How to improve your onboarding efficiency

Your business is ramping up hiring, and you’re bringing on tons of new talent who all come from different companies and different programming environments.

Your product team is itching to get things moving to hit their target timelines for launch—but your new hires need more time to learn the ropes. They’ll likely spend months training under experienced team members, and will hit roadblocks frequently when they don’t know the answer to a question and can’t find someone to help them with it. As a result, you end up far behind your target launch dates.

Of course, it’s essential to invest in training and onboarding time for your new team members. Yet you may have inefficiencies in the process that make it more difficult for new employees to understand your company’s development culture or gain the confidence they need to make quick decisions independently.

Try these strategies to improve your onboarding efficiency:

Provide a centralized repository of knowledge

Rather than have to wait for their more experienced colleagues to answer questions, give your new hires access to a knowledge-sharing tool where they can quickly get up to speed on your company. The knowledge-sharing platform can include common Q&As around programming languages and frameworks and how they’re used at your company; product-specific questions; and questions around overall processes and policies. If your employees aren’t able to find the answers they need, they’re free to ask their own questions and tag relevant teams, so that any subject-matter expert with the right information can chime in immediately. Other team members can add their own insights or updates to Q&A threads, so that information is always fresh and relevant.

Create an onboarding workflow in your knowledge-sharing platform

New hires can be provided with a list of Q&A threads to review when they start, so they can instantly gain insights on the company and how it operates—and they should also be encouraged to search through the archives for new questions that pop up as they are working. While they should be encouraged to collaborate closely with their team members, the knowledge platform will help to fill in the gaps and enable them to develop an independent workflow more quickly.

Build a culture of open communication

Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson found that the top-performing hospital groups actually reported more mistakes than their counterparts—but they were more willing to discuss them and evaluate what went wrong, leading to continuous improvement. Make sure that your team members feel comfortable enough to try out their own approaches in a low-stakes environment, share the results, and take in feedback from others about what could be improved. In order to develop an open and collaborative culture, it’s important that everyone, even junior team members, feels comfortable sharing their perspectives. All viewpoints should be equally valued, and all team members should be encouraged to offer feedback. These conversations can and should take place transparently within your knowledge-sharing platform, so that everyone has equal access to valuable company intelligence.

By taking steps to build a culture of open knowledge transfer, with the right tools to facilitate it, you can help your new hires ramp up to maximum efficiency in a matter of weeks, not months.