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Having a good onboarding process for new employees is something every company aims to do well. Aside from the typical paperwork and tour of the office, there’s a lot that you can do to give your new hires a great onboarding experience. Some companies are going above and beyond the typical employee onboarding and offering unique activities ranging from a 100% remote onboarding experience to a week-long new employee “retreat.” Here are just a few of the unique developer onboarding ideas we’ve heard about.

Involve Your CEO or Founder

If your company’s CEO, President, or Co-Founder has the time in their schedule, having them be a small part of the onboarding process is helpful. Parklet suggests holding a Q&A with a class of new hires where they can meet with the CEO to address all their questions about the company’s history, vision, and direction. While this certainly isn’t attainable for large or multi-site organizations, smaller companies can show their transparency by bringing in the CEO to meet new employees and answer any questions they have.

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Use Technology

Arrow Electronics takes their onboarding to the next level with the help of technology. New hires are asked to complete an onboarding computer game during their first week. The game is full of modules ranging from industry basics to company culture to get new hires up-to-speed while keeping things fun. At the end of each module, the employee is asked for feedback on ways to make the onboarding process better – and maybe even what technical improvements can be made to the game.

Set Up Pair Programming

Andrew Cantino, former VP of Engineering and Chief Architect at Mavenlink, did his fair share of hiring and interviewing. He says, “We used pair programming extensively for developing our software, and it really shined as an onboarding technique. Instead of having new engineers get stuck banging their heads against a new codebase for days, pairing allows them to be productive and learning immediately with someone who is already an expert.”

We’ve talked extensively about pair programming before, namely how it’s great for junior developers and how helpful developers say it is. So if you haven’t put together a formal pair programming function on your technical team, now would be a good time.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go All-Out

LivePerson’s new employee onboarding experience goes above and beyond the traditional approach. Their onboarding event, dubbed “Inspire”, is a two-day affair focused on creating meaningful connections. Elana Krasner of LivePerson describes the event in detail, saying, “During the Inspire experience, attendees do more than explain what their roles are and where they are coming from. They go through various exercises that often pull them out of their comfort zones -- from sharing the doubts and fears to past challenges and triumphs.”

While not every company will have the budget or resources to create this type of experience, the main takeaway here is to add a personal touch to your onboarding ideas. Getting a developer up-to-speed on the codebase and toolsets is key, but you also want to connect them with their team members and other employees within the organization. developer onboarding checklist


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