RAMPing Up, the VideoAmp Onboarding Experience

By Tom Sinram, Sr. Director, Onboarding & Coaching

Starting a new job ain’t easy. Starting a new job, virtually, and in the middle of a pandemic?  Virtually impossible.  

That’s why we’ve elevated our in-person onboarding process here at VideoAmp, which we call “VideoRAMP”, to an experience that feels like a red carpet has been rolled out for every new hire. Here at VideoAmp we lead with a People First mentality and consider every employee a very important person.  Much like an aircraft, all parts of the plane are necessary to remain in flight and it may sound cliché, but this is the way we like to think of our culture. 

Our culture is centered around eight key values that keep us flying high.  No value is more important than the next, however, as with most things in life, you could argue it all starts with our value “Create Trust”. That’s why we created VIP EX. VIP EX stands for the VideoAmp Immersion Program Experience. It is a program we kicked off the week before Thanksgiving 2021 and it was nothing short of legendary.  With it being our inaugural VIP EX in the midst of a huge hiring frenzy (we are aiming to double our workforce within the next year), there was clearly some trepidation between myself and my partner in crime, VP of Learning & Organizational Development, Karina Chiechi.  Did we slate in the right content? Did we book logistics properly for our activities that foster the company value of “Make it Fun”? Did we notify all presenters of their time on the agenda?  Did we leave in enough time for oscillation?  These are all examples of things that can impact the overall experience for our new VideoAmpers (Vampers) and to our surprise everything went off without a hitch.  As ~80% of survey responses rated the program as extremely helpful and an overall excellent experience.  

So, you’re probably wondering what happens during VIP EX and what is the purpose?  Well, you can think of it like your first week in college.  Remember how syllabus week gave you a chance to wrap yourself in the fabric of college culture?  You got to meet your professors, the person you were sitting next to in your first class likely became a study buddy, you learned the most efficient routes in between classes and got an understanding for what you’d be learning during the semester.  The only thing that makes VIP EX a different experience is that when you and your buddies go to eat, you won’t be crammed in a cafeteria line with a tray in your hand waiting for a “blue plate” special.  Instead, there will likely be upscale French-Asian fare on a cozy patio or perhaps a mouthwatering Thanksgiving dinner paired with a funk fusion band.  These are real activities that were planned during our time together at our HQ in Santa Monica, CA and they made the experience that much more memorable.  

It wasn’t all fun and games, we did learn a thing or two as a group and even got a little sweat in (pic below).  Not only did we carry out the value of “Embrace Wellness” with activities such as Barry’s Bootcamp, we also got to hear from our people leaders of the highest esteem.  The first day kicked off with our founder & CEO, Ross McCray, giving us the story of VideoAmp; which then led into a wonderful conversation around media currency with our Chief Measurability Officer, Josh Chasin.  After a break for lunch, we got to hear about the business of our business from our Chief Strategy Officer, Nick Chakalos; which then led into a coaching session from an outside partner, Bill McAlpine of CORE Performance.  Once Bill educated everyone on the importance of conserving our energy it was time for a quick “Fika” and everyone enjoyed a smoothie.  Rounding out day one content were two quick sessions with the People team; including a breakdown of each respective department at VideoAmp, how we fuel career growth for all people through Project Accelerate and a creative activity around how we connect to our eight values. 

Day two was a similar structure in that we had wellness activities in the morning and a nutritious breakfast for all of the new Vampers before jumping back into content.  Once everyone was able to recharge from their morning workouts with breakfast, it was time to do an interactive session around time management and “chipping away at your big rocks”.  Since a rather large rock for most Vampers is their equity in the company, our next session was an equity primer from our VP of Talent Management & Advisory, Jonathan Fisch.  Next up was Karina with a discussion around brain-friendly feedback and then it was time for lunch.  The afternoon was a great chance to learn more about Michael Parkes, our President, and his take on the value proposition of VideoAmp.  Then, one of the newest people leader all-stars, Tony Fagan, our Chief Technology Officer, gave us his vision for the future plus a mindblowing rendition of “Two Truths and a Lie”.  It was quite the cast of characters and as a new Vamper myself, I found it to be extremely enlightening. 

Headlining our VIP experience on Day three was a collaborative, yet illuminating, discussion with members of our Employee Advisory Group around unconscious biases as well as diversity, equity and inclusion.  In this changing world and workplace, it’s imperative to have these types of discussions with all employees to understand and learn from one another.  Our goal is to challenge the status quo and continue making our workplace as heterogeneous as possible.  The most successful organizations on the planet benefit from having varied perspectives and a diverse culture – VideoAmp is striving to be no different.  I am grateful to work for a leadership group that puts an emphasis on Empowerment & Inclusion as we build a more diverse workforce. With this type of focus on such an important topic, I am excited to see what changes we can carry-out for the betterment of our organization and society as a whole.    

Overall, new Vampers found VIP EX to be reinforcing in their decision to join the company, as one person was as quoted saying: 

“I can’t emphasize enough how much I genuinely appreciated that VideoAmp did this for its employees.  As a new person, you get a bit lost coming into a new company, this type of orientation makes you feel connected and placed on a track for success in the company.  It also makes you feel your arrival was anticipated, and it validates your decision to join the company.  Keep this as part of your program, and you will definitely reap the benefits of loyal, long term employees.  And, thank you for doing this!” 

This quote says it all.  By treating all new hires as VIPs, we will not only have happy colleagues, but people who trust each other, remain loyal to the company and feel motivated to accelerate their career while at VideoAmp.  This will be of the utmost importance as the company rapidly scales and continues on its mission to create a more sophisticated data-driven advertising ecosystem that redefines how media is valued, bought and sold. 

(bottom left) CEO and co-founder, Ross McCray, with our new Vamper cohort in the Santa Monica HQ