By implementing a well-structured onboarding process, organizations can foster a positive and inclusive environment that empowers new members to contribute effectively.

Onboarding in a decentralized and open organization is the process of welcoming and integrating new team members or contributors into the organization's community. The onboarding process is essential to ensure that newcomers feel prepared to contribute effectively to the organization's goals.

It also acts as the main attractor for the types of contributors you would like to welcome while filtering those who might not be the best fit.

User Journey Mapping

When creating your onboarding methods, it can be helpful to understand the journeys different types of contributors will follow. Create user journey maps for various contributor types to streamline communication.

Start by deciding on the key aspects and cultural norms new contributors should be aware of and articulate each step of their journey as they integrate.

In online communities, each step could involve different tools and interactions with other people. In real-life communities or co-living environments, the interactions will likely be around physical structures, items, people and norms.

Learn how to create a user journey here:

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Onboarding Documentation

Once you have a clear sense of the user journey, make sure you clearly document it for contributors.

During onboarding, the new contributor should ideally learn about the following:

  1. Mission and UVP: Clearly communicate the organization's mission, vision, values, and target audiences to help newcomers understand the bigger picture and the purpose of their work. Cover essential information about the organization's uniqueness, benefits, operations, and credibility.

  2. T&C: Provide details about general terms and conditions for working with and being part of the organization.

  3. Projects and Tasks: Familiarize new members with the different workflows, projects, and tasks within the organization. What work is actively being done and which skills are required?

  4. Knowledge Base, Group Chat, Calendar: Ensure access to the organization's full knowledge base, where historical information and previous project outcomes are stored. Share a fast-paced communication channel like a group chat and make sure the team calendar is accessible.

  5. Key Stakeholders: Show the key stakeholders and team members, helping new members build connections and networks within the organization. Make sure everyone is aware of the relevant individuals and their responsibilities.

  6. Expectations and Goals: Set clear expectations for the new member's role, responsibilities, and trajectory of development.

Onboarding Support Systems

  1. Mentoring: Assign mentors or buddy systems to provide ongoing support and guidance during the initial onboarding period.

  2. Encouragement toward Collaboration: Encourage new members to engage in collaborative discussions, ask questions, and actively participate in team activities. Don't force participation, but use the public calendar or similar affordances to make contributors aware of collaboration opportunities. Offer spaces and times to engage in constructive discourse.

  3. Feedback Mechanism: Ensure a feedback mechanism for new members to share their experiences during onboarding and identify any areas for improvement. This can be done during Heartbeat sessions or similar regular meetings.

Continuous Evaluation

Remember to regularly assess the effectiveness of the onboarding process and make necessary adjustments to enhance the experience for future newcomers.

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