Plato Elevate Winter Summit has been announced (Dec 7th-8th)

🔥

Back to resources

How To Create a Successful Onboarding Plan for New Hires

Onboarding

30 August, 2020

Ashish Agrawal
Ashish Agrawal

VP of Engineering at MotoRefi

Ashish Agrawal, Senior Director of Engineering at Medallia, describes how he created a well-structured onboarding plan for new hires that became a company-wide onboarding standard.

Problem

When I joined my current company, there were only 3 to 4 people in a newly established DC office and I was hired to build up that office from scratch. The office was rapidly growing and I was bringing on a great number of people. As part of onboarding, we were given some time to ramp up and learn more about the company and the new job. I saw that as an opportunity to be seized and wanted to make the most of orienting new hires to our company and culture.

I decided to come up with a plan to ramp up newly arrived engineers and make them effective contributors to our engineering organization by providing them with a holistic view of the organization.

Actions taken

As I realized there was no onboarding plan in place, I reached out to the main office HR, my boss and peers. However, I was not satisfied with the onboarding plan they had proposed. I felt that the honeymoon period of a new job was a golden opportunity not to be missed.

I came up with an idea of a structured onboarding plan and pitched it to HR and my boss who had been very supportive and encouraged me to develop it further.

By virtue of my own ramp-up, I had absorbed a lot of information -- I had read marketing and strategic material, watched numerous videos, read blog posts and technical presentations, went through the code and code repository, etc. I decided to take key information from all those sources, filter it out, and organize it in a clear and structured manner that would allow people to digest it easily.

The outline was initially made in Google Doc and consisted of several sections organized in weeks and days. The key sections were: business strategy (who we are and what we do), competition (who are our competitors), financial analysis (what is our market size, how much revenue do we make, what is our overall product offering, how many customers do we have and what is their setup), marketecture of the product (how the product is organized, what are the different modules that the company sells and how they all fit together), technical architecture of the system (what are the key aspects of our architecture, how is our platform work organized and what are key architectural drawings and internal tech docs they should familiarize with), project management (how we run Scrum, how long are the cycle and what tools do we use to manage software delivery), software management (what are the tools and languages that we use and they should learn, how we build software and apply CI/CD, how we do DevOps, how we release and manage software in production) and support (how to support software we build and what is the incident management process), etc.

The plan contained links to internal and external sources that included audio, video, podcasts, Powerpoint presentations, blog posts, articles, technical drawings, etc.

Initially, the content was meant to be only read, but I was continuously receiving feedback to include some more “doing” segments. Doing segments were predominantly geared around technology. For example, set up your local laptop with the dev environment, configure your email with your signature, change your calendar sharing options, etc.

I presented my onboarding plan to engineering leadership and their feedback was incredibly valuable and it allowed me to reiterate the original document and collect more information. In addition, as new people were continually joining in and going through that document, I was continuously collecting feedback from them as well.

I managed the process for a year -- adding/removing content and finding links. I would share it with every single manager and once I got enough adoption I went to the CTO and proposed to make it a standard. And standard it became. As a result, a new role was hired with the Training and Learning team and their sole job was to upkeep the document on a day to day basis. They would replace an old presentation with a new one, add new links, fill the gaps, collect feedback, etc. Before I handed that off, I moved the document from Google Doc to a tool called Degreed -- a tool we used to help us with improving the training of new hires. It took me a lot of time to convert it, but it became more structured and people could track their progress more easily.

Lessons learned

  • Be iterative. Don’t expect the first version to be the final one. The only way to be iterative is to constantly solicit feedback and listen to what other people have to say.
  • Don’t be afraid to take on and do things by yourself before you get more support. Don’t give up if the support, in the beginning, is not sufficient enough.
  • When I started to collect feedback I was receiving various opinions, thoughts, often very critical or outright negative. I didn’t take it personally and I knew that that type of feedback can also help me improve the product. It is not feedback on you, it’s feedback on the product.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

How to Stay Up-to-Date Managing a Large Remote Team

12 November

Deepesh Makkar, Sr Director of Engineering at SunPower Corporation, details the processes he formalized to stay in touch with large, remote teams that are located internationally.

Remote
Meetings
Feedback
Onboarding
Changing Company
Deepesh Makkar

Deepesh Makkar

Sr Director of Engineering at SunPower Corporation

How to Build a Successful Onboarding Process

9 November

Frédéric Duperier explains how he created a successful onboarding process and documentation, incorporating feedback from within the organization.

Alignment
Internal Communication
Feedback
Onboarding
Frédéric Duperier

Frédéric Duperier

Founder at We Are One Sarl

Hiring Niche Talents in a Fiercely Competitive Market

6 October

Sai Dhalli, Sr. Software Engineering Manager at ThousandEyes, shares how he successfully hired some niche talents during a fast-growing phase of the company and fiercely competitive market.

Acquisition / Integration
Diversity
Onboarding
Hiring
Sai Dhalli

Sai Dhalli

Sr Software Engineering Manager at ThousandEyes

Three-Phase Approach to Onboarding Engineers in a Distributed Services Environment

6 October

Sai Dhalli, Sr. Software Engineering Manager at ThousandEyes, shares how he followed a three-phase approach to make the onboarding of new hires flawless while working in a distributed services environment from a remote work environment.

Onboarding
Hiring
Sai Dhalli

Sai Dhalli

Sr Software Engineering Manager at ThousandEyes

Remote Onboarding: Setting New Hires Up for Success

6 August

Zeev Vax, Director of Engineering at Wonolo, shares how he created a seamless onboarding experience in an all-remote environment that sets up his new hires for success.

Remote
Onboarding
Zeev Vax

Zeev Vax

Director of Engineering, iOS at TuneIn

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.