Josie – Behind the Scenes – Head of HR & Admin

When did you join Advanon?

I came on board at the very start of 2017 as the Head of HR & Admin. This was a newly created role to respond to the rapid growth that was soon to follow. The co-founders were anticipating 2017 to be the a year of doubling the team, and in fact, this was achieved by mid-year! It’s been great to see the team grow and transform within such a short time.

What’s been one of the biggest priorities during this growth?

One of the co-founders’ top priorities during this time has been to ensure that the special close-knit team spirit that evolved rather organically in the beginning wasn’t lost as we took on new members. So we’ve worked hard to ensure team activities are inclusive, and new folks feel a sense of ownership. I can already see this, for example, one of our earliest team members is known for creating very engaging “pub quizzes”, and new Advanoners have taken initiative to do some of their own, and of course bringing their own personal flair to it. It’s a great way to learn some trivia about the interests our new colleagues have, and it also keeps the cohesion real during work collaborations.

Have there been any surprises or road bumps along the way?

Well, as far as surprises, I can think of one right away. And that was about 2 months after starting, when I was working with the management team to develop a super comprehensive benefits package. It’s called Advaperks, and includes things like paid city transport, gym membership, extended parental leave, 2 weeks of holiday flights/accommodation paid for, and even unlimited holiday. After the word got out, we were a bit unprepared for the media flurry that followed, and the mass quantities of CVs we got in! Some of them were really interesting, and we wanted to review them as quickly as possible, so our CEO jumped in and stayed late in the evening trying to go through them all. Our website visits also had a huge spike that day. It was great! But the challenge came afterwards, as some of the reactions were that we all had these super-posh cushy jobs and spent our days purely holidaying, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m surrounded by an incredibly driven team, who all really work to push the ideas and the platform forward. So the Advaperks are highly deserved, and really do help to create some semblance of a work-life balance. Step by step, this balance is also becoming more of a reality 🙂

What are the future plans?

More growth, to be sure. We’ve just got a team set up and settled in our newish Berlin office, and now we’ll be moving offices soon in Zürich to get a bit more space for all this growth. There’s always some change brewing. We’ve made some mistakes navigating that change, of course, but luckily we have a team of co-founders who are very responsive to admitting mistakes, and taking proactive steps to learning from them. I’m not sure if I should say this, but we even have a small segment of our all-hands meeting called “f***-up of the week” that encourages people to talk about mistakes they’ve made, and what we can do better in the future. I think that’s awesome, and the team does too, and has made some really honest contributions.

So it sounds like you’ve had a really positive experience… Any final thoughts?

All in all, I think we’re very much on a solid path forward that keeps the past in mind while formulating a future strategy and putting it into play. We move quickly, we tap into as many resources as possible to respond to change, and we try to hire the absolute best people to get it all done. And putting aside any fake modesty, I think we’ve put together a stand-out team which is doing an excellent job!

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Katharina Boehringer

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