8 Expert Tips to Master Employee Onboarding and Retention

JULIANNE STREFF
Julianne Streff
Aug 18, 2019

Over the years, Spire has developed a thriving staff augmentation practice, which I lead. We’ve employed, contracted, and partnered with some of the best and brightest tech talent in the country. Our roster of practitioners is deep and covers a broad spectrum of skills and expertise. Adding to that, Spire is regularly recognized as one of Colorado’s Best Places to Work, enabling us to attract the cream of the crop. As a result, Spire has an unparalleled ability to source and place valuable individuals and teams to quickly meet the demands of our clients with the support of our proven infrastructure. Needless to say, I have my work cut out for me.

I did not go to the ‘Google School of Onboarding 101.’ When I joined Spire years ago, I did not have much prior expertise or best practices to help me successfully onboard new employees. What I had was an openness to learn by trial (and error) and the support of a rad team of individuals to help me figure out a warm welcome that may not yet be perfect, but we’ve definitely received a healthy amount of positive feedback so far.

Here are the top 8 things I’ve learned about employee onboarding: 

1. Make a plan. You know how some people go on vacations and they like to plan an itinerary for some or even all of the trip’s duration? It turns out those people were on to something. This idea works just as well for bringing aboard new employees. Spend some time the Friday before a new employee’s first day planning out their experience, and send it to them! I’ve found that people love to have an idea of what they are getting into on day one and who all they will meet.

2. Make sure schedules align for a person’s first day. It can be tough to wrangle different people’s schedules, but with a little bit of ‘Tetris,’ it’s totally possible. Likely, it’s a combination of operations/HR, accounting, a hiring manager/boss, and some teammates, but you want to give a good first impression to new hires.

3. Try to introduce some cross-team collaboration early on. Maybe this looks like a first-day lunch with folks from various internal teams, not just the one your new hire will work on. Perhaps it’s making organic introductions during your office tour.  Maybe you like to give someone a buddy in their first week – a more seasoned employee to show them the ropes and the ‘what I wish I’d known on day one’ type of knowledge.

4. Have some company swag ready to share. This can be in the form of T-shirts, stickers, mugs, pens, emotional support animals (puppies would be nice!), or a company-themed cupcake if you’re a cool, techie startup in Silicon Valley.

5. Share the important info such as a company org chart, who to go to for certain needs, who their boss is, company perks/benefits, etc. I also like to share our company story with new hires to give them some perspective. Basically, think about what you wish you’d had on your first day and then do that!

6. Check-in. You can tweak the frequency as you see fit, but one recommendation is a first day, first week, and first-month check.  Solicit feedback, then apply said feedback as it requires an action item.

7. Make sure that someone sends out an employee bio alerting the troops to this new face (or new presence on Slack if remote). I’ve received the feedback that people want to know what their new teammates are doing, so it can be something like a weekly announcement recapping new hires, or a quarterly update depending on how often you hire.

8. Make the introduction equally as special/memorable for both your full-time employees and your part-time/contract employees. People meet new faces all the time so why not help them remember names.

Hiring tech in Denver (or anywhere) is tough. The unemployment rate among developers is abysmal. Employee onboarding helps retain talent, build a wholesome culture, and ultimately deliver top-notch software to our clients. If you’re in need of employee onboarding support or staff augmentation in the tech industry, contact us.