We put people first
December 15, 2020
Anamaria Bumbar & Mona Hristachi

Welcome to mindit.io!

We are so excited to have you around in this new role.

You are now part of a software company focusing on partnerships with four core values: teamwork, professionalism, creativity, and customer-oriented.

We have built a tremendous organizational culture during the last five years and a sustainable intrapreneurial environment in mindit.io. Anyone can grow personally and professionally; hence people management plays a vital role in our organization.

There is something, though, that we'd like to talk to you about before beginning our journey. It will help you better understand our values and mindset.

In mindit.io, we do not have employees but colleagues, peers, nor do we have clients but partners.

We do not have managers, but leaders, people whose role is to support their colleagues' path and development – let’s call them tone-setters. Former known as line manager, a tone-setter is a person that determines or establishes a quality, feeling, or attitude.

To understand our colleagues' lifecycle, we would like to take you through a short tour of our organization, even though we will only do this on paper due to the current Covid-19 pandemic regulations.

Recruitment phase

This lifecycle starts with the attraction and recruitment stage.

As soon as you notice an open position in your team, submit your request to the recruitment team, and they will help you with the flow.

The highest focus is on recommendations, which we also encourage with rewards. It is a great joy to see our people recommending friends and acquaintances, as they are happy to work with those they know and love.

We use employer marketing and we post job openings on HR specific sites or platforms(such as LinkedIn); headhunting prospects for particular roles and technologies, usually for certain seniority, often help us too.

Before becoming part of our team, everyone runs through a 3-phased interview:

  • First, an HR interview, including testing English language proficiency.
  • Secondly, a technical interview.
  • Finally, a conversation with one of our tone-setters.

Part of our recruitment process is also the background screening phase, where on both sides, we establish a high level of honesty. This will always provide you with an overview.

Onboarding phase

Once part of the team, the onboarding starts on the first day with the HR team's induction session.

For rapidly and properly integrating our new colleagues, we assign them a buddy from the same area of expertise, responsible for helping out with the project, technical set-up, access, and how things run around. As hands-on experience is key in software, we aim to start on tasks no later than the first 4-5 days.

Each new colleague also has a tone-setter assigned, most often the one who had the last interview with; thus, they already know each other. This person will introduce them to the team and the partner whose project they will be working on, explaining any admin aspects, values, culture, and why. He will be their "to-go person" for anything that might be needed.

During the first month, the two have weekly one-to-ones, where feedback is provided and expectations are set continuously.

During their first monthly meeting (for now on Zoom), the new colleagues present themselves to everyone, saying a few words about themselves and their passions. The meeting will continue with a member from each team sharing updates on each project. It is an excellent way for everyone, not only the new people, to keep in touch with other projects' development.

The onboarding finishes once the probation period (3 months) expires with an appraisal discussion. There are no marks, just a form with five categories (adapt to change, keep improving skills, easy to do business with, deliver results, ownership mentality). The form is filled in by everyone that worked with the colleague: peers, tone-setter, people they are responsible for, including the person that will receive the feedback (360).Once the outcome is positive, the journey continues having the tone-setter along for its personal and professional development.

The performance is maximized through a high level of autonomy and ownership, which come with great responsibility.

As a tone-setter, it is your responsibility to make sure that you empower people by guiding them. There are monthly one to one meetings between each colleague and their tone-setter based on genuine listening, guidance, and feedback. They will be looking for what they want to learn or have just a friendly, open discussion. You will have to adjust to each ones' needs and level of seniority. Of course, we have tools to facilitate performance, such as Confluence, Jira, DevOps, but the human touch is most important for building a trustful relation.

Continuous learning and wellbeing

Our company has a genuine care for continuous learning; a high percentage of our revenue is invested in learning and development.

As a software development company, we have strongly invested in hard skills training and workshops on specific technologies or various certification courses.

At the same time, though, we also pay attention to our colleagues' soft skills training, delivering the communication courses, providing feedback, and so forth.

It is also about everyday learning through feedback, peer programming, and best practices when something is implemented .And not only that but considering that we have a holacracy-based culture; we pay attention to each of our colleagues' voices.

We also care about their wellbeing on and beyond the job. Therefore besides benefits (such as medical subscription ,Bookster, 7Card), we also offer a wellness program (including online Pilates/Yoga classes), Nutrition workshops, and Mindfulness sessions - a way to disconnect in a time where personal and professional space became the same.

Moreover, in a very fast-moving industry, the career and retaining part is defined by the holacratic culture - it's where we put people first.

There is no pyramidal hierarchy (our organigram looks like a flower); we pay attention to our colleagues' personal and professional development. Everybody can craft their own role in one-to-one sessions with their tone-setters, and once clear about their envisaged trajectory - they can start to pursue it.

It is not about a job description but rather the potential of each of us. We had recruiters who became front-end developers, testers becoming business analysts, and so on.

It is a journey with a lot of autonomy, flexibility, and ownership guided by our values for a common goal. As a tone-setter, your role is to create the context, support the people, and facilitate.

Many of those who started as interns, now reached even technical lead roles. The flexibility and autonomy that people can get are, as well, very appreciated, as well as the fact that the rewarded system is based on performance. Not least, the holacratic culture is vital ,having people trying new things and developing themselves at a high pace without fearing that they will be judged if they fail, but encouraged to try again.

One of the main challenges that we face is that being in continuous development, we onboard many new colleagues (around30% of the existing number of people over a year). Given that we work on customer projects with specific deadlines, it is challenging to remove colleagues from production and assign them to other (informal) roles. For example, the buddies do not necessarily have excellent availability for closer inductions, especially when more new people join simultaneously (a good example is an internship). Working on dedicated customer requests, we always change or swap across projects and contexts. This can be seen as a challenge when multiple projects are involved as people tend to become attached to a team or a project, and elements from induction might likely be needed in the new team (onboarding/ramp-up period).

As expressed by now, our recommendation is always to put people first and genuinely care about their journey. Be there when they need you most, create a trustful relationship, and open communication ever since the onboarding phase. Always provide feedback on the spot and encourage everyone to do so.

Not least, please encourage them to learn, try new things, fail fast, and try again: it is ok not to be perfect.

Talk to the team