We’re excited to welcome this year's cohort of aspiring graduates to Kindred Tech, as they embark on their journey through our Accelerate program. What initially began as an experimental approach to recruit and onboard recent graduates into our Tech teams has since evolved into an integral component of our landscape. To gain deeper insights into the remarkable success of this initiative, we spoke with Johan Engberg, Head of Tech Employee Lifecycle and founder of the Accelerate program.
Hi Johan, yet another amazing group of graduates. How come the Accelerate program has been such a success?
The numbers speak for themselves. From the start of 2019, including this year's program, we have had 33 graduates joining us; of those, 32 are still with us. The first one left us in June, and she was part of our first program in 2019, so she spent almost 4 years with Kindred. That is remarkable for your first job.
What is it exactly that contributes to this positive progress?
There are, of course, many things we do that contribute to this, but I do think that one factor that separates us from others is that, unlike your normal trainee program, we hire for a specific role in a specific team - so you know from the beginning what you will be focusing on.
We start the program with a two-week boot camp. During this time, we focused on team-building activities and building trust between the participants; this is key. We have learned that when you start working, you often experience imposter syndrome and a feeling of not being good enough when you compare yourself to your senior team members. Having high levels of trust in the group means that they can openly share the emotions they are going through. Almost all the time, someone else in the group is feeling the same thing, and when you share that, it suddenly becomes normal, and we can talk about it and find a way forward.
The program runs for six months, and after the boot camp, the participants join their respective teams. In their teams, they will have a dedicated mentor with the main responsibility to support them, but the whole team is there to help. The first six months are a learning period, and the goal is that at the end of the program, they should be fully contributing team members on a junior level. During these six months, we do weekly meetings with the group where we do additional training and spend time talking about recent challenges and successes. We also see that several of this year's graduates have mentors who have been part of previous programs. Forming this into an ecosystem is fun and almost like a "pay it forward" feeling.
In Tech at Kindred, we work mostly on teams of 8-10 people in a product organisation, meaning that the development teams own a part of the product long term. When a team brings in a new team member, they do all they can to onboard them in the best possible way because they know that the sooner the new team member gets up to speed, the better it will be for the team. So, there is a very supportive environment in the teams.
Why is it beneficial for Kindred to continue to run a program like Accelerate?
it is important for us as a business. We know that diversity drives business value, and it's not just about gender, even though we are proud to achieve a 50/50 gender split in this year's program. But it covers all aspects of diversity, gender, ethnicity, race, age, sexual orientation etc. A diverse workforce drives innovation, and the Accelerate program is one component.
Also, seeing how fast previous participants in the program have grown in their roles and what they contribute today within the company, it is a win-win for everyone involved.
We asked the participants in the Accelerate program 2023 for a comment on their experience so far of the program and Kindred:
Priscilla Silva, Frontend developer.
"I could not imagine a better place to have started my first job as a developer. Everyone here is so welcoming and helpful, and you can tell they are genuinely interested in seeing you succeed. Kindred definitely believes in friendship."
Siyabend Revend, Java developer
"I found this to really be the most enjoyable and educational boot camp that I have ever attended. I would definitely do it all over again if I could! Bootcamp #2?"
Victoria Meszaros, Android developer
"So far everyone has been super friendly and welcoming, and after just one month I already feel like I've grown so much due to everyone always being willing to offer their help."
Joel Özmen, Java developer
"Inspiring few weeks with much new knowledge from new friends."
Tove Brandt, Frontend developer
"The boot camp gave me friends outside my team that I can turn to when I need a break from, or support in being a junior developer! I didn't have any experience working in tech or even in an office, so I really appreciate getting eased into it with the boot camp."
Varun Goud M
"Kindred's Accelerate Program is all I could ask for as a recent university graduate."