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How to Build a Successful Onboarding Process

Internal Communication

9 November, 2021

Frédéric Duperier
Frédéric Duperier

Founder at We Are One Sarl

Frédéric Duperier explains how he created a successful onboarding process and documentation, incorporating feedback from within the organization.

Negative Impacts of an Unstructured Onboarding Process

When I was a software engineer at a new company, I became frustrated during my onboarding process. It included learning new methods, installing applications, and finding the right resources at my new organization. To mitigate my troubles, I developed new onboarding methods and tried to improve the process. Especially in a managerial role, I leveraged my position to make the transitional process for new members as simple as possible. I can remember the struggles that I faced as a new team member due to a difficult onboarding process, and I do not want to recreate them for any of my partners. A lackluster onboarding process shows a team member that a company is not well structured and lacks processes.

Steps For Structured Onboarding Documentation

Provoke Questions:

I always suggest that my new team members question the onboarding procedure. I want to hear any feedback that will improve it and make it more streamlined for other new partners. Another thing I look for during and after onboarding is any suggestions that new members have about the process. Sometimes onboarding documents are moved from other servers within a company and may not be in the most successful orientation.

An onboarding process that constantly receives feedback will stay current, meaning it will be relevant to a company for longer. With suggestions and questions, I aim to achieve relevance and update an onboarding process that aligns with our team.

Starting from Scratch or With Previous Experience:

When building a team from scratch, I’ve found it is easier to create an onboarding document than repurposing one for a pre-existing team. On the other hand, teams already formed have their own set of values, expectations, and requirements, meaning that an onboarding document will have to adhere to those rather than being freshly sculpted. To help prepare to create onboarding documentation, I always schedule meetings with leadership and the team to understand their viewpoints.

Throughout these meetings, I take thorough notes that determine what proceeds need to be established and which ones are already in place. I match the procedures with contacts from the department, determining whom I will need to meet with if I have a question regarding their system.

Use Internal Reviews:

Once I’ve established onboarding documentation, I always bring it for an internal review within the organization using my notes and contacts. I want to ensure that our company is in alignment regarding each step of the process. Again, if there is feedback, I incorporate it into the documentation. I’ve found that things often left out are not initial steps but something that may occur within the first month, such as how to take a sick day.

Advice for Creating Onboarding Documentation

  • Include anything that you think may be important in an onboarding document. New team members will become frustrated if they cannot find the information they need within their onboarding. Even if you don’t think it is useful for everyone, it should be included as individuals may be inquisitive.
  • Communicate thoroughly and be active about incorporating feedback into your documentation. An onboarding process will become more thorough, complete, and transparent with more feedback.

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