What did your last onboarding process look like? Did you spend the first weeks or even months not knowing what was expected from you? Or maybe - quite the opposite - were you thrown in at the deep end?
Probably each of us has, at some point, experienced one of these scenarios. What if I say the onboarding process can be well-prepared and smooth and allow you to deploy valuable code to production on day four? Moreover - everything will happen remotely!
Keep reading to learn a set of best practices I have experienced at Tidio that helped me not only feel included and welcomed from the very first day at work but, most of all - be a valuable team member since the first week (#code).
Does the onboarding process really matter?
Yes, it does ;)
Many studies show that the onboarding process has a massive impact on productivity, work satisfaction, and turnover. This Glassdoor survey result speaks for itself: a strong onboarding process can increase retention by as much as 82%. At the same time, according to Gallup, only 12% of employees agree that their organization has a good onboarding process.
Not very optimistic, right?
For me, quite an experienced developer, the onboarding process is the crucial element that helps me understand the company mission, targets, values, and workflows in detail. And achieve optimal productivity levels quickly.
How to do it right?
Let's dig a little deeper.
What to expect before the day 0
Usually, companies provide a whole working environment. Tidio took it one step further - a couple of weeks before the start, I received an environment setup survey. I was able to choose the equipment I felt most comfortable or familiar with, so I could start contributing smoothly.
A few days later, the courier arrived, but he carried not only the equipment I chose but the Welcome Pack as well - a nice gift with company merch (my first pair of Kubota's!). Some people may say that it's cliche, but I loved it.
But was I ready to start?
A week before day one, I received an email about what the first couple of weeks would look like, how I would get access to the software Tidio uses, and who would be my buddy (more about it later).
Day 0 - when it all begins
It all started with a remote call about company structure, values, and priorities.
Taking part in the recruitment process at Tidio, I knew that they put emphasis on a cultural fit between employees and the company, so it only confirmed what I expected - they treated values and mission seriously and made sure that all employees felt alignment with Tidio's culture.
📚 Read more on how to check if a company is right for you.
Then I was given time to set up my environment, get access, install all necessary software, etc. This part of remote onboarding went smoothly as well because of two things:
- onboarding guide
Let's take a look at these points in detail!
We all know that writing documentation is not the most beloved thing a developer can do. It's usually huge and hard to maintain and can quickly go out of date. I will not describe how to write good documentation because it is a whole different subject, but what is worth mentioning here is that Tidio has taken documentation seriously. And it saved a lot of time during my onboarding process. I would say that roughly 80% of the questions that came to my mind during the first week were answered in the docs, and there were many!
It's tempting just to tell the newcomer to read the whole documentation and shake the entire tech intro off. Hopefully, it wasn't my case. Tidio, instead of throwing me into this huge document alone, prepared a 'tech onboarding course for developers'. As with every proper course, it was structured as a list of lessons with a goal to achieve. It covered local environment setup, glossary, infrastructure, environments, etc. - everything I needed to start being productive as fast as possible.
What was waiting for me next?
Keep reading to find out!
The first week - time to introduction
On the second day, I was introduced to my new team and met my buddy. If you are not familiar with the buddy role, I recommend reading a great article about it written by my colleague Patryk Makowiak.
In short, a buddy is usually a developer from your team who will be your go-to person during onboarding. A buddy answered all my questions (if something needed clarification after the onboarding course) about project structure, coding style, CI/CD, and everything else that came to my mind. That day, I was thrown directly into team routines and assigned my first task. There is no better way to learn how things work than to start doing something. The task was small but meaningful, so the pull request was ready a day later.
In the meantime, there were scheduled meetings with c-level executives and heads of departments, so other newcomers and I could understand better how exactly Tidio works and who is responsible for what. There was also product training, so I could understand better how our app works from our customers' perspective.
I wanted to write that's all, but the truth is that it was just the beginning!
During the first week of my work, I contributed to my team's work. I knew what was expected from me, who was my first point of contact, and where to find all the necessary information regarding the project. Then I was ready to participate in growth initiatives that were waiting for me - but it's the topic for another piece ;)
Nevertheless, If you want to learn how Tidio approaches professional development, check out the article on the "Grow With Tidio Program."
The final word
As you can see, a well-designed onboarding process is crucial when bringing a new face to the team. Maybe experienced developers have a solid technical skill set, but they still need to be introduced to the specific nuances and procedures of your organization, and they will highly appreciate it. ;)
From my perspective, thoughtful onboarding helped me quickly acclimate to the company culture, establish a working relationship with colleagues (the buddy program is a blast!), and become familiar with the specific tools and technologies used within the company. I could feel productive from the first day and aligned with my team's goals - I couldn't imagine a better start.
Do you have any questions regarding this topic? Reach out to me via LinkedIn!