Onboarding Checklist: A 90-Day Framework for Content Teams

Onboarding Checklist: A 90-Day Framework for Content Teams

Below, we’ve outlined a process you can put into practice for a new content team member’s first 90 days on the job -- a period of time when 20% of turnover can occur -- as well as listing specific considerations for onboarding freelance content team members. 90-Day Content Team Onboarding Checklist Before Day 1 You don't need to wait for your new hire to arrive for her first day at work before you start integrating her into the company. Some of this material should include information about buyer personas, especially for new content team members -- it’s essential that they know exactly who your organization’s ideal customer is. Assign each new hire a mentor -- this should be someone different from the employee’s manager and can be either higher or lower-ranking -- and schedule bi-weekly meetings for the next 90 days. Arrange the first meeting between your new hire and her mentor within the first week of starting -- that serves as a great opportunity for the new hire to ask any questions about the company, products and services, culture, customer base, and facilities. During this meeting, it’s a good idea to collaboratively develop a 90-day plan for the new hire, with key milestones that she should aim to reach by certain intervals during this time period. Here’s one that shows, for example, the steps involved in creating an infographic, clearly depicting which content team member is responsible for each stage of the process: Visual aids that clarify roles -- like workflow diagrams -- can be especially helpful when you’re working with freelancers who might “come and go” on the team for short-term projects. Adding Collaboration and Context to Processes During this period, new hires should become accustomed to routine processes and can start contributing to the content team’s projects. Assess and Move Forward At the end of 90 days, assess the success of this framework, identifying areas of success and improvement for the future. Keep your freelancers in mind as you create those, as even though they might only join your team on a project-by-project basis, understanding the style and culture of your organization can help them to add a more authentic voice to the work they do for you.

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Houston, we have a turnover problem.

As the years pass, there seem to be a growing number of studies on employers struggling to retain their people — and the high costs associated with the resulting turnover. What’s at the bottom of it? Is it workplace culture? Is it missed salary expectations? Or can it all be lumped under the crucial umbrella of communication?

It’s that last point that’s often at the root of employee dissatisfaction — and good communication starts before new hires even begin work. Many times, the key is providing the foundation of a formal onboarding program. It’s something that 98% of executives say is crucial to employee retention, as it can help bring new hires up to speed quickly and accurately, as well as establish mutually realistic expectations between employees and managers.

But onboarding new content team members — both full-time and freelance — can be challenging. Sure, it’s an important part of talent retention, but how can it be efficiently and effectively carried out, especially with limited time and resources? Below, we’ve outlined a process you can put into practice for a new content team member’s first 90 days on the job — a period of time when 20% of turnover can occur — as well as listing specific considerations for onboarding freelance content team members.

90-Day Content Team Onboarding Checklist

Before Day 1

You don’t need to wait for your new hire to arrive for her first day at work before you start integrating her into the company. In fact, you can start the onboarding process as soon as she accepts your job offer — and here are a few of the ways how.

Prepare Essential Documents

First, ensure that you have all the relevant administrative forms ready for when your new hire arrives. In the U.S., these include forms like a W-4 and an I-9, depending on the employee’s work authorization. A checklist can be especially helpful here, as there are a number of registrations and laws that might apply to any hiring you do, depending on the size and type of your company. Details are available through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. Also keep in mind any internal documents you need your employees to sign or complete, like non-disclosure agreements (NDA).

It might also be helpful to prepare something that employees can read to get a sense of your company’s history, values, objectives, environment, and culture. Many employers create a handbook for this purpose, but feel free to look outside the box here — HubSpot, for example, uses a Culture Code.

Some of this material should include information about buyer personas, especially for new content team members — it’s essential that they know exactly who your organization’s ideal customer is. That can be part of a style guide that specifies the tone of voice for all official content — with specifics like that in mind, it’ll help your new hire ramp up on writing content that resonates effectively.

Once your new hires start to include designers, add things like iconography, fonts, color scheme, and ideal logo specifications within your style guide. That can help to ensure your brand is reflected with integrity, regardless of who is producing your content.

No matter how thorough your handbook or culture code might be, new hires will most likely have more questions that they only think to ask once they’re in their new work environments. That’s one reason why mentors can be so helpful — so that new employees have someone, or a group of people, to show them the ropes and help them assimilate.

Assign each new hire a mentor — this should be someone different from the employee’s manager and can be either higher or lower-ranking — and schedule bi-weekly meetings for the next 90 days. Group mentoring and peer mentoring are both viable options.

Days 1-30

The first 30 days of a new employee’s tenure are all about learning. Avoid rushing her to start contributing to high-level business objectives within this period — remember, these initial days of exposure can make or break your new hire’s retention, so allow for a learning curve.

Arrange the first meeting between your new hire and her mentor within the first week of starting — that serves as a great opportunity for the new hire to ask any questions about the company, products and services, culture, customer base, and facilities. During this meeting, it’s a good idea to collaboratively develop a 90-day plan for the new hire, with key milestones that she should aim to reach by…

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