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🤗 Onboarding culture
5 ways to improve your onboarding process.
Hey there 👋🏼
I don't know about you, but my LinkedIn has been on f-i-r-e! 🔥
We've seen so many revolutions these past 2 years! Remote first working mode, the great resignation, quiet quitting and the economic downturn that led many companies to lay off employees.
Many people moving jobs got me thinking about how the team leads deal with regular departures and arrivals.
This poses a clear challenge to team stability, happiness and ability to deliver on set commitments.
It's easy to assume that we can deliver projects quicker by adding more people to the team.
Fluctuations in a team can be costly and time-consuming. Depending on how much and fast you change, that can suffocate the team. I've seen roadmaps being swallowed by a constant stream of onboarding into unprepared teams.
We often need to remember that this is different from releasing a turtle into the wild. You put it into the sea, and it happily goes and thrives in its new environment. Never tried it, though, but here's a picture of Anna and Elsa, our turtles 🐢
Onboarding a new team member takes time, effort, focus and preparation from you and your team. We want to ensure that we have a fast, effective and enjoyable onboarding experience.
Today I want to share with you 5 tips on how you can make the onboarding smoother.
Like Benjamin Franklin said, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail".
With this in mind, a clear onboarding strategy is critical.
A 30-60-90 document lays out your plan for the newcomer for the first 30, 60 and 90 days, respectively.
It contains the regular activities, the achievements and expected knowledge acquired during that time.
A clear and transparent plan ensures that expectations are set both ways.
Quick note, you should adjust your plan and, above all, your expectations depending on the level of the new joiner. You don't expect the same from someone who just started their career vs someone who's been doing this for several years.
A new job is both exciting and scary!
Suddenly you're thrown into the middle of a team, of their ways of working where you feel you need to step up and show what you're capable of.
Depending on the company's size, just the processes themselves can drive the most zen person to a crazy amount of stress.
Of all the onboardings I've seen and been a part of, the buddy system has always been a positive experience.
The concept is that the newcomer has someone they can share experiences with, ask questions, and help them connect the dots shortening the gap in the way of working.
This person should be someone that has been at the company long enough to get to know key people and how to make their way through the process.
This gives the new joiner a safety net and a sense of security since they have someone they can count on for help.
How often do we hear the expression "culture fit"? Seems like a buzzword, but it's really much more than that.
You should start by ensuring that the newcomer knows the values of the company and the team.
Let's dive into an example.
Some teams rely heavily on documentation. While this should have been disclosed during the interview stage, it should be among the first things shared when joining the team.
In the tech world, many people prefer to avoid writing documentation. If someone with this profile ended up in this team, we would have an immediate problem.
By being transparent about the way the team works, and what the team values, it's straightforward for the new joiner to capture if there will be issues in terms of culture fit.
It might seem cold, but this is precisely why there are probation periods. And remember, they go both ways.
The newcomer must fit into the team, and the team must fit into the new joiner's vision for their career.
It's not personal. It's business.
A list of tasks
A best practice during the onboarding is to have the journey all planned out.
This means having a list of tasks that will help the new team member become accustomed to what the team does daily and start to feel integrated.
These can be recurring tasks that the team does that have low difficulty but are good and broad enough to help the newcomer contribute positively to the team.
Having this is also a great way to start observing how the newly created relationships form and if there are any friction points you need to pay attention to.
Shadow / Pair
The buddy system is excellent for the new joiner to feel like they belong in the company.
Once we want them to start working at full throttle in the team, it's good to do it using collaborative techniques like pair programming or shadowing.
With pair programming, you sit the newcomer with someone more experienced, and they start understanding what lies beneath the product they're working on. It's an excellent opportunity to create bonds and for the new team member to show what they're capable of.
I see shadowing more for leadership or meetings, where you have the newcomer shadow you during meetings and get to know who's who at the company.
These moments are critical not just for the newcomer to get to know the company but for the company to get to know the newcomer.
Above all, what I want to highlight is that independent of level, every new joiner needs to be guided through the intricacies of each company.
With time and iterations, a good onboarding process makes the journey shorter, simpler and more concise.
But in every onboarding process, you and your team must dedicate time and effort.
Finally, one of the most important ideas we use is to leave it better than what you found. We ask the new joiners to contribute to the process via documentation, code, etc., to ensure that the next version will be better than this one.
That's it from me. I hope you have a fantastic weekend and that this issue helps review your onboarding process.
A quick 5-point plan to have a killer onboarding process:
Have a 30-60-90 day plan prepared.
Have a buddy ready to help
Make sure the culture fits
Have a list of tasks ready
Use shadowing and pairing to reduce friction
🚨 100 days to go until 2023 🚨
100 days to complete our goals.
100 days to start another iteration.
100 days to another year of craziness (considering 2020, 2021 and 2022)
It’s going to be a buuuuuuuumpy ride!
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Have an incredible week! 💪🏼
Parada 👊🏼 A Leader's Mindset