5 onboarding tips to keep talent in your company

5 onboarding tips to keep talent in your company
Articles and interesting facts

As the (almost) classic says: "They can take your wallet, your car... but people?!" You bet. And the chances of that actually happening increase proportionately with their qualifications. In the IT industry, where there is an increasingly strong excess of demand for specialists (especially in the cybersecurity segment), this is even more urgent. One way you can increase your chances of retaining talent is through a quality onboarding program and buddy system.

Integrating new IT professionals into the work environment is a key step in successfully integrating them into the team, achieving full productivity and potentially increasing employee retention. According to the Harvard Business Review, approximately 33% of new hires start looking for a new job within the first six months of their appointment, and approximately 23% of new hires leave their job within the first 12 months. This is not a "self-sustaining" solution, but one way to improve the work environment and reduce brain drain.

IT onboarding and onboarding programme

Let's first define what we mean by "onboarding" and how the terms in the title differ. Many people confuse "onboarding" with "recruitment", which is already an established term for recruitment in the Czech Republic. Onboarding, on the other hand, is the following process of onboarding and adaptation of newcomers and the process of their integration into the company, team and job role.

IT onboarding is then understood as the familiarisation of new employees with the company's hardware, software and IT processes - it is therefore a subset of the overall onboarding programme, albeit perhaps the most important one in the current digital age.

The specific form of onboarding then varies from one company to another. Below we will of course give you general tips on what the process should include, but it is essential that onboarding is actually defined and fixed as a process in your company.

A seamless onboarding process is essential to ensure that the company engages with new hires early on and provides them with a seamless adaptation to their new role. A report by Allied HR IQ indicates that 22% of new hires did not participate in an onboarding program when they started their new job, and of those who did participate, only 28% felt the program was successful.

Tips for a successful onboarding program

Create a structured onboarding program

The key to successful onboarding of specialists is to have a clearly defined and structured onboarding program. This program should include an introduction to the company culture, organizational structure, work processes and major projects. It is also important to give new employees access to all the necessary IT systems, tools and, above all, documentation.

As far as company processes are concerned, a structured onboarding programme should include at least the following tasks (preferably in the form of a checklist):

  • Preparation for onboarding - i.e. setting up the employee's personal file, preparing all relevant contracts, introducing the employee to internal systems and records, informing relevant authorities and institutions, preparing HW and SW and adding the newcomer to all relevant company groups.
  • Internal briefing - timely sending of all documents to colleagues and preparation for alignment with the team (team leader or manager). Be sure to send all necessary information especially to the senior colleague who will be working with the newcomer within the buddy system.
  • Setting up an adaptation plan and arranging meetings for the new employee with colleagues from other teams and with the owner or director of the company.
  • Scheduling the first day, including activities that fall within the HR staff's remit (various training sessions required by law, information about the company's regime, handing over keys or joining cards, explaining benefits, etc.). Don't be strictly formal so that any nervousness about the new environment is taken off the newcomer.
  • Setting up adaptation processes - ensure that the adaptation is supervised, with regular meetings with the newcomer and their line manager (or a senior colleague assigned within the buddy system) being optimal.
  • Setting up notifications for the evaluation of the adaptation as well as for a possible change in salary after the probationary period.

Rely on online onboarding

In today's digital era and due to the ever-growing trend of remote working, online onboarding is increasingly being used to enable an efficient and customisable process of integrating new employees into the corporate environment. Ensuring an adequate virtual environment that allows new hires to become familiar with the team, projects and systems is key to ease of onboarding. This includes the use of video conferencing tools, screen sharing and online training.

Engage the buddy system

A buddy system, where a new employee is paired with a more experienced and senior colleague ("buddy") during onboarding, is a great way to help a new hire adapt to a new work environment. A buddy can guide the new employee, answer questions, share know-how and help build strong working relationships. This approach helps new employees integrate more quickly and increases their productivity.

Provide the necessary training

Training and mentoring is essential for newcomers' development and effectiveness. Training should include technical skills, company procedures, and access to necessary tools. In addition, a mentoring program allows new employees to develop a professional relationship with a mentor who can provide support, advice and help them cope with all the challenges that come with a new job role.

Don't forget continuous feedback

Regular and thorough feedback is essential (yet often neglected) for the successful development of newcomers. Ongoing communication with new employees allows you to identify any issues and tailor the onboarding program to their needs. Feedback should be constructive and supportive, with an emphasis on developing strengths and compensating for weaknesses.

How to retain talent

Let's assume you've mastered the onboarding process. But you have an even more challenging task ahead of you - retaining employees consistently, especially those who are truly talented and have strong potential. However, 100% retention of top talent, especially in IT, is an almost Sisyphean task without absurd wage increases. To make it at least a little easier, we have some tips for you:

  • Sell yourself - emphasize your company values, including the social and cultural aspects of working at your company, ideally in such a way that professionals (at least) feel they share the same values as their employer.
  • Be interesting - don't bother specialists with routine activities and offer meaningful, challenging and action-packed work where they can grow in their roles by learning new insights to keep their skills at the absolute top of their game.
  • Open yourself up and try to "bite" even what other employees might not be able to "get away with" with the really talented specialists. Try to make your working practices and workplace more accessible to more "eccentric" individuals. True talent is often compensated for by deficiencies, or if you prefer eccentricities, on a social level - this is perhaps even more true in IT than in other industries.
  • Be on the cutting edge - truly skilled professionals do not want to work for second-rate employers. Showcase your IT talent on social media and at professional conferences and focus on the idea that top specialists want to work with other top specialists.
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