Onboarding new employees can make or break hypergrowth organizations.
For many post-series A companies, here’s what typically happens once they’re raised their latest funding rounds:
- Phase 1 - Hiring: we hire a lot of people as fast as possible (that’s another issue, in 50% of cases you don’t need to hire that much and scopes are not well defined)
- Phase 2 - Onboarding: we onboard new people. The ramp up can take up to 6 months (even longer if you’re an account executive working on long sales cycle)
- Phase 3 - Oops it’s broken: you realized that your teams don’t execute as fast as you imagined. Actually it’s even worse since your best individual contributors are too busy onboarding new employees that don’t deliver at the same level.
- Phase 4 - Consolidation: you start reducing hiring speed. People that didn’t manage to adapt leave. People like to call them “low performers” but honestly in 80% of cases, it’s not their fault. They were not set up for success when they joined in the first place.
I’ve personally experienced those phases and it only took me 1min on Linkedin to find many examples of such companies.
So what can you do about it? How to onboard employees faster without breaking execution?
There are 2 challenges to solve here:
- How to give new employees access to the training they need to succeed
- How to make sure your best individual contributors keep executing and transfer their knowledge faster at the same time 🤯
3 ideas we implemented at Claap to do just that 👇
Create onboarding programs mixing written documentation and video content
For all newcomers, we create a specific board in Notion with their mission, their goals for the first 4 weeks and the things they need to learn.
Here’s how we typically structure this board:
- Column 1 - Pre-onboarding: everything your new teammate need to get started
- Column 2 - Goals: explain your teammate’s mission — the reason why they join the company — and their onboarding plan with the objectives they’ll need to reach
- Column 3 - First day: I find it easier to manage when the first day is well structured with the key things they need to know first
- Column 4&5 - Week 1&2: here it concerns the training they need to complete. In general, I prefer to focus more the 1st week on providing a lot of context about the company, its mission, the scopes etc… The 2nd week is more related to the scope of this person with the final goal of having a draft of OKRs ready by end of week 2.
Each column is composed of the things they need to know.
For some specific topics like discovering quickly who’s who or explaining a complex process, we prefer to embed claap videos or topics in Notion.
For eg, all new Claapers are sending a Claap to the whole company to present themselves. As we grow, we also realized that it made it easier for newcomers to discover who’s who, especially in a remote context.
Facilitate the creation of ad-hoc tutorials
In many companies, onboarding programs are very well structured and organized. However, knowledge evolves really fast and they are always new things to be aware of.
So your individual contributors often end up answering ad-hoc questions live to newcomers, without building up on them.
To solve this issue, we use Claap to make it easy for everyone to record training videos and centralize them in specific topics that anyone can watch.
For example, the tech team created a topic in Claap workspace to centralize all their ad-hoc training material. All newcomers can quickly access them and understand what is important.
You can also ensure your teammates really understand it by letting them ask questions.
In order to facilitate the distribution of this knowledge, we also integrated this topic with a dedicated slack channel so anyone is aware when a new video has been posted.
If you want to know more about, discover the anatomy of a great onboarding course.
Facilitate 1-1 coaching
A successful onboarding often relies on the quality of the onboardee/onboarder relationship. However, as an onboarder, it’s hard to make yourself available as you need to keep managing other projects at the same time. And as an onboardee, you’re not 100% sure when it’s the right moment to ask questions, so you probably end up missing important information to do your job properly.
Ideally, you should set up at least a 30-min call every day during the 1st month but honestly, it is not enough.
To facilitate 1-1 coaching, we use Claap to create 1-1 topics where onboardee and onboarders can ask questions and create quick how-to videos.
Here’s how to do it:
- Create a 1-1 section in Claap
- Create a private topic with you and your onboardee
- Anytime you have a question that can’t be solved on Slack and that you’re not available at the same time, share a claap to explain your issue.
If you want to know more, we also wrote a playbook on this.
Of course, we’re still iterating on it but I found that those 3 things really helped us smoothen the onboarding process, especially in a full-remote company.
Happy to hear your thoughts and I hope you’ll like it!