Staff turnover costs money. Adding headcount costs money. It isn’t just about salaries, benefits, and commissions; it’s about TIME.
When we add new team members, we need to do it quickly so they can add to our team and not take a lot of time from team members as they are onboarded. This can be done through two paths: mentorship and onboarding libraries. Onboarding isn’t just about sticking someone in a room or at home on their screen to watch endless “how we do it” videos and signing “Yes, I agree” forms.
Your existing team needs to understand the benefit to them of adding more bodies to the staff. They also need incentives to ensure these newbies are effective faster. I would much rather train someone who will positively affect my bottom line than to hope someone else trains them in all of the tasks, company culture, and tools. Each affected team member can flex their leadership skills or learn by sharing information, tips, and techniques they have learned.
Recently I worked with a large athletic apparel company’s team and needed to be onboarded quickly because it was a short contract. There was no time to waste, and the team had very little time to get me to the point of being an asset rather than a newbie burden. I needed to learn all of their tools, software, methods, chains of command, gazillion acronyms, and culture-centric phrasing within a week to maximize the value of a three-month contract. This happened because my line manager had been there ten years, was detail-oriented, and had championed my contract. She needed me to be successful. I was determined not to let her down. I soaked up every bit of training from all angles, signed up for software tutorials for their proprietary tools, and met with other extended team members with a prepared list of questions. Yet, there were still some missing items that would have been super helpful.
This is where the combination of an effective onboarding library can make all the difference and lessen turnover. If new team members don’t feel supported or successful, they will not be praised. If they regularly do not receive praise for good work, they will seek another job. That’s one of the biggest reasons people change jobs – more than money – feeling a part of the company, supported, heard, and encouraged.
Training libraries are also effective in helping existing team members grow their skills or be able to fill in when someone is on vacation, on family leave, or ill. Enabling others to pick up the ball on any tasks and strategies seamlessly builds confidence and keeps your success flowing.
Consider these series of videos in your training library, beyond what HR requires under the category “CYA” and “COA” (Cover Your and Our…).
FIRST THINGS FIRST – WHO WILL CREATE THESE VIDEOS?
- Who will write the scripts or make the shot list? (can be more than one person)
- Who will do the voiceover? (can be more than one person or an outside person)
- What tool(s) will you used to record the videos?
- Who needs to do the final review of them?
- Who will edit the videos?
- Where will they reside?
- Who will maintain and review them annually or quarterly to ensure they are current?
YOUR TEAM AND THEIR ROLES
Create welcome messages, especially when some are remote. This adds warmth.
Consider having each full-time or tenured person on your team create a 30-60-second welcome message about their role and what they are responsible for, and the point person for. Yes, this can be done in a document or deck. But with personality and a smile, it can be more effective. This can be recorded as a team group meeting or individually on Zoom in one 15-20-minute meeting, depending on the size of your team. This video here was done in one take and ran a bit longer than expected. It took me 5 minutes to record in Zoom and insert into this page. It can be that easy. They need to come prepared with the following:
- Their name so the newbie knows how to pronounce their name.
- How long there
- Their role and title
- Preferred method of communication
- Their specialties
- And direct reports named.
Since these are pre-recorded, and we want to encourage people to get to know each other separately, I’d recommend this is not the place to say, “I have a dog, two kids, live in ….” This is strictly to give the new team member information to make them more effective at collaborating. They can be edited annually as you add more people or make it part of the welcome package for full-time employees. You can always delete them from the library if things change. They do not require heavy editing – quick videos.
This is a good opportunity for on-camera presentation practice. Sometimes we can spew facts and reports but forget how to engage as a teammate and warm people to talk to and collaborate with effectively.
TIME TO SHARE
Have you created a login for your new team member for each tool you want them to use? What about your training library? How about a list of tools? Whether you use BoxNotes, BaseCamp, Google Drive, and all the rest, you want to encourage them to set up a bookmark folder for all of the tools they will use. That’s an organizational tip that may not be obvious to most people but can save them from digging through emails and Slack for links.
This brings me to the browser. In that recent contract experience, we were Mac-based. Safari fights with a lot of tools. Using Chrome with our personal accounts was heavily frowned upon, yet we needed workarounds for Safari’s lack of compatibility with many of our tools. Google requires an enterprise-level account to be added, which is expensive. What are your browser rules? Be clear and reasonable. Time wasted hacking through an inefficient browser and firewall is money wasted. It may be necessary, but you may want to re-evaluate your preferred methods of internet access both on-site and remotely. VPNs work well, but if they are still accessing sensitive documents with their personal accounts, they can still shuffle around sensitive documents through their personal accounts.
This is also a great time to review who has access to what. I’m a fan of Google Drive because its in-real-time editing makes collaborating in a meeting easy. When I share any folder or document, I review who has access. Sometimes we’ve left people on after they’ve left, or someone added their personal email accounts. I prefer to leave sharing restricted and control who can invite others. This prevents sensitive documents from being accessed from personal accounts.
Review who is on the list. You may want to remove them. Review if the setting was changed to “anyone with the link.” You’ll want to lock that down, as well. If you are using Box – watch your versioning.
YOUR TOOLS AND THE VIDEOS
When we arrive on a new team, we bring how we are used to doing things, familiar and comfortable tools, and possibly a list of tools we’ve grown to detest. Getting a list of tools and how we use each one is a great way to calm old experiences down and prevent the newbie from trying to shift everyone to using “the best file organizer and project management tool ever.”
This can be done with a deck, but it would be better to have the windows ready to screen share to show the tools used for which tasks and why. You can do more in-depth videos on each specific tool for the nuances. The apparel company I contracted with had many tools, but each team used them differently and had a different focus. This meant that the overall onboarding video and training for that tool didn’t include how it is specifically used for our team. It also meant that many elements we didn’t use could be skipped in the training to be more efficient with the features we used regularly.
Creating a simple table will guide the creation of these videos.
- Intro to the tool.
- Show from login.
- Try to remember what it was like to be new to help you avoid acronyms alone.
Using the acronyms and jargon with “regular people words” helps in the translation, especially if your team has your native language as their second, third, or fourth language. Idioms can be relatable to those with English as a first language but may be confusing to those where it is not.
- Take them through the storyboard of the task they have to accomplish.
Think about it as a Martian learning to make a PB&J (peanut butter and jelly sandwich). Remember to tell them to open the bread and remove the jars’ lids.
- Keep it short for better retention.
If it’s a detailed tool with many tasks they need to accomplish, consider shorter videos for each major task. People learn better from shorter videos, and it’s easier to review if they need a refresher when the topics are very specific. Examples of short videos for a website admin rather than an hour-long course:
- Adding a page
- Adding a post
- Adding a portfolio item
- Adding a new member and assigning rights
- Removing content and setting up a 301 redirect
- Creating forms through the site and Hubspot
- How to source and create post graphics and images
- Google Analytics and your site content.
Do you have a calendar for deadlines, capacity, shows, and launches? This is where acronyms and jargon can make new team members want to put a stick in their ears to avoid hearing one more acronym. Make it clear what everything stands for. Color-coding by needs helps. If they never work on green projects, they don’t need to worry about what is in them. If the purple projects cross into their orange projects, they need to be aware of those to keep those timelines in mind. An old-fashioned XLS Gant chart can be your friend. Start with FREE – there are many options out there. Most options involve MORE tools like ClickUp, Zapier, Monday, Hubspot, etc. I’m an Excel and Google Sheets fan. Here’s a free one with great tutorials.
WHERE IS EVERYTHING?
Earlier in this post, I talked about the bookmarks folder. That’s a great start. But your team still needs to know where to find everything.
- Org chart
- Directory (may be one and the same)
- HR links
- Branding guide
- Deck templates
- Photo Library
- Onboarding library
- Approved and trusted resources of industry information
- List of strategic partner sites
We get excited to announce a new position. Has your team sought this person on LinkedIn? Connecting with them there allows you to welcome them to your team publicly.
Are there expectations that they support your efforts for your clients? At Funnel Media Group, we expect each team member to have podcast app accounts to make playlists promoting our clients’ shows and their guests’ shows when they have great episodes. We encourage them to connect with clients and their marketing teams on social media, especially LinkedIn. What are your expectations? They must be clearly spelled out without crossing the line into their personal accounts. They can use their company email to set up business app accounts to engage. If they leave your company, you can remove those accounts or reset the passwords so you do not lose the work you paid them to do by engaging.
Photo by Nila Racigan: https://www.pexels.com/photo/cute-baby-posing-in-decorative-ship-16545229/