How to Onboard New Hires using Todoist and Twist

Extend a warmer welcome with a few tips from our users

“Pay attention to your culture and your hires from the very beginning.” – Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, LinkedIn

When a new hire first joins the team, there’s a lot for them to pick up on: the culture, the tools, the people, the right spots for lunch. Onboarding is the art of bringing your newcomers up to speed effectively, and research shows that a formal onboarding process increases new employee performance by 11%, reduces turnover by over 50% and boosts engagement by 20%. In other words, it’s worth taking the time to get it right.

So if you’re hoping to improve an existing onboarding process or build one for the first time, here are a few insights we’ve collected from our users on how to more intuitively welcome your new employees using Todoist and Twist.

Tools are only one part of the onboarding equation! Read our online handbook, Scaling Your Remote Team: The Remote Guide to Hiring, to get insights into staffing your remote team with talented people and onboarding them for success.

Simplify the process with Todoist

New hires often have trouble knowing where to start. Keep things easy by using a simple task manager like Todoist, and resist the urge to overwhelm them with too many apps too soon.

Give your new hire a few simple onboarding tasks to complete in their first week. They’ll have a chance to learn by doing and enjoy the satisfaction of getting things done from day one. Organize their onboarding tasks into a dedicated Todoist project to keep things in one central place:

  1. Create a welcome project named Welcome John, for example.
  2. Add tasks to the project, like Read welcome document and Set up your email.
  3. Share the project with your new hire on their first day.
Create a welcome project with a few simple tasks on your new hire’s first day.

Dan, the manager of a chain of rock climbing gyms in Atlanta, uses this approach with Todoist Business when onboarding employees. On a new hire’s first day, he sends them a welcome project with a handful of tasks to complete in their first week. Half are training tasks meant to be checked off and completed once. The other half are more complex, recurring tasks that help his new employees get comfortable with the rhythm of the job.

After a few days, Dan follows up with a 1-on-1 meeting, where they work directly in Todoist: Dan helps them add new tasks, change dates, schedule recurring tasks, and leave comments.

To save time, Dan doesn’t re-create the onboarding project every time he hires someone new. Instead, he saves his onboarding project as a template which he can customize and reuse — this allows him to add new steps to the process based on what works.

Save your welcome project as a template so you can use it again later.

If you have a variety of apps, documents, videos and processes to share with your new hire, use your Todoist welcome project as the hub that links to whatever they need.

Get a head start on creating your own welcome project with a sample onboarding template from Doist.

Delegate work by assigning tasks

It shouldn’t be long before your new hire wraps up with their welcome project: now it’s time to bring them into a real-world work project. Simply share an active project that your team is working on, and then assign them some work tasks.

Assign tasks from your current work projects to new employees to bring them into the fold.

From there, you can progressively assign them more complex tasks and invite them to more projects.

Introduce your newcomers to your team’s culture with Twist

New hires learn by doing, but they also learn from their teammates. That’s what inspired the manager of an engineering company to use Twist: his new team members could now communicate directly with the rest of his team from Day 1 using threaded conversations, or threads:

“You have better records of conversations and they’re much easier to find. The whole conversation is there, with its full history, unlike in email.”

Since threads are neatly organized into channels, new hires can join the channels they’re interested in and learn from past team discussions — even weeks, months or years after they occurred. (Find out more about how Twist works).

A new employee can catch up on older threads and ask questions if necessary.

In complex fields like engineering, team discussions are a welcome contrast to the rigorous technical documentation that typically greets new hires.

Keep key information in easy to find threads

New hires often need to find important documents like product plans and expense reports. Keep this information close by in threads dedicated to key documents and organized into an #Important Docs channel:

Use an #Important Docs channel to store threads to key information.

This works well for Mark who runs a social events business in Australia — he posts general information about resources, processes, and teams in Twist. When a new hire joins, he invites them to the document and process channels so they can browse these threads and self-educate on the job.

If you’re using Todoist, you can include links to key document threads in your Todoist welcome project.

Train new hires collaboratively

Training your new hires in Twist allows them to learn from one another as they go, which is useful in fast-paced environments.

For instance, Kevin is constantly recruiting at his fast-growing call center company. To get his new hires up to speed, he created Twist training channels that include tutorials for dealing with various types of customers. New recruits can now learn, work together and ask questions directly instead of “searching through 200 emails”, as Kevin puts it.

“People get onboard so much faster and easier,” says Kevin, “and in the end they enjoy the process more because it’s efficient.”

Don’t overlook your guests, contractors and volunteers

Onboarding doesn’t just apply to full-time hires. You’ll also need a way to bring guests, contractors and volunteers up to speed at your organization.

For example, the director of a women’s leadership conference works with both volunteers and full-time employees to plan the event. She onboards the volunteers by first inviting them into a project channel dedicated to their work, such as #Social Media or #Catering.

Create a channel specifically for each volunteer to simplify communication.

While the volunteers can only see the conversations in their own channel, her full-time employees can join any channel to communicate with any volunteer they need to:

“Everyone knows what’s going on with regards to each client or project. It’s all documented, always.”

The growth of your organization depends on the success of your new hires. That’s why it’s essential to design an onboarding process that empowers them with what they need: access to information, a sense of community, and the freedom to grow at their own pace. By putting the right tools in place, that process becomes a lot easier to design and update.

How does your organization welcome new team members? Share your onboarding stories with us on Twitter @todoist and @twistapp.