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How companies should prepare for newcomers?

The first days are always memorable. Maybe you finally scored your first dev job or maybe you switch jobs like socks. Still, there is always that "first day of school" feeling lingering. You are gonna meet bunch of new people, getting to know the company culture, and can't wait to get your hands on the code.

When companies are well prepared for the developer's first day, this can significantly boost productivity, set the sense of belonging & employee engagement, and lower the stress for all parties.

My five tips on "How to prepare for a newcomer".

1. Sign Up a Buddy

Signing up another developer as a buddy for the newcomer eases the workload of onboarding. The buddy can be the go-to person for the newcomer to guide the way around the office, tell about the company culture, and who-is-who.

The buddy should reach out to the newcomer before the first day which creates a feeling that you already have a friendly colleague waiting for you. The company should make sure that the buddy has volunteered to do their part and has allocated time for the newbie.

2. Prepare the Workstation

It really is meh if you need to wait a week or two for your monitor, keyboard, headset, etc. This lowers productivity and makes the onboarding bit trickier. And not to mention that aching neck and shoulders.

When the workstation, laptop, and accessories are already waiting for the developer on Day 1, this creates a welcoming feeling. The developer can feel safer and right at home when they already have a "home base" (aka their desk). If it's a remote work opportunity, the company can send the stuff in advance with a welcome note.

It's a big bonus if the newcomer can choose their accessories. The buddy can reach out to the newcomer, ask for their preferences, and order devices in advance.

3. Add Some Swag

Nothing says "Welcome to the Family" more than a company hoody (well, that's my opinion). If you dress up the newcomer with the company hoody or other swag, they can blend in (nothing wrong with standing out of course!) and feel part of the herd.

That is part of the sense of belonging and employee engagement: if developers can proudly carry that stuff with the company logo, it's a win-win for all parties.

4. First-day Schedule

Make sure that the newcomer knows when and where to arrive on the first day and also who are they meeting first. If the newcomer gets a schedule or plan for the day, it takes some pressure off.

If the job is remote, the first-day schedule is even more important. Invite the newcomer to the mandatory (online) meetings, schedule chit-chats, and prepare for other onboarding sessions.

The newcomer should meet the team on the first day. It's much easier to ask for help when you know names and faces. If the newbie has a buddy signed up, they can introduce the team members and invite the newcomer to the daily activities.

5. The Talk

It can be stressful when you don't know what is expected from you at the new job. You are sweating through your trial period wondering if you are doing OK.

Communicate the expectations for the newcomer clearly and it's good to bring up the topic again later. And of course, you should be interested in what is the newcomer expecting from the company. To ensure a productive start, ask what kind of support is the newcomer needing or looking for.

Some companies have gone way over these tips and are already on level 100 with onboarding - while some companies haven't yet picked up these low-hanging fruits that bring a clear advantage.

How was your most memorable first day? Should your company step up with its onboarding process or has it already reached the next level?

Top comments (6)

icecoffee profile image
Atulit Anand

I'll try to remember it after becoming a senior software

Rn excited to join a organization soon.
Wish me luck.

tiina profile image

Good luck πŸ€πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

icecoffee profile image
Atulit Anand

:)) tysm

tiina profile image

Thanks for commenting ☺️ Indeed, onboarding needs depend on the size of the team, the size of the company and the nature of the business (consultancy vs. product company).

I think people are hesitant to put time and effort to the onboarding because there are always fires to put out and deadlines to meet. But it can pay off long term when the newbie has lower stress levels (boosts learning) and gets faster to the coding mode (at least I learn better with hands-on tasks and seeing things in visual form).

To ease out the onboarding process, the company where I worked had an onboarding Trello board. There was a card with my name on it and it included onboarding steps divided for certain days & weeks that I could do on my own and/or with a buddy. If you need the newbie to be more self-reliant, you still need to show where to find information, from whom to ask help, and what is expected from them - the Trello board could help with this πŸ™‚

I read that Spotify has an onboarding step where they ask for the newbie to create a fun app on their own with the tools and frameworks they have. So preparing easy tasks for the beginning and documenting those steps can save time and effort (long term) plus the newbies gets their hands on the code.