GitLab — Onboarding Buddies
Onboarding buddies are crucial to making the onboarding experience for a new
GitLab team-member a positive one.
New Job Anxiety
is a reality for many people, and the adjustment to GitLab might be
particularly challenging for new GitLab team-members who may not be used to
our all-remote culture. That's why it's important that all new GitLab
team-members be assigned a buddy who is ready, willing, and excited to assist
with the onboarding process.
The first and most important thing an onboarding buddy should do is
schedule a call with the new GitLab team-member.
We attempt to match (as best as possible, anyway) time zones between the new
GitLab team-member and their onboarding buddy so that as soon as the new
GitLab team-member logs on, you, the onboarding buddy, can be there ready
and waiting to welcome them to the team.
Check how far the new GitLab team-member has gotten in their onboarding
The onboarding issue that all new GitLab team-members are assigned can be
overwhelming at first glance, particularly on the first day of work. Check
to see how much, if any, the new GitLab team-member has done by the time
your call happens, and offer some direction or advice on areas the new hire
may be having trouble with.
Suggest helpful handbook pages. Chances are that you've
discovered some particularly helpful pages in the handbook during your time
at GitLab. Point them out to the new GitLab team-member, and help them get
used to navigating the handbook.
Remind them about introducing themselves. Remind the new
team member to introduce themselves in the Slack channel
#new_team_members. Encourage them to write a little personal
note, and if they're comfortable, include a photo or two!
Encourage them to organize a group call with other new hires.
New GitLab team-members who are used to (or prefer) a more conventional new
hire orientation — frequently hosted in group settings in colocated
organizations — may feel a lack of early bonding. Encourage them to organize
a group call with other new hires in order to walk through onboarding
together, while learning about new personalities and departments of the
Introduce them to Slack. Slack may seem like it's
ubiquitous, but that doesn't necessarily mean the new GitLab team-member
will have had experience using it before. Since it's a central part of
how we communicate at GitLab, consider showing them around, and give them
some pointers about how we use it.
Be sure to suggest location channels and Social Slack Groups where they
can immediately plug in with other team members who appreciate similar
Ask where they need help and connect them with the experts.
Onboarding buddies should make the effort to connect new GitLab team-members
with subject matter experts if your assigned team member requests additional
help in a given area. Examples are below.
For new GitLab team-members who have not worked in a remote
organization before, they may need assistance in thinking through an
ideal workspace and embracing informal communication. Consider asking
seasoned remote colleagues in the
#remote Slack channel to
reach out and answer questions.
If they're new to Git, consider asking experts in the
#git-help Slack channel to reach out and offer a tutorial.
If they're new to Markdown, consider asking experts in the
#content Slack channel to reach out and offer support.
Help with the team page. For less technical new hires,
adding themselves to the team page might feel like the most daunting task on
the onboarding issue. Offer to help with the process. This doesn't
necessarily have to happen on day one, but you should let them know that
you're available to help if and when they need it. Consider scheduling a
second meeting later in the week to walk them through the process
In particular, help them to create their SSH key as this tends to be a
sticking point for many new hires. You can also show them
Check in regularly. You may very well be the first friend
the new GitLab team-member makes on the team. Checking in with them
regularly will help them feel welcome and supported. Reach out via Slack,
and schedule at least one follow-up call for the week after their start
Provide backup if needed. If you plan to be out
(e.g. vacation, company business, events, etc.) during a new GitLab
team-member's first few weeks, please ensure that a backup onboarding
buddy is available to offer support.
In an effort to recognize buddies who go above and beyond to support new team
members and help them feel welcome, we have implemented a Buddy Program. Once
every quarter, the People Experience team will evaluate the onboarding buddy
feedback provided in the Onboarding Survey filled out by new team members
after their first 30 days at GitLab.
All of the onboarding buddies from this form will be entered into a raffle at
the end of the quarter. The People Experience team will randomly select 3
- 1st Winner - 40USD Swag Code
- 2nd Winner - 22USD Swag Code
- 3rd Winner - 22USD Swag Code
How Can I Become An Onboarding Buddy?
Buddy assignation is the new team member's manager's responsibility as
outlined in the onboarding issue as the very first
Before Starting at GitLab manager task. If you have been at
GitLab 3+ months and are interested in participating in the Onboarding Buddy
Program, please express your interest to your manager.
That's all there is to it! Thanks for your help welcoming the newest
GitLab team-member to the team and getting them on board. If you have
questions that are not answered on this page, please reach out to People Ops!