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CLS16: Notes from onboarding session

From BMW car club, Jackson noticed some of the newcomers didn’t understand the jokes. Very interested in how people onboard new community members. How do you do it?

  • General advice:
    • Balance ice breaking and free-form social.
    • For introverts: make the ice-breaker known available beforehand.
    • Sometimes smaller groups are better (say it to the person on the right, 1-1 is easier).
    • Acronyms are not inclusive.
    • Having a code of conduct is important. A metric of “this is how we expect you to behave” so people feel safe when they come into the community.
      • User groups should always include a CoC.
    • Consistent human touch points (IRL or in-person) is important, too. 1-1 meetings (online or in person to get to know the person to help them fit in) are helpful and context are helpful.
    • Writing stuff down is important, so new people can understand it’s an inside joke (a written down glossary). There’s a diversity and inclusion glossary.
    • How do you keep wikis relevant?
      • Front page: can organize an index of sections.
    • Be sensitive of dietary needs of new community members. The pizza and beer problem.
      • Tech events seem to have alcohol as a requirement.
      • Is there an online version of this? Buzzwords, maybe?
    • Short videos are useful but hard to do well. Look at YouTube stars/Vines/The first five seconds. Be careful about what you choose to make a video of.
  • Examples:
    • Twilio: every new employee has to build something and presents it at their first Friday all hands.
    • Plantir: introductions are streamed in from all offices. Other companies must make a video of what they do. Some companies have to use the product to get swag.
    • Autodesk requires everyone to sit at the support team.
    • New Relic: getting people in a room to talk to each other is hard, and a forced ice breaker is dicey.
    • Wordpress: Online 24-hour conference to run translation days that teach newcomers to translate Wordpress into their local languages. Every participant was celebrated and invited to the slack channel. “Distributed virtual hackathon”—make sure core team members are available to fix the system. Support needs to be on hand.
    • Joomla project: has “pizza, bugs, and fun” days.
    • Docker: having a drink is a great way to network but also have mocktails.
    • Car community: “all in good fun” but respect them.
  • Online
    • Appointing previous community members is helpful for on boarding
    • Any single on boarding solution isn’t going to work for all. Need to have multiple attack points for digital communities. Breaking up on boarding content into “bite-sized” pieces is important.
    • Words can put up barriers to group entry. What does diversity mean anymore?
    • What about trigger words/i.e. abusive words? You get the boot.
    • Small number of clicks to onboard, then allow people to add more. %amount complete.
    • Celebrate new posts/celebrate good examples (+ pin it)/“trending influencers”
      • How do you raise the bar of your best contributors?
        • Docker: programs focused on specific projects/products/include in newsletter.
        • Wordpress core: what’s being tackled and who needs props? Polyglots teams really likes emojis/reactions.
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