Getting a google doc checklist on your first day of a new job is nice... but I knew we could do better than "nice." I cooked us up a wow-inducing Coda doc that saved us time, maximized automations, and impressed new every single hire who has used it so far.
About 3 weeks
My teammates at Gartner Digital Markets understand the power of the checklist. My onboarding checklist was one of the very first document I opened when I joined them in 2019. The content was strong, but it wasn't until our next hire joined that I saw how much repetitive, error-prone work it required. Here's what the process of prepping an onboarding doc used to look like:
I saw that every single part of this process could be improved using a more appropriate tool for the job: Coda.
Let's start with the good:
And the clunky:
To make personalizing go as smoothly as possible I needed to identify what criteria we could use to match tasks to new hires. I landed on the following:
That list would not only apply to the new hire, but every task in our kitchen-sink onboarding checklist. By doing this we filter out anything that wasn't a match.
And hiring managers still had full control: if they needed to make an exception and remove a task that technically applied, but wasn't appropriate for some reason we couldn't cover in our personalization criteria, they could remove it. Same goes for adding tasks back in that the criteria filtered out. This drastically cut down the time it took to spin up a highly personalized onboarding doc.
The checklist has a total of 87 tasks for new teammates (after personalization, they tend to only see ~60). To help new hires pace themselves, we chunk them into timeframes: first 3 days, first two weeks, through their first three months with us. There's also a "when you have down time" set of tasks that are meatier and more on the educational side (demo videos, UX research studies, etc). The doc uses pages that represent their first 30, 60, and 90 days. We want those "when you have down time" items to always be visible and in sync across those pages.
And it's not all about the checklist! We also have pages that introduce the new hire's manager, their "buddy" (usually someone in the same role as them who can answer nitty-gritty questions), and an operations contact (me!) for all things logistics.
Of course for all of this to impress the pants off of new hires, me, the manager, and the buddy have our own space in the new hires doc to coordinate our checklist of to-dos. Again, depending on who is in which of those 3 roles, they'll have different tasks assigned and windows of time they should aim to complete them. Here's some examples:
Before new hire's first day:
On new hire's first day:
By end of new hire's first week:
Alice created the most amazing Coda docs with new team member checklists, resources, and even inside jokes. She immediately incorporated me into team rituals and made sure I had access to everything I could possibly need.
🔒 But it's reserved for interviews 🔒Invite me for an interview