09 Apr My first month at INSHUR
Written by Olivia Carter
At the end of February 2021, I was delighted to join INSHUR as their first dedicated Engineering Manager. My personal responsibility in this new role in the insurtech world is the oversight and leadership of a talented cross-functional team of Software Engineers, DevOps Engineers and Software Testers. In order to support our headcount growth strategy, I will be focusing on the career development, progression and wellbeing of my existing team, alongside hiring and onboarding new Engineering talent.
My experience of onboarding at INSHUR has genuinely been a delight. Since accepting the position, I received regular communication and support from the PeopleOps team and my manager Jon Finch, removing a lot of the questions and uncertainty which can accompany a new role. Everything from stakeholder introductions, to IT equipment, to pre-reading books was organised remotely – complemented by a surprise delivery of delicious biscuits! INSHUR have really gone above and beyond to make me feel welcome and get me settled in, giving me great confidence not only in the company I have joined, but also the future onboarding of new recruits.
The first couple of weeks were spent completing several introductions to my direct reports and colleagues within the wider business, alongside various e-learning videos and daily standups with multiple Engineering teams. Background information and product demonstrations were conducted on our existing platform and the new ‘replatform’, with supporting sessions on CloudOps tools and Business Intelligence functions collectively bringing me up to speed on the technology side.
Currently I am in the midst of INSHUR’s in-house managers training, which has been teaching me all about various internal policies, procedures, processes and the specific ways in which managers operate at INSHUR. It has also been equipping me with useful tools when it comes to hiring, growing others, giving feedback, building trust and managing up. This training has given me the opportunity to network with other managers I have not yet worked with and given me great insight into how INSHUR applies people-orientated practices within real world scenarios. Each session has left me and my fellow managers with actionable items to take away and put into practice, along with supporting documentation – really useful both now and as a future reference.
Other topics I have also begun exploring include our various engineering, testing and product lifecycle processes. Process optimisation and enabling high-performing technical teams is one of my passions, so I really look forward to understanding more about the way our team works, the tools we use and how well we use them. Our recruitment drive to scale the Engineering department will require a solid knowledge base and fluid communication strategies to ensure our new joiners have the relevant information they require, when they require it, to succeed in their roles.
Within the wider department, we enjoyed our first Engineering and Product offsite event last week, which was a roaring success! Following a team ice breaker, each of the team presented an idea to support the team going forward within a fixed time interval, followed by a Q&A to explore and expand each concept. So many innovative and exciting ideas were put forward. To conclude the day, each participant voted on their two favourite ideas, which will now become part of our upcoming Engineering and Product roadmaps. It will be exciting to see how the two winning ideas progress and the benefits they may bring. The offsite was very well received by the department and there is a good appetite for us to hold regular offsites going forward, providing more opportunities for my team and others to raise, share and discuss innovative ideas. To top off a great week, the following day we all received a wonderful hamper for our efforts on the Courier Lunch, our latest product offering.
On the social side of things, I have joined the company book club and got stuck into Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. Having never been in a book club before and unlikely to have chosen that book off the shelf, this is a new challenge for me and I have enjoyed taking the time to switch off, read, and get some time away from screens. I was also lucky enough to receive a surprise delivery of birthday biscuits recently, a really personal and thoughtful touch from the PeopleOps team.
So in summary of my first month at INSHUR, things are going great! Joining a new company and starting a new role during an epidemic was never going to be easy, but the continued support and strong communication has helped endlessly. I really look forward to month two and what it may bring!