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5 Best Practices for Onboarding Technical Employees

by Mariya Finkelshteyn

Feb 07, 2019

We all know that first impression matters. Therefore, apart from the interview session, any employee will form the first impression of a company during the employee onboarding process. On the other hand, if you are recruiting employees for technical roles, then you know that you are dealing with some of the most sought-after employees in the current job market. Therefore, even though the onboarding process has the same main goals, you will be dealing with a special kind of people who are looking for a great employee experience. So, if you are struggling to create an interesting onboarding session for technical employees, then this article is going to show five best practices to help you in this direction.

1. Put technicalities first

When you interview potential technical employees, you are looking for a particular set of skills and abilities. This is the starting point you should consider during the onboarding process. Apart from the competitive salary package and benefits that you can present during onboarding, you can also show your future employee how much you value his expertise during pre-onboarding.

For example, Netflix asks its technical employees during employee preboarding what type of laptop and configuration they prefer to work with. So their team can prepare everything according to the new hire’s preferences before day one. This type of inquiry goes a long way to show your technical employees how much attention you pay to details and will help you establish a memorable and impactful  relationship during onboarding.

  1. 2. Managers should get ready for their new employees before they start

“A manager’s schedule is always hectic, with a lot of things going on every day. Therefore, when a new hire comes to the team, they will most likely start thinking about that new member exactly when they start. Thus, it sometimes becomes difficult for the manager to prepare a comprehensive “welcome discussion” and discuss what he expects from the new hire”, says the HR Head at Pick Writers. The HR team at Google, for example, sends reminders to managers a few days before a new hire begins. The reminders will include a tasklist list with the most critical discussion points any manager should discuss with a technical employee. So, all the managers have some time in advance to prepare the discussion about the employee’s role and responsibilities, establish a buddy to mentor him and organize the introduction to the team.

  1. 3. Give your technical employees a challenge

Statistics say that a structured onboarding process increases employees’ retention by 25% and improves their performance by 11%. What is more, the onboarding process is not limited to the first days when you present the company’s structure, benefits, and tools. You can create a unique onboarding experience by giving your technical employees an easy-to-manage project which will bring an immediate win and satisfaction for them. Thus, you will help them become comfortable with the work culture and boost their confidence. For instance, Apple asks new hires to set their iMac and get it ready for work. This is a great method to make your technical employees accomplish an easy goal and show them that you trust them from Day One.

  1. 4. Communicate directly

The onboarding process is not a one-time event. Many technical employees consider it a decisive milestone which convinces them to stay or to leave a company. What is more, studies have shown that 49% of millennials are looking for a better onboarding process, while 22% of the staff turnover occurs in the first month and a half. Thus, any aspect of onboarding plays a decisive role for a technical employee’s loyalty towards the company.

Communication is an important element of any onboarding program. However, technical employees often tend to prefer digital communication, while many of them will get so absorbed by their projects that they will forget to communicate at all. Any manager should use direct communication to check how the new employee is accommodating with the position and team. Moreover, direct communication will also help managers check whether the onboarding goals are met and receive feedback as checks and balances for how things have gone so far. It will help both managers and employees decide how to move further and improve the onboarding areas that didn’t go as planned.

  1. 5. Don’t forget about buddies and mentors

Even though they are confident in their skills, technical employees might be shy when it comes to asking for help and getting used to their new colleagues. Therefore, having someone whom they can ask about anything can be of great help. This is why you will need a buddy and a mentor who can take care of all the questions and social part of the onboarding process.

The buddy will help your technical employees quickly become part of the team and efficiently communicate with its members. They will help acclimate new hires to the new office culture. Mentors, on the other hand, will always be available for new employees to answer any questions related to work. Give their applied experience; mentors will become a trustful resource for technical employees when they need professional guidance.

Conclusion

Finally, remember to encourage your technical employees to develop professionally and offer them growth possibilities. You can get creative with your development plans. Try to be transparent with any growth opportunities and align them with the business objectives.

Onboarding programs are the first experience an employee has when they join an organization. Thus, they represent the foundation for your employees’ success. To create a first good impression and prepare your technical employees to unleash their potential, you should carefully plan your onboarding program. Show them how much you value their abilities from Day One and boost their confidence by assigning them small, easy challenges from the beginning.

Be clear when it comes to the company’s culture and encourage them to communicate and offer feedback during their working experience. Keep new employees involved in social activities and be always ready to answer work-related questions. A successful technical employee begins with a strong new hire orientation program. You have exactly one chance to make a positive first impression—don’t waste it.

new hire orientation

Mariya Finkelshteyn

Mariya serves as the VP of Marketing at Sapling, leading marketing and demand generation efforts for the organization. She has a proven track record of driving efficiency and growth, bringing sales and marketing teams together through the utilization of shared objectives, best practices and innovation.