Every week, we have great conversations about support and related topics – things like how to deal with your boss, motivate your team, or onboard new hires. As the community grows, it’s becoming challenging to follow these conversations. So we’re choosing some of the best conversations and sharing them with you in this series that we call Support Driven Highlights. Let us know what you think of it!

 

Last week, Sarah Betts asked about how to train new hires:

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Onboarding is one of the most important things for you, as new hires will become the voice of the company. Below are a few tips from the community about how to successfully onboard new team members.

Start by defining your goals

Before designing your onboarding process, you should ask yourself this question:

What do I expect the new hire to know after the onboarding period?

This will help you define objectives for people who are joining the team. Make sure you clearly communicate those as they arrive. This will set expectations and help them learn faster. In most cases, the objectives come down to three things:

  • Get a good understanding about your product
  • Know how to interact with customers
  • Feel as a part of the support team and the company, by learning its culture

Create a track

When a new hire joins, there are tons of things they need to learn. Make their life easier by creating a track they can follow. You can break down things they need to do by week.

Trello is a great tool for that, here’s an example from Alanna at Harvest:

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Another great source of inspiration to create an onboarding board is Trello itself.

You can even send the new recruit some “homework” ahead of time. Just basic things to get people ready and excited when they arrive.

Here are some examples of onboarding tasks you can have:

  • Read: about the tone your team adopts with customers, tips, posts about support
  • Meet with everyone in the team (or even better, in the company)  
  • Learn by doing: have your new hire start responding to a few customers as early as possible

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At the end of each week, don’t forget to sit down with the new team member and ask him about what he thought. What went well and what he’s having trouble with. If something is not going well, you’ll have the chance to address it early, before it becomes a real issue. Also, onboarding is an iterative process, this feedback is an opportunity to refine your process over time.

Make it social

The most important part of the onboarding period is the social interaction with other employees. Your team mates have a ton of knowledge about the product, the company culture, or the way to interact with customers, but they are focused on their work. Ask them for a bit of their time, so they can sit down with the new hires to get to know them and share their knowledge.

You can do 1-1s with an experienced support team members, to go through previous conversations with customers.

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Some of us pair each new hire with a “buddy” on the team. According to Chris at Fastly, the buddy will need to spend most of his time with the new hire, at least at the beginning. Then, his buddy remains the person the new hire can ask for help & tips.

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Also, as this Captera post mentions, the support team has the best understanding of the customers. It’s crucial that people in other teams in the company, like sales, product or tech, knows your team members well. This will help share customer feedback company-wide.

But what if your team is remote? Is that doable? Totally! The RecruiterBox team has created a Slack channel where the new hire would post his response to a ticket before sending it.

Then, the team can comment on it, and help him improve his response. Make sure to set up very frequent Google Hangouts 1-1, especially at the beginning as it’s the time when the new hire will need more help.

We hope this help you create a fantastic onboarding process for your new hires. If you know other great resources that you think are helpful, feel free to share them here!


About the author, Romain

avatarI’m the CEO of Gorgias. I’ve been doing support for years and I’m now working on making it easier from companies to interact with their customers. We’re building a helpdesk which brings all customer communications in one place, and connects with other tools to show the full customer profile. We’re in beta, if you’d like to join hit me up!