An Effective Onboarding Structure

When a new team mate enters the company, she is assigned a buddy. Someone who helps her getting up to speed with our habits, processes, vocabulary, unwritten rules (if any) and that explain the overload of inside jokes we crack every day.

This is a very important task, usually carried out by seasoned sparkers. This page is a practical guidelines for both the buddy and the employee about what to focus on to make sure the first month in Sparkfabrik always is a valuable experience.

The process

As every process, onboarding has inputs and outputs.

Inputs are the involved people and a set of clear goals.
The output is a new team mate who can autonomously find her way within the company, providing valueable work and participating to the whole team life, with little to no friction.

There are prerequisites, of course. To make sure nothing is missing, it suffices to follow this handy checklist.

Once they are fulfilled, the next step is to set the goals and schedule check-ups.


For the first two weeks

For the buddy:

  • Clarify the workflow of our projects to the new employee
  • Present and clarify any doubts about the tools that allow access to this workflow (git, gitlab, our branching model, etc)
  • Clarify how we track time on Toggl and how we communicate on Slack
  • Test the employee declared skills and proficiency level

For the employee:

  • Gain a basic but complete understanding of the mentioned workflow and tools
  • Have a clear idea of the social geography of the team she works with and of Sparkfabrik in general
  • Knowing how to track her time and communicate on the right channels

For the first month

For the employee:

  • Have contributed a significant improvement (epic, milestone, etc) to the project she is working on
  • Celebrate the achievement by showing her work to the company, with a quick internal talk
  • Consolidate its position in the team as an autonomous part of the productive process


Two-weeks after joining

HR will schedule a call around this deadline with the new employee and her buddy to:

  • Check the progress on the mentioned goals
  • Take note of the actions necessary to fill any gaps
  • If some goal is not complete, set a reasonable deadline for the completion
  • Sharing second phase goals plan, in practical terms (which increment, how to persent it to the company, etc)

One months after joining

HR will schedule the onboarding final meeting with the new employee and her buddy to:

  • Have a retrospective of the first month
  • Collect any feedback and define possible corrective actions
  • Highlight difficulties/impediments and provide insights to improve onboarding process
  • (Optional) Set goals for the quarter to come (related to the project/team, possible training goals set by the CTO, etc)
Last updated on 15 Apr 2021