What does good onboarding look like?

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On Monday, two new developers start at our company. We only have two developers now, so this is a big increase for us. I've been thinking over the past two weeks what would be the best way to bring these new people into our organization, with our limited culture, and how to grow the culture with them moving forward.

What does a good on onboarding process look like? Are there any specifics it should or should not have?

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We have newbies build a sample app with our general tech, in case they're not familiar with the environment. We may have hired them thinking they can get up to speed soon enough. If they're already super familiar, they'll breeze through it, and if not it gives them a playground to make simple mistakes in.

We then get them working on refactoring issues primarily until the right feature opportunity comes up for them.

That's tech stuff.

We also have a ready-to-go Trello board with a lot of things they might have to know, and we have some docs about the members of our own team and our various communication styles.

For example, I sometimes get lost in my work, but I don't mind being bothered. Just because I seem engrossed, I still want you to give me the heads up if you need anything. Others have different little quirks and it's nice to say what we know about each person.


First, make sure the HR and basic onboarding process is going to go smoothly. It is terrible to walk into a new job and everyone acts like, "Why are you here?". Arrange a welcome lunch and so forth. Do things that bring them into the company and team.

If you have an Agile process in place I'd suggest giving them spikes as part of your current sprint. For example, setup their development environment, review a particular project with a current team member, etc. Give them a deliverable for each of these so that they feel like they're getting stuff done and not twiddling their thumbs waiting on people. This helps get them into the cadence of the team.

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Patrick M profile image
A four pancake developer who loves ASP.Net Core and also dabbles in Angular from time to time. Quietly click clackin' away.

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