Career | People

Onboarding Through a Screen

Making newcomers feel like part of the team through virtual onboarding

December 9, 2021

Onboarding Through a Screen

It’s been nearly two years since the Covid-19 pandemic gripped the world and forced all of us to quickly adapt to a fully remote working model.

One important area of operations affected by this was our onboarding procedure. Instead of being welcomed at the office on your first day as a Kolibri, now there are Zoom calls and Slack messages with introductions and all the information you need to get started. So what has changed for our onboarding process over the last months and how did several of our new colleagues experience their start at Kolibri Games?

How do you hire new talent during a global pandemic? Covid-19 posed a challenge to all of us and it changed the way we work as well. Not only did we have to adapt to a fully remote working environment, we also had to come up with innovative ideas to recruit and hire new Kolibris during lockdown measures without being able to meet them in person. To make the recruiting process safe, easy, and comfortable for everybody, we quickly developed a remote interviewing process to find out if a candidate interviewing for a position at Kolibri Games was the right fit for us. The next and maybe even more challenging step was to adapt our entire onboarding procedure.

(Learn more about our recruiting process in this blog post: /blog/how-to-hire-from-home/ )

So what has changed for our onboarding process over the last months and which measures did we take to make the new Kolibris feel right at home at their new job? We asked several of our new coworkers how they experienced their start at Kolibri Games and also spoke to a few Kolibris overseeing parts of the process about what they do to make newcomers feel welcome.

The first days 

Shortly after signing their contract, new hires will receive a welcome package in the mail which contains everything they will need for starting their job at Kolibri Games. They will also receive a laptop and smartphone that have already been set up, along with a binder containing all the necessary information about their first days as a Kolibri. People Ops and IT will work closely with them and are always happy to help with any problem they might encounter. Virtual lunches and team dinners together with regular Zoom team meetings and one on ones with their lead make getting to know each other very easy. We are always working on building a sense of belonging so you feel that you are part of the Kolibri community, even though the usual small office interactions with others might not be feasible at the moment. 

Since the onboarding is happening remotely, we aim to support new hires in setting up their office at home by offering a budget that they can use to order office supplies and equipment that they might need for work. From desks, monitors, chairs, to things like air fresheners, we do our best to make sure that you feel as comfortable as possible in your remote work setup. 

If you’re based in Berlin, we can also send you office furniture from our main office. Our virtual events will help you with staying social and getting to know Kolibris from other teams by engaging in fun activities even while you work remotely. This way, you will meet lots of interesting people from different backgrounds who might help you not only with work-related topics but also with many other aspects of life in Berlin, like where you can find the best Korean restaurant in town or how to make your dog’s Instagram page the best in the game! Our Slack is also a vibrant community with lots of different channels for our teams and games as well as other topics and interests.

(Supplies for last year’s remote holiday gift bag event)

Close IT Support 

On the business side of things, we first and foremost want to make sure you get all the right hardware and are able to access all the necessary software and internal platforms in order to hit the ground running as a Kolibri. 

Greg, our Web Developer, who was onboarded this past year states that “in my role, it’s important to have access to our different web tools from the start so that I can get acquainted with the backend systems we use, and begin to assess the website’s setup. We have an office IT team which is really responsive, and whenever I needed access to a software platform they were there to help”. 

Virtual Events 

One of the best ways for new hires to get acquainted with their new work environment is through the various internal events we offer. These are typically open to all Kolibris to attend and vary in nature. 

For example, once a quarter we host our ‘Wisdom and Waffles’ events, which focus on learning and development by inviting founders from different industries to speak to Kolibris about their careers, growing their businesses, and succeeding in tech. Participants are encouraged to ask the guest questions about their professional journey. When the event takes place on-site, we gather for waffles and socialize once it concludes. 

For more social activities, where Kolibris have the chance to get to know each other virtually while taking part in a fun activity, we’ve begun a series of ‘Magic Dinner’ events. During these, we send a gift box full of ingredients to each participant’s home and prepare a tasty meal together. Our Front Desk & Events Manager, Eva, organizes many of these and had the following to say. “Being onboarded remotely definitely comes with its unique set of challenges. I remember coming to the company a few years ago when we were still all working in the office. Being in an office environment surrounded by new colleagues means that you will quickly get to know people from day one and that makes life easier for any newcomer. It’s one of our main goals to make sure that we can replicate that social aspect to the process of onboarding new Kolibris.” 

(One of the gingerbread houses we put together during a recent virtual event)

Eva’s events don’t just stop at the magic dinners either. We encourage new Kolibris to take part in virtual meditation sessions, cooking classes, and more. We even just had a gingerbread home building event for the holiday season! 

(Check out our recent Game Jam blog post:  /blog/how-70-kolibris-created-8-prototypes-in-just-one-weekend/ )

Keeping morale high

Ultimately, our goal is to maintain high morale, even during these challenging times. Business goals are always there, but it’s important to make sure that people feel good about their work environment, while they’re looking to achieve them. 

Michel, a Junior Product Manager who was hired and onboarded remotely attests to this, and to the positive impact of online social activities in his integration into the company, and feeling like part of the team. “A lot of effort goes into preserving the company culture while keeping everyone safe and feeling respected. What helped me integrate and settle at the company the most were non-work-related activities such as Kolibri virtual lunches where you get to meet people from other departments who you would rarely get the chance to chat with.  The chance to put a group together and organize a game or a movie night with food and drinks. Friday nights are also great here, just hanging around at the office after a productive week of work and getting to know other awesome Kolibris is beyond doubt one of the highlights of the week”.

We look forward to welcoming everyone back to our new office in Mitte when the situation permits. Until then, one of our main goals is to make sure we can replicate the steps we take offline to make Kolibris feel at home in our current virtual setup. 

Interested in working for our People & Culture team?