How to Make the Most of Onboarding IT Talent

— May 7, 2017

So you’ve beat out the competition’s offers and recruited a top tech candidate. Game over, right? Not necessarily. Your onboarding process will have a significant impact on the retention and engagement of that employee. At a time when 86% of new hires decide their future with a company within the first six months, proper onboarding is key to retaining talent and preventing negative employee personalities from developing. Closely tied to the longevity of a business, here are ways to make the most of onboarding IT talent.


Use Technology Effectively


Your new tech hire thrives with a keyboard under their fingertips. If the heart of your current onboarding process involves handing over a heavy binder of handbooks and paperwork, it will do little to instill confidence in that new employee or contractor. Building an online portal designed for new hires is one of the most effective pieces of an onboarding strategy.


This digital dashboard will not just prove intuitive to tech talent, but it is also how Millennials and Generation Z have grown accustomed to learning and finding answers. Such a portal can efficiently answer questions by providing easy access to searchable employee handbooks, FAQs, and trainings. Customizable, it can contain a calendar and personal schedule for a worker, necessary HR forms, tutorials for setting up phones, email addresses, and passwords, and a quickly accessible database of contact information.


A sure help to employees before they start and in their early days, a centralized application can prove helpful for months down the line. However, content here must still be engaging. Building a rudimentary portal can end up being a detriment if the hire has continued difficulty using it. With options such as mobile optimization, a digital onboarding portal has immense power to improve the process of onboarding permanent IT talent and tech contractors alike.


Onboarding Involves More than HR


Putting together an effective onboarding strategy is not something that should be limited to HR or the direct supervisor of a new hire. In order to successfully prepare a new employee for joining your organization, onboarding needs to do more than just point out where the bathrooms are and set them up for direct deposit. After all, can you truly onboard tech talent without at least asking the IT department for their input?


HR and upper management must work together to create a cohesive strategy driven by overarching business goals. Next, managers and supervisors in each department will need to provide their own viewpoints to take a high-level onboarding strategy and apply it to the specific tasks tied to a new employee’s role. Lastly, all staff should have the opportunity to give feedback on the process.


Input from a new hire’s coworkers, employees or contractors who previously held the new hire’s role, and even maintenance staff is important. When upper management is too focused on the big picture, “little things” such as assigning a parking spot, granting keys or passcodes to locked areas, and instructions on the office thermostat can be neglected and add up to a negative experience. If your onboarding process is lacking something, you may find it by asking the whole organization to contribute.


Culture Is the Differentiator


Even intricately-planned onboarding programs with high-tech employee portals will fall short if company culture is not a welcoming one. Onboarding procedure training is not limited to HR and direct supervisors in successful organizations. The entire company must understand appropriate ways to welcome and reach out to new hires, and doing so will successfully set you apart from competitors as a career destination.


Formally announce a new employee or contractor to your staff, and encourage employees to individually introduce themselves. Plan casual social events around a group of new hires, whether it be a round of golf, evening of bowling, or dinner at the newest brewery. Certain IT pros, such as computer programmers, have become stereotyped as introverts, uninterested in social interactions. This is a misconception of the tech field, full of bright minds eager to share ideas, participate in discussions, and socialize outside of work. Long-term retention is bolstered when a new member of your team quickly feels welcomed into a friendly culture and comfortable environment.


An Example to Follow


One of the most prestigious tech schools in the world provides a superb example of a well-planned onboarding process. MIT clearly spells out specific tasks for HR, managers, and even a peer “buddy” to assimilate a new employee into their role. The organization’s checklist and calendar outline onboarding goals through a full year and span the categories of socialization, environment, tech access, training, and more. It’s an all-encompassing plan that leaves nothing to chance, and a model for all to follow.


Onboarding IT Talent


Recruiting tech talent doesn’t end the moment they sign an employment agreement. Proper onboarding that begins early, harnesses technology, and involves the entire organization can produce unparalleled loyalty and retention rates. At a time when recruiting in tech has a stigma, making the most of onboarding IT talent can put your new hire at ease knowing they made the right decision.

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