Know Your Brand, Rock Your Crew

By Rebecca Layton Gunter

Lessons Learned Onboarding at Sisarina

At a crew meeting in November, I looked across the table at Melanie in disbelief: “I can’t believe that I’ve been here six months already.” Considering I had started in September, Melanie looked me like I was kinda crazy.

It’s easy to understand why I felt this way, though. After evolving Sisarina from a Web Design company to a Brand Strategy Agency, I was the first ‘second’ person she added to the team. And I was cemented in the foundation of the company. To me, those three months only FELT like six.

Sisarina was growing quickly in our current iteration - because Melanie saw exactly what made her heart sing and how the market was ready for it.

It was time to hire a dyed-in-the-wool creative-type to serve as her personal assistant to do #allthethings: calendar, meetings, accounting, spreadsheets.

Melanie put her team in charge of the hiring process and walked away from it. She knew she had set us up for success and that we were willing and able to share the love of Sisarina with the next person we hired.

After dozens of applications, a gum-chewing exercise, and a power-walk with the Boss Lady, the recruitment process proved to be a magical adventure! We found TWO people who couldn’t not be the next gen on #teamSisarina. Cheney rocked Melanie’s socks as the world’s most perfect fit for the assistant position, while Isang’s application & interview revealed an untapped marketing brain perfectly suited for creative work.


Melanie had them walk with her & take selfies at the Capitol for their final interviews.

For the past two weeks we’ve been onboarding. (#protip: training two new people is way easier than training one at a time!) We’ve introduced marketing, clients, and programs in an interactive setting with an academic flair.

Once they got the nuts and bolts of “the business,” it was time to integrate them into the culture of Sisarina.

We’ve pulled back the curtain, now it’s time to play “the Wizard.” We instituted new best practices to facilitate peak productivity while still having fun. At 8:50am, we have a Sisarina Stand-Up, taking less than 10 minutes to connect and plan for projects. From 9am to 12pm, it’s “Sisarina-shhhh,” a mandated quiet time to bust out amazing work.

It was even time for me to take off my “in-training” hat and start mentoring. The transition to leadership obviously floats my boat.

How did someone who has been working at Sisarina for less than a year recruit and onboard two new rockstars with minimal touch from the #BossLady? Culture, processes, and ownership!

You already know you need a great team. You may even have the moxie to hire boldy! Now get ready to onboard well. Here’s how to do that:

  • Focus more on jiving with the culture than on honing skills in the beginning. The rest will come.
  • Integrate values into everyday language and see it show up everywhere. #manifestthatshit
  • Set people up for success by customizing workflow.
  • Adjust to different learning styles for great growth. (Isang is a kinetic learner, whuat?)
  • Move stuff off your plate and go do the thing that you were called to do.
  • Spell a Code of Ethics that speaks to real people, not just lofty ideals.

Melanie’s in the midst of finishing a Rock Your Humans talk (AKA Rock Your Superheros) right now that will literally explain the entirety of a branded hiring process. She heads to Michigan, the Carolinas, and Australia to deliver it. You might want some of that: www.melaniespring.com

Tell us your trials and triumphs in hiring for your company. How have you built an amazing company culture? Have you ever hired two people instead of one and what did that look like? Connect with us at Brands That Rock and on the Twitter @sisarina.