In a fast-paced and ever-changing environment like Booking.com, it’s crucial to make sure new employees are onboarded in the right way. That becomes even more vital in Tech, our fastest hiring department. With offices around the world, how do we create an effective onboarding programme that helps each new hire do their best work?
To find out how it’s done, we sat down with Martin Wanders, the Talent Development Coordinator who looks after onboarding for Technology and Agata Malczewska, an IT Coordinator who supports the entire department with logistics for new hire trainings. Here’s what they had to say:
Make new hires feel welcome.
Many tech professionals have relocated from other parts of the world. Booking.com wants to make sure that they can smoothly adjust to both the company culture and their new city. That’s why we have a three-day onboarding programme.
During this session, new hires are welcomed for three days of introductions and information sessions – giving them a chance to ask questions, connect with colleagues, and build relationships with other new hires. As Martin explains, “It’s important for new hires to be supported in order for them to settle in smoothly”.
Try not to overwhelm them.
Agata feels that this initial session is especially important in Tech because of the sheer size of the department. “Since Amsterdam offices can be overwhelming, we are also trying to show our new hires that it’s not as scary as it looks”, she explains.
The value of this initial programme is that all new hires can come together in one place, to easily digest information and ask questions. This means that their first focus can be on learning about the company in general – Booking.com’s values, vision, and more – and only later, get into the details of their specific role.
Integrate them with other tech professionals.
Once the 3-Day Onboarding Programme is completed, many of our Tech new hires join the Onboarding Track. This is a section of the Tech department made up exclusively of teams of new hires. Each team has a dedicated Onboarding Lead with lots of experience in getting new colleagues up to speed. This person leads each new hire on their ‘Learning Journey’, an eight-week training plan that equips them with all the skills and business knowledge they’ll need to successfully join any team in the department.
Why is this two-month training so important? Martin explains: “We want all new hires to feel comfortable, confident and ready for their new adventure. By the end of the programme they’ve learned about the various departments in Booking, and understood the business – how it works, why it works and what the key challenges are.”
Listen to feedback and be ready to make adjustments.
While both Agata and Martin agree that Booking.com’s Onboarding Programme has grown enormously in the past years, they’re always looking for ways to make it even better. As Martin says, “It’s very hard to predict what’s going to happen with this programme because of the fast-changing environment. We constantly make changes to each session after evaluating the feedback from the new hires, presenters and facilitators.”
At the moment, Booking.com is hiring a variety of tech roles in Amsterdam, Tel Aviv and Shanghai – all very diverse markets with different challenges and needs. That means it’s more important than ever to have a dynamic onboarding process, one which takes into account the logistical challenges of remote offices. Unsurprisingly, this might mean that technological advancements play an even bigger role in tech onboarding soon. “I imagine in the future we’d use a lot more visuals and maybe even VR glasses so that everyone can join our onboarding in their own office”, Martin envisions.
Does onboarding with Booking.com sound good to you? Take a look at where we’re hiring and get started on your own learning journey.