Ways to Wiki: Employee Onboarding

Bookmark and Share Monday, February 8, 2010

An employee's first day is one of the few she will always remember about her job with your company. The first day provides a number of opportunities that, if squandered, can be difficult to recoup. A sloppy onboarding process gives the impression that standards are low and mediocrity is accepted as "the way it's done here". It's also a unique opportunity to capture the fresh perspective of an outsider who is eager to help. A well managed internal wiki documenting the onboarding process and the processes owned by the new hire's position are key to a smooth and positive first day.

Ways to Wiki: Employee Onboarding

Make it a process

The onboarding process should have a leader, whether its the hiring manager, someone from HR, or a designated team member (the best option of the three). This is the point person for the new hire on her first day. The responsibilities of the onboarding leader to the new hire should be documented clearly on the wiki. Make it understood that anything unexpected that occurs around the employee's first day should be addressed and documented on the wiki for the next onboarding.

Cut the red tape

The wiki should document in some detail the HR, IT and other standard processes she must go through. Rather than have a new employee search through the halls looking for the IT and HR staff required to get set up with network access and benefits, this should be done as much as possible by the designated onboarding leader before the new hire steps into the office on day one.

Any forms or other unavoidable minutia should be clearly linked and documented on a single "Welcome" page where the new hire is directed.

Capture feedback

Explain to the new hire early on (within the first hour) that the process being followed is led by the wiki, which she can edit, and is encouraged to do so. Any detail missing should be added, any error found and fixed. Anything that prompts discussion should be noted and discussed with the onboarding leader at the end of the day.

Be sure to take advantage of this perfect opportunity to test your process documentation. If the responsibilities and tasks to be performed by the new hire are documented on the wiki (they should be!), have the new hire attempt to complete the documented tasks using just the wiki. Anything she needs to ask about should be captured and the process documentation should be updated to be clear enough to stand alone as much as possible.

Consider ending day one with a quick survey to be brought to the leader reviewing information missing, updates made, and how any roadblocks are being dealt with.

What does your company do to make a great first impression and get new hires up and running quickly on day one? How do you leverage this process to the greatest benefit?


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