What Onboarding at Trainual Is Really Like

Lo Kidd

March 06, 2020

Last Tuesday, Trainual onboarded six new hires, myself included, bringing our office-total to 23. (For all you numbers people out there: that’s 35% growth…overnight!) 

But for a company that prides itself on revolutionizing how businesses train and scale, we realized we’ve been pretty secretive about how we bring our own team members up to speed. 

So, with all of us officially ramped into our projects, I sat down with my fellow newbies to talk about our collective onboarding experience. And here is what we all had to say: 

Perfectly overbooked onboarding

I think I speak for all six of us when I say that being the new kid is the worst!

And according to Ariana, our new Office Manager, that doesn’t change with fancy titles or more experience. “Starting a new job always feels like being a freshman on a team of seniors.”

But when we arrived at 9 am sharp, there was no time to spend thinking about this. With all the paperwork that would typically fill the first morning done ahead of time, we dove right in.

Chris, our CEO, buys into the belief that boring doesn’t retain. And that starts the moment someone is hired.

Imagine showing up for a new job, and having nothing planned for you. It would be frustrating, and probably make you wonder what you are doing there.

But at Trainual, we showed up to the perfectly overbooked schedule. Filled with setting up all our technology, a brief history of the company, an office-wide surprise event (we learned how to make paella at Sur la Table!), one-on-ones with our managers, an outline of all our key policies, and just the right amount of breathers.

And from the moment we walked in the door, we knew we were in the right place. Everyone in the office stopped what they were doing to say hi. Chelsey, our Chief of Staff, had our go-to coffee orders waiting for us. And when we were asked to introduce ourselves, there was equal weight put on our personal and professional stories.“I instantly felt welcomed,” Ariana told me, “and appreciated for who I was as a person, not just for what I could contribute.” 

Getting up to speed

From the outside, Day 2 would seem like we were left to our own devices. And I guess in a sense we were. 

Our entire leadership team was offsite for a meeting. Meanwhile, we were expected to guide ourselves through our company’s Trainual and learn our roles at our own pace. 

At most companies, this would be terrifying or boring, or both! 

Tori, our new People and Experience Coordinator, told me about an experience at a previous job where onboarding took two weeks. “The first week was spent shadowing someone, and the second, I was left on my own, with gradually ramped up responsibilities.”

But Tori reflects that despite the time invested, by the end of her onboarding, she wasn’t clear on her role or responsibilities. “There’s only so much you can learn from shadowing.”

At Trainual, there is no shadowing. There is no dragging onboarding out indefinitely. It takes 2 days, one to move through introductions together, and one to get through our Trainuals.

Our Trainual Day is basically like a birthday or a personal holiday here! We even order lunch to celebrate. And within a few hours (I think Zac, our new Product Designer, completed it in four), we were ready to start contributing to our teams! 

“Normally, by the end of your first week, you still have no idea how to do your job,” Tori explained when asked about transitioning into her role. “But by the end of my second day here, I did. And I do.”

Part of the team

The rest of the week was a whirlwind.

We previewed our new brand documentary film, attended a lunch-and-learn, won Customer Success trivia (thank you to our new Product Engineer, Chase, for representing all us newbies), had my first coffee catch-up (which felt more like a meet-and-greet) and found out the location of this year’s company retreat (we’re going to Park City, UT). 

Chase laughed when asked about winning our office-wide Customer Success trivia game, saying how crazy it is that he already “feels integrated into the culture.”

But when talking with my fellow new hires, we all feel this way!

Lo, Zac and the CS Team At Our Outing

When last month’s Wooly award winner was announced (shoutout Chelsey), most of our veteran coworkers started to explain to us what it was. But we already knew, screaming in unison that “it was in the Trainual!”

As far as productivity, all of us have been working on full-blown projects, big and small, since our third day, fourth at the latest.

“I already completed my first project,” said Chase, when asked about his projects. “It was big enough to be important but small enough that I felt confident getting it done on my own. And it’s already being implemented! It’s awesome because I’m already making an impact!”

We’re still growing! If you’re interested in joining our team, check out our jobs page.

Or, if you’re a business owner, be sure to check out how our Founder and Head of People Ops prepared for this growth spurt!

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