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The Onboarding Advantage: Creating a Culture of Belonging from the Start

Starting a new job can be one of life’s most exciting yet daunting experiences. At OLX, we’re dedicated to transforming this journey into an unforgettable welcome into our community. 

We recently sat down with Joanna Kujawa, the heart and soul behind our onboarding process, to get an insider’s look at how OLX ensures every new joiner feels right at home from day one.


Joanna Kujawa
Onboarding Team Lead

Hi Joanna! Can you tell us a bit about you and your role at OLX?

Sure, with pleasure! Born and bred in Poznan, Poland, I am currently leading the onboarding team here at OLX – right in my hometown. My background in hospitality has been a perfect segue into onboarding, where I get to make a real difference in the experiences of our new joiners as they embark on their OLX journey.  

When first I joined, our onboarding was entirely manual. It’s been fantastic to grow and develop a pretty sophisticated system that includes things such as Onboarding Portals and automation – all while managing to keep that essential human touch.


You were on the radio/podcast recently. How did this come about? What sort of topics were covered? 

Yes, that was an exciting new experience for me! It all started when Łukasz from OLX Jobs invited me to take part. Along with Agata Mendyk, we headed down to TOK FM in Warsaw to discuss topics close to our hearts: in Agata’s case it was employee burnout, and for myself, of course, onboarding. 

We emphasized the critical role of onboarding in an employee’s life at a company. It’s becoming a hot topic as businesses recognize that their first few weeks and months at a company has a huge impact on their engagement, efficiency, and retention. We went over the onboarding process, what it means, what to focus on while preparing for the new joiner’s arrival. We also touched on the most common mistakes around the process and the potential consequences of getting it wrong. 

What can our next starters expect when they join OLX? 

We have a few important milestones in the process. This begins even before their first day at the company during preboarding. We ensure everything is ready for our new joiners, from HR formalities to IT equipment, setting the stage for a great start.

The first day is all about introductions: to our company, our systems, and our culture. It’s also a chance for new hires to experience our values in action, and see that we walk the talk. 

After the first day, the baton is passed to the managers for role-specific onboarding. This is a thorough process that includes regular feedback and progress tracking, and this stage can last a few months. Besides that, I think it is important to ensure the new joiner has the time to feel our vibe, whether it’s grabbing coffee with their Buddy, joining team lunches, having an informal catch up with colleagues, or participating in company events. These experiences are what make working at OLX super special!


How does onboarding impact those joining OLX?

A well-structured onboarding process is the cornerstone of a new employee’s success within our company. It’s our way of showing that we’ve got our act together. When a newcomer steps into their role and sees a clear plan laid out for them, it instantly sends a message: you are valued and here for a reason. This allows them to focus on execution, learning, and getting up to speed quickly.  

And once someone is set for success, they are happy and want to stay. By involving managers, team buddies, and other key people in the onboarding journey, we help the new hire quickly feel like part of our community – making the induction time easier and enabling team bonding from the very start. 

What common mistakes do companies often make during the onboarding process, and how can these be avoided?

Various reports indicate that the most frequent mistakes include lack of planning and the TIME to properly onboard new joiners. When speaking with colleagues about their past onboarding experiences, they often say “I didn’t have any onboarding experience”. Beyond a few mandatory trainings, they get handed a stack of documents to read through, and then they are expected to carry out their responsibilities. 

Lack of adequate training and strategy can result in our new joiners being overwhelmed with new information they find confusing, and that can lead to frustration and… the urge to look for another job. Investing the time into planning, setting the right expectations and then executing the plan very often means that we only have to do it once!  Because then, our employees will want to stay with us. Plus, a solid plan not only smooths the way for the current employee but also lays a great foundation for onboarding the next one, making life a lot easier for the manager.

And let’s not forget – feedback is golden, and it’s often overlooked. The first step to leveling up our onboarding is figuring out what’s hitting the mark and what’s missing it. We can conduct surveys with the new joiners and managers to get a good look on what needs to be fixed. 

A big thank you to Joanna for her insights!  

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