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Organize onboarding and orientation of new employees in Confluence

When you have somebody new join your team, one of the things you usually need to take care of is to show that person around telling how everything works. The better job you do as a manager during onboarding, better the chances are that a new hire will acquire all the needed knowledge and skills to reach great job performance in a short time. So it pays off to invest into making your onboarding process well-organized, engaging and comprehensive.

Keep reading to learn about three ways to do it using Confluence.

Option 1. 'Onboarding' Space

You can create a separate space for onboarding, where each job will have a subset of pages with all the information people need to get familiar with about their new job and processes in the company.

Preparing the content, organize it in an efficient way.

Good structure. Have a well-thought block of pages for each job. With a landing page that outlines the introduction, instructions and contents; and child pages, each covering different aspects and topics.

1.pngOne chunk of information per page. Divide the information into digestible bites with readable and visual content. 2.pngEasy access. Place links to onboarding landing pages on a space home page to make it easier for people to find where to go.

3.pngReuse what you have. Most likely your Confluence site already has a lot of assets that can be used for onboarding – pages describing some of your processes, workflows, best practices, FAQs, etc. You can either copy that content or use Include Page and Excerpt Include macros to display it on your onboarding pages. 

4.pngWhen a new member joins your team, you can direct them to this space. The employees will orient themselves and study the provided content at their pace. 

However, there are no progress tracking and notifications upon completion. So managers will not be able to see where each person is in their onboarding path and will have no report to come back to later (to browse a list of users who took onboarding and when). This option presents a challenge for those going through onboarding as well. They will have to remember where they left off the previous time and find their way to the needed spot each time they want to proceed with onboarding. 

Option 2. Onboarding Checklists

This option builds upon the previous one. In addition to the creation of onboarding content for each job position, you can use checklists for employees to mark onboarding steps when done with them. 

An onboarding checklist is basically a set of links to the pages from the relevant onboarding block and checkboxes that a user will be marking when a page is read. You can make a custom checklist for each job. And when someone needs to have their onboarding, you just make a copy of a blank checklist and share it with the person. 

Tips for this option:

  • Instead of copying checklist pages, you can set up page templates. This way making a new checklist will be as simple as selecting it in the Create menu.

5.png6.png

  • Besides an actual checklist, you can have some more useful content on the page:
    • Page Properties macro. Populate it with Status, Date Started, Date Completed and other data that you might need for reporting. A participant will change the status from 'Not started' to 'In progress' and then 'Completed' and update dates as he or she goes through onboarding. 
    • Manager's name and contact – for a person to have a communication channel for questions and feedback. 
    • Instructions on how to complete onboarding.

7.pngIf you use Page properties macro, you can have better visibility for managers and HR specialists. They will be able to create a report using Page Properties Report macro and see a list of all onboarding participants with their status and dates of onboarding.

8.pngWhile this option provides transparency for those who need to track and monitor onboarding, it's not quite reliable. Participants may fail to log their progress and update the checklist in time, which results in missing or inaccurate data in reports.

New employees may benefit from working with onboarding checklists compared to using the 'Onboarding' Space option. Checklists give them a better overview of onboarding and make it easier to resume the process from the right place after a pause. However, filling checklists require manual work, which is not always convenient and suitable. Especially for users who are new to Confluence.

Option 3. Onboarding Using Courses

This solution requires using an app – Courses and Quizzes - LMS for Confluence, which lets you create courses and quizzes (tests). This product is developed by the company I work for - StiltSoft. What this option looks like:

  • You create an onboarding course for each job.

9.png

  • A course is a set of modules – pages with onboarding information and quizzes to check the understanding.
  • A manager enrolls a new employee to an onboarding course or directs a new hire to Learning>Onboarding in a Confluence header and lets them self-enroll.

10.png11.png

  • Employees are taking a course – learning all the things they need to know, completing one module at a time, seamlessly moving from one module to another, resuming from where they left, taking quizzes with questions about the material they studied.

12.png13.png

  • Managers are tracking employees' progress in a course report, which is updated automatically and stays there for audit and reference after onboarding ends.

14.pngJust like with the previous two options, here you can also reuse the existing content – it is possible to include pages that you already have in a course. Course reports give an overview and traceability needed for managers. Employees don't need to invest extra efforts into navigating between pages, informing a manager about their progress and updating checklists. All this is done automatically and leaves new hires with an easy-to-follow and intuitive onboarding process.

Conclusion

You can try any of the options if you are creating or reorganizing your onboarding process. Each of them has its benefits and can be customized or elaborated. Hopefully, this article will be a good starting point for those launching their onboarding process and will give some fresh ideas for folks who are looking to improve their current process or try something new.

3 comments

Marty Atlassian Team Feb 25, 2019

Great article!

I've also seen teams use a Trello or Jira board with a list of tasks for new starters.

These should integrate nicely with Confluence as well ie. you can refer to Jira issues or Trello cards in a Confluence page.

Like # people like this

Awesome article with great inspiration 

Like # people like this

Valuable article, indeed. 

In our company, we use a combination of Jira and Confluence to onboard new users. 

Confluence holds content to read like introduction tutorials, FAQ, etc. while Jira allows us to track the onboarding process and make sure it is completed on time. 

Jira issue represents a single user onboarding, so:

  • The issue (onboarding process) can be cloned from a template, have an assignee, description, due date, links to Confluence resources, and a checklist of items to be completed.
  • It can be started (moved to In Progress) and completed (moved to Done).
  • We can easily search for the issues that are In Progress or Due (using Jira Search and JQL).
  • We can get an email notification with Due issues (output of Jira Search query).
  • We can get a notification when the onboarding starts and ends.
  • The Jira issue types represent different positions like "Software Engineer", "Technical Writer", etc., as they might require slightly different onboarding process. 
  • Each issue (or issue type) gets its default set of actions (checklist of items) to be completed. 

For the latter we use our own Issue Checklist Pro plugin for Jira Cloud that also comes in a Free edition. It gives us:

  • a progress bar to visualize the process,
  • ability to apply checklist automatically to every new issue (possibly depending on its type), 
  • a way to create additional checklist items for a given issue/user
  • a user can also add their items to the list
  • block issue resolving (marking onboarding as Done/Completed) if not all checklist items have been completed. 

The app described in the article also looks nice. 

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