Welcome On Board!

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Alex Sudheim

18 Aug 2023 Clock 5 min

We’re excited to introduce our new colleague Frederick Shikwambana to the world. Freddy studied computer science but he’s joined Voys as an Account Manager. This means that not only does he know the tech inside and out, but his laid-back charm and innate people-pleasing skills now have time to shine.  

To expedite Freddy’s learning the ropes and finding his feet, we created a bespoke 5-week onboarding journey using excellent onboarding tool Appical to optimise his acclimatisation to his new company and colleagues. In this article we share some insights and observations from Freddy’s onboarding adventure.

Not every company does it this way,  but at Voys we dare to be different. Not for the sake of it but because the only constant in life is change and standing still leads to stagnation. We’re always experimenting and innovating because continually improving is in our DNA. 

The Right Fit

When Voys is in the market for a new member of the team, two of the most important strategic objectives to be met are that the prospective colleague is both a “role fit” and a “culture fit”. The role fit is relatively routine: does he/she have the relevant qualifications, experience and capabilities? 

Culture fit is slightly more complicated. This is because Voys is the only company in South Africa to operate according to groundbreaking organisational philosophy Holacracy. Under Holacracy there are no hierarchies or pecking orders: you are your own boss and your own manager and are accountable for your own responsibilities.

This isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. Being granted such autonomy can be daunting for those who prefer to work according to strict instructions. However Freddy embraced this brave new world with open arms and an open mind. 

On the phone and in the zone.

“Holacracy really breaks the biological programming and social conditioning where one is expected to toe the line and kowtow to a rigid chain of command. I love it. It’s liberating and empowering. If everyone adopted it, it could change the world,” he enthuses. “Yes, there was a small degree of surprise and shock as every fibre of my being said ‘this shouldn’t work’ but guess what: it DOES!” 

Digging Deep

“For the first time I was required to dig deep to reflect upon my own knowledge and experience to determine how I could maximise my impact upon the company,” says Freddy. “I am given the freedom to navigate my own trajectory without anyone looking over my shoulder and barking orders.” 

“In organisations I’ve worked for previously, it often wasn’t worth one’s while going above and beyond one’s KPIs. But here at Voys it’s the exact opposite. Holacracy is a genuine, authentic and highly effective antidote to complacency,” he says. 

“There are no managers so you have to manage yourself, be your own boss and crack your own whip. The absence of the traditional, conservative workplace hierarchy gives everyone a unique sense of purpose. Being responsible and accountable for your own initiatives and actions affords all colleagues a genuine sense of ownership and self-affirmation.”

Freddy further makes a palpable point in his observation that “it goes to show that self-motivation and autonomy really work. I’m inspired by the trust placed in me and the fact that my contributions are validated, acknowledged and recognised in such a way that I’m far more ‘human’ than I am ‘resource’.”

Being their own bosses: Team Voys SA.

Setting Sail

Do we ever run out of nautical metaphors? No. Was Freddy challenged and stimulated by his experience of being onboarded via Appical? Yes. One of the great advantages of using Appical for the embarkation of new colleagues is that, after each week during the 5-week process, they are asked to reflect upon their progress thus far.

In Freddy’s case, Week 1 was all about meeting the new colleagues; soaking up the company culture; absorbing the Voys values and soaking up the pressure to make a stellar first impression. It was also a bit of a baptism of fire on the Holacracy front but, as Freddy reflected, “on paper it comes across as idealistic but in practice it’s liberating to break away from conventional company hierarchies.”

The following weeks came fast and furious but, to cut a long story short, Freddy quickly moved from making mock calls and shadowing colleagues’ calls to already landing three brand-new deals by the end of week 5. Our freshly minted colleague is now ready to make Voys his oyster and bring the full force of his considerable talents to ensure we are continuously evolving, improving, adapting and growing.

Human interaction remains an integral element of onboarding new colleagues.

All Hands on Deck

Although we’d love to take credit for our innovative onboarding methods having magically transformed Freddy from blank canvas to customer-facing guru, we’re only too happy that it takes two to tango. Freddy will make an awesome colleague because he’s a great guy; a great fit for the role and clearly cut out for our company culture. 

Also not to be underestimated is that these qualities were discerned by the hiring team, led by our very own internal recruiter, Natalie Pardenwachter. Our well-oiled recruitment process, in combination with tools like Homerun, help to ensure we make an unbiased, well-informed decision as a collective. 

Furthermore, Freddy’s onboarding journey is not just an expression of our innovative hiring process but our holistic business philosophy. In the same way we onboard customers so they can extract maximum value from our award-winning telephony platform, we grow our colleagues to make them as fulfilled, stimulated and satisfied as possible. 

This speaks to the seamlessness between our external and internal processes which coalesces into our formula for success: happy colleagues make happy customers; happy customers make happy colleagues. Freddy, here’s looking at you, kid. We know you’re going to make us – and yourself – proud as punch. 

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