How Hiring & Training Processes Enable Our Operations-as-a-Service Model

How Hiring & Training Processes Enable Our Operations-as-a-Service Model

by Kyla Hanaway

Kyla Hanaway has an eye for talent, and she’s helped build Zagster into the community-driven, goal-oriented organization it is today. When she’s not working to change the world, she’s most likely reading a non-fiction page turner or playing Barbies with her daughter.

Kyla.jpg

Director of People Operations

Every aspect of micro-mobility matters, including hardware (we deploy multiple modes), software, processes, partnerships, and the communities we serve. Zagster has developed hiring and training processes that enable us to quickly and efficiently launch micro-mobility programs in new markets, supported by high-performing teams, often in less than 30 days. At Zagster, we firmly believe that our employment model (see my ZBlog post describing it) is an essential component of our long-term growth as the go-to micro-mobility operator.

Scaling Up Recruiting & Hiring

It’s essential that all our markets are fully staffed by capable people who show entrepreneurial spirit and can help us build great programs. Once we commit to launching in a particular market, we quickly post jobs on our website, and on major job sites. We also leverage our city launching team and any additional help in the field to spread the word. The screening process for job candidates happens through a mix of remote and face-to-face interactions. We start the interview process via an extensive application, followed by a mix of video and phone interviews, and finally an in-person meeting.

Facebook job posting

Facebook job posting

Though we are always working against the clock to get a team fully staffed, we never cut corners on the interview process. We leverage a variety of behavioral interviewing techniques in addition to the standard skills evaluation. This allows us to shape a team that has the aptitude and attitude to help us be successful. We’ll ask behavioral questions like, “Tell me about a specific work problem you had and how you approached it?” As Nashally Tejeda, who does much of our recruiting, explains, “When our city launch team is on site, they interview candidates in person. We cross-reference viewpoints to get a fuller picture of candidates, and how they think. We first hire the operations manager, who then helps us hire and shape the team in market.”

To facilitate this, we provide Operations Managers with a field recruiting toolkit that has recruiting posters and fliers, as well as tips and tools for interviewing candidates. We provide tips and templates for running on-the-ground hiring events.  

Seeking The “Right” Skillset & Behavioral Profile

Over time, we have built a holistic view of our ideal candidate that goes beyond written job descriptions. We want to hire people who are excited about building something new and capable of learning from mistakes. So we might ask, “Tell me about the last thing you learned?” We all make mistakes, but learning from them is key.

Nashally and Nicole, Zagster’s HR Queens

Nashally and Nicole, Zagster’s HR Queens

I’m so proud that Zagster cultivates a culture of constant learning and improving. We're iterating on our hiring process in real-time and have learned lessons along the way. When we’ve made the wrong hire in a market (and we have), we see diminished results from that market. Performance on key metrics like vehicle deployment rates drops off. We've developed sharper screening techniques to address the gaps in our former process so we reduce the risk of making the wrong hire again.

In Albuquerque (NM), we learned that one passionate employee can make a massive difference. We hired a local high school football coach who recruited more than half our field team by himself. That’s where the behavioral focus helps, because if somebody is excited about what we're doing, inspired by the mission, and eager to help build, we want to hire them. This experience has led to the formalization of an employee referral program where we reward employees who bring in hires during the first 90 days of a new market. As Nashally Tejeda explains, “we’re constantly looking for new ways to incentivize the behaviors we want, including helping us hire great people.”

It’s critical that my team be agile, and react to the needs of our business in real-time. So while we're building processes that allow us to move quickly in preparation for launch, we're also constantly seeking feedback on how we can improve our hiring and onboarding process.

Training for Operational Excellence

“Training Wheels” - Zagster’s online training program

“Training Wheels” - Zagster’s online training program

Well-trained employees make all the difference in running an operations-as-service organization, so we’ve created standardized training modules to drive operational excellence. You can’t have important know-how living in the minds of a few people, or have untrained “gig” workers fighting with each other about who gets to charge scooters. Nicole Niss, our Learning & Development Specialist, has tackled this “training standardization” issue head-on: “I started with a clean slate and mapped out all the tasks that operations managers, associates, and other roles needed to know, and then worked backwards to create training materials,” she says. “We put know-how in writing, in videos, and other media so trainees can actually see what it's like to work with us.”

Zagster has our own, branded training program called Training Wheels, with much of the material sourced from our team members. Safety is always a top priority in our training program. Once new hires have taken these training modules, we ask them to take short tests to identify any knowledge gaps. Only when they’ve passed them are they allowed to start working in the field. It makes everything more efficient and gets our people “up to speed” faster (pun intended).

Communicating to Optimize What We Do

As we grow our company, my team is actively taking a bottoms-up approach to our HR programming. We're soliciting feedback from the field on what they want more of, what types of programs would be helpful to them in driving individual and team performance, what types of issues they’re navigating on a daily basis. We digest these problem statements and deliver programming that helps make their jobs easier, more engaging, and more efficient

For example, Nicole has partnered closely with two of our city launchers, Andres Giraldo and Ryan Daley, to codify their training sessions in markets and create a repeatable training program that we can deploy across all our markets today and in the future. My team’s role is to listen, learn, and find ways to replicate what’s working wherever those great ideas come from (hint: they so often come from our people in the field).

At Zagster, people are at the core of all we do, which is why we’ve placed such a strong emphasis on, and policies and practices around, recruiting, hiring, on-boarding, training, and continuously developing our Zagstars.

Interested in becoming a Zagstar? Check out our current openings.