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Joining a new company can be nerve-wracking - joining a new company during lockdown is a whole different ball game. We speak to Kyle Wernham, a Senior Full Stack Software Developer, who joined us during the first week of lockdown.
Here at Techspert, we've been working hard to ensure the safety of our staff by moving to remote working in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. That means we've had to adapt the way we all work, including how we onboard new members of the team. In this post, we talk to Kyle, who joined us during the first week of the UK's COVID-19 lockdown measures in March 2020.
Hi, I’m Kyle!
When I accepted the offer from Techspert I was excited to join the team, meet my new colleagues, and get stuck in. But because of COVID-19 and the necessary lockdown measures, an office welcome wasn’t on the cards for me anymore. Fortunately, thanks to technology, I still received a warm virtual techspert.io welcome and experienced a smooth onboarding process.
Enjoying a lunchtime walk during lockdown.
Before I dive deeper into what it was like joining the team remotely, let me tell you a bit about what I do.
As a Senior Full Stack Software Developer, I’m a member of the tech team. My primary responsibilities are full-stack software engineering, improving backend architecture, introducing new processes and best practices for the software development lifecycle, producing in-house documentation, knowledge-sharing via peer programming, and using prior experience to inform opinions of past software tools, frameworks, libraries, and so on.
Now that that’s out the way, let’s move on to the onboarding experience.
Preparing for my first day
There wasn’t much I needed to do to prepare for my first day because the ops team handled everything. They provided excellent communication regarding the COVID-19 situation and how it impacted my upcoming start and gave me access to rich documentation regarding company processes and culture.
Before starting I also received a laptop and later a wi-fi dongle to provide me with stable internet access. Fortunately, I already had a workstation set up as I’ve worked remotely in previous roles and didn’t need a desk or chair but if it’s something you require, the ops team gets it delivered to you.
For instance, one of my colleagues didn’t have a suitable desk and chair to work from at home so the ops team came to the rescue!
My colleague’s workstation before and after.
The onboarding process
There are many different initiatives Techspert has in place to ensure a smooth onboarding process. Below are a few highlights that stood out to me.
- The buddy system: Every new starter gets allocated a buddy (shout-out to Viv!), a Techspertian from a different team who’s been at the company for a while who helps newbies settle in.
- The new starter pack: This pack contains all the information you need to help you during the onboarding process including meet the team profiles, a checklist detailing things you should do from two weeks before you join the company to a few weeks into your role, policies and much more!
- Welcome lunch: New starters are usually treated to a welcome lunch with the rest of their team on the first day but given the circumstances, mine had to be done virtually. Nonetheless, this was a great way to meet the rest of the tech team and bond with them in an informal way.
- Meet the team introductions: During my first week, I had online meetings with the different Techspert teams (tech, account management, sales, marketing, customer success, and ops). This was a great way to get a sense of the company structure and culture, how the different teams work together, and to meet the people who make up the different teams.
The biggest challenge I faced during the onboarding process was remembering everyone’s names, how they fit into the wider company team, and understanding some of the internal terminologies but that’s to be expected in the beginning.
I’ve been at Techspert for almost two months now and it’s been a wonderful experience. There’s an excellent work-life balance, positive company culture, great technical challenges, and room to improve, making it an exciting environment to be a part of.
The open channels of communication and transparency have been vital in helping me transition quickly. There’s day-to-day team engagement, a monthly company-wide meeting, silos are minimal, and people are approachable.
My first company-wide meeting. We were celebrating a colleague’s achievements.
Another thing that’s helped me settle in quickly as a Techspertian is the company’s emphasis on social engagement. We have a social committee that organizes a range of activities to encourage camaraderie and ensure that nobody feels isolated. Some of the virtual social activities include a monthly book club, a weekly lunch and learn, a quiz and games night, and a talent show.
I hope this blog post has shed some light on what it’s like joining techspert.io remotely during COVID-19 lockdown. Although the experience has been great, I do look forward to meeting my colleagues in person!