The most important step to growing your team

Team onboarding and how to do it properly

Filipe Aparicio
Oct 12, 2017 · 4 min read

You decided to start your own business.

You begin by yourself and in a few months you bring 2 or 3 people in. Things are pretty easy to manage and you’re able to stay on top of everything rather easily.

Suddenly, your organization starts booming and you begin hiring more collaborators— 5, 10, 15, 20 and so on. Initially you take your time explaining the business and your expectations to each new member, but as more keep coming, it gets to a point where you simply can’t overview everyone anymore and still be able to do your work.

You start losing track of who is doing what and so does your new team.

This happened because you didn’t take the time to create an onboarding program.

What is onboarding?

“Also known as organizational socialization, onboarding refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders.”— wikipedia

This is a crucial step for any business to scale effectively, whether you have 5 members, or 5,000.

Here is how to properly implement it:

1. Never hire someone and tell them they are “starting tomorrow”

I understand you want to start quickly, but bringing people in a rush will not make them more productive. You should give them a minimum of 3 days to a week to get their bearings. Start off by sending an e-mail explaining what they will be doing, what is expected of them, what the company culture is like, what processes, what tools they’ll be working with, etc.

2. Clearly explain your team workflow

Lay down all the workflows happening within your business. If you’re running an e-commerce website and hiring a sales person, explain how the back-end works, how orders are dispatched, what channels you use to communicate with the customers, etc. If you’re hiring designers or developers, go over how and where files are stored, how the project is managed, what solution you’re using for bug tracking, what tools are used to communicate with other team members, etc. This process should be completely tailored to your specific organization and will help new-comers get into the flow much quicker.

I highly suggest setting up an online wiki covering all these points. Something that can be adjusted in the future and where new and current collaborators can review how things are done without needing to dig through old e-mails and PDFs. Notion is a great tool for this:

3. Assign a mentor for their first week

Although you might have a super well documented wiki, new members will most likely still encounter some bumps during their first few weeks. Introduce them to an older member of the organization who you know will be able to answer their questions and steer them in the right direction. This will ensure that if they get lost, they’ll know who to ask for direction.

Many people feel intimidated in larger work environments, and tend to avoid asking fellow team mates for help when they get stuck. Having an onboarding mentor will ease their transition quite significantly.

4. Evaluate and be evaluated

It’s been a month and your new hire seems to be doing just fine. Evaluate their performance and then repeat the evaluation 3 months later. This will give you insight on how successful their onboarding was and if you need to adjust the program.

After the first month, ask them how the process was from their perspective. Either do this in person, or by sending a short form via e-mail. Not only will it show that you care about the well-being of those working for you, but will also give you better insight on what you might need to improve.

5. Keep improving

An onboarding program is not something you put together in a few days and forget about it. It should be a core part of your business to ensure a strong and well-structured organization. You won’t need to be working on it every single day, but do remember to update it when changes are made within your company. There is always room for improvement, so if a new team member gives your relevant feedback that should be introduced in the program, make sure to integrate it to improve the next onboarding experience.

That’s it! You now have time to focus on your work, while your organization runs smoothly.

I hope you found this article helpful for your business! If you need help creating a successful onboarding process or improving other aspects of your organization, feel free to reach out to us at ✌️

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We build brands, digital experiences & products for the companies of tomorrow.

Filipe Aparicio

Written by

Partner / Brand consultant @wearewky

we know you

We build brands, digital experiences & products for the companies of tomorrow.

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