how familiarity with the company affects future work

According to iCIMS research, 26% of employees leave a new job if no one is engaged in their adaptation, and another 44% are seriously considering this possibility. A well-designed onboarding process reduces the likelihood that the cost of finding an employee will be in vain, and helps the newcomer become a full-fledged member of the team as quickly as possible.

Onboarding can be both formal and informal. In some companies, newcomers have two mentors: one is responsible for duties, and the second helps them get comfortable in the office, get to know colleagues and integrate into the corporate culture. Onboarding usually involves the immediate supervisor and HR. Work tasks in the first days may not be at all, or they will be as simple as possible.

Job induction: paperwork, office tour, and dating stress

Before starting work, the employee is expected to get acquainted with the documents and key processes. Here’s what to do for the day:

  • sign an employment contract and NDA;

  • read job descriptions (if any);

  • get permissions and passwords;

  • connect to corporate messengers and task trackers.

Then – an official acquaintance with colleagues and a tour of the office. A large amount of information falls on a new employee. A typical program is like this:

On the first working day, I was taken to all departments, told who to contact about personnel documents and what to do if the workstation does not suit me. Of course, I didn’t remember everything, but at least something became clear.

Ivan D., java programmer at an information systems development company

It is impossible to fit everything in your head the first time, even if you train your memory, so it is better to write down key facts in a new place. The fastest way is to send them to your favorite messages in your personal messenger, you can even use voice. If HR decides to immediately give the newcomer a table or sheet that lists the names and positions (and even better, jobs) of other employees, then this situation will be close to ideal, but it is rare. Since the beginning of communication for many is stressful, it is better for the employee to prepare in advance and write down important questions that will help not to stumble over trifles:

  • how to address colleagues: on “you” or on “you”, by name and patronymic or by nickname in slack;

  • is there a dress code and is it the same for all employees;

  • where to go for lunch;

  • how to turn on the office coffee machine, is it possible to take “public” mugs and what are the general orders in the kitchen;

  • who to contact for stationery, necessary equipment, if something breaks or you need to pay the bill.

Integration: who will you have to work with and what manuals to read

After a sightseeing tour, on which it is not necessary to memorize everything at once, specifics usually begin. A new employee is introduced to colleagues with whom they will have to interact directly. What needs to be told and what the employee himself should immediately understand: who sets the tasks, with whom it is necessary to coordinate the results, to whom to delegate part of the work, to whom to contact with routine and new questions.

Then the new employee needs to familiarize himself in principle with what the company and its division are doing. At this stage, you need to be ready to study everything in the world: working documentation, legacy, data libraries, logs. It is at this stage that the real difficulties begin. If getting to know people is about the same in organizations, then getting to know documents is full of surprises. Companies need to be prepared for the fact that a new employee will not be able to immediately master a large amount of information, especially if left alone with the data.

When I got my current job, in the first days everything was great in administrative processes: HR resolved all issues, met, explained what, where and how it works, sent all the necessary links and materials, conducted a tour of the office and introduced me to the team. But with the technical part, everything was more complicated: the documentation was scattered and incomplete, there was a mentor, but he was busy, the process of working with materials was not built.

Alexander S., business analyst at a transport systems developer

An employee should be prepared for just such a situation. The optimal tactic is to estimate the amount of information, estimate how long it will take to figure it out on your own, and ask a mentor or leader for time just for this.

Immersion in processes: when to start working

At the start, work tasks are rarely difficult, unless a senior level employee has been hired specifically to solve a tricky problem. The tester will be offered to get acquainted with the list of identified bugs and reproduce the error, and the Python developer will be asked to synchronize data from the API with the table in the database. A mentor, leader or more experienced colleague helps in the implementation. If this stage is skipped, then the employee may not integrate into the processes, or spend too much time on it.

In fact, I didn’t have onboarding. After a welcome call with the team, on which they joked some of their incomprehensible jokes, they sent me a description of the customer’s needs, the structure of their database and access settings. After that, the team left for the New Year holidays. This was my first fully remote job, and as a result, I faced a lot of psychological problems. Colleagues did not communicate with me. When I was not given assignments, I thought I had missed something. In the end, I only worked for five months. Now I prefer companies that have at least some semblance of mentoring: that there is a person with whom I would call up every couple of days for 10 minutes to clarify whether everything is in order. Well, I would also like to communicate with colleagues not only at work.

Alexander M., former developer at a consulting company

Going Autonomous: When a Mentor Is No Longer Needed

The target state of the employee from the point of view of the employer is the ability to complete tasks without the help of colleagues, as well as set tasks on his own. To understand when a new employee is ready for free swimming, you need to collect feedback from the employee himself and from his colleagues. And also, be sure to go through the trackers and see what and for how long the beginner is already doing himself. It usually takes two to three months, which is how long the trial period lasts. But onboarding doesn’t end there. It is no longer necessary to lead a newcomer by the hand and show each card in the tracker, but from time to time the employee needs to return to the rules and instructions. It would be good if the company has materials with information about internal processes, chat bots for feedback and reminders for this.

Despite the fact that three months after the start of work, the employee is already immersed in the processes, onboarding continues for six months. By the end of this period, a person not only does his job, but also understands how to optimize it, can take the initiative and even become a mentor.

Irina, hr-manager at Allcorrect

How onboarding works in different companies

There are no universal schemes. Traditionally, IT giants are considered the best, but the size of the company does not always indicate the quality of work.

AT Google the hiring manager on the first day should discuss with the newcomer his responsibilities, introduce him to a fellow mentor and help establish contact with the rest of the team. Within six months of work, monthly meetings are held at which immersion in processes is assessed.

AT Dodo Engineering three curators are assigned to the newcomer at once:

  • a mentor who helps to integrate into work processes,

  • onboarding lead responsible for interaction with the technical part of the project,

  • HR, who introduces the employee to the office, helps with paperwork and builds informal communication.

AT “Reksoft» after switching to remote work, the onboarding system was automated. The beginner has an adaptation dashboard with tasks that await him during the trial period. With the help of a board, it is easy to find who to contact when something goes wrong. If we talk about the social component, then not only the manager, mentor and informal mentor, but also top managers communicate with employees.

AT IVI the mentor makes a roadmap with the newcomer. It contains a list of goals that must be achieved on the first day, in the first week and by the end of the probationary period. After that, the newcomer proceeds to the basic tasks: he studies the documents, receives passes, connects to corporate messengers, undergoes mandatory trainings, and gets acquainted with the team leader.

In our company, an HR brand manager is responsible for onboarding, who is also an informal mentor and helps to orientate. Onboarding starts from the moment the offer is sent to the employee, then three individual meetings are held, at which we talk in detail about the company’s culture, get to know each other and learn about the impressions of work. At these meetings, we find out if help is needed. If there are difficulties, we involve other employees, not only from the same department, to solve them. We provide training in basic skills from using the appointment system to developing flexible skills, answering personnel and administrative issues. We also find out if employees have ideas on how to improve work processes. Sometimes newcomers, due to a fresh look, offer non-standard solutions.

Irina, hr-manager at Allcorrect

Red flags at the onboarding stage

In the process of getting to know the organization, it is important to understand whether it is right for you. Moreover, the company may not be bad in itself, but simply does not coincide with your ideas about a comfortable place to work.

After signing the offer, I went to the office, and I didn’t like how the workflow was organized. All communication took place by voice, it was terribly distracting from business. To be honest, I did not even expect a whole team of techies who prefer to shout to each other across the office instead of texting in slack.

Vasily, QA engineer, worked for a business software company

But there are also general signs that say: not everything is going smoothly here, while there is an opportunity – take a closer look:

  • No immersion. If instead of “hello” on the first day you are given a list of work tasks, you are either considered cool or do not want to spend resources. In the second case, it is worth considering whether the company is interested in your professional growth.

  • Colleagues do not communicate First, you will be uncomfortable working in an environment where getting the simplest information will be delayed. Secondly, they are in no hurry to get acquainted with newcomers in companies where employees constantly replace each other. Why memorize names if these people won’t be here tomorrow? This is especially true for galleys – outsourcing companies in which programmers are constantly thrown from project to project.

  • Lack of established processes. If there is little information about working projects and it is stored separately, services are not integrated with each other, and the manager forgets to inform about the postponement of the release date in time, think about how good this IT company is and whether you are ready to exist in chaos.

  • Change of conditions. You were given one information at the interview, but everything turned out differently. A workstation with the necessary parameters will be issued only in a couple of months, but this is not certain, and a flexible start to the working day is when you can come to the office from 7 to 9 in the morning. It is possible that they will try to deceive you in other matters.

During onboarding, you evaluate the company, and the company evaluates you. If everything suits you and you want to be part of the team, focus on completing your tasks, communicate with colleagues and don’t be afraid to ask them a lot of questions. It’s great if you take the initiative, but take your time. Do not seek to change internal processes to suit you and transfer a team that has been successfully working on SCRUM for several years to kanban. Remember that your manager is also interested in you adapting and joining the work process as quickly as possible. And tell us about your most successful (or not) acquaintances with companies.

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