How Zenefits uses Highfive to train new hires

By many measures—valuation, revenue growth—HR benefits company Zenefits was the fastest growing startup of 2014. From January to December, the San Francisco based-firm grew from 15 employees to 500.

Onboarding all of these new hires is a big job and it belongs, in part, to training manager Amber Deibert, who leads training for Zenefits’ rapidly expanding support team. Since joining last June, Deibert has seen weekly new hire classes balloon from 4 to 30 people. And things got even crazier when Zenefits opened a second office in Scottsdale, Arizona in November.

Suddenly Deibert was tasked with training people from 750 miles away. That’s because the Zenefits employees she enlists to present during training also hold key roles across the company, from engineering to marketing, and most are based in San Francisco. “We needed to keep that continuity of knowledge and culture,” says Deibert. But she couldn’t send people to Scottsdale every week.

“My presenters had to focus on the technology rather than on the content”

Video conferencing seemed like an obvious solution, but Deibert had been disappointed with everything she’d used in her previous role at outdoor retailer Backcountry.com.

“We tried Live Person, Google Hangouts, WebEx—nothing worked,” she explains. At Zenefits, Deibert was using Apple TV and Hangouts, but they were unreliable and left her in a state of panic each week over whether she’d be able to pull off the training sessions.

“My presenters had to focus on the technology rather than on the content, which is a nightmare for them,” says Deibert.

“We brought in Highfive and it just worked”

Then in December, Zenefits IT director Nick Thulin began rolling out a new solution at HQ and Deibert decided to give it a shot. “We brought in Highfive and it just worked,” she explains.

“One of the things I love about Highfive is that it’s super easy to use,” says Deibert. “I have 10 people delivering training who aren’t trainers. It’s a huge relief that I can just send them to the Highfive app and they’re able to figure it out themselves.”

Thulin set up a Highfive device in the main room used for training in Scottsdale, and Deibert booked a conference room with a Highfive device in San Francisco for her presenters.

“It’s really important to have them feel like there’s not this distance between them and the rest of the company since they’re not coming to San Francisco,” she says of the new hires in Arizona.

Keeping the team connected too

Deibert also uses Highfive to manage and connect with her own team, since a few members are based in Scottsdale. Recently when she was onboarding a new member of the training team in that office, she created a meeting link and left it open all day (with the camera turned off to save bandwidth) so that her new team member could ask questions whenever she needed to.

Deibert also uses a persistent Highfive call link to hold her daily 15-minute stand-up meetings with her team. And if she needs to add a Highfive link to any other meeting, that’s easy too. “I love the Chrome extension because it lets me add a video call to my meetings with one click,” she says.

“We don’t use Skype anymore for interviews”

The training team is not the only squad at Zenefits using Highfive. Deibert says that for remote interviews, a recruiter books a room with a Highfive device and briefs the candidate over email on how to quickly setup Highfive on their computer ahead of time. “We don’t use Skype anymore for interviews,” Deibert notes.

For this rocket ship startup, Highfive is a critical tool for bringing new employees on board, making them productive and part of the company culture as quickly as possible.