Entering the elevator, I notice Tommy, our new hire, carrying a large stick-looking object. “Whatcha got there?” I ask.
“A didgeridoo. It’s for the talent show today.”
“Oh, of course,” I respond agreeably, although I have no clue what he is referring to.
Shortly after entering my office, the situation becomes clear. The developer in charge of training, in typical Metova troll fashion, told them during every Wednesday meeting, new hires put on a talent show. I laugh and marvel at the creativity of the joke and begin looking forward to the meeting.
Soon the meeting is underway and all of the important issues, like replacing paper towels in the bathroom and the next Metova party, have been hashed out. Our intern, Trevor, is first up. He pulls out his violin and spends a moment tuning it. As he begins playing a jaunty tune, people begin hollering and clapping along. Tommy is next with his didgeridoo. He talks about it briefly and plays several long, forlorn notes. The stark contrast from violin to didgeridoo is absurd and we all laugh and cheer.
Even though the talent show began as a joke, it was enjoyed so much that we now request all hires to participate. Over time, the talent shows have proven to be more than just an amusement.
Metova has been hiring at a terrific pace and grown from 42 to 70 employees in the past year. When possible, we start developers in small groups and at the time, a new group was arriving every couple of weeks. Keeping up with names and faces became increasingly difficult.
The traditional practice of learning through repetition was hampered by an increase in the number of remote workers and the expansion of our Franklin office from one floor to two. It became more common for entire weeks to go by where I didn’t see people.
Having a talent show turned the endless faces into individuals. It also helped us get to know a little more about their personality. Although names can still be elusive, it became easier to recognize individuals, if only for their talent. Trevor was only here a few short months as an intern. While his actual name may escape memory, mentioning his ability to play violin or “FiddlesAndBits,” his talent-induced HipChat nickname, sparks recognition.