Onboarding: The beauty of not knowing any better

October 2, 2008

When you build a business, there are things you make up as you go along. I’ve started an initiative for new FreshBooks hires where I ask them to send me a note at the end of each day. The idea is that they send me a very short note describing their day to help me understand where their head is at as they get acquainted with FreshBooks. Generally I figure this will give me insight into the “onboarding process” for new hires.

I consider FreshBooks staff my customers, so this is customer research for me. It also helps foster a direct relationship between me and them. I’m counting on everyone here at FreshBooks to tell me what they think – they’re my eyes and ears and they make me smarter. On top of this, we’re not a four person company any more, but I’d like it to feel that way so I am hoping this effort will help preserve a measure of closeness between myself and the entire team.

Kevin – our new sys admin – shot me a note last night that said:

I’ve got to say, if there was one lesson I took from today, it’s that the team here at FreshBooks really acts as a team – the level of collaboration, and ability of folks to cover for one another is unlike anything I’ve experienced in any past job. At the very end of the day, about four of us put our heads together to try to figure out a very cryptic question on the forums. I’m not sure if we got the answer right or not, but I think we did a pretty good job!

Now this may seem like a simple quote to you, but it’s incredibly revealing to me. I’ve never known any other way to work than the way we work here at FreshBooks. Kevin has nine years of experience in top advertising agencies and elsewhere. Apparently the way we work here is pretty unique, which is news to me, but I’m delighted to hear it. I won’t even try to explain how we created a culture that operates in this way, but I’ll tell you a big part of it is that we didn’t know any better.

about the author

Co-Founder & CEO, FreshBooks Mike is the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the world’s #1 cloud accounting software for self-employed professionals. Built in 2003 after he accidentally saved over an invoice, Mike spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parents’ basement. Since then, over 10 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing, and collect billions of dollars. A lover of the outdoors, Mike has been bitten so many times it’s rumored he’s the first human to have developed immunity to mosquitoes.