The year 2020 in HTEC has been marked by two converging factors, one internal and one external. The first was the initiation of a stage of rapid growth that has seen us more than double the size of our team to now include over 600 people across different states and cities. The second, as for all of us, has been the COVID-19 pandemic and all the adjustments we had to make to ensure both a safe and a productive workplace.
Each one of these factors alone presents a number of challenges in the process of integrating new members into the team. The combination of the two has caused us to rethink and redefine our onboarding activities in the remote era and seek out ways to successfully integrate new team members into our organizational structure.
One of the challenges we have noticed in the previous months is the lack of broader organizational context for new employees. While new team members have, by and large, successfully transitioned into their team roles, many of them have lacked the awareness of HTEC beyond their immediate team — the full scope of our organization, our work, and where they fit into the overall structure.
To address this issue, we have instituted a monthly online meeting for all employees who have joined us within the previous month. This orientation meeting is always hosted by a representative of HTEC’s leadership. It serves to provide our new colleagues with a high-level overview of our organization in all its different aspects — history, structure, plans, values, career development, and so on.
The purpose of orientation meetings is to give our latest team members the sense of a broader context and belonging in HTEC’s framework, the sense which they would have gained spontaneously in a shared office space in some more “normal” times. The lack of a shared physical space where people from different teams can intermingle makes it difficult to convey the energy and the spirit of our organization, which is why we chose to try and share that energy through the people who have played a key role in the company’s development.
The most recent orientation meeting has gathered more than 30 new members of our large professional family, who were addressed by our Head of Engineering and Delivery Darko Todorovic. Darko has joined HTEC back in 2011 when the company was no more than a small office team and saw it grow over the years to now include more than 600 professionals, with plans that exceed that number multifold. Aside from his primary responsibilities, Darko also runs the development center in Nis which today counts more than 100 engineers.
Darko has talked to the new arrivals about his professional journey in HTEC, as well as the company’s evolution towards its formidable present state and into the future. He was curious to hear how people who are just entering the HTEC framework perceive the company and encouraged everyone to give their honest and unfiltered impressions. He returned the favor when talking about our organizational values, not as idealized declarative statements, but as substantial guidelines for how we approach our work, our clients, and our colleagues.
Finally, he had encouraged our new team members to communicate with transparency, to be empathetic and supportive towards their colleagues, to take ownership and responsibility for their actions, to approach their work and decisions with integrity, and, most importantly, to continue to learn and grow and make the most of HTEC as a platform for their professional development.
The ongoing era of remote work has created countless challenges to the team identity of many organizations, doubly so for an organization such as HTEC that has continued its rapid growth even through these trying times. Our current isolated professional reality sometimes makes it difficult to see the broader picture, and it is important to remember the things that unite us as a team. Though physically separated, we remain united by our shared passion for our work and the shared goal of providing answers for a smarter and better future.
The orientation meetings are just one step towards immersing our new team members into the collective spirit of HTEC, the responsibility and the pleasure we all share in welcoming the people that make up our professional environment. As we continue to grow, we encourage you to join us on our journey and help realize the vision that will shape the future.