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Meet Nina Aichinger, Head of Human Resources at Bitpanda. In this article, we delve into how Nina is successfully scaling a team in the middle of a global pandemic and all the challenges that come with working in a fast-moving work environment. Plus, we have some advice and tips for future Bitpanda applicants!
Hey, I’m Nina and I’m the Head of HR at Bitpanda. I joined the company three years ago with the vision of building HR from the ground up. It was a tough process and we grew rapidly in a short amount of time. But I think we came very far in those three years. For example, when I first joined the company, we were a team of 25 people, and three years later we’ve expanded to over 250! Right now, I am leading a team of ten and we ensure a smooth candidate journey as well as contributing to a meaningful employee experience.
When hiring potential team members, I believe it is crucial to find candidates who want to work in a fast-paced and dynamic work environment.
Working in a place that is changing constantly and ever evolving is tough for people who are used to working in more traditional companies. I am also looking for team members who want to challenge the status quo and have out-of-the-box ideas. We are constantly reviewing our processes and therefore, you should never see anything as a given. We are repeatedly asking ourselves about why we do things the way we do them. For example, processes that worked for 50 employees three years ago may not work for the 250 employees we have today.
The global pandemic offered a unique set of challenges for our team, as I’m sure it did for most companies. From one day to the next, we changed the whole onboarding process to being completed remotely. That alone was not the biggest challenge, but we also wanted to make sure that the onboarding experience stayed the same. It is very important that people feel integrated and welcome in the team and are able to be productive as soon as possible. It was a challenge for everyone involved, especially the new employees’ managers.
In a global pandemic where millions of people were losing their jobs, Bitpanda thrived because we have a stable product that was not affected negatively by the pandemic.
Why is that? Because in times of economic uncertainty, people start taking care of their investments. You could see it in the price of cryptocurrencies and how they were fluctuating a lot. Precious metals also gained value during the pandemic as people rely on gold as a safe-haven investment.
So actually, Bitpanda has done very well throughout the crisis and we even received $52 million in funding during this time. For this reason, we received lots of very good applications to work for us and, even though we’ve already made some great additions to the current team, it’s now even tougher than before to decide on the best candidate.
So, how do we upscale a company without losing team members in the process?
Well, as mentioned before, we constantly need to review our processes. Since we are growing so rapidly, it’s hard to keep the speed up and not confuse our team members or overwhelm them with processes. We are trying to keep the onboarding transitions as smooth as possible and we are trying to focus more on our existing team members. For example, we try to get as much feedback from them as possible and give as much support as we can in order to shape the company with their help.
With our team members’ help, we recently developed our company values. We use these values in the interview process to find out if candidates are a good fit with our Bitpanda culture and values.
With the pandemic being a stressful time for everyone, we tried to keep company morale and engagement high by keeping our team members as informed as possible through regular information regarding COVID-19 announcements and about topics that are happening within the company through our weekly Paulcast (podcast from our CEO Paul). We are also offering free, professional psychological support if anyone needs it.
However, there have been some difficulties along the way. For example, before the pandemic, I was always proud to say that I am one of the few people in the company that really knows every person in the team. However, with remote onboarding, this changed and I feel very sorry about it. When some team members had a brief return back to the office, I saw quite a few faces that were not at all familiar to me!
All in all, I really like that we can actively shape the way we work at Bitpanda.
Of course, we’re not a small startup anymore but sharing thoughts and ideas is definitely something that is valued and very important at Bitpanda. We are not afraid to make mistakes and if something did not work out, then we try it again in a different way. I love that at Bitpanda, you can learn from everything and anyone.
For future applicants, my advice is to be authentic in your interview, be honest and share your values, expectations and questions with us.
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