From mentorship to documentation, below are some additional considerations that can make onboarding your next tech hire more effective.
When it comes to onboarding tech employees, there are a few extra considerations you will need to incorporate, most of which (unsurprisingly) revolve around tech stack, policies, and other tools unique to their position. It also entails going over how files are stored, how projects are tracked, and what success looks like for their particular role. Below are some key consideration areas with more insight as to how you can specifically tailor your onboarding initiatives to meet the specific needs of your tech hires.
From organizational charts to contact lists, all new employees need some documentation when starting. But when it comes to tech employees, it is also a good idea to include a tech stack overview, software tutorials, a common list of common bugs, or anything else in their workflow that requires step-by-step instruction (which may be several in a tech position). Likely, current employees do not use checklists regularly, but if a task or workflow needs to be done in a particular manner, it is best to include a documentation guide for reference until the new hire gets the hang of it. But before passing out any documentation, the first thing you should do is integrate your new hire into your local development environment from day one. Also, be sure to communicate where your codebase is located, how it is designed, and most importantly, how to use it.
Yet again, a point that is important for every role - mentorship. But what makes mentorship different in a tech role? While a non-tech employee can have a mentor from nearly any department, the role of a mentor for a tech employee is twofold. On the one hand, they should mentor and guide the new team member from a social and professional development perspective. Still, on the other hand, they should also act as a go-to person for any and all technical questions. A pro tip here is to assign a more junior developer to take on this mentorship role. It will allow them to put their knowledge to practice and avoid bombarding senior developers with additional responsibilities.
Communication and Culture
In addition to regular communication channels and ongoing feedback meetings, there is also a more social side to communication that plays an essential role for tech employees. If you are not already, be sure to organize informal departmental events such as team lunches, quizzes, virtual coffee or beer meetings, etc. Additionally, set aside specific time for demos, coding days, or hackathons. As with any role, informal communication will hopefully make it easier for more formal communication. For example, once they are more comfortable with new team members or their supervisor in an informal setting, they will likely be more open to reaching out for help, taking on spontaneous projects, bringing up their ideas, or bringing to light tasks be struggling with. This is especially important in tech departments since their specific tasks tend to be more autonomous yet require the psychological safety needed for creativity and problem-solving.
In addition to the points above, don’t forget to include your tech hires in all of your normal initiatives for the best onboarding experience.