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The Consequences of Not Onboarding Well

Ashley Swanson

Onboarding technical hires has grown more complicated over the past year. Onboarding programs have struggled to keep up with the shift to hybrid work and the increased pace of hiring. According to Gallup, one in five employees said they either received poor onboarding or absolutely no onboarding at all.

The consequence of not onboarding well is more than a bad first impression. Without an onboarding process, new engineers are starting their role in the dark, and have to put in extra work to learn their role, find support, and develop relationships with the team. 

A poorly designed onboarding program also negatively impacts your managers and tech leads, draining their time and adding extra steps in-between them and mentoring their new hires.

At Edify, we’ve identified three bottlenecks that can be improved today to fix your onboarding flow for your next engineering hires. 

Using Onboarding Time Wisely

For engineering teams, time is a precious resource. According to research from LinkedIn, engineering hires take a median of 49 days to get hired – from application to offer. But managers shouldn’t wait until Day 1 to start mapping out what’s required of a new hire. To help offset that hiring holding pattern, managers can use that long hiring cycle to help prepare materials for the upcoming onboarding process.

Start by collecting the information your developers will need, and think about who will be part of the support system for the new hire. At Edify we believe that an onboarding plan should include four main knowledge pillars:  

  • Engineering documentation on the systems you use and how they integrate with one another.
  • Team process, tools, and workflows. This can include information on why you use the stack you do, the history of decision making on the code, and guidance about how your team manages sprints, bugs, and other critical workflows.
  • Engineering culture and professional expectations - how they should perform in their role, communicate with you and other team members, and how your team functions culturally.
  • Product creation - the hows and whys of what you build.

Experience has taught us that these pillars cover the information a new engineer needs to know to ramp up fast to become productive. It’s also a vital part of how we onboard our own engineers at Edify.

Escaping The Email Black Hole

Many companies default to email to communicate about all aspects of onboarding, for both the hiring manager and the new hire. It's common for an engineering lead to receive one email per setup item—some of our clients reported receiving an average of 13 emails about a new hire before they even start.

For a new engineer, the flood of emails can add to the disorientation and overwhelming feeling of being new. They are still trying to learn the landscape, feel out the engineering culture, and discern what’s important. Email wasn’t created with team collaboration in mind.

Pulling your technical onboarding out of email can help improve the entire process. This is why Edify built eddy to work within a team’s Slack to cut down on noise and distractions for all. Eddy helps shift the workflow around onboarding, so new hires get the information that they need, when they need it, in a tool they’re already using. 

Scaling Your Onboarding Flow

A plan can look great on paper, but the real test of a technical onboarding program is in its ability to scale. What works for a single new hire struggles when the engineering team needs to hire five to ten developers at once.

Edify helps teams build technical onboarding plans that scale. Our bot eddy manages the dissemination of information to new hires at a pace they can follow. No more endless email chains and hours spent tracking down updates to documentation. Managers have more time to actively support new developers and get them up to speed more quickly.  The process prioritizes building meaningful relationships for new hires, so engineers feel like they can contribute to their teams right away.

Ultimately, the consequences of not onboarding well have negative impacts on tech leads, engineering teams, and hiring managers. A poor onboarding plan will undermine all the investment and effort put into the long hiring process. Break out of your onboarding bottlenecks with Edify’s technical onboarding plans

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