PEOPLE Meet Adela: HR Project & Relocation Manager at ABOUT YOU
ABOUT YOU is growing fast and we want to attract the best talents from all over the world to join our incredible team. That's why we have passionated relocation experts like Adela from our HR team. Adela's daily job is to find the right talent from around the world and help them having a great onboarding experience. We asked Adela about her job and why she loves working for ABOUT YOU.
Who are you and how did you come to ABOUT YOU?
I'm Adela, 30 years old and have been working at ABOUT YOU as HR Project & Relocation Manager for almost two years. Before that I studied social economics in Hamburg, with a focus on human resources and organization, and then worked for Free Now, formerly mytaxi. I worked in recruiting and after two years I felt like making a change and then slipped into this niche of relocation management at ABOUT YOU.
You say it yourself, it's a niche. Can you explain to us what the area of "relocation management" is all about?
The answer to this question has changed quite a bit in the time I've been doing the job. Roughly speaking, I organize and accompany the process when new employees from abroad come to Germany for their job at ABOUT YOU.
When I started here almost two years ago, there were only a handful of these relocation cases. At that time, an external agency also took care of all administrative tasks related to visas, embassy appointments, work permits and other things. In the past two years, however, our relocation cases have almost tripled and we now map the entire process in-house. Of course, my tasks and the entire department have changed significantly as a result. I no longer do the job alone, I have two colleagues who support me.
The three of us make sure that our new, international employees can switch to ABOUT YOU in Germany successfully and without stress. It's so important to us to offer support in this area because we really want to attract the greatest talents to ABOUT YOU - no matter where they come from.
What does your typical working day look like?
I really don't have a typical working day. I look after over 50 people who are all in different situations and stages of their relocation process, so every day really looks different - at least in terms of content.
But what accompanies me every day at work are calls and meetings. I have an incredible number of discussions with a wide variety of people and departments. On the one hand, of course, with the future colleagues themselves, because it is very important to me that they not only receive impersonal emails, but also have a face to it. I think that's extremely important, because it's not just about administrative support, but also about being a mental support.
One must not forget that moving across national borders and sometimes even continents can arouse fears. People come to us who have never been to Germany or even Europe and ask themselves how life works here. What do our supermarkets look like? How does the traffic work? What is the GEZ? If the families come with me: Can I have my children looked after? And bring my pets? With all these questions and problems, I want to help and support as best I can.
Of course, I don't just work with the new colleagues, I also have a lot of internal appointments - especially with HR and our legal department. What also makes up a large part of my job are emails with various authorities - the embassy, the employment agency and many more. It is unbelievable how much bureaucracy these relocation processes require.
Speaking of relocation processes, can you elaborate a bit on what they look like and what the steps are?
First of all, you have to distinguish between employees from the EU and those who come to us from non-EU. With the former, everything is not so wild, here you “only” have to apply for a tax number and open a German bank account, the new colleagues need health insurance and an apartment. This is all done relatively quickly.
The cases where new employees come to us from outside the EU are really time-consuming. There is the ideal process, but actually every relocation process is an individual case - simply because it is about a new person with their own story and in their own life situation. The ideal-typical relocation process takes three months - i.e. from the signing of the contract to entry and can be divided into three important milestones: The process begins with a kickoff call and the first milestone is reached when we have compiled and translated all the important documents required. The next step is to apply for the visa. The second milestone is reached when the new employee has an appointment at the German embassy. In the meantime, a lot is happening behind the scenes again: we take care of health insurance, organize a (temporary) housing option, take care of any daycare places and school registrations for the children of our talents and so on. We have a total of 4 fully furnished employee apartments with 14 rooms in total, where our new colleagues can stay until they have found a permanent apartment of their own. The third milestone is the preliminary approval from the Employment Agency. When this is available, all documents for presentation at the embassy will be sent by post. If everything goes smoothly at the embassy appointment, it will take another two weeks for the visa to be available. During this time we organize entry, book flights and plan the transfer from the airport. Ideally, we pick up our new colleagues personally, otherwise they can take a taxi at ABOUT YOU's expense. Incidentally, we not only cover the taxi costs, but all relocation costs.
What is your favorite moment in this month-long process?
The first personal meeting here in Hamburg. When the new colleagues have arrived, they usually come to the office for the first time in the first or second week and we then have our first coffee together here. I always think it's really nice to finally get to know people personally after months of intensive exchange. When the people are finally here and everything has worked out, that's always a moment when a lot of stress is relieved from me. We are always dependent on embassies and authorities and I am incredibly happy every time our new colleagues are here and they can finally start their new job and life here in Germany.
Speaking of which, how does it actually continue for the newly resettled from this moment on?
Good point! Of course, we not only accompany our new employees until they move to Germany, but also want to make it as easy and pleasant as possible for them to arrive and settle into their new home. ABOUT YOU has therefore created a number of offers through which the new employees can network. There is a dedicated Slack channel for relocation colleagues and a regular international get-together where new (and long-standing) ABOUT YOU employees can meet outside of work.
There are "random coffee dates" where employees from different departments are randomly brought together for a coffee break.
And now that the Covid 19 situation is slowly easing, more offline events are finally possible again. In March, for example, a ski trip took place with 120 employees, and at this year's ABOUT YOU Pangea Festival there will again be a private area for employees.
In addition, my colleagues and I are of course still there for our new talents here on site and help with questions and problems. We also try to break down language barriers. For the sake of internationality, our company language is of course English, but ABOUT YOU offers free language courses for our international employees so that they can find their way around better in their new home.
Is it also possible to start at ABOUT YOU without moving to Germany?
As a tech company, we also have the option of working remotely.
Our global mobility program covers two major areas: remote work from anywhere within the EU or support when moving to one of our locations. By the way, this does not necessarily have to be Hamburg, Germany. Although our headquarters are here, we are currently building further tech hubs in Croatia, the Czech Republic and Romania, where new employees are warmly welcomed. If you don't want to move, you can also work from anywhere within the EU and benefit from our corporate culture, which also works completely digitally. If required, we will also support you in setting up and setting up a remote work setup.
What is the best thing about working at ABOUT YOU?
In terms of the company as a whole, I would say the team. Such an incredible drive can be felt throughout the company, because all colleagues simply want to achieve and change something together. The cohesion, the fun at work and this spirit, that's what unites all departments at ABOUT YOU and it's incredibly cool to be part of this huge team.
And especially in my area of relocation management, I find it very special and incredibly nice how much value is placed on the personal level and direct contact with international talent. In a company of this size, this is outstanding.
One last question Adela, what do you do when you're not working?
This is a difficult topic, because I really like working far too much and it is therefore always very difficult for me to call it a day. I am also a very social person outside of work who longs for connection and accordingly spend a lot of time with my friends. From time to time, of course, I also need a balance and time for myself. Then I like to express myself creatively and to "create" something with my hands, for example I like to sew or paint. But then I look forward to the work and the exchange with my internationals all the more.
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