How to Onboard Your New Software Engineers
You have just spent two months (and a lot of money) hiring the next member of your dream team but don’t forget, this is a journey and it’s only just begun.
There are few things more intimidating than the first day in a new office (especially if it’s your first job).
It’s so easy to forget what it’s like and just assume that your new hire will just get on with it and the team will assimilate them into the fold.
Fail to onboard a new hire properly and you risk them leaving as fast as they joined (especially if they are a software engineer, you can bet your bottom dollar they will be being tapped up by unscrupulous recruiters as soon as they update their linked in profile with their cool new role “Hey Sue, if it doesn’t work at XYZ Ltd let me know, I can find you somewhere far better”)
There are some golden rules to follow which need to be applied regardless of age and experience but special consideration should be made when on-boarding graduates or those where it’s their first job.
– 83% of students consider work is a part of who they are, not just a way of making money
– 54% of Millennials say Snr Management don’t understand the way they use technology at work
– 80% of 18-30 year olds are influenced by the company’s innovation when choosing where to work
Some golden rules - and these apply across the board.
1. Be honest about the role.
It’s all very well selling the company culture, but overselling it to the extent that the reality bears little resemblance to the interview process will cause trust issues you will never recover from.
2. Introduce them to the rest of the team.
This sounds so obvious but the number of jobs I have started and just been left to say hello to the guys sitting next to me. Encourage team members to arrange face to face sessions where they can explain their roles and how they will interact in the future.
3. Have their desk all set up.
Unless you are Amazon and your on boarding involves building your own desk from a door (not sure if this is even true but sounds like the sort of thing they would do!). It shows how little you value someone if you are not even ready for them to start.
4. Set up 1:1’s.
To be honest this should apply across the board but is especially important for new (especially younger) team members. Yes, you are super busy and they will be too, but setting aside 30 mins for a catch up is invaluable. You might think that you know what’s going on with everyone in the team but it’s not until you sit down, 1:1 and ask direct questions that things come out in the open.
5. Explain the company line.
The contract says 9:5 but half the team slope in at 10:30 - what’s with that? It’s vitally important to explain the company rules; hours of work, dress code, protocol for being late - it could take the form of a handbook but a quick informal chat is just as good. It’s much easier to have these conversations up front rather than 3 months down the line when bad habits and frustration has been built up because your new starter assumed things incorrectly.
Want to try something different Try starting your new hires on a Friday as Fastcompany recently reported, this is what Austin based tech company Spredfast have introduced. “People are running around trying to get caught up from the weekend,” says Sam Baber, vice president of talent and development for the social media marketing. “When you’re starting someone new at your company, you want an atmosphere with less chaos.”
Makes sense, people are generally in better moods on a Friday, first impressions count and your new hires will feel better too having probably had Monday to Thursday off rather than leaving their last job on a Friday and starting the new one on a Monday.