Becoming part of the Giant Swarm

Oct 11, 2019

So you have successfully managed to go through our hiring process, you’ve spoken to our People Ops team, successfully convinced us in the tech skill interview, wowed us with your hiring presentation, and we’ve convinced you to start with us :) But what now? How do you become and feel part of a company that only meets twice a year in real life? And won’t this end up being a very lonely journey? The simple answer to the last question is “NO”, but let me give you some more info on this.

At Giant Swarm, working remotely has not evolved as a random process over time but instead, the decision to establish a 100% remotely working team was reached at the very beginning of Giant Swarm’s journey. From day one onwards, we knew that we would only be truly successful as a team if we didn’t restrict ourselves to a certain location and only if we managed to establish a great culture regardless of the location of its team members. With this in mind, all processes at Giant Swarm are designed to function remotely and part of this is also our onboarding process. Yes, this means you can do it from your very own home or wherever you want and there is no need to come to Cologne!

Your first email

So what exactly happens, once you’ve signed your contract via DocuSign? The first thing is that you will get a welcome email including your new Giant Swarm email and Slack account info. You can access this immediately, and start communicating with the team straight away. Of course, nobody expects you to start working before your actual start date, but we want to give you the opportunity to be in the know from day one on. So you can read up on everything that has happened and is happening on Slack as well as actively communicate with your new team :) We are a 100% transparent company.

In that first email, you will also get your “Onboarding guide”, which gives you plenty of information on what is about to happen during your first couple of weeks as well as before you have even officially started with us (this mainly includes making sure you have all the hardware you need ready for your first day). In this doc, you’ll also find a link to our FAQs which cover general info on topics such as vacation (yes we really don’t count days) as well as working hours (yes, you really get to choose when you want to work), how we do meetings (you choose your own and attend only the ones that are relevant for you - no bullshit meetings - YAY) as well as useful information on reimbursement and traveling with us. And that’s just to name a few.

One of the most important items of this first email is that you’ll find out who your buddy will be. You’re probably thinking what’s a buddy to do with working at Giant Swarm? We know that working in a completely remote company that works with a very cool and still relatively new tech stack leads to loads of questions and this is why you get a buddy. Your buddy is your go-to-person for all the questions you might have. You can also ask questions in our slack channel #ask-me-anything but sometimes it’s quite nice to know that there is a specific person who you can ask. Your buddy will also help you get familiar with our work processes and deciding which meetings you might not want to miss out on.

Your first day

Eventually, your first day will come :) On this day, your first meeting will be with someone from People Ops as well as your buddy. During this meeting, we will go through what needs to be done before you can start with your day-to-day activities, what you will be doing during your first week and what will happen during your first month. To give you a bit more info on this: Before you start, we need to get all the annoying but very necessary paperwork done. We also need to make sure you have access to all work-relevant databases/accounts etc., but it also includes fun parts such as making sure you get your Giant Swarm swag package.

Your first week

During your first week, you will virtually meet your team and subscribe to their ceremonies and channels. You will start attending meetings and get a first glimpse at some of our Special Interest Groups (SIGs). We would also like you to start with your 1:1 sessions now. These sessions are video calls with every single team member of Giant Swarm. As we work remotely, we only meet very rarely (twice a year for our on-site somewhere in Europe and sometimes at conferences), but we want to make sure that you get to know all your colleagues and that you have spoken to each and everyone at least once :) During this 30-60mins long 1:1 session, you can talk about any subject you like and try to get to know each of your new colleagues a bit better. You’ll learn more about our product and our workflows during our intro sessions and workshops.

Giant Swarm Rome onsite

Your first month and what’s to follow

After your first month, you’ve probably managed to have had most of your 1:1 sessions, you’ve had your intro sessions and workshops and you have started a routine of which meetings you’ll be attending during the week. We hope that at this point, you already feel like part of the Swarm :) Since we believe in continuous learning and improvement, every new team member will participate in two so-called NewBee Retros during your first 6-8 months at the company. These NewBee Retros are held once a quarter and they are designed to reflect on what went well during your onboarding process and which areas could use some improvement :)

Hopefully, this post has given you a first glimpse into what your onboarding phase at Giant Swarm will be like :) Of course onboarding is an iterative process as we are growing and we’re working on improving this process on a constant basis. As always, if you have any questions or if you are interested in talking to one of us, just send us an email!

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