A crossborder remote onboarding. Mission impossible or business as usual at Railnova?

Post by the Sales & Account Manager new joiners at Railnova
December 21, 2021

01.09.2021. It is 7.00am. A French, a German, and a Slovakian guy are sitting on a train arriving in Brussels… Wait, that’s not what happened! Actually, Christina,  Pedro and Jozef arrived at Railnova via video conference call and started their remote onboarding from four different countries. Sounds like mission impossible?

“I’ll Let You Know Where I’m Going, I Won’t Be On Holiday.”

Who is on this mission?

Christina Schaberger

Languages: German 🇩🇪, English 🇬🇧, French 🇫🇷, en beetje Nederlands 🇳🇱, y un poquito de Español 🇪🇸

I love trains since I worked on Thalys trains during my studies and have not left the rail industry since. Most recently I was Key Account Manager at SNCF for German travel agencies, where my role could also be described as a remote human interface. Now I am really excited to discover the more technical side of the industry and to be working hand in hand with our customers to drive forward digitalization.

Jozef Mecko

Languages: English 🇬🇧, Slovak 🇸🇰, German 🇩🇪, Czech 🇨🇿 and some Polish 🇵🇱

I have always been interested in technology and IT but I have worked in an unrelated industry in sales for the past 7 years. And now, finally, I have combined them. I have always liked travelling by train, because of their unrivalled comfort and silence compared with air, and road travel. Travelling by train, however, hasn’t been the most convenient form of transportation. But it is all about to change, and we are here to help to modernize the railway industry!

Pedro Silvestre

Languages: French 🇫🇷, English 🇺🇸, Italian 🇮🇹, Spanish 🇪🇸, Português 🇵🇹

I have worked several years in the traditional industry for middle and larger companies. Traveling mostly by airplane around Europe and Africa has been my routine over the past 7 years. 

Today, joining Railnova has been a real change at all levels. I knew very little about trains and software before starting to be honest. Now, after 30 days, I can say how amazing and cool it is discovering this unknown but fascinating and modernizing railway industry, learning new ways of working and developing my knowledge about trains, software, and digitalization. 

I am so excited by this journey, I am very happy to be part of this and participate in its development by working closely with the key actors of the railway sector.

Have you ever considered starting working remotely and in async?

Christina: Remote yes, but I didn’t even know what async communication was all about before joining Railnova. I had experienced cross-border and remote onboarding before, which was really different, and I admit having had a tough time during the first months. So the two main reasons I was open to doing this again were the transparent company culture and my enthusiasm for Railnovas products. 

Jozef: I have considered working fully remotely in the past, but I thought it was possible only for IT software development and similar programming positions. It wasn’t until I came across the Sales and Account Manager job posting opportunity at Railnova that I realized that I too could be working not only fully remote but cross-border remote positions in sales.

What were your feelings and thoughts during your remote onboarding at Railnova?

Christina: I feel amazed most of the time, sometimes a bit confused, but never lost. I know this sounds cheesy, but I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I am thrilled I accepted this mission.

Pedro: Of course, there was a tremendous amount of information and many tools to get used to, but I felt very comfortable and energized especially because people were kind, supportive, available, communicative, and explaining everything in a very empathetic way.

Can you tell in a nutshell about the differences between the traditional and your current working place…

Pedro: Having worked in the traditional industry for several years, I must acknowledge that I was much more familiar with what I could gently call “standard ways of working”. As you can understand, my first 30 days at Railnova had nothing to do with my past experiences, and now, it is something more similar to the picture on the right… Well, aside from this meme, I am referring to asynchronous written communication mainly (thanks Basecamp), very limited meetings and emails, digital processes, and so on. This innovative way of working was a surprising and awesome discovery for me at every level.

Currently, many people are requested to come back to the offices after almost two years of forced remote working due to covid even though they could and would prefer to work from home. Mostly they feel like they are given no valid reason. What are your thoughts on this trend?

Christina: If you are experiencing this right now, let me reassure you that things can be done differently. Our Management told us, “We trust you are working”, so there is no need for a culture of presenteeism and micromanaging. That is why we went through an intensive application process that was very transparent and allowed both sides to really figure out whether it was a match. I think people have the same work ethic wherever they are, on a business trip, in the office, or at home. When an employer doesn’t allow you to work from home without a valid reason, it makes people feel like the company or their manager doesn’t trust them. This must be a very frustrating experience and might encourage people to consider other opportunities that align with their expectations of a modern and future-proof workplace.

Stepping out of your comfort zone and becoming digital is a must!

Humans are creatures of habit. Getting used to the asynchronous communication style at Railnova was a bit of a hurdle at first, and the temptation of scheduling internal calls and meetings is still there. However, we quickly understood the significant advantages of carefully formulating our message in written form. It helps a lot to structure and question our thoughts.

Beyond that, this way of communicating is very respectful of everyone’s time because others only get to read what you want to say once you’ve written it down. Then they can take their time and get back to you once they’ve taken the time to think about it. How cool is that, right?

That’s how a German, Slovakian, and French-Guadeloupean just landed in this new digital universe in the rail industry full of data and joined the Sales & Account Management Team at Railnova. It sounded like mission impossible at first. It turns out it’s absolutely possible! We are now on our mission to digitalize the railway industry, which is far from being accomplished, but we know it’s definitely possible.

Great things never came from comfort zones.

This is our story! What is your story going to be?

Ready to start the digitization journey that enables international cooperation? Take a look at the products and services we offer here: https://www.railnova.eu/products/

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