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Have you felt the anxiety that comes with the new job? It is even worse when you have no idea about the work, environment, and culture of the company. If that is the case of employees at your firm, chances are, you won’t be able to use their full abilities during work as they are not properly guided. And that’s an issue faced while onboarding software engineers.
You can hire the world’s best developers but that’s not everything. To build an effective team, you want them to stay productive, which is not the case. Many major companies lose up to 25% of their employment in only the first eight months. 22% of the companies do not even follow any onboarding procedure at all. Of those who do, only one-third of them are able to do so successfully.
If you don’t want this to happen to you, you need to prepare a good strategy for onboarding software engineers. This article will guide you and provide you with steps on how you can imply an effective strategy for onboarding engineers. Let’s get started.
What is Onboarding Process?
Onboarding is the process by which hired individuals are integrated into the corporation. During this process, new employees have to go through an orientation process where they learn about the organization, its culture, structure, goals, and vision. This process can be of one or two days or as long as a month for some organizations.
The main goal of onboarding software engineers is to make them comfortable in the organization so they can be fully integrated with the company and can work to their full potential.
A successful onboarding process,
- >Will clearly convey to the hired software engineer the company’s expectations of him.
- >Will also establish what the new engineer can expect from the company as well.
- >Will determine the requirements required from the newly hired engineer and how they can contribute to the company’s goals.
Why Onboarding Engineers and Developers Is A Critical Need?
As a company, your main focus should be on retaining employees. Study shows that nearly 70% of employees are likely to stay for up to three years if they experienced a healthy onboarding. If you want to keep your employees for the long term, you need to be effective while onboarding software engineers. Having said that, most companies do not even follow any onboarding practices.
When you don’t have a good onboarding program, it can lead to confused and uninformed hires being completely clueless about the company and the job they have to do. To be efficient and get some clarity, they will question the staff and experienced members of the team. But this constant questioning might irritate and hinder the work of those members. This might not be good for productivity.
See, we understand that the engineers you are hiring are great in their jobs, skilled, and have in-depth knowledge about the field. But, they will still require knowledge about the job requirement.
- >What kind of work expectations company have for them?
- >What protocols and frameworks do they have to follow?
- >What are the company’s technical requirements and work process?
- >What pace they should work on?
These are some of the basic questions each new hire has, and if they are left unanswered, I don’t think they will be able to give their 100%.
Onboarding remote developers is even trickier. Here you have to connect and communicate remotely on a digital platform which is not as effective as personal human interaction. But after Covid, with the rise in remote jobs and freelancing, the organizational structure is changing accordingly. Many corporations have shifted their culture to the remote model and are hiring, recruiting, and training employees digitally.
I feel now you have understood the importance of onboarding software engineers. Now let’s discuss some Developer onboarding best practices to successfully implement the process.
1. Introduce The Onboarding Engineer With The Company
Congratulations! You have hired a new developer in your company. Now your developer needs to get familiar with a lot of things – the team, work, company protocols, rules, culture, tools, frameworks, etc. Make sure when you are onboarding software engineers that you do not overwhelm them with all this information.
Some important things the new developer needs to be familiar with are-
Developer Onboarding Tools and Software
You need to make them familiar with the tools they are going to work with. Developer onboarding tools will include important software, protocols, company rules, and access to important databases. Make sure you provide this before their first day so they can install them and do their tasks comfortably. You can also provide them with a manual or get a mentor for them.
Company Vision and Project
Perhaps the most important thing you have to do is to brief the new engineers about the company’s beliefs, its vision. They should also know about all the details of the project you hired them for. You need to tell them about
- >Your company’s mission statement
- >Project requirement and function
- >Short-term and long-term goals
Sharing these things will help them understand the big picture and make them adapt more easily.
Your Corporate Culture
Every company has a unique way of doing things. Some follow a particular dress code while some are okay with casuals also. Some have a fun environment while others are more strict. So whatever your guidelines are, you have to share them with the new employees.
A great way to share them is by sharing an employee handbook with all the rules and guidelines written. You can also share the basic guidelines concisely while onboarding software engineers.
Team and Colleagues
After the onboarding process, it is vital to introduce the new engineer to the team. A simple introduction always works like a charm. You can introduce the team leader and manager to the employee and leave them to talk with each other and get along.
Also, introduce the new hire to the rest of the team and let them get along. If you are assigning a mentor to him, let him know about it as well. Make sure to brief the mentor about their responsibilities and requirements beforehand. You can also add the newly hired developers to the team chat group and exchange emails for the same.
Let’s move on to the second step of the developer onboarding best practices:
2. Set The Onboarding Engineer Up With The Workspace
After introducing the new developer to all the necessary things, it is now time for some actual work. Now, we have to familiarize our new hires with the workspace. Before they start their day, you need to make sure they have all the things they will need. Which include
- >Access to all the required databases, software, and systems. Give all necessary logins and connect them with the team chat groups.
- >Permission to modify and test environments through API keys.
- >Sharing important documents, manuals, directories, and guidelines.
- >Attendance and holiday sheet. If they are remote workers then software to keep track of their time.
You can provide some of these accesses later when some need arises, but make sure you provide the important links as soon as the onboarding process ends so they can easily work and get comfortable with the company.
Now onto the third of the Developer onboarding best practices:
3. Developer Onboarding Documentation
The previous steps of onboarding software engineers were common for all types of employees, but this one is particularly for new developers. Technical documentation is required for working on a project. The document provides a frame of reference, issues to work on and the best practices to apply. If there is no proper developer onboarding documentation then it will get tiresome to communicate about the project and could waste a lot of time in figuring out how to approach the best methods.
One major problem organizations have is there is no knowledge of how the pieces of data are flowing around the system. As different teams in different departments are working on the project, fixing bugs and issues, it gets a little complicated to keep track. Proper documentation avoids this hurdle.
A Developer onboarding Template of some basic things you should add to your documentation-
- >Installation instructions
- >Isolated executable test suites at each major level
- >Source code and Git – Repository Access
- >Database manual
- >Deployment credentials for servers.
- >Diagrams and flowcharts of each major component and system
- >API keys and tools credentials.
- >Project dependencies and their version number
- >Descriptive messages in the version control system
- >Sample data and its input manual.
- >Docker file and its manual
- >Comments on IDEs, in the context of the specific language supported by them. Like, JavaDoc for Java.
Other than them, if available, provide development notes as well to help with the project progress done by the previous team and work on the previous issues.
Make sure the instructions are clear, with proper flowcharts and diagrams so that the new developers can get acquainted.
4. Software Developer Onboarding Checklist
This is the final step of Developer onboarding best practices. A checklist is mandatory to keep tracks of the things so that you can properly manage the best practices and do not miss anything important. This section will also serve as a quick recap as I have already discussed some of the things here.
The 1st step toward onboarding software engineers is to welcome them onto the team. If they are remote employees, then you can connect them via a telecommunication app such as Skype or Zoom.
- i) There you can answer their queries and concerns and brief them about their tasks, team, standards and protocols, and your expectations for them.
- ii) On your developer onboarding plan, make the developer familiar with the company’s culture too. Share your employee handbook and give a presentation about the mission and values of the company.
- iii) Also, make sure they sign any important documents or paperwork before the starting day. Doing paperwork and last-minute HR work will only waste the day and neither you nor the employee will be able to do anything productive.
- iv) Get them familiar with the technical requirements. Provide them with all the access and login details, and join them in the chat groups, etc.
- v) If you are planning to give any merchandise like T-shirts, coffee mugs, or logistics such as laptops and other pieces of equipment, then have it well thought out. So that the developer gets it in due time.
These are some points you can follow before their starting day. Now let’s move to the second step of our Software developer onboarding checklist.
Starting Day Checklist
After onboarding software engineers the next thing you can do is introduce them to the team. You can ask for some general information such as the place they live, their hobbies, etc., and share that with the group. Your message can look like this:
“Hey everyone! Let’s welcome [name] to the team. He/She will be joining us as a [designation]. He/She belongs to [native place] and loves to [hobby].”
When the new hire will start work, make sure you assign them a relatively easy task so they can get familiar with the setup and get confident while working. It will also help in reducing some stress they are having. After this, let’s move on to the next software developer onboarding checklist on the list.
The process of onboarding software engineers doesn’t stop even after some initial weeks. There are always things that need to be worked on.
- >You can take weekly meetings to know about the work update, get feedback, discuss problems and issues new hires are having, and more.
- >You can even take short daily meetings to get updates and be in sync with the work progress and issues.
With this practice, the new hires will feel connected and will be more confident in sharing their opinions better. Moreover, you also make sure that the new developers are actually working with regard to the company’s protocols and are not accidentally jeopardizing anything.
Onboarding software engineers is a crucial practice. Companies which ignore this practice are constantly losing their employees and hiring new ones. This depletes their resources and makes it hard to manage the processes. The trick is to hire best and retain them. Employees are a valuable resource to any organization and it is essential they work to their full potential with less stress and enjoy the process. A good onboarding process is useful to achieve all of this.
I hope this article helped you in understanding the onboarding process deeper and will also help you in implementing your own as well. If you are looking to hire a remote development team you can check out our Home Page. Optymize also allows an easy onboarding process so you need not worry about that. Our team can easily integrate with yours to provide the best results.