Onboarding is a great opportunity to create momentum and get people up to speed quickly. When a new engineer starts, it’s important that they get blocked as little as possible and can quickly figure out how they can be productive within this new team or company.
Here are a few guidelines and things you can do, which I’ve found helpful in the past.
Set up their most important accounts beforehand
Before their first day, make sure they have a company email address. Use that email for invites to the most important applications such as your chat, Github/Gitlab, the issue tracker, etc. This can all be done before they even start, so there’s no reason they should be blocked by this on their first day. Depending on the size of your company, IT or HR should be able to help you with this.
Make the setup of your applications easy
How easy you can make it depends on your situation, and the tradeoffs you have to make, but at least review the setup instructions before a new hire starts, and after they've just gone through it. See if there's anything that can be simplified. Getting an application up and running quickly makes onboarding more enjoyable and means you can start doing actual work more quickly.
Pair them with an onboarding buddy
Assign them onboarding buddy who can help mentor them. If a new team member has any questions, they should be able to get unstuck, the onboarding buddy is there to help them.
It helps a great deal here if the onboarding buddy has some mentoring knowledge, so that they can help the new hire become independent and autonomous while answering their questions. An onboarding buddy with good mentoring skills can help a great deal with helping the new hire in becoming productive.
This also helps include the new hire in team and immediately has them collaborating with one of the team members.
Make it a goal to deploy to production on day 1
Being able to deploy something on your first day feels great and it’s a sign that your onboarding process works. If a new engineer is not able to do that, then more likely than not there are things you can improve in your onboarding process. Use this as a metric to measure your onboarding quality against and keep improving it until people can deploy within one day.