January 18, 2021

Do you spread out social introductions over days or weeks?

Do you just love spending all day in meetings? Do you fill your days relishing the repetitive small talk and marveling at the mismanagement of the Mute button?

Alliteration aside, almost no one enjoys a day packed with meetings, so don’t subject your new hires to it, either, and answer Yes to the fifth of the 11 Questions for a Better Developer Onboarding Program:

Do you spread out social introductions over days or weeks?

Our inclination seems to be to introduce a new hire to as much of the company as quickly as possible – a nightmare carousel of people, processes, and projects. The first few days are often crammed full of welcome wagons and 1-on-1s and meet-and-greets and more. Chances are, both of you are planning on this person sticking around for a while. There should be no rush in introducing them to every possible person or piece of knowledge they might some day six months from now possibly need.

Compounding the issue are the personality types of your existing team members and the incoming new hire. Are you adding an introvert to a group of extroverts? Vice-versa? If you have an incoming introvert, having them introduce themself to various individuals and small groups over and over ad nauseum is going to wear them down. Throwing them on center stage to introduce themselves to an all-hands welcome wagon is going to be exhausting at best and terrifying at worst. An incoming extrovert might enjoy those sorts of interactions, but they shouldn’t be required, and shouldn’t consume the majority of any day.

Keep the required, formal meetings in the first week to the barest essentials:

  • Manager and/or Mentor 1-on-1s
  • Immediate team welcome
  • Immediate team standups/statuses
  • Immediate team problem-solving
  • Other important stakeholders gradually and only as necessary

To facilitate introductions and relationships with more extended members of the company:

  1. Send a "Please Welcome our New Hire" email to the whole company on Day 1
  2. Have the new hire write a brief intro/bio highlighting some of their personal interests
  3. Share the intro/bio with the company via email, chat, or an internal wiki page

Your job during Onboarding is to avoid inducing fear and exhaustion and instead build confidence and excitement.

HTH

-EG

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