Tech Company Secrets: The Employee Onboarding Process

What is Employee Onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of introducing your employees to the expectations, skills, knowledge, and culture of your company.

A defined employee onboarding process is essential for the success of your  company and has an impact on employee retention and the bottom line.

Let’s look at a few companies that are taking a unique approach to onboarding. Their programs might be different but there are some great takeaways that can be implemented at any company – no matter the size.

Zappos
The Zappos onboarding process lasts four weeks and places a strong emphasis on creating bonds and communicating the company culture. All hires experience the same program, regardless of job title, with the aim of preserving company culture, building a strong team, and creating strong internal bonds.

With customer service as a key component of the Zappos culture, employees spend the first two weeks learning how to deliver exceptional customer service. New hires are presented with 10 core values and the history of the company. After one month, employees graduate. However, new arrivals also have an option to quit and Zappos will give them $2,000. It may be unorthodox but they believe it protects the company culture.

Netflix
The onboarding process with Netflix begins before the employee’s first day on the job. A new hire’s desk and laptop are set up prior to their arrival. It’s Netflix’s way of saying “welcome home”. Other onboarding program insights include:

  • Orientation program to explain Netflix technology
  • Introduction and orientation with the executive management in the first quarter to give employees more insight into the company culture
  • A dedicated mentor to provide help and guidance
  • Involvement in a large project from the start to make them feel like they’re contributing from the get-go 

Google
As the darling of the tech world, it’s no surprise that Google has an awesome onboarding process. Google hires only the best. And they can’t afford unproductive employees or high turnover. Here’s how they do it:

  1. In-Person Training (Pre Covid) – New Googlers undergo a two week in-person training and orientation program that explains the organizational structure, core technologies and programming practices.
  2. Thorough Introduction to Company Culture – One of Google’s fundamental organizational values is change and this is communicated on Day 1. A positive attitude towards embracing new systems and ways of doing things is critical to feeling comfortable and being successful at Google. 
  3. Checklists – A company-wide list lets new hires know what to expect in the first week to month and beyond.
  4. CodeLabs – Tutorials are organized on Google Meet for new employees to learn how their proprietary technology works.
  5. Extensive Resources – In addition to all of the above, there is a company-wide glossary so everyone is speaking the same language and a developer handbook so everyone is on the same page stylistically.
  6. On-the-Job Training – Depending on the position, this can range from a “starter project” that lasts two weeks for a software engineer to a quarterly marketing plan for a new hire in the marketing department.
  7. Mentorship Program – Every new Googler is assigned a mentor who is successful within the company and who has taken a course on typical new hire needs. At first, the mentor is just a friendly face to meet them at the end of their first day and show them the facilities, but their formal relationship spans an average of three months.
  8. Check-In – New employees send weekly bullet point summaries describing what they did that week. At the end of every quarter, they take part in a self-assessment and set goals called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). 

No matter if you are a startup or a company with years of history, recruitment is important but that is just one aspect. Once you’ve hired new employees, you need to go above and beyond to make them feel welcome. It’s important to get them acclimatized to your company culture and equip them with the knowledge and skills to become effective team members.

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