The Liatrio team is led by technology veterans with expertise in applying results-driven, lean software development principles and change management methodologies in order to transform the way our clients work. To achieve this ambitious goal, we have developed an extensive six-phase hiring process and DevOps onboarding process to identify, hire, and onboard some of the industry’s best DevOps talent.
While our team is distributed across the country, most new employee onboarding occurs in person. Liatrio’s DevOps onboarding experience has two components, internal (Liatrio onboarding) and external (client onboarding). This DevOps onboarding process has evolved over time and is repeatable to ensure all new employees receive a similar Devops onboarding experience.
Here, we’ll share some of the proven DevOps onboarding strategies we have developed and fine-tuned. We believe these strategies may prove valuable, not just in the DevOps world but in any tech industry.
Pre-onboarding and orientation begin when a prospective employee accepts our offer letter. Our orientation program aims to:
- Welcome the new employee to the team
- Foster a positive first impression
- Ease any anxiety
- Answer questions
- Clearly communicate organizational expectations
- Promote good public relations
- Set a tone for collaboration, openness, and transparency.
“Welcome to Team Liatrio!” These are the first words we want our new employees to hear as they respond Yes to the offer to join our team. This same welcome feeling is put into every detail of our DevOps onboarding process.
As new employees prepare to join Liatrio, we launch the onboarding process to prepare for their arrival. Our DevOps onboarding process incorporates multiple touch points intended to keep new employees excited about the prospect of joining our team. Before their start date, we share information to help them understand expectations. We also order their Liatrio equipment, create user credentials/access, and plan the schedule of activities for their first week.
For example, employees receive a series of direct mail packages, including a Welcome Package, and emails to help guide them before they show up on day one. Their Welcome Package includes information about their start date and client site location, employee benefits and payroll, dress code/work attire, equipment and access guidelines (Liatrio supplies employees with a MacBook Pro), team tools (e.g., Google Docs, Google Drive, Confluence, Jira, and Slack), and travel guidelines and reimbursement procedures. (We even provide information about TSA Pre-Check/Global Entry program enrollment procedures and travel luggage recommendations!)
Read, Listen, Repeat
Successful Liatrio employees are on a quest for continual education and learning. Liatrio employees stay up to date on and help guide DevOps developments in the industry, reading books and blogs, attending Meetups, and attending and presenting at industry conferences.
Before employees start at Liatrio, we ask them to listen to and read several podcasts, books, blogs, and other materials. (They’ll have the opportunity to complete this learning during their first month on the job.) These materials include:
- DevOps Café Podcasts (particularly 65, 62, 56, and 54)
- DevOps Chats
- Deming Institute Podcasts
- The Phoenix Project
- Continuous Delivery
- The DevOps Handbook
Orientation Mentor and Client Consultant Lead
Our goal is to orient new employees to the new job, our clients, and the company, as well as to set new employees up for success. With this goal in mind, a Client Consulting Lead serves as an Orientation Mentor to help new employees navigate their DevOps onboarding experience from the day they accept their offer and throughout their first month at the company. This mentor works in a similar role as the new employee at the client site, which makes the mentor an excellent resource for any questions that arise. The mentor prepares a DevOps onboarding
In addition, the Client Team members (Liatrio employees who lead the client team) works with each new employee on a daily basis, collaborating closely with the new employee and providing on-the-job training.
Month-Long Onboarding and Orientation
The DevOps onboarding experience at Liatrio involves both an organizational and a client orientation aimed at introducing new employees to Liatrio and to the client team they’re joining. Throughout their month-long orientation, all new employees continue to work closely with their Orientation Mentor and the Client Consultant Lead.
DevOps Onboarding — Day One
On their first day, new employees receive a warm welcome, meet key Liatrio and client team members, and learn about the client site and the client team.
In particular, new employees:
- Participate in a company orientation with our CEO, Chris Blackburn, to discuss payroll policies, expense reporting, 401K and health benefits, dress code guidelines, and additional information included in the Liatrio Company Handbook.
- Participate in client onboarding with the Client Consultant Lead to gain detailed information about the client engagement, client deliverables, day-to-day policies and procedures, technology setup (Google Drive, Slack, Jira, Confluence, persistent chat, and other Liatrio/client tools), and Liatrio and client team meetings and ceremonies.
- Meet and greet the client team.
DevOps Onboarding — Week One
During their first week, DevOps onboarding continues. New employees gain a comprehensive overview of the client and their role from both a consulting perspective and an engineering perspective. We also introduce new employees to everyone on the Liatrio team and integrate them into the Tao of Liatrio or way of working.
In particular, new employees:
- Meet with Liatrio cofounder Ravi Kalaga to gain a history of Liatrio, gain an overview of the Tao of Liatrio, and learn key details about Liatrio’s consulting practice (what we do and how and why we do it).
- Meet with the Client Engineer Lead to gain an overview of engineering practices, continuous integration/continuous delivery, continuous integration strategy, branching strategy, Maven, ticket-based development, open-source software, and Liatrio and client tools (including Github, Jenkins, Docker, AWS, Vagrant, and Slack).
- Meet one-on-one with Liatrio client team members at the primary client site to introduce themselves, learn more about the client, and ask questions.
- Meet with the Chico Lead to learn about the Chico office, guidelines and expectations, and community visibility.
DevOps Onboarding — Month One
The DevOps onboarding experience continues for the first 30 days of employment. New employees engage in continuous learning about the company, the client, and their role. They also begin to make significant contributions to the client, our company, and the broader tech community.
In particular, new employees:
- Complete all items on the detailed New Employee Checklist. New employees finish HR onboarding, review company best practices, review best practices related to Liatrio’s DevOps practice, complete their mandatory reading, and have the opportunity to write their first Liatrio blog.
- Finish holding one-on-one meetings with all Liatrio team members.
- Strengthen the company’s social media and community presence by engaging on Twitter, engaging on LinkedIn, and participating in local DevOps, Agile, Continuous Delivery, Chef, and Puppet Meetup groups.
- Continue self-study, drawing from a selection of recommended texts, blogs, white papers, videos, and articles.
Employment Success the Liatrio Way
From the day a prospective employee accepts our offer, we begin to prepare for their arrival. And they begin to prepare too.
As part of our DevOps onboarding process, we encourage new team members to get to know every single member of the Liatrio team and their partner team members at the client with whom they’ll interact and provide support. Education, curiosity, clear communication, and a willingness to go the distance are all key to their success at Liatrio.
In sum, employees who join our team take a leap of faith, and it’s our job to take every possible step to ensure we made the right decision, our new employee made the right decision, and our clients benefit in the end.