BlueChilli > Blog > Blog > Reflecting on 2018 with the People Team

2018 has also been a big year for BlueChilli. And the two person strong People Team here at BlueChilli have been busy too.

Before starting at BlueChilli, I was just like the majority who believed the role of the “people team” at any company was to hire and fire, something I have since learned that it’s far more than that.

So what does the people team at BlueChilli do? And what did we do in 2018?

We fostered a team of BlueChillians with the right combination of skills

Juggling partners and founders across four programs in one year takes a unique group of individuals.

Curating this team takes vasts amounts of energy and requires a strong team to find and support them too. That’s why in 2018 we included half of the team in the selection process. At BlueChilli, everyone’s voice counts. So who better than the team themselves to help select who joins us next?

Together, we reviewed almost 1,300 position applications and supported the onboarding of 16 new BlueChillians.

We have created a diverse, balanced, well-rounded and wholehearted team to serve our founders in the best possible way.

We employed the best people by opening our arms to the world

Three new starters in 2018 literally got on a plane and moved to Australia to work at BlueChilli which is a testament to our working culture.

Throughout the year we have opened the world up to these BlueChillians and continued to support others who are working in Australia on visas.

I wish I could say it’s been easy but unfortunately it really hasn’t. The DoHA doesn’t make hiring international candidates an easy process, leading to one of the hardest projects the people team works on yearly.

Hiring internationally is a cross-functional process, involving everyone from Finance, Legal, People and Operations, a logistical mindfield at times but worth every second of our time.

Through our perseverance and time dedicated to supporting international candidates, we are proud to have grown our international team and expanded our cultural and creative dialog that fundamentally contributes to all output here at BlueChilli.

We went through some tough team changes

In the words of our CEO, Sebastien:

“BlueChilli is often a stepping stone for people who want to build a career in startups, tech or impact”.

Whilst seeing talented BlueChillians move on is difficult, we are always proud that BlueChilli has been a trampoline for people to go onto things close to their hearts and in line with their career aspirations.

In 2018, five BlueChillians moved on to work on other startups, including three from within the BlueChilli portfolio. A further five BlueChillians left to explore new life adventures, including the arts, roller derby and relocating to new cities around the world.

No matter the reason behind an employee’s departure, we are wholeheartedly confident that throughout surrounded by an incredible team at BlueChilli, everyone leaves with the tools they need to succeed in their career and looks back on their time with us fondly.

We looked to change BlueChilli for the better

BlueChilli is an inclusive workplace but designing for inclusivity is a difficult task and we must not take it for granted. We are disappointed to report that we were not able to make any female-identifying hires in 2018 within our development team.

We are making a promise that in 2019 creating a diverse working environment and structure will be the priority for the People Team. These beliefs and ambitions run deep within our team, and can be seen clearly within our SheStarts Program. We want to make sure we live these values inside and out by supporting more women to not only thrive in the tech industry but to thrive in tech-based roles.

We created an environment that people are proud to be from and are happy to work in

Finding a great team is one thing but creating the environment for them to do their best work is an extra challenge.

As of 2018, BlueChillians share in 17 team rituals, have access to 28 policies – all designed for inclusion and balance – and are impacted by one of our 9 internal programs every month.

BlueChilli Presents - a monthly meeting
One of our rituals – BlueChilli Presents, a monthly meeting where we share things that are important to us – this month we heard a song from talented BlueChillians!

We have created this strong support structure to create an inclusive environment that provides our staff with a sense of belonging.

More than that, it gives everyone the platform to do their best work whilst at the same time living their best life.

I recently shared my story of finding “work-life balance”, a state of mind change that is thanks to the work that is done behind the scenes here at BlueChilli. I discussed the benefits of the functional environment with the rituals, policies and processes we have in place.

We closed the distance gap

To build our global team we focused on the glue that holds everyone together.

It’s important that no matter where a BlueChillian is based, they are entitled to the same rituals and policies as one another.

In 2018 we moved the dial on this in a quest to build a collaborative environment and to make all employees feel connected and apart of the bigger BlueChilli team.

BlueChilli Production team connecting via Zoom
BlueChilli Production crew collaborating from many different places via Zoom.

To contribute to this I was tasked to improve the BlueChilli audio visual systems, which may sound like a inconsequential project to work on. I soon realised how important this was and the human impact behind it when we received this feedback from Megan Flamer, Xcelerate Program Director:

“I’ve been blown away at how the people team have tackled our audio visual systems this year. As a truly inclusive workplace, and one that champions our remote staff, putting in place infrastructure that supports that has been amazing.

Clear audio is crucial for remote workers to be included and involved in everything that’s happening – as well as help with our international expansion. Thrilled we have it sorted now!”

What matters in the end

In 2018, BlueChilli set a goal to establish ourselves globally – an ambitious goal for our operations and our people. Looking back at the year it’s clear that without curating the team we see today, the policies in place and the fundamental rails that hold everything together, achieving this global goal would have been a much harder task. Through our learnings and forward thinking we have and will always allow for growth.

“BlueChilli People Team has built scaffolding to hold a 100 person company which means we are ready to scale at any given opportunity.”

2019 is set to be our most ambitious year yet. We are already planning brand new programs and will be planting our flag in new countries with new BlueChillians. It’s daunting, but we’re excited. The last year has provided us with the lessons to make sure we are setup for a kicking 2019! We can’t wait.

George Miller is an award-winning triathlete and displaced Englishman who’s found a home as People and Operations Manager at BlueChilli. George is responsible for making sure that all of BlueChilli’s operations run smoothly as well as ensuring we have the right team and the environment for them to do their best work.