There’s a saying that it takes at least three months to understand a new job - so if you are feeling overwhelmed at times, that’s totally normal! This page is meant to give you a broad overview of onboarding at TTS and some key aspects of our TTS culture.
Your first two weeks
During your first two weeks, you’ll work through your new hire checklists, attend all of the TTS Onboarding Classes, and complete any mandatory TTS-only, Online Learning University (OLU) training that’s been assigned to you as a new hire.
As you begin to understand TTS and our mission, vision, and values, you may also want to take a look at the , external,TTS-only, TTS organizational (org) chart found in the TTS New Employee Onboarding presentation.
Working at TTS (and in government in general) is a lot like learning a new language via immersion: your first weeks are likely going to be spent trying to navigate the TTS Handbook. We know that acronyms can quickly become overwhelming - this can be a challenge, even for new employees who have worked at other federal agencies! With time, they’ll become more familiar.
We try to cover all the basics in our TTS Onboarding Classes.
We recognize that there is a plethora of information provided during onboarding. We want to assure you that you don’t need to know all of this stuff right away; this information will help you acclimate over the next few months. Pretty soon you’ll be the veteran around here, helping someone else learn these things!
As a TTS employee, you’ll spend quite a bit of time with the TTS Handbook. It’s filled with useful information that we update regularly — and you can help update it, too! You’ll learn more when you attend the Handbook 101 onboarding class, and you can join the , external,TTS-only, Handbook Slack channel.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, & Belonging at TTS
TTS strives to thoughtfully and intentionally represent the broad American populace we serve. We believe in inclusive design — creating products and environments that are accessible to all people, regardless of age, disability, or other factors. We also strive to be intentional when interacting with one another and with our partners.
To that end, we strongly encourage all new hires to read through the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging (DEIA&B) materials in the TTS Handbook and to join the , external,TTS-only, Diversity and , external,TTS-only, Accessibility guild channels in Slack.
How we collaborate
At TTS, collaboration is a part of our culture. Here are the collaboration tools we use to share ideas and coordinate efforts.
- Gmail: We use Gmail for email communication.
- Google Chat: You can use TTS-only, Google Chat for internal instant messaging needs (note: many folks in TTS prefer Slack).
- Slack: Slack is a widely-used messaging application at TTS. It uses themed chat rooms (called channels) to help teams quickly communicate on a daily basis, in an open, collaborative way. Most Slack usage is internal to TTS; there are specific channels when Slack is used to communicate with our agency partners.
Video conferencing tools
- Google Meet and Zoom are the primary video conferencing tools used at TTS. Google Meet is typically used for internal TTS/GSA meetings, while Zoom is often used for larger meetings (for example, GSA Town Halls or TTS All Hands) and meetings with our partners or other external stakeholders. Some teams also use , external,Slack for quick conversations and/or meetings as well.
- In some cases, we may pre-record meeting sessions and/or provide post-event recordings to ensure our employees don’t miss out on important information. Click here to , external,TTS-only, view a video of a recorded meeting. Please note: the host of the meeting is required to notify participants they are recording prior to starting the recording.
- Some types of meetings you might attend include: one-on-ones, trainings, virtual coffees, team meetings/daily stand-ups, TTS-wide meetings (Town Halls and All Hands), plus many more!
- Google Workspace: TTS uses Google’s suite of applications and collaboration tools, which includes the messaging options listed above (Chat, Gmail and Meet), as well as Google Calendar, Drive, Docs, Forms, Sheets, and Slides. You can find in-depth TTS-only, information about Google applications on InSite, including TTS-only, video tutorials.
- Github: GitHub is a code storage and collaboration platform. It allows us to collaborate on code, both internally and with our partner agencies.
- Mural: Mural is a tool that enables our teams to collaborate visually and brainstorm solutions to their problems or challenges.
- Trello: Trello is also a collaborative tool some of our teams use to organize projects, workflows or tracking.
Internal communication tools
Here are some ways we disseminate information to shape our organizational outcomes, which helps us strengthen processes/practices:
- TTS Newsletters: We also provide monthly updates to TTS employees by way of newsletters. Here is an , external,TTS-only, example OneTTS Newsletter.
- Internal communications campaigns: We have a variety of internal campaigns that TTS Outreach uses to circulate messages throughout the organization. Each , external,TTS-only, campaign has its own deck with a record of all messages.
- Surveys and polls: These methods allow us to obtain detailed information and feedback from our internal employees. Google Forms is a common method we use to elicit feedback at TTS. You can check out TTS-only, detailed training videos on GSA Insite.
- Virtual coffee: A , external,TTS-only, virtual coffee chat is a casual 1:1, 20-30 minute video meeting that is usually used as a “Meet & Greet” introduction for employees to connect with members of their team (or other teams throughout TTS).
As you become acclimated, you may start getting invited to various meetings, training sessions, and/or other events using some of the tools listed above. We believe in learning-by-immersion, so we encourage you to attend these meetings/events, where possible, and to drop into the various working group or guild meetings when/if your calendar allows. Listen and ask questions. Tell us about your pets. Get actively involved, and collaborate with your teammates. You can always opt out later, but onboarding is a perfect time for you to say yes, so you can continue learning more about TTS and the people who work here!
Security and compliance at TTS
Security and compliance are, unsurprisingly, important issues at TTS. They’re also complex topics, and you’ll find a lot of people working on them. Read the Security incidents page to learn how to respond if you spot suspicious activity or an incident. If you ever need a quick security answer, clarification or just general security and compliance help, you can reach out to the TTS Tech Portfolio in , external,TTS-only, #tts-tech-portfolio.
Now that you have had the opportunity to review this onboarding guide, we hope you have a better understanding of some of the cultural and operational aspects of the organization. We also hope you feel empowered to do your best work here at TTS!