Service Used



Neto instructor Manny teaching
Neto instructor Manny teaching

Onboarding the next cohort of Giant Machines engineers with our New Employee Training and Onboarding (NETO)

The Request

Build an onboarding experience so comprehensive that we can stop screening for hard-to-find prior experience in our hiring.

The Details

Hiring and retaining diverse technical teams can be challenging. But Giant Machines believes that those challenges are rooted in the assumption that a traditional technical interview is the best way to identify strong talent. When you plan to train specific technical proficiencies instead of screening for them, you expand your recruitment pool by an order of magnitude. Your hiring team can seek out candidates with harder-to-teach qualities: quick learners, excellent communicators, and natural collaborators.

The Challenge

Develop an onboarding experience that gets entry-level employees to contribute meaningfully in 4-6 weeks.

The Insight

When you screen for candidates who have the proficiencies that are the hardest to teach, you’re building a roster of team members who will be qualified for leadership in the next phase of their growth. When you pair that hiring practice with immersive, rigorous, person-first technical onboarding, you supercharge your new hires. When compared to team members who are “thrown in the deep end,” the average NETO-trained new hire will make contributions in one month that are comparable to those of an engineer with 6-12 months of tenure.

The Approach

We surveyed employees who joined at entry-level positions after they had reached 1-2 years of tenure about their experience so far and asked them what technical skills would have been the most useful to have in their first months on the job. We then worked with subject matter experts like Lead Engineers to develop the technical training sessions, and with team managers to develop the “ways of work” sessions. A total of 72 teaching sessions took place, each with guidance from the Giant Machines Learn team. This helped our experts teach excellently without having to be (or become) excellent teachers.

The Delivery

After two months of collaborative preparation with leaders of each discipline, our Learn team operated as the primary point of contact for 10 new engineering hires and led the delivery of over 100 hours of facilitated training distributed over their first four weeks of work.

* Subject Matter Experts from the Product, Design, and Engineering teams at Giant Machines led about a third of all sessions, so NETO participants had the chance to learn directly from the leaders of each discipline.

* By facilitating the remainder of the sessions without utilizing what would otherwise be billable hours from senior team members, the Learn team was able to head off many common misunderstandings and mistakes without throttling the productivity of any existing project teams. As a result, most of the first 40 hours of technical training were facilitated by a few specific seasoned instructors from the Learn team. These instructors leverage research-backed strategies to create a culture of accelerated learning, specifically through psychological safety.


NETO Key Results Graphic


The results

On the first day of NETO, participants were asked to rank their proficiency in 8 technical skills. Participants were given an identical survey on their final day of NETO to assess growth.

  • Participant confidence with our core tech stack grew from 42% to 75%.
  • 100% of NETO participants expressed growth in TypeScript, with the average score more than doubling.
  • On day 1, 100% of TypeScript self-assessments were negative; by the last day, not one negative self-assessment remained.
  • On day 1, there were 22 negative responses to technical questions across all 9 engineers. By day 23, that number dropped to 2.

Participants also rated their understanding of our ways of work, as well as their confidence in their own capacity to succeed at Giant Machines.

  • Average sentiment for these nontechnical competencies improved from 59% positive to 84% positive.
  • 100% of participants agreed with the statement “I know what Giant Machines expects from me.”
  • 100% of participants agreed with the statement “I enjoy collaborating with other engineers”.
  • 100% of participants agreed with the statement “I believe I can succeed at Giant Machines”.

The Reaction

Explore more work

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Run through our past projects and read more about our collaboration efforts with our partners.

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