The onboarding process helps you understand your employer’s expectations and prepares you to succeed in your new job. Habits and practices you cultivated in your prior role may need adjustment, because every organization has a unique culture and processes. Learning these nuances can make the difference between smooth sailing and rough seas during your first months on the job.
Here’s some important advice to better prepare you to succeed in your new role: Actively engage in your onboarding process. Incorporate the best practices below during your first 30-60-90 days, and ask your direct supervisor for guidance as needed. At the end of this article, you’ll find a set of questions to equip yourself for success.
Let’s start with the dos.
Onboarding Best Practices: Dos
Do complete all onboarding assignments
Complete all onboarding paperwork, including benefits enrollment, setting up direct deposit, reading the employee handbook and taking part in new-hire training.
Do ask for the right tools for the job
Get up to speed on the specific equipment, tools and software required for your role.
Do get familiar with your company’s organizational model
New employees need to know the organization's basic structure and what each department/group/team does.
Do understand the corporate culture
What are the central cultural tenets, and how do these influence decision-making and employee behavior?
Do meet with colleagues
Learn about their roles and how their work fits into the big picture of the organization. What does each person do on a day-to-day basis and who do they interface with?
Great! Now that we’ve had a chance to review the onboarding best practice dos, let’s shift our focus to the list of don’ts.
Onboarding Best Practices: Don’ts
Don’t be invisible
People need to get to know you. The best way for remote employees to do that is through video conferencing—schedule virtual meetings in any situation where back-and-forth communication would be valuable.
Don’t wing it
If you’re stuck, proactively ask for help—don’t guess. Managers anticipate and expect questions from new hires.
Don’t get sidetracked by tangents
The first few weeks of a new job may seem like drinking from a fire hose. The information comes so rapidly and in such large quantities that it can be hard to absorb it all. It also can be hard to know where to focus. Work with your manager to identify the most important goals for your first few weeks, and prioritize your time to meet those goals.
Don’t assume you can use processes and procedures from your previous job in your new role
Each employer has a unique way of doing things. Plan on adopting your new employer’s methods, even if you think your former employer’s practices are better.
Don’t offer suggestions for improvement too early
Use your first weeks and months on the job to observe and ask questions. As you go along, note what’s working well and what’s not as effective. After you settle into your new role, there will be opportunities to propose process improvements.
Great! With this list of dos and don’ts for onboarding, let’s pivot our attention to specific questions to ask your direct supervisor if you’re onboarding into a tech position.
Questions to ask your direct supervisor
To successfully onboard into your new tech job, you’ll want to understand the details of your role and how it fits into the big picture.
You need to know:
What’s the business purpose of the technology you’ll be working on?
What agile and project management practices are the team using?
What are the cybersecurity protocols?
What are the key expectations for this role? What specific results does your manager want to see in the first 30 days, 60 days and 90 days?
What are the company's business processes? Who needs to review your work during your first weeks on the job?
What is the first project you’ll be working on?
Onboarded and ready to go
With onboarding best practices in mind and a list of questions to ask your direct supervisor, you’re now prepared to complete your onboarding experience—congrats! We hope this information serves you well in your current and future roles.
Jessica Schneider, VP-Product Development
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