A truly valuable developer is one of the hardest things to find for startups. As you'll know from recruiting one, the competition is fierce and candidates are constantly being baited from one company to another with promises of free gadgets, gym memberships and unlimited cereal (as well as some of the best salaries in the world).

Once you've got hold of one, you don't want to lose them early on. The cost of replacing a recently hired employee is 30-50% of their salary, so in the case of a developer, between $30-$50k.

Developers are sometimes thrown in at the deep end when joining a new company, expected to teach themselves any parts of the code base and architecture they don't know. While this works for some people, it can be incredibly stressful and might make your new hire want to quit.

What follows is an easy and relaxed developer onboarding system designed to increase retention and employee happiness.

Before start date:

Learn more about employee onboarding with Process Street.

Record basic information

Before the onboarding process can begin, you’re required to prepare any necessary paperwork and information before your new hire’s first day. You can start preparing this paperwork by recording the following information in the form field below: 

Prepare paperwork

When hiring a new employee you need to remember the basics - all forms must be intact and passed on to the HR department. Save copies of these vital forms using the form fields below:

If you require some examples of the necessary forms, see below.

  1. Intellectual property and assignment agreement (Customizable example)
  2. Non-Disclosure agreement (Customizable example)

You can also edit what paperwork you want to upload during this onboarding process by adding the workflow to your library and clicking 'Edit.' 


Will be submitted for approval:
  • Prepare paperwork
    Will be submitted

Create company email and send login details

Great! Now that you’ve completed the employee paperwork, you can go ahead and create a company email for your new hire. 

Send a welcome email

Send an email welcoming the new employee and reminding them of the start date that was selected upon accepting the offer.

[CONDITIONAL] Give building access

Now you should ensure that the new hire will have access to all sections of the building which they require on their first day. Decide what the new hire needs from the following sub-checklist, and arrange for them to receive these items.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
    Special permission / access
  • 5
    Parking permit

Add to chat system

If your company uses Slack or HipChat for its group and private discussions, make sure to add your new employee into any groups he/she'll need to participate in

Remember: introduce the new employee on your chat app's #general channel.

  • 1
    Sent invitation to chat system

Send login details for relevant accounts

Prepare a list of usernames and passwords (you can use Pages to do this), then share the list with the new employee to give them time to set up their profiles. Record a link to the list with the form field below:

You can also easily manage passwords with a tool like 1Password.

Add to payroll

In order to add the new employee to the payroll, you must first gather the following information. Feel free to edit the sub-checklist below if more or less items are required.

  • 1
    Start Date
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
    SIN Number
  • 5
    Date of Birth
  • 6
  • 7
    Emergency Contact Information

Then fill in a payroll form for the new hire. Record a copy of the payroll form below.

Assign the account manager who is responsible for approving this payroll information. 


Will be submitted for approval:
  • Add to payroll
    Will be submitted

Provide engineer reading list

It's necessary that the developer understands the existing source code/documentation and has a reference to everything product-specific. Hence, now is the time to share any such information.

Pages is the perfect place to keep this reading list.

Link it below for your new hire to easily see. 

During the first day:

These tasks should be completed within the new hire's first day of employment. 

Schedule introductory session

This is the first impression your new hire will have when beginning their role and helps the employee understand more about what they can expect. 

    Here are some of the most useful topics to mention or conduct during your introductory session: 

    • 1
      Share company goals 
    • 2
      Introduce to the team 
    • 3
      Tour of the office 
    • 4
      Let them learn about your software 
    • 5
      Set expectations

    When setting expectations:

    Communicate your expectations in a simple and direct manner. Clarify expected roles, processes and outcomes. Ensure your employee understands your expectations and feels motivated to fill them.

    [CONDITIONAL] Read through employee handbook

    To get a better idea of the company you're working for, you can read through the employee handbook. Here are the sections you should be paying attention to. You can tick each one off once you've finished reading through the relevant section. 


    • 1
      Introducing the company history
    • 2
      Explaining the time off policy
    • 3
      Discussing employee behavior
    • 4
      Define pay and promotions
    • 5
      Inform about benefits

    Read through our engineer reading list

    Link on the link provided below to go to our reading list in Pages to help you understand the existing source code/documentation and have a reference to everything product-specific. 

    Engineer reading list link: 


    Assign a mentor

    When assigning a mentor, be clear about their roles. Identify the criteria and expectations to ensure the mentor is fully aware of their duties. Record the assigned mentor with the form field below.

    Don't follow the job title hierarchy or pick a person with a higher job title or a person that has been in the company the longest. Instead, it’s best to find a person who knows the most about the tasks regardless of their job title.

    Run through company workflows

    To ensure the best explanation of the workflow answer these questions to the new hire:

    • 1
      What are the workflow stages?
    • 2
      How many people interface with the process?
    • 3
      How many back and forth-s does the workflow require?
    • 4
      What is the work scope of each stage?

    During the first week:

    These tasks should be completed within the new hire's first week of employment. 

    Assign first project

    Now you need to give the employee their first project to work on. Record what this project is in the form field below for future reference.

    First Project 

    The project should be meaningful and teach the new hire to:

    • Set up a working development environment
    • Check code out of your repository
    • Navigate the code base
    • Make code changes
    • Run tests
    • Pass a code review (or at least get some peer review)
    • QA their change beyond just the automated tests
    • Deploy their change to production

    Make the new hire feel valuable by including them on key projects early, and getting them involved with the team.


    Schedule a 1-on-1 meeting

    Arrange a brief meeting with a specified agenda. This meeting should focus solely on the person and ways for them to execute their goals

    The meeting should last approximately 30 minutes during which you should address issues, assess the situation, identify goals.

    Finish the meeting on a high note by praising employee on something they did well.


    Shadow the mentor

    Provide a specific time slot where the new hire should be following their mentor and seeing what they typically do on a daily basis. This allows them to become better acquainted with the company workflows, tools, product, and procedures. 

    It's also beneficial as it helps the new employee understand if they are doing things at the right pace and focusing on the correct tasks, as well as receive clear instructions, advice and constructive criticism to help them improve.

    During the first month:

    These tasks should be completed within the new hire's first month of employment. 

    Schedule meeting with mentor

    Check-in with the new hire's mentor to better understand their performance and onboarding progress 

    Schedule additional training

    You should be constantly checking on your new employee to ensure they are benefiting from this onboarding process. In some instances, they might need a little extra support.

    To provide this, you can schedule extra training to help straighten out any areas of concern. This decision should typically be done at the end of the first month. 

    Continued onboarding and shadowing

    At this point in the onboarding process, your new hire should continue with their roles and responsibilities with the supervision from you or your new hire's mentor. Have regular check-ins with them to ensure you aren't missing any potential problems.  

    The rest of the 90 days:

    These tasks should be completed within the new hire's first 90 days of employment. 

    Create a performance report

    The goal of a performance review is to provide feedback on what the employee is doing right and what needs improvement. In your performance cover these areas:

      • 1
        Quality and quantity of work: accuracy, thoroughness, productivity and goal attainment
      • 2
        Communication and interpersonal skills: teamwork, cooperation, listening, persuasion and empathy
      • 3
        Planning, administration and organization: goal setting, prioritizing and profit orientation
      • 4
        Leadership: accessibility, responsiveness, decisiveness, collaboration and delegating
      • 5
        Job knowledge and expertise: knowledge base, training, mentoring, modeling and researching
      • 6
        Attitude: dedication, loyalty, reliability, flexibility, initiative, energy and volunteering
      • 7
        Ethics: diversity, sustainability, honesty, integrity, fairness and professionalism
      • 8
        Creative thinking: innovation, receptiveness, problem solving and originality
      • 9
        Self-development and growth: learning, education, advancement, skill building and career planning

      You can use this new employee performance evaluation form as an example.


      You can then create a document detailing the topics labeled above and upload it into Process Street

      Schedule performance review meeting

      After creating this overall performance report, you can schedule a meeting with the new hire to comment on their performance

      Evaluate the onboarding process

      When evaluating the process, here are some examples of questions you could be asking your new hire:

        • 1
          Do we make our new hires feel welcome?
        • 2
          Do we inspire pride?
        • 3
          Do we connect them with the big picture?
        • 4
          Do we show them how much they matter?
        • 5
          Do we collect and share stories?
        • 6
          Do we make our orientation program interesting and interactive?
        • 7
          Do we make our process employee-centric or employer-centric?
        • 8
          Have we broken our orientation program down into bite-sized chunks?
        • 9
          Are we offloading as much information as we can into our shared folders?
        • 10
          Do we make it easy for new hires to get the information they need?
        • 11
          Do we make it easy for new hires to tell us how they’re doing? And how are we doing?
        • 12
          Do we have an effective mentoring program?
        • 13
          Do we help our managers do their part well?



        Will be submitted for approval:
        • Evaluate the onboarding process
          Will be submitted

        Develop a solid meeting plan

        Once this onboarding process is complete, it's crucial to continue providing guidance and direction to your employee. That's why it's recommended to set up a meeting plan to ensure you communicate with the employees often and keep productivity levels up. Follow these steps to ensure a good meeting:

          • 1
            Make clear objectives
          • 2
            Determine who needs to be present in the meeting
          • 3
            Plan a meeting schedule
          • 4
            Distribute time given for each person to speak equally
          • 5
            Keep in a time-frame
          • 6
            Ensure no technology devices are present to distract
          • 7
            Follow up after the meeting



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