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How We Onboard Employees at Fellow

Here at Fellow we’re working hard every day to improve people’s working relationships, whether it’s by setting people up with collaborative meeting agendas, helping people reach their goals through great feedback processes, or by giving tips and tricks on how to be a top-notch manager on our blog. But in reality, Fellow has so much more impact than that!

One of the great things about Fellow is that it’s the type of product that we get to simultaneously build and be users of, and after joining the engineering team last year, I’ve found myself using it for just about everything – including a lot of hacks that might not come to mind when you think of your average meeting notes.

To celebrate our public launch, I’d like to share these hacks with you! 🎉 Some have helped us scale the team more efficiently, some have helped with little processes throughout the day, and some are just fun. 

In this five-part blog series, I’ll be sharing my own Fellow uses across my typical work week, with a handful of new templates and tips to help make you even more successful. 🚀

Have some fun use cases of your own? Let us know!


Mondays are exciting days because they mark the start of the week and the start of new initiatives, processes, and people — and today is no exception: we have a new hire starting! Today I’ll be sharing the onboarding process that we’ve put a lot of effort into developing, how I prep for the week, and how we run potlucks.

⏰ 8:00 am: 👋 Good morning!

Every morning, I start my day with a notification from the Fellow Slack bot, letting me know what’s on my schedule and which meetings have notes to get caught up on. I especially appreciate this on Mondays, there’s something so warming about getting a nice “Good morning!” while I’m getting ready and ramping up for the week.

In today’s notification, the Fellow bot is letting me know that I have a 1-on-1 and two meetings to get ready for. Without needing to switch to the web app, I can see the notes (or lack thereof) for my 1-on-1s and even add on to them directly from the message.

Learn more about Fellow’s Slack integration here.

This daily digest helps me stay on top of writing meeting agendas ahead of time, because I know that everyone I’m meeting with will get this notification, and I want to make sure that they get the heads up that notes are available and get a chance to read through them and prepare. And this goes the other way too: by getting the note summaries in the Slack digest, I can read through agendas ahead of time when I might otherwise have forgotten to check if one’s been set.

⏰ 10:00 am: Engineering onboarding 👩‍💻

Today’s an exciting day, a new engineer is starting! 🎉 I’m especially excited because this is the first time that I get to manage someone at Fellow. When anyone starts at a new company, there’s a ramp-up period where a ton of knowledge is transferred in a short amount of time. There are new processes, names, tools, frameworks, whereabouts, and so many other different details to remember. If new hires don’t have a written resource to guide them through this, there is going to be a lot of repeated and forgotten information, and there are going to be a lot of questions.

Since I’m in engineering and I love a good repeatable process, I decided that I’d like to make onboarding engineers more effective and scalable. When someone new is joining the company, everyone at Fellow gets added to the “<name>’s first day” event on the calendar so we can be ready to welcome them. Having that event on the calendar meant that I could create a note in Fellow tied to the event for everyone to see! With that in mind, I created an “Engineering Onboarding” meeting template that acts as an interactive guide for the new hire. 

The template lists important resources (wifi information, company values, internal docs, etc), their teammates’ names, a step-by-step guide to setting up the codebase, and a walkthrough of how to complete your first issue (from updating Jira statuses, to branch naming conventions, to deploying). By creating this template filled with check-able action items, we’re creating a lot of value:

  • New hires have a written list of all the information they’ll need, and won’t have to remember a million and one things on their first day (and current engineers won’t have to remember what information to pass along).
  • The experience is mostly self-serve and doesn’t rely on certain engineers dedicating their day to helping out: we can onboard 1 person or 20 people at the same time just as easily.
  • By having a repeatable templated experience, we can collect data on its usefulness (by asking questions through Fellow’s feedback feature) and continuously iterate with improvements.
  • Creating a step by step guide with action items to check off gives people a sense of accomplishment from the get-go – and someone can step in and offer help if they notice they’re progressing slowly.

Of course, just because we have a template doesn’t mean that we remove the human aspect of onboarding someone! A huge part of making a new employee’s first day successful is making sure that they feel valued and welcomed on the team.

Better 1-on-1s and team meetings

We built an app to help you have more effective 1-on-1s and team meetings, exchange feedback, and track goals – all in one place! Try it for free at www.fellowappstage.wpengine.com

⏰ 12:00 pm: Fellow Potluck 🥗

Lunch time! 😋 Every Friday the whole company eats a catered lunch together, but for today’s lunch, we decided to have a potluck to showcase our favourite cuisines and cooking skills.

We needed a way to communicate to each other what we’d be bringing in, and traditionally I’ve seen that being done either over Slack or through a shared spreadsheet. We already had an event in our calendars for the potluck, and so using a note in Fellow seemed like a no-brainer since we all have access to it already and it’s easy to find in the calendar.

Everyone added their dish and names as talking points in the note so we could check out the menu beforehand, and know who to compliment after the meal 😊

All of the food was incredible, and Georges finished it off with ice cream and homemade brownies. Best meeting ever!

That’s all for Monday! After that big meal we couldn’t stomach any more meetings 🥁🥁👏 

Check back next week to see how we run team meetings and interviews!

What is Fellow.app?

We built an app to help you have more effective 1-on-1s and team meetings, exchange feedback, and track goals – all in one place. Try it for free! Your team will thank you 😉

About the author

Alexandra is a full-stack software engineer at Fellow.app, where she’s helping to build the future of work. In her spare time, Alexandra designs and sews clothes while incorporating tech by 3D printing custom elements and programming sewing machines. Alexandra is also a Twilio Champion and the new co-leader of Ottawa’s Slack Platform Community.

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Alexandra Sunderland

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