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Engineering Onboarding Is Larger Than HR

Ashley Swanson

Technical onboarding often gets placed on the desk of human resources, under the misconception that since HR does other employee training, they’ll excel in onboarding engineers. 

But that’s not true. Technology companies don’t realize that by asking HR to lead engineer onboarding, what they’re really asking for is HR to suddenly become experts in software, product design, data analytics, on top of their skills in people management. 

If you aren’t asking HR to code, why are you asking HR to lead engineer onboarding? 

Software engineering roles demand technical expertise and knowledge. It’s up to engineering leaders to teach new engineers all the technical information they need to succeed in their specific roles. 

Think about the onboarding process as a story:

  • The new hire is a fresh hero, ready to learn. 
  • The engineering manager and teams are main characters who mentor the hero, helping to train and level them up with the right knowledge. 
  • Human Resources is part of the supporting cast, providing important tools and details to help progress the hero’s journey.  

At Edify, we’ve made technical onboarding more collaborative. Our process effectively engages new hires while leveling them up quickly and effectively, helping teams build a better onboarding story.  

Technical onboarding done right can help solve some of the most pressing issues for technology companies today: retention, employee satisfaction, and skill growth. 

HR – a stepping stone in the onboarding process

So if technical onboarding demands all this work from engineering leaders and managers to teach new hires, does HR need to be involved at all? Yes.

It’s important not to discount the role of HR plays in onboarding. They provide a very specific expertise: helping new hires navigate the realities of working at your company. 

Beyond hiring and initial paperwork, HR is great at helping new hires understand what it means to be an employee at the company, covering everything from company culture and policies, to employee benefits and programs. 

Examples of HR’s expertise in a company:

  • Recruiting and vetting new candidates
  • Developing an equity-minded workplace and building company culture
  • Crafting company policies to set standards and expectations
  • Managing employee benefit programs
  • Overseeing management training and professional assessments

Working with HR during the onboarding process gives new employees a starting point at the company, setting a baseline of what the expectations are, and a place to go ask for help. It acts as a critical stepping stone for a new employee, unfamiliar with a company’s rhythms and patterns. 

It is important to make a strong distinction in the onboarding process between learning what it means to be an employee at the company versus learning all the knowledge and responsibilities of a specific role. 

For engineering teams, technical onboarding needs to address the specifics. That process should be a reflection of a team’s ethos and a team’s knowledge to a new employee.

This is why HR will never have enough context to mentor new engineers through the entire onboarding process.  Technical onboarding must offer team integration, socialization and specialized training to help a new hire understand their particular role on an engineering team. 

Blueprints for better engineer onboarding

Good technical onboarding succeeds when it fits the creative, problem-solving nature of developers. At Edify, we’ve built our engineering onboarding tools to compliment the learning styles of technical people. 

Our chat bot eddy is a contextual guide that helps engineering leaders create an onboarding process built on your team’s knowledge base. It organizes all the technical information a new engineer needs to know, the responsibilities they will have, and all the behind the scenes details to be successful with their teams.

Designing the technical onboarding process using eddy encourages new hires to become self-sufficient, hands-on learners. It helps ease new hires into the work environment, with expectations that they need to ask questions, apply knowledge proactively and be more collaborative. 

Once a new hire has gotten their foundation about the company from HR, eddy meets each new employee at their learning level, by giving information when they are ready. Try it for yourself with our demo.

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