Continuously Improving Onboarding

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Cooperation by Marina del Castell, Flickr

Onboarding is a critical component in the successful integration of new hires and can have a great impact on employee satisfaction and retention. For that reason, we prioritize it at TribeHR and have developed a continuous improvement approach to onboarding that is everyone’s responsibility. In a previous blog post I referenced this process as follows:

  • Since we also ask new hires to identify something they can improve in the on-boarding process within the first 30 days (and then improve it), everyone is collectively invested in enhancing the on-boarding experience for new hires. This creates a lot of positive energy and makes us want to refer the next hire. 
  • Maybe because everyone “owns” on-boarding, new hires jump right in and get involved right away.

The collective energy this brings to our onboarding process quickly generates a sense of belonging in new hires, creating a virtuous spiral that stimulates future improvements. Our comprehensive onboarding process owes much of its success to the many enhancements suggested by employees even as they are experiencing it. Here are just a few of the onboarding improvements identified, recommended and implemented by our new hires (in their own words*):

  • I automated the setup of TribeHR development environment so that a development environment can be setup for a new hire mostly hands-free in less than 30 minutes rather than hands-on for most of a day.
  • I added an in-person walk-through of our software and product on the first day for new hires. It’s surface-level, but makes a lot of the terms and concepts more “real” – it also anchors them in what we’re doing and why.
  • I improved the Waterloo Onboarding Tasks page in Confluence[1] to add additional information and reorganize the content a bit. I’ve also created a Getting Started page to help get new developers on the HCM Core team set up and ready to go based on what helped me get ramped up.
  • I’m helping to create an orientation session for future hires that will introduce them to NetSuite in a more interactive way and provide some TribeHR context for the NetSuite Essentials training.[2]
  • I have recommended that onboarding should include some sessions about basic HR concepts since new people come from different industry backgrounds.
  • I recommended the addition of a technical overview of our technology stack including software architecture, data management and AWS utilization for incoming developers.
  • The information regarding setting up the systems for the HCM Quality Assurance team was all over the place. I helped create an entry point to all those documents that the new-hires can follow more easily in the future.
  • When I joined the team, there was a Confluence page listing different DevBox[3] commands that we use on daily basis. I created a page describing each of those commands and how it can be used.
  • I suggested that every new hire should be paired with a buddy. And then it would be the responsibility of the buddy to find the answers to whatever questions the new hire has and to be their “go to” person. (I would also love to be a buddy for a new hire!).
  • I originally moved the onboarding material to confluence and made modifications
  • I will be adding a page in Conflence on how to set up onelogin
  • I recommended that a specialized version of the onboarding plan for technical writers and/or others who report to people outside of the Kitchener office be developed. We should also create something that indicates what’s covered by NetSuite’s onboarding and what is exclusively a TribeHR thing.
  • I suggested that we need a section of the onboarding/orientation materials that focuses on the logistical aspects: here’s what your first day/week will look like, here’s what the parking situation is, and here are some local food recommendations from the group. Most of the information already exists, but I’d like to see it tied together into one page and will work on doing that.
  • I think the most helpful part of my onboarding process was having someone sit with me and walk me through some of the steps in setting up my development environment. Expanding the documentation is definitely helpful, and I’m already adding to the wiki pages that have been started. Even when the pages are more complete, though, I think we should keep the one-on-one guide through the initial setup. Along with helping to expand the onboarding documentation, I can commit to being the person to walk through the set-up with future new employees.

With every new hire adding feedback and having direct input into our process, onboarding has become a common project that everyone owns. Regular enhancements, suggested and implemented by employees, continue to make our onboarding experience more effective and welcoming for new hires. More importantly, being given the opportunity to immediately improve their first interaction with TribeHR quickly draws new hires into our collaborative culture and makes them feel like a productive member of the team from day one - which, after all, is the objective of onboarding.

*Names removed to protect the introverted.


What are you doing to create a culture of continuous improvement in your workplace? TribeHR can help with built-in 360 feedback.

[1] Confluence is an Atlassian product we use for our internal wiki. Anyone in the company can add or edit content.

[2] Self-paced, video learning. About 40 hours all together.

[3] DevBox is the tool we use to automatically create a local version of our application so that it’s easier for developers to work on.

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