Talento | Employers

6 Things Not to Do When Onboarding Software Engineers

by Carlos A. Vázquez    |    January 12, 2021    |      6 min read


Though all companies typically have some form of an onboarding process, the ones that get it right can build a team that lasts. In fact, excellent employee onboarding has been shown to improve employee retention by 82%.

However, Gallup found that only 12% of employees believe their organization does a great job when it comes to onboarding. Having a detailed onboarding process is vital if you’re hoping to hang on to your software engineers and properly integrate them into your team.

A comprehensive onboarding process will also allow you to save time and money, as you’ll constantly be hiring new developers should you be losing them at a faster rate. Turnover is expensive, and onboarding is a key piece of the puzzle if you want to retain your high-quality software engineers.

Onboarding directly influences how your new employees feel about your company and gives them insights into how they can help your business meet its goals. It sets the tone for your company culture and, if not done right, can be full of red flags that your software engineers begin to collect.

Though there are plenty of things you should do when it comes to onboarding, we want to touch on what not to do as well. Here are a few things you should avoid when it comes to your onboarding process. 

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Moving Too Fast

If you think the onboarding process only lasts for your new employees first day or week, it’s time to take a look at the calendar. Proper onboarding should last anywhere from three months to one year, as this first year is the most critical time of a software developer’s journey within your company.

When you rush things, you add unnecessary pressure to your team members and aren’t giving them a clear picture of how things work and what they’ll be responsible for. Remember that it’s okay to take it slow here.

Allow your new software engineer to ask questions, get comfortable, and become a true part of the team you’re building. The more they’re able to immerse themselves in the company, the more likely they’ll be to stick around.

Being Too Technical

Yes, you’re working with a software developer, but keeping your onboarding process full of jargon, percentages, and formulas is a quick way to lose someone’s interest. So instead, think about how you can make onboarding more fun, whether it’s a new team-building activity or a way for your new employee to share feedback.

Keeping it all work and no play will highlight a lack of work/life balance, something that’s important to prioritize for all team members. Onboarding is traditionally dry and dull, but if you’re able to think outside the box, you’ll be more likely to retain the top talent you’ve found.

Not Automating Anything

No new employee wants to come to their first day of work and spend it signing dozens of papers and agreeing to terms and conditions. Find a way to automate any necessary forms, videos, and policies, so that you can get this done before your software engineer begins their job.

Consider sending the paperwork over beforehand so that their first day is full of excitement rather than signatures. This preparation not only alleviates stress on behalf of your new team member but yourself as well. 

Lacking Expectations

Chances are, unless you specifically tell them how to do so, your software developers are going to feel incapable when it comes to doing their job correctly. Therefore, to improve your onboarding process, you need to set clear expectations from the beginning.

Employees feel anxious when they don’t know how to do a good job, making it easier for them to step away and find new opportunities instead of sticking around. Let your software engineers understand what they need to do to succeed, providing helpful information on their first day and beyond.

Not Welcoming Them

Yes, information is essential, but if your onboarding process lacks positivity and camaraderie, it will not be effective. Start by introducing your software developers to your team, and let them know that you’re excited to have them on board.

Your employees should feel seen and appreciated throughout the entire onboarding process. Make them feel welcome from their start, so they know they’re joining a team that’s inclusive and supportive.

It might be natural to dig into their responsibilities first, but taking time to get to know them on a more personal level will give them a much-needed morale boost.

Not Committing to Their Development

As we touched on before, thinking the onboarding process is a one-and-done assignment is a great way to push your software engineers out the door. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is thinking that your job is done as soon as you welcome a new employee and set them up.

The best managers commit to the success of each of their team members, ensuring they have what they need to thrive not only on their first day but throughout their employment. So check in on your software developers and let them know that you’re there should they have any questions.

If your schedule tends to be packed to the brim, set your new employee up with someone in your company who can fill in the gaps. Onboarding shouldn’t be rushed, but instead something that allows you to cater to your new team member and welcome them with open arms. 

Onboarding will look different for each business, as jobs and goals differ, but avoiding these six mistakes will help you build a top-tier organization. You’ll retain software engineers that produce high-quality work and stick with your company for years to come.

Worried you’re not adequately onboarding your developers? CodersLink is here to help. We’ve gathered our best tips on building a high-performing engineer team in our Software Engineering Management Handbook.

These tactics will lead to 10x productivity, longer retention, and engagement – all things you need to build a company that continues to grow year after year.

Click here to download your copy and send us a message if you’re looking for more help when it comes to onboarding your software engineers.

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