Cross training/onboarding is easier: Recently, our team was temporarily without a QA tester. Instead of burdening an already busy QA department, I was able to use documentation to teach myself how to use our QA tools. New staff also benefits from this kind of documentation, filling in the blanks that inevitably occur in face-to-face training. They’re also not forced to rely on just memory to retain the substantial information presented in an onboarding process.
Documentation: Writing it is the Worst, Having it is the Best
Ben Mullins

Internal documentation is probably the most powerful onboarding tool. And one that HR has nothing to do with.

Peer to peer knowledge transition is great, but nothing beats solving those embarrassing or silly little questions yourself by reading the docs.

We took this one step further at Red Hat. As part of the Engineering Content Services team we actually built the publishing tools we used (which is what inspired spinning out Corilla — we needed to build the “GitHub for content teams” that we couldn’t find in the industry).

As we hired new technical writers, they were given a technical buddy, a culture buddy, and the docs. Their first week task was simply to improve the onboarding content that they were using to learn how to improve the onboarding content… a productive and engaging kind of inception.

This ensured our content was always up to date, gave the new hire their first successful commit or build, and got them thinking for themselves whilst still having their buddies to ask for tips while on the mission.

Another “docs or didn’t happen” moment.