Developer onboarding best practices is something you need to look into if you’re serious about making each hire a success.

As one of the most in-demand professions, hiring and retaining developers is a big challenge. Onboarding is a key step in making this happen.

If you don’t offer developers a great onboarding experience, they’re liable to leave, which means you’ve wasted all your money recruiting them!

Without further ado, here are three developer onboarding best practices.

Developer Onboarding Best Practice #1 – Make the First Day a Success

One great developer onboarding best practice is to really focus on making the first day a success.

There’s always a lot of tedious paperwork and logistics to sort out with new developer hires. Do your best to handle all of this before the developer starts. No one wants to spend their first day on the job filling out forms, it’s better to use that time to meet with coworkers and start on projects.

Same goes for computers or work-from-home set-ups. Most developers now work from home, so try to get all necessary tech and tools shipped to the developer and set-up before their official start date.

Finally, remember that someone’s first day on the job can be stressful. To ease their anxiety, have a call ahead of time and let them know what to expect. Walk them through your work hours, their team, expectations, any important company policies, and what to expect at their first few weeks at work.

Developer Onboarding Best Practice #2 – Give Your New Hire a Leg Up in Forming Relationships

Study after study shows that few things are more powerful in helping you retain employees as friendships in the workplace. Relationships among coworkers increase collaboration, improve morale, and encourage people to stick around. That’s why fostering relationships is another developer onboarding best practice.

Many developers, like any other professional, need a little help coming out of their shell. Introduce the new hire in a company-wide message. Tell everyone their role and share a few interests. This is a great conversation starter for anyone who later meets the individual.

Furthermore, consider using a buddy system. Assign junior developers as “buddies” to new hires, since they’ll be peers who can relate to the onboarding experience.

The benefit of buddy system is two-fold. It gives new hires someone who’s easily accessible to ask questions (especially the ones that they may think are too “dumb” to ask their boss), and it also may help them make their first friend at work.

Developer Onboarding Best Practice #3 – Hold Regular 1:1 Meetings Between New Developers and Their Leaders

In terms of developer onboarding best practices, the team’s leader plays a key role as well.

The sooner you start building a relationship with a new developer and getting to know someone as a person and showing you care, the better!

As a leader, you can dramatically improve someone’s engagement in the workforce and your likelihood of retaining them by learning about their interests, personal goals, and so forth.

Furthermore, 1:1 conversations are dedicated time for your developer to ask questions, share feedback, discuss challenges, celebrate milestones and so forth. In theory, most leaders think they can do these things on the fly throughout the day, but we all know how fast the time goes.

Setting aside a dedicated time slot prioritizes these relationships and ensures each new developer gets the time they need to be most successful at work.

You Only Get One First Impression

You only get one chance to make a first impression. All too often, the experiences someone has in their first week or even day on the job determine whether they’ll stick around for three months or three years. It’s never been more expensive to recruit developers, which means it’s never been more important to ace onboarding when you do make that new hire.

If you follow these developer onboarding best practices and put in the work, you may be surprised at how much your retention rate improves!