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Do you incorporate bi-directional feedback into your Onboarding program?

Created: January 26, 2021

Incorporating frictionless, frequent feedback cycles is an excellent way to help individuals, teams, and even processes to grow and adapt.

You want your Onboarding program to evolve with your team, so say Yes to the final question of our 11 Questions for a Better Developer Onboarding Program by building feedback into your program:

Do you incorporate bi-directional feedback into your Onboarding program?

There are three important areas of feedback to consider during Onboarding:

  • How is the new hire feeling?
  • How is the process performing?
  • How is the organization performing?

There are many ways to encourage and enable this feedback.

One suggestion I have is to hold frequent check-ins between manager or mentor and each new hire. Encourage questions and open discussion about the new hires thoughts and emotions on these three topics.

Open-ended questions are great, but do remember new hires might be feeling a bit timid or potentially overwhelmed. Adding a little humanity to those open-ended questions goes a long way.

"How did you feel when you arrived on your first day?"

instead of

"How can we improve the Onboarding program?"

Asking a new hire how they felt is far less intimidating than directly saddling them with the responsibility to improve a process they're just being exposed to.

Check-ins should be brief but frequent; around 10 minutes on a daily or near-daily interval should suffice, allowing for more time if necessary. Use the opportunity to call out and coach through any bad habits or behaviours; right now is the best time to course-correct. Demonstrate that you're available to the new hire, and continually provide them with opportunities to provide their own feedback. If they don't take that opportunity, that's fine - there will be another opportunity for both of you tomorrow.

Maintain a list of any questions received and their answers in an Onboarding FAQ document. Share this document as part of the self-help content for the Onboarding program.

Any potential improvements for the Onboarding program (technical issues encountered, areas of confusion, etc) should be maintained in a list as well - if they're not immediately fixable. Preferably, make it a task list contained within your normal project management system, and treat that task list like any other ongoing internal project.

Periodically revisit and prioritize the list with your team. Encourage open discussions and honest reviews of the Onboarding program and its supporting documentation. While you're preparing for a new hire is a great time for the team to review and plan updates to the Onboarding program.