It seems like VC money is being poured into startups these days, and companies are hiring like crazy. It's tough to keep growing at these epic rates.
And so often, when companies are growing fast, many underestimate the importance of focusing on the process of bringing someone new into the fold.
We don't have a real office where everyone goes into every day to clock in and out. We have a small office of engineers in Austin and people in Siberia and Malaysia, but other than that, everyone works at home. So onboarding is very close to our hearts.
So, what do you do when you have all of this going on, and you need to grow? First, you over-communicate! You document your story, your competitive advantages, your expectations, your tools and give a real feel for your culture.
People like to hear all of the information you have to give them but when you give them something they can sink their teeth into, ask questions about, and refer to it helps them be successful, and that's what you both really want isn't it?
The Book of [Insert Your Company Name Here]
The first step is to gather all of the great information you already have about your company and your processes together. We recommend creating a Google Slide presentation.
Why? It's free, it's easily shareable, you can export it to Powerpoint if you need to, and it's easy to work with. Then start to input this information into your new "Book". Here are a few things we've found to be important to include:
This is a great time for you to either video yourself telling the story about how and why you started your business. Or you can simply write about how you got to do what you do and why you do what you do. This is really important for your team to understand, get excited about and get behind. When they know and appreciate your passion and your story they'll re-tell it to everyone and (hopefully) be proud to work for your company.
What Problems You Solve and Who For
Here you need to talk about your target audience, what problems they have or what their needs are and how your product or service solves for that need. This can also grow and change as your products grow and change.
Pictures are worth a thousand words, we use our people's LinkedIn picture and put them on a map of where they are located. Since we're distributed, we can see who is where in the world!
This is an opportunity for you to visually walk them through important parts of your application, website or your business. This is what you are selling, so make it count. Define what certain features or industry-specific terminology means, what the benefits are, how to use the product, and how customers will derive value from it.
Your Competitive Advantages
List your competition with links to their websites. Go through each one and tell the story of why you're better (or what you're working on to get you there!), or certain areas where they may have a slight advantage over you. This gives your new hires great information especially when (not if) they get asked the question "Why should I buy from you and not them?"
If your pricing is on your site, great, link to it from the document. But if you've got special deals or discounts you give "behind the gates" put it in this document. It's great for people to understand and refer to when they need to.
What Do They Do Next?
If they need to set up an account for your service, direct them to do so with a link. Give them instructions on how you want them to get immersed in your business. Make sure they demonstrate proficiency using your product!
If you've got tools that they'll need to use, include the name of the tools, what they're used for and how they need to use them. For instance, we use Slack as a communications tool, so we display a description of the tool with a link for our new hires to begin using it.
If you have YouTube videos that will help them in their onboarding, direct them to your YouTube Channel and have them to watch all videos.
If there are regularly scheduled meetings they need to attend, include them in here with instructions on how, where and when to attend and what will be expected of them.
It's important to revisit your new hire training materials before you hire someone. You want to be sure that if anything has changed in a process, pricing or competitive nature you revise it as it happens. This way you'll always be up to date, and you're never creating the same materials from scratch each time. The great thing about putting time into training materials like this is you do it once; you go through it with your new hire once, and then it's theirs to refer to whenever they need it.
Now you've set up your onboarding process for any new hire to be successful at your company, never underestimate how important it really is!