Julian Fichter, Head of HR Services, tells us why working in HR at GetYourGuide is unlike working in HR anywhere else. The HR Services team handles onboarding, relocation and immigration, HR systems and technology, payroll and benefits, and many other behind the scenes operations that set the company up for growth and success. As part of the greater People department, HR Services collaborates closely with the Talent Acquisition team, People Partners, and other stakeholders.
HR Services live and breathe our core company values — and with good reason — every single employee passes through HR during their career journey here. Julian tells us how he set his team members up to become leaders in process innovation and service mentality.
GetYourGuide is at the mature growth stage, where all our processes are in place, so as an HR team, we are beyond being bogged down with figuring out basic HR processes. As a fast-evolving tech company, we have to be constantly ready to scale and hire our 1000th employee.
When it comes to things like employee onboarding processes, orientation checklists, and employee orientation, we’re focused on how we can take these already established experiences and workflows to the next level — rather than just sorting through messy excel files.
If anyone was to join the HR Services team at this stage, they would have the opportunity to come up with new ideas to improve processes, not start them from scratch. For example, earlier this year, the team proposed an initiative to be more efficient: In about two months, we transitioned from paper to digitally signed contracts globally. This included checking the digital contract laws in every country we have offices in.
We operate in 16 countries across six continents. This means that we manage onboarding, employment contracts, and payroll in 16 different locations. With this company growth, our team is always exposed to new and exciting challenges beyond day-to-day HR processes.
In the last year alone, we’ve set up legal entities in South Africa, Japan, and the Netherlands, put HR structures in place and have taken care of the most urgent things, which are, of course, giving people contracts and paying them.
Certain employment regulations across the world can be quite surprising. In France, for example, a new employee has to go to a mandatory doctor visit during the first week of their employment. Figuring out how these systems work is incredibly interesting. So if you’re used to how HR works in Germany, this department works on a very international level. We want to make sure that we offer a coherently great employee experience journey, regardless of which GetYourGuide office you work.
We want everyone to focus on doing great things at work, not spend their time trying to figure out the basics. While we use many popular HR tools, we have a culture of ingenuity and develop our own applications to make it work for us. We’ve gotten pretty good at hacks, writing our own scripts, and working around specific products.
We hire incredibly tech-savvy individuals within the People department. They connect our systems through APIs and write small applications to enable us to work better. Having engineers who are also business process analysts, within the HR team, is truly a valued asset. Our goal is to make sure there’s never any double data entry for any information. We dedicate ourselves to looking ahead and making processes even better.
Working in HR, you need to be creative, work with numbers, and have lots of empathy when colleagues come to you and share their doubts or worries. All this costs a lot of energy, and can at times be exhausting. The HR team understands this, and we’re there for one another, and this is something I truly value about the team. We foster a positive, strong, and supportive environment. For example, we are very sensitive to seeing if an HR colleague is having a rough day and immediately offer an open ear, a walk around the block, or some chocolate. We also have regular team offsites and evening activities, during which we can decompress and grow together more strongly as a team.
Working at GetYourGuide, something new happens almost every day, and learning is a core part of our culture. Opening new office locations, introducing new HR systems, or re-evaluating our global benefits — these are all great on-the-job learning opportunities. As our company grows, new speciality areas within HR will naturally evolve, such as compensation, global mobility, people analytics, or diversity & inclusion. Now is the best time to grow your HR career at GetYourGuide. As an HR Generalist for example, there are lots of ways to grow your career, including taking up a leadership role.
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