Headspace is a pocket-sized personal meditation guide that helps users achieve healthier, happier, more well-rested lives with less stress, fewer distractions, better focus, and enhanced compassion through guided meditation and mindfulness practices. Committed to customer experience and engagement, they knew they'd need a way to support their growing user base from an engineering perspective.
More CX Tools to Meet a Growing User Base
With this growth, Headspace’s Customer Experience team anticipated a spike in support requests. They didn’t want to just hire more help agents, but instead needed to build out processes and tools to enable their current agents to complete more inbound tickets in the same time frame.Clarissa Negrete came on as Product Manager to lead CX growth, but she lacked engineers to help hit her goals. “Our engineering team has always been lean. We needed to augment a very small team who was working on really ambitious goals.”In need of a senior developer to begin contributing immediately, but lacking a recruitment team to refine their hiring process, Headspace turned to Andela and partnered with their first distributed developer, Samora Dake, based in Ghana. Samora excelled in his role, taking the lead on Headspace’s CMS development and even winning an internal hackathon.
Ready to Scale with a Talent Pipeline
Clarissa recalls, “For a while, it was just me and Samora working on a tool for the CX team and a website Help Center.” As her role expanded beyond CX to cover all Internal Tools, the company also hired a CTO who developed an engineering management structure ready for an expanded team of software engineers.Up against budget and schedule constraints, along with a tough California job market, Headspace turned to Andela’s trusted and ready talent pipeline to scale their team.With Andela’s streamlined hiring, training, and onboarding, Headspace brought on two junior Andelans to help with the CX tool, one for the website, and a fourth for CMS work. “They all report to Samora. He has 1:1s with all of them. Now instead of working project-by-project, we’re more a team of two internal Headspace engineers and the rest Andelans.”
A Cohesive, Distributed Team
Fluid integration and communication was a high priority for Clarissa. “Andela engineers are all extremely easy to work with and brighten my day. I’ve never worked with such pleasant, happy, eager to learn and please engineers, ever.” Unlike Headspace’s previous remote experiences that felt disconnected and transactional, Andela engineers are part of the team. “They attend our lunch meetings, our all-hands. They’re just like FTEs who are remote, and that’s not a feeling I’ve ever had working with other outsourced engineers."
This team cohesion and positive attitude is crucial when developers are performing demanding, foundational work. "They may not be working on the flashy, sexiest things, but this infrastructure and foundational work that they are doing is so important for our company."
Support for Learning on the Job
Andelans are also ramping up quickly on coding languages, many of them older or difficult to learn. “In a normal hiring process, when an engineer doesn’t know the language, we wouldn’t consider them. The Andela relationship is different.”Because Andela provides ongoing support and training to all its developers, on-the-job learning, even of a brand new language, is an opportunity that benefits everyone. “Andela helps developers grow and learn with their partners. Providing that opportunity for them—everyone wins. It may serve them in their next role, and it helps us in the immediate future.”Now, Headspace is moving into offering its services directly to companies and has doubled its number of corporate clients since 2018. Today, the company continues to grow with Andela developers working on its key platform, aiding Headspace’s expansion and its mission to bring mindfulness to individuals and workplaces across the world.
Serving as a bridge between the engineering and business sides of an organization, application engineers are highly sought after - and by upskilling in this field, you can set yourself up for an incredibly impactful and lucrative career.