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Romina Suarez
Romina Suarez

Posted on • Originally published at rowasc.com

Remote Onboarding 101: giving new employees the power to improve onboarding documents.

One of my favorite low-effort onboarding hacks is giving every new employee suggest/edit permissions on all onboarding docs, and asking them to improve the document as they go through it.

By lowering the barrier to contribution and giving all new hires the power to improve the documentation they are using, you make onboarding a team activity.

Onboarding documents will get updated more often, small fixes will get shipped with each new hire, and your onboarding process will get better every time.

It gets better because you will stop relying solely on people who know too much to tell you what's missing, and start relying on the experts of "is this document any good?" which are new employees trying to learn about your organization.

For this to have a big impact, it matters to not just give them permission but to encourage contributions and explain that when they don’t understand something they should:

- Reach out to their peers
- Use their learnings to improve the documentation a little bit
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This will result in more early opportunities to reach out to colleagues for clarifying questions, get their feedback, and ask for help. And getting comfortable asking questions and learning is part of successful onboarding, too, so it's a win-win-win.

With this small change, new employees are put in a position to have an impact on the experience of the people that will come after them, and they get to do so from day zero.

Each onboarding is an opportunity to do better.


A note on implementation: depending on the size of your organization, you may be able to (and want to) get more granular with the permissions you provide. I've heard from organizations that ask all new engineers to "own the technical docs" for their team, and others where we simply give everyone the ability to suggest changes in Google Docs + permission to send pull requests to technology-related docs in GitHub; with everything in onboarding, local context will dictate how you do some parts of it.


There is more to do before the end of their first day

I'm writing a series of Onboarding 101 posts, focused on all the little things that we take for granted (and shouldn't) when onboarding new remote workers.
If you want to get it directly in your inbox, you can subscribe by going to https://rowasc.com/onboarding/new-employees-should-be-able-to-edit-your-onboarding-docs/

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