Three Things to Learn from Microsoft’s Onboarding Process

Vikas Dixith
28 Feb 20243 mins read
Talent onboarding and operations

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Talent onboarding and operations

Employee onboarding is the most defining part of the hiring process. Recent research by Glassdoor states that a great employee onboarding process can improve employee retention by 82 percent and productivity by 70 percent. 

One of the tech giants, Microsoft, has earned a reputation for cultivating a productive and employee-friendly work culture. Most start-ups and even some enterprises often look up to adapting a progressive work culture. For Microsoft, it all starts with a well-thought-out onboarding plan. 

An onboarding process helps the new employee fit into the culture and start work without hassle. But for most remote-first organizations, the question is – how do you excel at the virtual onboarding process? 

In this post, Lukas Velush, Community Program Manager at Microsoft, explains how he and his team laid the trend of an upbeat virtual onboarding process in the organization. 

Three ways for setting up an effective onboarding plan: 


Microsoft HQ, Redmond, Washington

1. Onboarding process: Pre-boarding mandates 

Pre-boarding is a procedure that begins with signing a contract. Ensure that the new employee has access to systems, email or chat, project management tools, instructional modules, and anything else they might need for the job. Communication is even more critical with remote onboarding because you want your new employee to feel connected to the virtual ecosystem. Great pre-boarding lets your recruit feel confident about their decision to work for your organization.

2. Onboarding process: The onboarding buddy  

Microsoft has successfully deployed the “buddy program” for its onboarding process. According to the company, Buddy programs give organizational context, increase productivity, and accelerate onboarding. In a buddy program, a current employee assists the new employee during the onboarding process and helps navigate the organization’s matrix.  

Companies that wish to implement a similar strategy should find out which existing employees want to participate in this program. Setting up meetings with team members, explaining the work culture, and clarifying reporting formats are typical examples of an effective buddy program. 

3.  Onboarding process: The meet and greet

Employee bonding always helps the new hires settle into the virtual workplace. During the remote onboarding process, interacting with other employees enables a new employee to understand the organizational procedures and establish a sense of community. HR managers often provide product demos, user-friendly games, and quizzes as part of onboarding. 

While these activities help learn about the organization, the best way is to let the new hires interact with the current employees. The meet and greet makes the new employees feel connected to the virtual environment and helps them settle into the system quickly. 

Why is onboarding important in the hiring process?

A recent survey by Gallup says that only 12 percent of organizations are excellent at onboarding new hires. Netflix, Twitter, Google, Buffer, and most Silicon Valley headquartered organizations have made employee onboarding a significant part of their hiring process. These organizations’ success and employee satisfaction indicate that having a similar hiring structure is an excellent model to emulate.  

Multiple onboarding and applicant tracking software promise a smooth onboarding process. However, the onboarding process is not just about documentation. It is about integrating values and expectations, thus, moving towards a common goal of making employees comfortable. 

Onboarding is an integral part of the hiring process. During onboarding, employees get acclimatized to their role, the firm’s philosophies, and what the organization offers. And hence, it helps employees stay focused on the company’s vision. 

If you are looking to hire remote software developers who are flexible and can work with diverse teams, Turing can help you find the right mix of talent and experience. The top 1% of 1M+ software developers worldwide have signed up with Turing, a platform that relies on AI to source and vet applicants. The vetting process at Turing assesses candidates as per their skill set. All the Turing developers have to undergo the 5-hour rigorous vetting process, including tests for data structures, algorithms, systems design, software specializations, and frameworks.

Vikas Dixith

Vikas is passionate about technology, philosophy, storytelling, and sports. When he is not playing football, you can find him listening to music and podcasts.

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