What do new employees need during the onboarding period?

Onboarding to a new company can be tricky or even scary. I know, I just went through it recently. It’s a situation where the team can have different tools and processes while at the same time we want to make a good impression. Fortunately, I know a few people that are in a similar situation. So I asked them about their onboarding to find out what do new employees need on the onboarding phase. They don’t cover everything but if you do have 80% of them, it would already be a great help.

help me to help you

What do new employees need? Here are our demands:

  1. Onboarding documents to show the things I need to know or who to ask about. Ask us (newly hired) to review and update (or write one 🙁 ) afterward.
  2. Who are the team members? and what are their responsibility? We have a lot of questions, and we met a lot of new faces (via chat/slack/ or worse email). We felt confused so it’s really important to have a map of the organization or at least of the team.
  3. The team objective and metrics dashboard. It would be great if you have the company OKR and dashboard.
  4. How to set up our working environment, laptop, etc
  5. What is our development flow, stacks? Do we use mono or multi repo?
  6. How to run or debug our application? Please write a README file to explain it. There is also this awesome-readme collection. Because what happens is, when we first clone your repo, we wouldn’t know which script to seed database or whether we need to set some environment variables unless you told us.
  7. Service map. It’s good to show a bigger picture of how things work end to end. I like the c4model approach and write it with the MermaidJS. Especially if the team likes to name their service with a funny name that doesn’t resemble the original accountability. For example, Pluto for your search engine or Cerberus for your authentication service. Well, I might actually like the latter.
  8. If you are new to the company stacks, you will have a lot of questions, a buddy would be nice.
  9. What’s our working process like? do we use scrum? or kanban? or none of the above.
  10. What’s expected of me, how to pass my probation?
  11. How to file medical reimbursement?
  12. Where is the snack or pingpong table? Which slack channel we can discuss last football match or TV series? etc.

Every company (hopefully) has its own onboarding document. It’s really beneficial for both company and the employee. Because with these items provided, a newly hired team member can start to contribute as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, very rarely that the hiring team has prepared for this well. Interestingly, a common theme across these demands is documentation. So please record all your team’s decisions whether they are about technical architecture, or steps to run service in a local environment, or organization structure, etc. And then put them in a searchable wiki, e.g. google drive or confluence pages, tagged with some questions that these documents are designed to answer.

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