Onboarding at Elastic: What to Expect

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Elastic is a fully distributed organization by design, so when you start working with us, you’re in good and experienced hands. 

In fact, we bring you into the team as soon as you accept our job offer. You put in your equipment requests, complete your documents and paperwork, and get your swag ordered (we’re humble, but we do have great swag). 

On your first day, a team-wide email is sent introducing you and your new role. That way, people can introduce themselves and you’re immediately welcomed into the fold.

Your first week will likely include some meetings with your managers and team and X-School Essentials, a welcome call with other new hires in your region run by the local HR team. But, you dictate the bulk of your first week. Shelby Khan, Brand Strategy Director at Elastic, who started her role in January, says:

“To meet people, you put time on their calendars,” Khan says. “It’s the equivalent of walking through the office.” 

Because Elastic is distributed, people are used to it. “Everyone was nice and kind when I reached out,” she says.

While your first few weeks will be filled with reaching out to and meeting with people (both on your immediate teams and with others), the bulk of the formal Elastic onboarding happens with the X-School Learning Stack, our onboarding approach that meets new hires where they’re at. 

X-School is made up of a few different pieces. It begins with X-School Essentials to get all of your basic needs met. We also have X-School online, our on-demand learning path that allows new Elasticians to take our e-learnings at their own pace. And finally, X-School Source Code Experience is our week-long global learning event that is held six times a year and brings all new hires together to learn more about Elastic — the culture, the values, and the products. 

“X-School is a mixture of understanding company culture in a remote environment and getting familiar with the company,” Khan says.

It consists of four half-day sessions — half of the time is breakouts with smaller groups and the other half of the time is presentations from the leadership team. 

For example, “You listen to the founder speak for an hour on culture,” Khan says. “It helps you to understand how much he cares. It was really valuable.”

Each day has a theme, for example, “What Makes Elastic, Elastic” where you learn about our business model, the components of our Source Code, and our products. Or, “The Elastic How” that discusses our strategies for different teams. 

And while X-School might end after four days, each cohort has a dedicated Slack channel to keep in touch, ask questions of other new hires, and create something of a buddy system. 

Sheryl Klein Lavi from the Learning & Organizational Development team leads global onboarding at Elastic and manages X-School, and says that 95% of the speakers are from the leadership team. “You hear truly vulnerable shares from leadership and get to understand more about the company you’ve joined,” she says. 

The breakout sessions help you build your internal community within Elastic’s global team.

There are 2–3 of these sessions per day in X-School, Khan says. “You’re paired with new people and meet with them to talk about specific topics. It helps you to build a community at the start with people outside of your team.”

Because X-School is held every other month, your cohort size can vary depending on the number of new hires. For example, Khan attended X-School in February with roughly 200 people, she estimates. 

With new hires across many time zones, sessions are held regionally with an additional session for the APJ (Asia Pacific Japan) group. That means leaders may sometimes be presenting in the middle of the night, Lavi adds. “It’s important that we have inclusive, time-zone friendly sessions for our Elasticians across the globe.”

Her best advice for getting the most out of X-School?

  • Look at the new hire guide posted on our X-School Wiki and that is provided on your first day. It has all of the essentials to get started on administrative tasks.
  • Show up and be present. “Sometimes it’s early morning or late evening, depending on the time zone, but being present is important,” Lavi says.
  • Join the conversation in the cohort Slack channel to get to know your fellow new hires.

Lavi continually hears how new Elasticians love X-School, connecting with others around the globe, and hearing directly from the leaders that helped build the company. “We want people to feel what it’s like here,” she says. “The feedback we get is that X-School does a good job of reflecting what it's truly like to be an Elastician.” 

You’re one job application way from your X-School journey. Learn more about careers at Elastic and search open roles.

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