan.
  • Develop a training program.
  • Unify the style of interviews.
  • Move to our official new HQ in the most beautiful spot in central Copenhagen.
Christmas ornaments for the holiday season
And now it’s the time to rest up with friends and loved ones over the holiday season. Stay tuned. 2019 is expected to be a bold and exciting year for the Airtame team!
Alexandra Protsenko
My destiny is to find the best talents in the world and bring them to the most wonderful team. A fun fact: I spend about 67% of my day on conversations with people.

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