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Would you intern with House?

Five tips for better integrating junior developers!

If you’ve ever caught an episode of House, you’ve probably noticed that being an intern under the legendary diagnostician is no walk in the park. But as Codecool founder and CEO József Boda pointed out at this year’s Startup Safary, the stonewall and cold shoulder treatment isn’t exactly the best strategy to retain new hires. But how to make juniors feel welcome and valued from day one?

Companies tend to look at the training period of newbies as a necessary evil, no matter how badly they need a fresh talent infusion. To stay competitive is to go digital but finding the right people is a sore pain point for all competitors: in Hungary only, more than 25,000 developer positions are unfilled today. The remedy? Fresh graduates who not only beef up capacity but also bring new ideas, energy and perspectives to the team.

“Schools are responsible for preparing students for the workplace but companies still have to take care of new joiners. The more thought and effort they put into their integration programme, the quicker juniors will feel at ease and be productive,” the expert said. So what to keep in mind for the next onboarding? Here are five things for your checklist, based on Codecool’s latest graduate survey.

1. Put their brain to the test

LinkedIn says 74% of employees want a job where they feel like their work matters. Juniors are no different. If they don’t have a clear vision about their role and how it contributes to the greater good, sooner or later they will start feeling useless. And probably, take their hat and leave. Remember that to know how to do something is one thing. Knowing why to do it is another – and it’s just as crucial.

2. Make yourself clear

Did all your fresh recruits receive their crisp new to-do list? Excellent! Next up is making sure they also understand how to complete their tasks. What are their goals, milestones and deadlines? Who can they turn to for much-needed help and feedback? Pinpoint an area, no matter how small, that each new colleague will be in sole charge of, set the ground rules and measure progress.

3. Build a strong feedback culture

Millennials thrive on feedback more than any previous generation. Yet only 17% say they get regular and constructive feedback at their workplace. Even through it’s their biggest motivation booster: we’re talking about people who grew up with the idea that making mistakes is part of the learning curve. Detailed feedback is key to this process: let them know how they can do better and praise them when they did something well.

4. Get on board with the onboarding

It might sound like a no-brainer but it’s worth repeating: make sure that everything is ready for that all-important first day, from passwords through staff cards to office tours. You can save precious time and energy, not to mention embarrassment, if you tick these essentials off your list. And that’s not all: after a well-planned and seamless onboarding, new joiners are almost 60% more likely to remain with the organization after three years.

5. Team up

Ping-pong tables and fruit days are great for office morale, no doubt. But for newbies, a welcoming, supportive environment is just as important. This is why at Codecool, each new colleague gets a buddy to rely on for guidance. “Of course, just because someone is good at their job doesn’t mean that they’re good at mentoring. You must have the right communication skills, motivation, and most importantly, a mentoring mindset. Meaning that you don’t solve problems for your mentoree but help them find the solution themselves,” Boda explained.

Written by
Dávid Nádas