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  • Writer's pictureMark Harbottle

My first 30 days as Head of Talent

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

(published 24th Feb 2021 on Cronofy)

"Who's your best friend going to be?" was the question running around my head as I opened up my shiny new MacBook pro on my first day as Head of Talent at Cronofy. Everyone has a 'work partner' or a best friend at work don't they? The one who gets your jokes, the one you can have a moan at, and the one who makes you feel better about a bad day. I was about to start a new journey in my career in a remote role - with office and distributed teams. Who was going to be my best friend?

A little context, my background was in agency IT recruitment. This new role was part of a shift towards people, culture and talent, and given it was a new chapter in my career I was naturally nervous to make an impact. During my interview process with Adam (CEO) and Garry (CTO) I was struck by their honest approach and I believe they liked that I was looking for a business that would allow room for growth, utilise my transferrable skills, learn from mistakes and somewhere I could really challenge myself to make an impact. I knew I had a lot to give and I really respected that they could see that too.

Onboarding was straight forward enough. Tech delivered early, passwords provided... wait, airpod pros? Surely that's a mistake. It turns out no expenses are spared - our best in class team need best in class tech to ensure they have all the tools they need to perform. Need anything else? Here's a Pleo card. I really had no excuses.

After an initial induction from Adam I took some time to explore Notion, get my head around the Slack channels, and figure out which profile picture would be best for google mail and Zoom, I felt like I was ready to go. A statement from Adam that I'll never forget is when he told me 'you've got a job... go do it'. How can you say that to a new starter? I could really make this job my own! Looking back, I realise that was a clear indication of how Cronofy operates - we're guided by our principles every day, we don't hold hands but we will support you if you ask, we like you to take responsibility and we want you to develop yourself. This was truly liberating, and as someone who was now in a job I had never done before, I needed to understand how the business works, who the teams are, what our Scheduler product looks like - I had to learn everything.

So, off I went. I had a 30 minute call with every single person in the business and asked them about themselves and Cronofy. I sat in Dev meetings desperately trying to keep up with the jargon and the in-jokes, wide-eyed at the innovation our Engineers were dropping into conversation as if it was natural. I soaked up the genius in a Marketing round up meeting as they discussed client engagement, market opportunities, marketing strategies and our approach to educating the world on scheduling. We want to be a leading voice, act with integrity, make a difference - our principles really were guiding who we are and how we act.

I also dropped into our twice-daily scheduled 'coffee time' Zoom chats arranged via Slack - a really great opportunity to get to know people and have a non-work chat. Our Head of Ops, Karl, walked out (ended his call?) when someone suggested pineapple on a pizza is OK. I've been here 5 minutes, they're not treating me like a new kid at school. Turns out they're alright this lot.

I was supported as well - constantly asked by everyone if I needed anything, how things are going, and Adam was talking to me every day to see how I was. There were no instructions, no to-do list, no questioning my approach. It was simply 'how are you', 'what have you been up to', and 'do you need anything from me'? It was refreshing, but it was a constant reminder that I am responsible for making this a success.

Over the first couple of weeks as I learned more about the business my to-do list wrote itself - departments needed to hire, processes (and systems) need to be put in place, and there was loads that could be done around showcasing the amazing opportunities for development within Cronofy. My days have been spent sourcing innovative new ideas and tools that will improve our processes relating to recruitment, onboarding, interviewing and providing an amazing experience for anyone looking for a role with us. Beyond that, I'm working on how we can maintain that experience long term - supporting and developing the talent that exists internally, and having some fun along the way (ask about the first social I put together!).

It really hit home at our all hands meeting at the end of my first week. The engagement from everyone was so positive, we had an open discussion about a variety of topics and if there was ever a need for proof that our principles matter - this was it. The interaction was like something I'd never witnessed before, and there was a real sense of a community, or family. I'm totally bought into the Cronofy way of life, and it suits us and our customers so well. We are constantly challenging each other to be better, asking insightful questions and working together. I feel very fortunate to be part of such a wonderful group of people.

As the weeks and months go on I will be supporting all departments in their hiring needs, I'll be the 'face' of recruitment internally and externally, and I hope to engage in wider communities to really show off our status as an employer of choice, as well as constantly working to develop our internal talent. My success will be driven by seeing the business and our staff grow every day.

But what about my work best friend? Well, if I really think about it, I think the answer is everyone.

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