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Reaction - 9 Onboarding Mistakes

Created: January 8, 2021

If you've stuck with me today, thank you. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming ...

Organized, intentional Onboarding is a crucial piece of a healthy development team, and just in case you thought I was the only one harping about it, Marc Holliday from NetSuite has recently written about 9 Common Onboarding Mistakes.

In reading this article, I love how much Marc emphasizes what he calls the "pre-boarding" phase. I've also written about being prepared and welcoming because that first impression is so critical. Whether it's a new job or a new social group, think about your past experiences entering unfamiliar situations. If you just walked into the room and no one was there to greet you or introduce you or show you around, how did you feel? If the opposites were true, what did that do for you?

There is also a good section on Onboarding in a hybrid workplace - where you have some remote and some on-site employees. Personally I operate entirely in a remote-first mindset because I don't have an office or employees, and my clients are far-flung around the globe. COVID of course has played a huge role in shifting us towards a more remote workforce, and I often wonder whether that will be more permanent or temporary. There is no shortage of amazing software teams which are 100% remote. Whether you've had great success with a remote team or are struggling mightily with one, I'd love to have that conversation with you.

I'm having a hard time disagreeing with anything in the first 7 "mistakes" sections; there is excellent advice in there on the mindset and the framework for successful onboarding. Where I get a little tripped up is in the presentation of Generational differences. The article states as much - and I agree - that generational stereotypes are overblown and not that helpful. An individual's mindset and personality are shaped on so many other factors aside from the year they were born. Each individual we bring on should be treated as exactly that - a unique individual with their own perspective and goals.

As leaders bringing on a new team member, we should be continually seeking to better understand that person's story, mindset, and motivations. It's our job to meet them where they are now and guide them along the path that gets them where they'd most like to go.