The Tech Tools This Austin Software Company Uses for Professional Development

by Stephen Ostrowski
June 8, 2020

As companies navigate the remote world, internal operations, workflows and business strategies aren’t the only components that require pivoting. 

An integral part of the employee experience, professional development, can’t take a back seat to organizational changes. While the type of in-person attention afforded by a brick-and-mortar office might not be feasible, today’s tools can close the gap between employee and manager.

For example, when onboarding a recent class of new hires, Austin-based Redgate Software — which creates tools to aid DevOps processes — embraced Slack and Zoom to educate their incoming employees. 

“What would normally have been achieved in classroom settings with the Redgate team had to be adapted to a hundred percent virtual experience,” Dustin Abney, BDR manager, said. 

Their distributed workplace still affords relationship-building, too: the company’s “buddy system” connects green hires with longer-tenured employees, allowing for guidance as the former acclimates to their new role.

“We think this system is really important right now, because it allows new teammates to build rapport with their colleagues — who they would normally see in the physical office, but have limited interaction with — in a virtual office space,” Abney said.

 

Dustin Abney
Manager, U.S. Business Development

How has professional development at your company changed in light of COVID-19?  

We like to hire new reps early in their sales career and then focus on developing them while providing growth opportunities. All new starters go through an onboarding program that gives them the opportunity to participate in technical and sales training and familiarize themselves with the different units across our business. Due to COVID-19, we had to switch to a remote onboarding process for our last hiring class. What would normally have been achieved in classroom settings with the Redgate team had to be adapted to a hundred percent virtual experience.

To remotely onboard a class of 10 new starters, we leveraged platforms like Zoom and Slack.”

What interesting tools or technologies is your team using to support professional development, particularly while employees are working from home?

To remotely onboard a class of 10 new starters, we leveraged platforms like Zoom and Slack. Both pieces of technology were already widely used here here, but to adapt to the new remote working situation, we needed to double down on how to get the most out of them.

Zoom has proven to be the best tool to host virtual classrooms, allowing for easy content sharing and breakout rooms for small group discussions. The tool’s cloud recordings also make it easy to record and repurpose training material for new starters to review and self-study.

Slack has been the primary means of communication for direct messaging and posing questions to the larger teams. It’s allowed new starters to get quick answers to questions that previously would have been addressed with a quick tap on a colleague’s shoulder. Slack has also allowed me, as a manager, to quickly distribute relevant information to my team and get feedback without clouding everyone’s inbox.

 

What steps have you taken to ensure employees feel empowered to take advantage of these tools?

Zoom and Slack are extremely user-friendly. At the beginning of onboarding, it was a simple process to have our team walk through how best to use the platforms and outline when each should be used. 

We also continue to rely on teammates who have tenure with the company to “buddy up” with new starters. This buddy system means each new starter has a friendly contact they can go to with questions regarding systems and processes. We think this system is really important right now, because it allows new teammates to build rapport with their colleagues who they would normally see in the physical office, but have limited interaction with in a virtual office space.

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