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Forget hiring, the onboarding process for an engineer defines performance
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Why you should spend time on the engineer’s onboarding process

Why you should spend time on the engineer’s onboarding process

by Jesus Lopez   |   February 22, 2021   |     5 min read

You’ve sorted through the numerous developers willing to join your organization, conducted interviews, and extended offers to the most promising candidates. They’ve accepted and are excited to hit the ground running. Before they can do that there’s something else that you need to do, perhaps more diligently and important than the hiring process. 

Developer onboarding is more of an art than a science. What you do in the first few days and weeks of them joining will set the tone for this working relationship. That is why it’s so important to create a well-thought-out onboarding process because you’re otherwise looking at a waste of resources, time, and potentially even the loss of your newest team members. 

Why employee onboarding matters so much

The first impression always counts. That’s what most of us hold to be true. If that’s the standard that we set for our people-to-people relationships, why should it be any different for our organization-to-people relationships? 

What your organization does in the first days and weeks of hiring someone new will signify how the working relationship is going to proceed. For example, if you’re onboarding engineering teams, you’ll need to provide them with enough knowledge and tools that enable them to do the work that’s expected of them. They will be unable to meet those expectations in the absence of this support. 

A new hire will not have knowledge about how things work inside the company. They need to be brought up to speed about the chain of command, the tech stack and services used, the security protocols that have to be followed, the hardware they must use, and more.

Once this engineer onboarding process is completed, they’ll have a clearer picture of what they can expect from the company and what is expected of them. Provide them with an encouraging and positive environment so that they’re not afraid to ask questions. Do ask for their feedback about your onboarding processes as that can help improve them for the future.

Reap the benefits of employee onboarding

Good tech professionals can be hard to come by as this particular job market is highly competitive. If you’ve hired an exceptional software engineer, UX/UI designer, developer, etc you’ll want to ensure that they stick around. The efficiency of your onboarding process has a direct impact on employee retention rates.

The long-term benefits of properly onboarding engineering teams are immense. It provides a great foundation to build the employer-employee relationship upon and shows that you care about the experience that new hires have at your company. This improves employee engagement as well. They’ll be driven to perform to the best of their abilities and their higher productivity is going to be beneficial to the company

Employees that feel good about their jobs and their position within the organization are going to stick around for longer. A low employee turnover is what the company should be shooting for since it’s expensive to backfill positions, and that’s without factoring in the cost of vacancy. A study by the Brandon Hall Group found that organizations that have a great onboarding process improve their new hire retention by 82 percent.

Word of mouth travels fast. If employees are satisfied with the culture in your organization, they’re going to talk about just how amazing of a workplace environment you provide. That’s key to attracting more talent. These employee referrals will bring down the cost of new hires and also provide a wider talent pool to pick candidates from.

Improper onboarding has pitfalls you’ll want to avoid

Improper onboarding is the result of a chaotic and unstructured onboarding process. It shatters the opportunity to build a great first impression with new hires. That directly impacts employee morale, productivity, and retention. 

Constantly having to replace employees has a huge financial impact. This Harvard Business Review article points out that the organizational cost of employee turnover is estimated to be between 100% and 300% of the replaced employee’s salary. This vicious hire and replace cycle is best avoided. 

New hires that have low enthusiasm for their job are likely not going to be as productive as they can be. Thus it will take much longer for their talent to make an impact on your company, if it does that at all. 

It also becomes much harder to measure the initial job performance of the new employee since it’s difficult to ascertain whether the lull in performance is due to their lack of skills or simply because they haven’t been receiving enough support.

 

We’re in the era of remote onboarding

remote onboarding

The COVID19 pandemic has made onboarding remote employees the norm. It has fundamentally changed the way we work and for many companies, there may be no return to the ways of the past. 

This presents new challenges for organizations that have largely relied on in-person onboarding. In the current circumstances, it’s no longer possible to personally greet new hires in the morning with a stiff handshake, introduce them to everyone in the office, and pack them in a conference room for the orientation.

The challenge now is to extract the same benefits from remote onboarding that the in-person method provides. An onboarding portal can prove to be very useful. New hires get all of the information, documents, and resources that they need in one place. They can utilize a dashboard to complete tasks like setting up their work emails, onboarding their personal devices, understanding their chain of command, etc. 

A mentor or onboarding buddy can be assigned to guide them so they can provide answers to questions and show them the ropes. Communication is key in this virtual setting and must be prioritized accordingly. 

With the era of remote onboarding firmly upon us, companies that adapt their processes accordingly will be able to keep themselves ahead of the pack.

At CodersLink we’ve been working with creating and managing remote teams for over 6 years, and we’ve compiled everything we know about onboarding and managing engineers in our Engineering Management Handbook.

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