February 14, 2013

Kin: we’re building a better workplace.

In early 2012, we needed to grow our team. We needed coders, designers, and an administrative team to support them. So we got busy searching, interviewing, selecting, and onboarding folks for the next 7 months. The problem was we didn’t have a great hiring process. We knew that in order to make the most of the talented people joining, though, we’d better create a refined onboarding experience to get everyone briefed and wired into the team.

Our goal became to ensure that every new team member who walks in the door on their first day would have already submitted their paperwork, read our handbook, and had a good understanding of the projects and people they’d be working with. Likewise, we’d already have them set up with a computer, phone, and network and their payroll and benefit elections would be ready to go.

We did a pretty damn good job. With few exceptions, our new team members get hooked up, wired in, and productive in a matter of hours. It’s great for the new hire’s morale, and it’s awesome for our team’s productivity. Compare that with other companies where it takes days just to get set up with an email address.

Doing the unexpected: work on the first day.

One of the major cornerstones of our onboarding experience is a one-page, personalized website we build for each employee called “Starting Point”. It contains email addresses, phone numbers, short bios of the team, links to our tools, and other quick facts like good places for lunch in the neighborhood. It usually gets shared with a new hire at least a week before their first day. That way they start with a sense of familiarity rather than isolation, which is really crucial for both sides in those first few days.

But as great as Starting Point sites have been, there’s plenty more it could do, which would be a perfect fit for a web app. Digitizing contracts, assigning tasks to the administrative team, and managing paid time off. They’re all facets of managing a staff that are all too often neglected at companies around the country.

Help every company hire and manage better.

That’s when Kin was born. Kin’s a web application that helps small companies do a better job hiring, onboarding, and managing a team. There’s nothing to install, it’s a fraction of the cost of other similar systems, and it’s a heck of a lot simpler.

In the corporate HR world, Kin would be referred to as a “human resources management system”, or HRMS for short. In our more simplistic world, we call it a digital snapshot of your workplace. We figured, why let the big corporations have all the fancy tools? Kin focuses on fewer, but better features that help small shops get a leg up on the hiring and retention aspects of their workplace.

Look for Kin in just a month or two.

We’re excited to manifest the simple successes we’ve had at We Are Mammoth into a tool any company can use to manage a team more efficiently. Kin encourages transparency, communication, and the golden-chalice of the HR world, self-service. If you’re not an HR buff, that means employees can take care of themselves. Perfect.

Kin’s first generation will be an onboarding page customizable for each new employee. It’s got a great employee directory, job descriptions, and task management system. It has a secure file workflow and storage, as well as a no-hassle feature to manage paid-time-off. Over time we’ll be building features like compensation statements, payroll integration, and more.

We think every small company should use Kin. It makes employees happier, and makes employers look good.

We’re really excited to get Kin out to the public. If you’d like to be notified when the time comes, be sure to leave an email address or follow us on Twitter.

Until then. Hire strong.

{Craig Bryant is a cofounder of We Are Mammoth, a software services and consulting firm in Chicago, and the founder and product manager of Kin.}

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