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The importance of customizable onboarding

Jul 22, 2021 - 8 min read
Joshua Ahn
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Hearing the stories of disgruntled developers, a close friend of mine often asks a three-pointed question on the topic of job satisfaction:

What are your thoughts on the people, place, and product?

After listening to their stories, she follows the statement with “If you are greatly unsatisfied with two of the three, it might be a good time to look for new opportunities”.

How does this story relate to onboarding? Retention remains an ongoing top concern in many companies. Unsatisfied developers are quick to look for other companies or teams that meet two out of the three job essentials my friend suggested.

High-quality developers are a rarity to find, but what if we could change the onboarding approach to improve retention and recruitment? What if we had the process to turn good candidates into great employees? What if we had a way to increase retention and job satisfaction when a developer enters your team?

There is no silver bullet, but using a customizable onboarding platform is moving in the right direction.




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What is Customizable Onboarding?

The function: Customizable onboarding brings a personalized form of onboarding best fit for your new hire’s needs.

The result: A streamlined onboarding process that improves job satisfaction, reduces administrative workload, and accelerates the timeline towards productivity.

Through it all, your developer should leave a customized onboarding experience feeling inspired to work for a company that thoughtfully planned the new hire’s entrance.

Here’s a list of what you should look for in customizable onboarding

  • Course Availability
  • Practice
  • Engagement Medium
  • Personalization Options
  • Pacing Flexibility
  • Progress Management


Silver into Gold medalists

A survey by LinkedIn showed Bootcamp enrollment increased by over 30% in 2020 alone and had been gradually increasing by 5% each year prior. While COVID-19 most likely instigated this significant jump into remote learning platforms, it also means that 2021 and 2022 are likely to follow suit.

Having talked with multiple software developers who’ve started their journey on bootcamps, they admit to filling skill gaps during the first months of their new job. The graduating Bootcamp class is comprised of highly resourceful individuals capable of self-learning but still carry some skill gaps. Here we have our silver-medalists, and customizable onboarding holds the key to producing gold-medalists.

Putting on a 3D Lens

As previously mentioned, talent remains limited. Here are four possibilities for “Why” high-quality software developers are limited and “How” customizable onboarding addresses this issue:

  1. Traditional and non-traditional forms of software development lack a comprehensive curriculum that matches industry standards.

  2. People lack interest in striving for a career in software development.

  3. Recruiters have yet to tap into new areas of the recruitment market.

  4. Existing software developers hold many skill gaps unfit for your job opening.

While customizable onboarding can’t motivate a generation to join software development, it addresses the first, third, and fourth possibilities for a limited software development pool. You might ask how?

Putting on a 3D Lens opens our eyes to a new dimension of hiring focus. With customizable onboarding, your company directly addresses specific skill gaps in new hires or experienced developers, which develops the mindset to look for motivated and self-learning developers.

The Pool vs. The Sea

After announcing a full work from home policy, Deloitte’s senior partner and chief executive Richard Houston said, “The impact of the pandemic has profoundly changed our way of life, not least in the way we work. The last year has shown that one size does not fit all when balancing work and personal lives…It has also shown that we can trust our people to make the right choice in when, how, and where they work.”

“Trust…When, how and where”. Deloitte’s internal poll showed 90% of workers preferred flexible work-from-home policies. Not every company approached the new era of work from home as Deloitte did, but Deloitte set an industry standard and opportunity for software developers looking for a new job.

New WFH standards coupled with a customizable onboarding experience open up the hiring pool to diverse possibilities.

Customizable onboarding looks to the future of working standards and considers the probability of hiring from a diverse “sea” of candidates outside of a conventional localized search. Having a customizable onboarding process gives you the ability and flexibility to tailor specific courses or documentation for your employees. Widening the net of recruitment starts with a strong onboarding process.

Production-Ready

Successful onboarding balances speed and quality. The efficiency of getting your developers production-ready measures a better onboarding experience. Likewise, the quality of your developers onboarding helps set them up for success on your team. So how does customizable onboarding balance out these two qualities?

Educative’s CEO Fahim puts it best. “Imagine teaching a 20-year-old Amazon veteran and a newly graduated computer science major with the same video. This technique misses the mark in personalizing your developer’s learning journey”.

There are three things to consider about your developer before onboarding:

  • Starting Point
  • Learning Pace
  • Learning Styles

Starting Point

Every developer starts their first day of work at a different place. Some might be coming off a nine-month rigorous Bootcamp, others might have just graduated from college, and others have ten years of experience under their belt. When onboarding relies on a video or document that lacks variability, you’re missing out on helping your developer start at a place most desirable for their current knowledge. Your video might also miss some skills your developer needs a refresher on. Each of these factors slows down the onboarding process, as your developer relies on other platforms.

Learning Pace

Studies show that the most successful learning experiences are those where the learner has control over the pace. Giving customizable learning paths and deadlines provides greater flexibility for your developer to move at their own pace. Studies show that average videos are presented at 150 words per minute, while average readers can read at a rate of 250 words per minute. That 60% increase in content transmission increases with your developer’s reading ability, while videos cap at a specific rate. Consider a platform with text-based customization to capitalize on efficient active learning.

Learning Styles

Are you a visual learner? Auditory learner? 90% of educators often push this language in classrooms, but according to continued research, the theory of specific learning styles is more of a myth.

Here is the truth: All learning styles are preferences and should be employed to deliver the most memorable learning experience. Having a customizable onboarding platform gives you the flexibility to leverage multiple styles of learning on one platform. A more memorable onboarding process in the present saves you from long debugging sessions or business disasters in the future. Most importantly, personalized onboarding keeps your developer engaged.


A Scalable Model

I’m sure you resonate with me when I say that hand-written cards feel more personal and communicate a level of care that generic Christmas cards will never match. On the other hand, printable Christmas cards save time with the more people you have on your writing list.

Customizable onboarding is similar. It communicates your company’s culture and expectations in a memorable format while scaling with your company’s growth.

Growing Size

With customizable onboarding, your onboarding process will scale with your company’s growth. You’ll be able to fit in any new documentation or compliance procedures alongside your original training procedures. A customizable onboarding platform saves you time in the long run as your team starts to grow in size.

Staying Fresh

If your company starts running behind on new frameworks or new technology, you’re facing a business problem and not leveraging advantages that can boost your productivity. Customizable onboarding allows you to easily insert new skills or new compliances alongside your existing onboarding checklist.

As your company shifts to handle new compliances, security details, and new APIs, it’s vital to shift your onboarding sequence. As your company grows to meet new challenges or new market shares down the road, customizable onboarding keeps your onboarding phase fresh and relevant.

Growth mindset

This feature might be unique to Educative’s platform, but it’s essential to tie your onboarding platform with any future reskilling or upskilling. Most of the time, onboarding platforms are left in the dust once completed and hardly looked at again. Keeping both ongoing learning and onboarding material on the same platform improves accessibility and convenience for your developer as they grow in your company.

Developers need to keep learning to grow in their career, so having a customizable onboarding platform with built-in learning environments brings flexibility to you and convenience to your developer.


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Wrapping up

Here’s what we covered today. Customizable onboarding helps elevate your recruitment pool and quality. It takes into account your developer’s starting point, learning pace, and learning style. Lastly, you’ll find that customizable onboarding scales alongside your company’s growth. Customizable onboarding empowers you with the tools to create a personal and memorable experience for your developer. As a bonus, you’ll find your administrative work to be more efficient and streamlined.

Happy learning!


WRITTEN BYJoshua Ahn

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