Dancing on Board

By: Catherine Azzarello
young woman jumping joyously high in air while dancing

As a new hire at DockYard, one of the things I’ve been sharing with former colleagues is DockYard’s innovative onboarding process. Joining a new consulting firm means learning a lot about digital product development before becoming a productive team member. In turn, how all that information is served to the new hire says a lot about company culture. It’s like drinking a giant Slurpee vs. drinking from a firehose. Sure, there’s been a brain freeze or two—but I’m not drowning. DockYard welcomes new hires with sufficient onboarding time—and supports them with good documentation and peer assistance.

Here are some highlights:

  1. From early in the interview process, I was informed about benefits, policies, culture, and pay. When enrollment time arrived, it was a simple process to fill out the forms—as I already had plenty of time to review the documents, ask questions, and make choices.
  2. Day one began with an HR video conference where we double-checked my benefits. I was set up with email, Slack, as well as the employee handbook, and then introduced to the company via Slack. Within seconds, the #employee-experience channel exploded with dancing emojis.
  3. Following that, I had a video conference with my engineering manager. He walked me through Google Drive engineering documents, links, wikis, and added me to more Slack channels. More emojis danced.
  4. Then, I was left…alone. This quiet time allowed me to orient myself and configure my computer. Engineering has a great onboarding wiki covering key Slack channels, GitHub repos, meeting links, passwords, and even a Google map with markers for every employee’s location. Enough docs and configs to keep me busy for several days.
  5. One of the best parts—the magic part—was running DockYard’s laptop install script. I was skeptical (very skeptical) that setting up my machine could be simple. Yet, the laptop install script worked just as documented. Now I danced!
  6. During my onboarding time, there was plenty of help available via Slack from my fellow strategy, design, engineering, and SQA colleagues. I’ve learned about and installed quite a few handy add-ons, including a fantastic time-zone app There that lives in the menu bar — a wonderful utility for distributed teams.
  7. By Friday I was participating in several internal meetings, digging through repos and looking forward to the following week’s onboarding process for the client project to which I’d been assigned.

Overall, I’ve taken in a lot of information, configured a lot of apps and settings, but have not drank from a firehose. DockYard’s onboarding process is a success because we:

  • Invest in documentation.
  • Allow sufficient time for new hires to read the documents and configure their computers.
  • Hire genuinely nice people who are happy to help a new teammate.

In short, DockYard’s onboarding process has been a shining example of company culture. I’m happy to be on board.

pine plank table with mug of coffee inscribed with word 'begin'

DockYard is a digital product agency offering exceptional user experience, design, full stack engineering, web app development, custom software, Ember, Elixir, and Phoenix services, consulting, and training.