Using ESNs to Ramp Up Onboarding

One of the great challenges of a new job is trying to figure out everything that happened before you arrived in the position. If you’re lucky, your predecessor (that is, if your position even existed before), will have left some tips, tricks, suggested connections, and an outline of what you’re supposed to do. Sometimes you’re not so lucky, and day one really is just sitting down and trying to figure out how you got yourself into this position, and what you’re supposed to do next.

When I started my current job, my on boarding existing almost exclusively of forwarded emails of programs and discussions that had occurred over the course of the previous year. To be honest, most of these dozens of forwarded emails are still sitting in a folder of my email account.

Clear communication about what has been happening at the organization prior to your arrival is a key component of on boarding. So how can organizations use ESNs to ramp up the on boarding process?

I was trying to explain Slack to a friend last week, making the case to a die-hard email lover that Slack actually is useful and can do things that email cannot! My friend works at a startup, which to me seems like the perfect place for such a tool. The reason is twofold. First, startups are constantly ideating. Very little is set in stone, and there is constant communication occurring to make decisions and explore new ways of executing. Second, startups, especially this one, are constantly hiring new staff, and have not developed on boarding or training manuals . They expect new staff to hit the ground running.

Email lovers have a hard time escaping from their inbox. For these people it’s easier to send a message one on one and get an answer. it takes a lot more effort and trust to post the same message in a stream or feed by it may be seen by more people than they know at that moment in time.

Imagine if these new startup staff members had access to all the conversations and communication that have taken place in the short tenure of the organization. Through a tool such as slack, that new staff member can search for key terms, or just read through how the discussion has progressed over time. By moving these discussions to a shared platform, the new employee has an easier time learning what has occurred, and where people are headed next. The new employee also does not have an email account filled with forwards that hopefully encompass all the necessary information.

To me this makes the prospect of on boarding in a small and new organization seem so much easier and faster. While there is still incredible value in building out policies and procedures through training manuals, when you’re trying just to keep moving forward in the short and urgent time, using an ESN may help to keep employees running.

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