How we’re nurturing junior talent

Sam Mitsios
6 minute read

The next generation of our studio will only be as good as the next generation we hire and onboard. A strategy that encourages and supports this shift now will be far more successful in future.

Two-week detailed induction schedules

That’s why we have a few key initiatives we undertake when it comes to hiring, onboarding, and nurturing junior members of the team.

I remember when I first started out in digital. The first couple of weeks (or months, if I’m being honest) were a haze of not knowing who people were, where I was meant to be, and what to start on when I sat back at my desk. The overwhelming sense of being quietly lost, and completely alone.

That’s why we work collaboratively with our entire team to create a detailed two-week induction schedule for our junior new starters. The induction schedule includes a list of key document references, links to tools we use (with brief descriptions as to what they are), and a timetabled calendar of invites to focussed sessions.

We know that more junior team members haven’t had the luxury of exposure to how an agency works, what everyone does, or how we produce great work. So, we actively work to step things out, explain context, and pair them with the right people to slowly absorb that information over time

The sessions of their induction schedule usually include:

Training and development

After a junior new starter has completed their induction schedule and started integrating more into the team, we work with them to find what sort of individual training and support they might need in their next phase with us. This will likely include some more detailed briefing sessions or education sessions with different members of the team, as well as more formal avenues for training and development through courses, conferences, reading materials, and more.

Cross team buddy systems

As we have two teams at Tundra, we also set up a cross team buddy system (for all team members) to be partnered with someone in a similar discipline in the other team. It gives everyone another avenue or connection to bounce ideas, learn and grow together in a more informal setting. Every new team member is assigned and introduced to their buddy, with the intention they have an ongoing catch up they can facilitate and build on over time.

1:1 coffees to build more comfort

We aim to help our new starters feel comfortable and safe enough to be themselves. In order for that to happen, they need to feel like they really know people on a more personal level and can start to trust them. In their first few weeks with us, we set up plenty of 1:1 coffee catch ups between new starters and people from all over the studio. A friendly face definitely helps break the ice and ensure our new starters are feeling less isolated.

Recurring monthly check ins

Each team member is set up with a recurring 1:1 monthly catch up with either Andy or myself. This ensures we have a consistent point of contact and time dedicated to checking in. These sessions can cover off anything from their weekend debrief and week ahead, to more detailed discussions on their personal development and progress of their goal setting frameworks. Both are equally important.

Breaking down agency language

One thing we’re all very aware of as a team is taking a step back and not using too much digital or agency jargon with our new junior team members. An eDM?! The API work?! A Scrum Master?! So we work hard to slow things down, explain along the way and call each other out if we’re running our jargon mouths off.

Boast, Roast + Toast

Humanising how we work and who we are is really important. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Talents and flaws. And by articulating them, it enables everyone else around us to feel more safe and secure on their own. Similarly, calling out when you or others have done a great job and celebrating those little wins helps build confidence in everyone, including our new junior team members.

One way we actively keep this top of mind is our Boast, Roast + Toast on Fridays. Either through Slack, or with a drink in hand at the office, we each go around the circle and call out a:

Either way, wrapping up the end of week with some simple recaps can help highlight both the good and bad of the week, illustrating that at the end of the day we’re all just human.

Onboarding feedback loops

After the first two months of working with us, we also get all of our new starters, including our junior hires, to fill out an onboarding survey. It’s a quick way for us to get an understanding of how we can improve the process for our next hire, and ensure the structure of our onboarding is getting better over time.

We’re committed to creating a culture that’s welcoming of junior employees and sets them up to succeed. Everyone’s career starts somewhere, and we want Tundra to be the kind of studio people can start and build their careers at. If you’re interested in learning more about career opportunities for juniors, check out our open roles or get in touch with our team today.

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