Onboarding buddy program

Why we have onboarding buddies

To ensure our new teammates are set up for success, we will pair them up with an “onboarding buddy” in order to become better acquainted with Sourcegraph team and culture. An onboarding buddy is an additional resource for new teammates who are learning how to navigate their new role and company.

An onboarding buddy is essentially a new teammate’s first friend– someone to connect with that can share their experiences and advice to help make their transition a little smoother. A buddy will be the new teammate’s go-to person for questions (in addition to their manager and the People Ops team). They are someone to turn to with questions, someone who knows the ins and outs of the company and can offer help and guidance as the new teammate navigates their first few weeks at Sourcegraph.

A great onboarding buddy will be

Approachable: the new teammate is probably overwhelmed, let them know you can be accessed along with their manager if they have any questions or concerns along the way.

Proactive: check-in and see how they’re doing, if they need help with anything.

Compassionate: remember what it was like to be new and try to help ease that transition.

Helpful: shows them the ropes of the organization and gives them tips on navigating it.

Onboarding buddy logistics

Length and frequency

  • 1 month, meeting once a week.
  • Additional meetings can be scheduled as needed, if appropriate the role

Buddy selection

The new hire’s manager selects the onboarding buddy. When selecting a buddy, the following are taken into account:

Role: buddies will ideally be able to assist with role and team related questions

Sourcegraph tenure: buddies will ideally have been at Sourcegraph for 3+ months, with satisfactory performance

Time Zone: the buddy and new hire will ideally be in the same time zone, but must have at least 2 hours of overlap in working hours

Availability: buddies should be able to devote time toward assisting the ne whire

People Ops will confirm with the manager via Process St that the chosen buddy meets these criteria prior to a new hire’s first day.

Once you’ve been selected as a buddy

Thank you for accepting being an onboarding buddy! You are an essential part of helping a new teammate navigate a new company and get acclimated during their first weeks. The People team will send you a Process St Checklist that guides you through the onboarding buddy process, as well as topics to cover in your weekly buddy syncs, such as:

  • Talk about what “handbook first” means. The handbook is super important at Sourcegraph and it’s extremely useful. Help the new hire understand what it is, how we use it and give them some tips on how to navigate it (like how to search in it). You can check out before the meeting or redirect the new hire to How to use the handbook.

  • For company policies questions such as vacation, payroll, time and expenses, redirect them to People Ops where they will find information under Benefits and Teammate experience. You can also check it out beforehand to help answer their questions, and if any questions are still left unanswered, you can always redirect the new teammate to our #ask-people-team channel in Slack.

  • Talk about day to day routines. It’s hard to get the hang of an all remote job if you’ve never done it before. Talk about your experience at Sourcegraph, how you manage asynchronous communication and flexible working hours (we have unlimited vacation and flexible schedules, what has this looked like in practice for you and others?). You can also share some Tips for working remotely.

  • Role Related Artifacts While Sourcegraph is a handbook first organization, the handbook itself is ever evolving and dynamic. Part of a successful onboarding journey is for the paired buddy to provide essential role related artifacts that may be helpful to the new team member. This may include things from G Drive templates, Saleforce reports, Looker statistics and more for example.

  • Slack. Who to ask for what. Talk about how we use Slack channels and that we actually mean that we are transparent. Try to emphasize that asking questions is a good thing and highly encouraged (if you have a question, chances are, someone else has the same one!). There is no such thing as a stupid question.

  • Their role. You might get someone who starts working on your team as a buddy, which means they’ll probably like to know what they need to be successful. Try thinking of tips, ideas, suggestions to answer the question ”What should they be studying/learning/focusing on?”. Particularly during their first weeks while they are getting used to the company and their role.

  • Donut. Explain to them what Donut is and how we use it. Donut is a great tool for them to meet teammates they might not interact with on a regular basis.

You are going to be one of the first people this new teammate will form a connection with at Sourcegraph. You don’t only need to talk about Sourcegraph, you may talk about interests or professional careers as well. The above are some guidelines to help if you need them.

We want everyone to feel comfortable and mingle. Being all remote means that it can be easy to feel isolated if you don’t reach out or have regular interactions with the people you work with. Try and help the new teammates: invite them to social gatherings you have scheduled with other teammates; add them to channels you think they’ll find interesting; contact them with someone who can help them with something they were asking about, or someone who simply has the same interests and would appreciate the chat. You can also go through the Remote page in the handbook, particularly the FAQ about cohesion.