How do you make a new employee feel welcome in Texas…when the rest of their team is in New York or spread out all over the US?
Olo is a rapidly growing digital ordering and delivery service for over 250 restaurant brands, including Chipotle, Jamba Juice, and Five Guys. Starting their new hires on the right foot is critical, because 50% of their 130-person team works remotely across the US. This makes their key goal of retention all the more challenging.
To keep their distributed workforce cohesive and engaged, Olo’s HR team, which they call their People + Culture team, has designed a complete onboarding experience and manages every HR need that follows an employee’s first day, from payroll and performance reviews to equity and conferences. Deanne Rhynard, VP of People and Culture, believes that even the smallest HR interactions help create an excellent company culture.
“Even though we’re all here for work,” Deanne says, “I care that everyone’s happy. If our employees are happy, they’ll keep our company afloat.”
The team uses Asana to make sure every HR process goes off without a hitch, no matter how detailed. “There isn't an instance that we don't use Asana,” says Deanne. “It’s essential to our overall strategy and our day-to-day operations, and it lets us collaborate as a remote team and keep people accountable for their tasks. It enables us to empower and trust our people to get the job done.”
Most of Olo’s People + Culture processes are incredibly detailed and are replicated often, such as biweekly and monthly payroll, annual performance evaluations, and equity assignments. Then there’s onboarding for every new hire—there may be as many as 130 steps, and all are important for retention. “If I miss a step in onboarding, that’s a failure in the eyes of a new employee and for me as their representation at the company,” says Deanne. “I run a risk of them leaving, which lowers our retention rate, and makes everyone less happy.”
The People + Culture team is small and distributed, which adds to the challenge. “We’re a team of three, but we should be a team of thirty,” Deanne says. “The work we do is crucial.” Deanne herself is based in Seattle and her teammates are based in New York, so they use Asana to close the distance. "Asana helps me communicate with my employees in New York. I know what they're working on and I don't have to constantly ask them how things are going.”
Deanne first used Asana at her previous company, and when she joined Olo, she planned to return to normal to-do lists. “I really tried,” she says, “but I realized that I couldn’t work without Asana.”
The incredibly detailed nature of Olo’s HR processes makes them particularly challenging, as well as the fact that they involve many people outside of People + Culture. “There’s no way to log everything on paper or in a generic task list,” says Deanne. “Asana allows you to drag and drop. You can organize things with due dates, attachments, and comments, and assign tasks to people within and outside of the People + Culture department.”
She started using Asana for herself again, and it slowly started trickling out. Now her People + Culture colleagues rely on it too, as well as Olo’s customer success and marketing teams. “We don't let things slip through the cracks because we have a foolproof system,” says Deanne. “It’s much harder to lose track of a task or piece of information.”
Olo’s People + Culture team stores their onboarding processes as project templates in Asana, with one each for full-timers, contractors, and transferring employees. They copy the template for each new hire and work down the list.
The onboarding templates are divided into sections, representing different stages in the onboarding process. Here are a few of the tasks involved:
Pertinent employee info: Name, personal email, Olo email address, their ATS link for resume, team assignment, title, their start date, their work location, their manager's name, and more.
Recruiting wrap-up tasks: Log new hire info, save offer letter, organize folders, update hiring plan, mark position filled in ATS.
Post offer-letter signature: Send CEO welcome email, computer ordering options, compliance documents, assign a buddy, submit background check, add to master planning documents.
Onboarding experience: Create an email account, set up initial training meetings, assign software rights, order a FitBit, send swag bag, plan New York office trip, add hire to HRIS system, send first day prep email.
Asana projects also let the right folks stay involved. The recruiter and People + Culture team members follow the project in Asana, as do any individuals at the company who need to assign software rights.
Offboarding is just as seamless. When an employee leaves, the offboarding process ensures the security and protection of the company while helping the People + Culture team wrap up all loose threads. The employee enjoys a professional experience right up to their final minute at Olo.
The offboarding project template includes an exit interview and the necessary processes to log separation agreements, finalize the last payroll, shut down accounts, and remove software access. To keep an exit confidential, only the appropriate People + Culture personnel can follow the project in Asana, until other employees are informed of their colleague’s departure.
Olo has hundreds of other HR uses which are supported by Asana. “Once I set up a process in Asana, I don’t have to think about it again,” says Deanne. “It keeps me sane.” Here are a few examples:
Payroll: Templates for mid- and end-of-month payroll help Deanne juggle contingencies such as commissions, bonuses, severance, state taxes, hourly time, leaves of absence and more. The COO, SVP of Finance, and Accounting all get access to a payroll summary.
Performance evaluations: Managers, employees, and department leads are the ones who actually perform the evaluations, but Deanne’s process involves them at the right time and tells her when to send reminders, when to follow up, and when to log notes.
Meeting agendas: To keep internal meetings productive, Deanne utilizes an agenda for every manager and direct report she engages 1:1. She shares some agendas with teammates and uses others as private notes.
Other: The People + Culture team uses Asana for conference planning, software implementations, and equity management.
The customer success team also uses Asana extensively to manage everything from client deployment to management and maintenance. They’ve even begun to add clients to Asana projects so they can see the trajectory of their accounts. “That transparency and visibility is crucial,” says Deanne. “Things get lost in email and could make the customer success team lose sight of what’s going on with the client. If they didn’t have Asana in place, they’d lose traction, disappoint, and fail. It keeps the team on task and the communication flowing.”
When every employee’s HR needs are in place, it’s a strong foundation for a healthy company culture. “We've received fantastic feedback about our onboarding process and how it contributes to employee retention,” Deanne says. Great processes keep Olo’s team engaged, no matter where in the US they work.
100% of new employees felt welcome on day one
100% of new hires feel supported by his/her manager.
98% satisfied with the level of communication with his/her HR contact during the hiring process.
One employee said, “I felt very welcome by everyone, the on-boarding process was smooth,” and another that “The People + Culture team was extremely nice and made me feel very comfortable. It set a great tone for the culture at Olo.”
Asana ensures that these systems work their magic, time and time again. “I don’t know how I’d remember to do all the micro steps,” says Deanne. “I’m a very detail-oriented person, but this job is so much larger than I am. For me, Asana equals success.”