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Onboarding with async

Apply async principles to setting up new talent for success.

By Darryn King

May 3, 2022

Similar to recruiting, onboarding will require more sync time, and probably a period of adjustment. The new hire will naturally require the kind of close guidance and regular unblocking that can’t be provided through async means alone. Even so, there are ways to make the onboarding process true to how your org works and as async-first as possible.

Create belonging and connection

Real-time interactions between the new hire and their new colleagues are crucial. Brief but regular sessions with a dedicated onboarding buddy — and other members of the team — will provide necessary practical guidance as well as an essential sense of belonging.

But it’s worth thinking of ways to consciously build rapport through async means too. For example, written notes of welcome from colleagues, asynchronously contributed to a shared document, are simple but effective at letting a new hire get a sense of the team and how its members work together. (See: Team Bonding)

Assign a checklist of tasks

A checklist of tasks and assigned readings is a simple way for a new hire to learn about the company while building their async skills — while deburdening their manager of the need to constantly supervise. Let them familiarize themselves with company policies, and perhaps — for real insight into how async collaboration works at your org — actual work documentation itself.

Personal employee user manual

A straightforward and self-directed task for a new hire, writing a personal employee user manual will encourage them to reflect on their own working style and preferences in relation to the org and their new team. The resulting document will be invaluable for the rest of the team too.

Not everyone communicates the same way. Some remote-first and async-first companies encourage individual team members to reflect on, document, and share their own communication styles and preferences. The resulting document is a kind of user manual, often called a README.

A collection of employee user manuals, along with your company’s broader communication guidelines, will improve your team members’ abilities to relate with, and work with, one another.

Design your own onboarding process with these templates:
Almanac's Internal New Hire Onboarding Checklist
Onboarding Checklist for New Hires
First Month CEO Catchup Chat
First Week Evaluation Survey
Remote Onboarding by Unleashed
First Month Professional Development Chat

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