‘Onboarding’ is a loaded word, and most of us learn relatively early in our career that each company’s onboarding process varies significantly. Here at hx, we believe that a good onboarding experience is the key to ensuring that our team members feel supported enough to do their job well, which is why we put so much emphasis on it.
A good onboarding process is not just about helping people to understand the bare minimum to do their role – it's about providing a solid foundation that allows them to hit the ground running and make valuable contributions from the start.
Jadd Kabbani is one of the Senior Backend Engineers at hx. Despite joining just over three months ago, he has quickly become an invaluable member of our engineering team. Given that Jadd’s onboarding was so recent, we thought we’d let him tell you about it himself. In this blog, Jadd opens up about his first few months at hx.
An onboarding experience like no other
My first post-interview interaction with the team was actually the Friday before I started, when I was kindly invited to attend an after-work social.
It began as a standard meetup, and it was a great way to get to know everyone over a couple of beers. Later we moved to a gaming bar which let me show off my Super Smash Bros skills to my new colleagues. It was a lot of fun, and after nursing a thumping hangover through the weekend, I was ready for my first day.
I opted to go into the office for my first day, but many people work fully remotely so the onboarding process has been designed to work just as well online.
Getting up to speed at hx is really an experience like no other. It’s obvious from the start that a lot of thought has been put into how best to onboard engineers. I’ve had onboarding experiences at previous companies that amounted to no more than “here’s your laptop, good luck!”, so it was great to join a company where they take it seriously.
The first few days
The onboarding process at hx has two key parts: People Operations (Ops) onboarding, and Engineering onboarding. Ops onboarding is the boring stuff you need to do when you join a company, such as setting up various accounts, and reading policies, while Engineering onboarding involves getting acquainted with the product, as well as the system and processes that the company uses.
Onboarding at hx features a buddy system, where a member of your team is assigned to help you get on board as smoothly as possible. It was great to have someone that I knew I could pester whenever I had questions about how things work. It was so much better than previous jobs, where I have been left wondering who the best person is to ask and whether I am being too annoying!
To kick off the day I had an introduction to hx with our CTO Tom Clark, where he laid out our technical vision for the next couple of years. After that, it was straight into Ops onboarding. This has often been a particularly painful process at other companies, as documentation is rarely up to date or easy to find. But hx had set it all up in an easy-to-follow checklist that removed all the tedium.
Alongside Ops onboarding, I was also getting started on my Engineering onboarding. This takes the form of an agile-style work board (think JIRA) with tasks all set up for me to complete. It starts off with some videos to watch and some light documentation to read. Then it leads into more meaty tasks, including training for our product, Renew, and getting started on writing code with my first small and medium tasks. These tasks were suitable for new starters, but it was still real work that needed to be done. They were handpicked for me by my buddy, and it was great knowing that I was making a legitimate contribution to hx from day one.
Getting involved in hx’s summer hackathon
I was lucky to have joined hx just a week before its summer hackathon. As part of this event, all hx’ers (not just engineers!) are given a couple of days at the end of the week to work on fun side projects. These projects can be anything that helps you to develop skills or experiment and prototype cool ideas that may be useful to the business.
I was only a week in at this point, so I opted to use my time to learn the Rust programming language by implementing Conway’s Game of Life. The hackathon was a lot of fun and gave a great insight into hx’s culture of innovation and personal development.
A month on, I have already been able to contribute significantly to our product. I have a good sense of hx’s culture, and I am well underway with my personal development. It has been a great first impression, mostly thanks to hyperexponential’s hyper-efficient onboarding process!
P.S. don’t join hx if you’re on a diet...in the first month I’ve received a chocolate pizza for my birthday, a collection of gins and chocolates for the hackathon, and a big box of sweets for writing this blog!