Best first day ever: How these Austin companies roll out the red carpet for new hires

May 11, 2017

The first day on a new job is much like starting at a new school: excitement undulating with anxiety. But many companies go out of their way to make new hires feel comfortable by showering them with branded goodies, treating them to lunch, ensuring they meet everyone on their team and introducing them to leadership.

The companies of Austin — a city recognized for its welcoming sense of community — go beyond that. We reached out to four local tech employees who recently joined their teams to learn about their first-day experiences, which include celebratory beers, dancing, even a fresh bouquet of flowers. 


Meet two of Main Street Hub's employees that they added to their Austin team in January. The company, which builds marketing automation and social media integrations for small businesses, welcomes each new employee with a desk full of swag, meet-and-greets with the execs and a rundown of Main Street Hub’s values. Sales representative Ellie Honzel and community manager Emmy Walters dished on their first days.

How did you feel leading up to your first day at Main Street Hub?

Honzel: I got to work (not kidding) over an hour early because I was so excited and didn't want to be late. I even called my parents at 4 a.m. their time that day because I was so excited. I didn't know what to expect; I didn't know if I would be the youngest person there, or if I was the only out-of-towner, or if other people had sales experience.

How did the first day go?

Honzel: My first day was similar to starting a first day of school, as funny as that sounds. I had moved to the area from Arizona a week before, and I really didn't know anyone in Austin or anything about Austin. One of the first things we did was introduce ourselves, say where we were from, and then our favorite local business. I took notes on everyone's favorite restaurants and places to hang out. I felt like I was already a part of not only the Main Street Hub family, but Austin too. Even as new hires, we were introduced to some of the highest executives, which some jobs don't do with even their most seasoned vets — so I felt welcomed right away!

I left the office on that first day knowing that I had made a great decision working at Main Street Hub, my new family. I again called my parents to tell them everything.

Walters: I felt so welcomed my first day! A lot of new faces and new information, but our new-hire trainer Hailey Tielkemeier made everything more comfortable. Hailey made the day fluid and inviting, and it was fun meeting so many nice people. The mix of information-based presentations and interactive training sessions made the information intake a lot easier. At the end of the day, we had a beer together to celebrate the first day, which was really nice.

What kind of swag did you get?

Walters: When we got to our desks that first morning, there was a Main Street Hub T-shirt, sunglasses, notebook, pen and card with the Main Street Hub values waiting for us.

How was meeting the managers and execs?

Honzel: The way leadership talks about their values and how they have the utmost respect for local businesses gave me chills — they call local business owners “local heroes.” I had more fun at my first day of work than I ever had at a first day of school.

And lunch?

Honzel: A group of about seven of us in the training group all walked to Royal Blue, still one of my favorite markets in Austin. We learned about each other and what had brought us all from different places here. Those girls are still some of my best friends.

Walters: We went out for lunch at Eureka down the street with the new hires and our team leads.

How do you like the job and the culture now?

Honzel: This job is one of the best opportunities I have ever been given. The job has its challenges, but I enjoy pushing myself and growing. Training was an amazing experience, and I didn't know it could get better until I was placed on my team. We live our values, and that's something many businesses can't say.



John Iracheta joined Aceable, the startup that's reinventing driver's ed, six weeks ago as a QA automation engineer, which he describes as covering web and mobile QA automation and posting memes in Slack. Iracheta described how his new team put him at ease, giving him plenty of time to settle in. In addition to a healthy gifting of company swag, every Aceable employee has access to an internal slide deck with everyone’s names, faces and photos of their pets.

How would you describe your first day?

Day one was extremely welcoming. The onboarding process was a breeze. The team made me feel immediately at home and helped me get familiar with the product and processes.

How did you feel before getting to work, and then how did you feel once the day was done?

I was anxious to meet my new team, have expectations set and immediately get to work on automation. When I arrived, it was made clear I'd have a chance to settle in before goals and expectations were laid out. I really appreciated that. It helped ease that anxious feeling that you need to hit the ground running.

What Aceable swag did you get and where did y’all head for lunch?

We all get a shirt, hoodie, mug, highball glass, Koozie, and stickers! For lunch, the team walked over to Austin Ale House for a power lunch...and beer...power beer.

How did you get to know all the Aceable peeps?

We have an internal slide deck that helps to match faces with names and see pics of everyone's pets. At the end of my first week, I got to make a more formal introduction at our weekly wrap-up meeting. Dancing is involved.

You’re six weeks in — is Aceable’s culture what you were looking for?

When I was looking into Aceable, the culture is what immediately stood out to me. The people and culture here are genuine. Aceable's core values align with my own. Everyone buys into what we do, why and how we do it. Loving the company you work for is great motivation for doing your best work. Definitely feeling the love here.



Just two weeks after Kara Kriegshauser joined ActiveProspect, she accompanied the entire team on a trip to Las Vegas — marking quite possibly the greatest company onboarding ever. Kriegshauser started at the end of February as a senior client success manager supporting the clients of ActiveProspect’s lead generation solutions. Kriegshauser weighed in on some of the red carpet treatment she received when starting.

How would you describe your first day?

Full of surprises! When I got here I really felt like they gave me the special treatment. Everyone was very welcoming, and my team had decorated my desk with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a welcome sign. The rest of the day was full of onboarding sessions, introductions and lunch with my new team.

How did you feel before getting to work, and then how did you feel once the day was done?

As with starting anything new, and especially starting a new job after being at your last one for four years, there is a lot of anxiety of the unknown (will people be friendly, will I understand the product and role, where are the Post-its, etc.).

The team at AP really did everything they could to make me feel welcome, show me around, and encourage me to help myself to what I needed. They often checked in throughout the day to make sure things were going well and that I had what I needed. It was a great whirlwind that I bragged about to friends and family!

Did you get any company swag?

Did I?! I don’t know if you consider an adjustable standing desk and 27” Mac monitor swag, but our equipment and setup is top of the line. Along with the flowers and welcome sign, I was greeted with a Moleskin notebook, an AP T-shirt and fun AP stickers.

What did you do for lunch?

The Client Success Team took me to the Noble Pig on Burnet.

How did you get to know people on the team?

We went to Las Vegas! Honestly, about two weeks into the role, I accompanied the team on the annual trip to Vegas for LeadsCon. I don’t think there’s a better way to get to know your team. We’ve also started working out together at Dane’s Body Shop twice a week during lunch. I don’t think our CEO, Steve, has ever missed a workout. If Vegas doesn’t help you get to know each other, bench-pressing definitely will.

How do you like the job and the culture now?

I’m over the moon. AP is a bootstrapped and profitable company with a group of talented and caring people, many of whom have been here for five years or more. The office culture is laid-back and cozy with the office nestled in Hyde Park. We have amazing perks that I definitely don’t take for granted, like a fully stocked kitchen (I rarely need to eat breakfast at home or leave for lunch), the option to have a gourmet salad brought to your desk for lunch five times a week, group workouts at Dane’s Body Shop next-door twice a week, onsite showers, keg, Ping-Pong table … the list goes on.

Outside of the great accommodations and the top-down cultural importance of a healthy work/life balance, we all admire each other’s talents and treat each other with mutual respect. We work hard for our clients and for each other, becoming a stronger (and, literally, healthier) team every day.



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