Definitely hit play on Daft Punk - Harder Better Faster while you read my article. It's how I got the idea of the title in the first place :)
Who am I, where am I and how did I get here?
If you know me already it’s because either I’ve worked with you before, I’ve onboarded you at FindHotel or I’ve been in touch with you during the recruitment process. For those who don’t know me (yet! :D), I am Andreea, the HR Operations Manager at FindHotel. I’ve joined on January 2nd 2020 and man, what a year to join a company and in HR!
I’d learnt of FindHotel via a friend who I worked with (Ezgi), whose partner is one of the organisation’s passionate engineers and now my colleague, Jop. Since I knew both of them prior to joining, you could say that I was a referral of both since it’s thanks to them that I entered the hiring process in 2019. I think FindHotel was as excited as I was about joining, and I could feel and see that on the serene and happy face of every person I met since even before I started working with them. Every time I joined them for a tasty catered lunch or a team celebration, like the 80’s party I participated in, I felt welcomed and though this was before my start date, I had already felt like part of the team.
Over the Christmas dinner in 2019 I also got the chance to meet our remote team members who usually come to the office in Amsterdam once per quarter. Little did they know that after the Xmas dinner it was gonna take a loooong time before they would join us on-site again. Back then they were fewer, but in the past year our remote force has more than doubled and it is present in even more countries all over the world.
New year, new me!….well, actually new job, but you get the idea
Back in January 2020 I had zero clue of how my first year was going to be and what challenges it would have in store for me. To describe my role in the organisation, I’d have to use the expression ‘jack-of-all-trades'. My fellows in HR know exactly what I mean - no one day is like another and you can never fully say that your day is done since there is so much to do on different fronts in a start-up.
Walk into our office and you will find me working with our team-members to make sure that the office runs smoothly or collaborating with our recruiting team to organise an assessment day, but most of the time I will be onboarding new hires, managing the admin side, supporting the relocation of new team members or even write a new company policy and even more.
I had a great kick off in the new job and while I was being onboarded myself, I was also helping with the onboarding of team-members who started more or less in the same period. That was a special occasion because beginning 2020 allowed us to onboard our remote team members on-site in Amsterdam which we haven’t been able to do since.
Brace yourselves! Here comes corona
Only 2.5 months in the new job and a new reality hit us hard; it brought new challenges on so many different levels and seemed to be with us for the long haul. On March 15th, 2020 we closed the office and went home, hoping that we would soon return to the happy office life. As weeks went by we realised that it was no joke and we embraced the new situation.
In HR the obstacles were various and I had to adapt fast and look for solutions to support the organisation the best way I could. Lucky for me (and for them), I am a true fighter and I don’t shy away in the face of challenges.
Becoming a ‘sourcing sorcerer’
There came a time when we needed support on the recruitment side (because you guessed it - we kept hiring even during the pandemic) and who better than me, already an employee knowing the organisation/teams/work, to help out?!? So my recruitment onboarding started - getting training, reading and following sourcing courses to get myself up to speed and ready to rock. I found it valuable to support the recruitment efforts and contribute to the company goals and personally, I saw becoming a ‘sourcing sorcerer’ as an amazing learning opportunity that would for sure contribute to my career aspirations.
Go hire during corona, they said! And we did.
Just like any other company, we were unable for a while to relocate new joiners so it felt like a huge achievements when three team members (Felipe, Mohit, Mohammad) finally arrived in the Netherlands after the relocation process which made us quite nervous at the time. Here you can read about the relocation experience of Mohammad, one of our Engineers, who arrived in Amsterdam last November.
We definitely hired more remotely last year and from the HR perspective we adapted our onboarding to the remote way. We also explored local hiring in multiple countries which allowed us to understand where FindHotel could expand in the future and what our possibilities were. To me this was, and still is, valuable knowledge as I became the main point of information to the hiring teams and a liaison between FindHotel and the potential future payroll partners in multiple EU countries as I got a grasp of what hiring in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, UK etc. means.
In team bond we trust!
Keeping the team connection and culture alive for the past year has and it still requires work since we moved from more on-site presence to 100% remote and to now a hybrid state. I am happy to say that our people have done a great job at maintaining a high spirit since we had adapted successfully to whatever situation we faced so far. From the HR point of view, we’ve always tried to go above and beyond to understand the needs of our team, to support them the best way we can and to facilitate team events and activities. We went from quizzes, scavenger hunts to virtual team dinners and game nights.
As for being there for the team, I will continue to go the extra mile because to me, HR is about people and at FindHotel we care for proper HR processes and practices done with and for our people.
Do I think I got this? You ain’t seen nothing yet!
As time went by I realised that FindHotel doesn’t only feel like the place to be for me because of the cosy, friendly and welcoming culture and the amazing people working here, but also because it keeps creating new opportunities for me to grow organically with the organisation, to improve myself and have even more meaningful impact.
Though I have been working on onboarding, relocation, immigration, admin, recruitment, appreciation, employer branding, benefits&perks, I realise that there is so much more to take on board and master. At the end of the day, I do know that if I work harder, I make things at FindHotel function better and if I get smarter, it makes us (all in the organisation) stronger.