Proposal: Create a new onboarding experience to the Training Team

Summary: This post outlines the details of creating a new onboarding experience for those who join the Training Team. The need for a more effective onboarding experience was raised in recent sprint retrospectives (June & July Sprint, August Sprint), and discussed in [Discussion] Reimagining the Training Team contributor roles. This proposal brings clarity to documentation and in-person guidance used in onboarding, by focusing on four areas of expertise within the team.

Next Steps: The plan is to start building out the proposed onboarding flows from mid-November. Let’s discuss ideas and specifics in the comment section below, and come up with a concrete plan by November 18th.

Summary of Previous Discussions

The Training Team has identified that the current onboarding process for new contributors in the Training Team is confusing and in need of improvement. Points of improvement raised in recent discussions include:

  • Easing the onboarding process for new contributors.
  • Assign a point of contact for new contributors to reach out to in each role.
  • Prepare onboarding videos/lesson plans for each role.
  • Continue building the handbook so contributors have more precise guidance.
  • Clear guidelines for new joiners, especially for basic and Intermediate-level contributors.

The team also raised points we’d want to keep in mind as we build out a new onboarding experience:

  • The current list of team roles should remain, but categorized appropriately.
  • The Training Team’s Contributor Ladder model should be incorporated.
  • Opportunities should remain for contributors who only have 30-60 minutes to contribute to get involved, without having to go through a lengthy onboarding process.
  • Documentation regarding who is in each role would be desirable.

Proposal: Four onboarding paths

Here is a proposal that reimagines the onboarding process to the Training Team, while also incorporating all the points listed above.

Step 1: First contact

A Welcome Wrangler asking a new contributor what area of contribution would excite them
A Welcome Wrangler asking a new contributor what area of contribution would excite them

When someone joins the #training channel, or submits a contact form, Welcome Wranglers send a personal message to the new contributor. In this message, we would include the question, “Of these 4, which are you most interested in?”

  1. Creating/translating content
  2. Reviewing/editing content
  3. Vetting content ideas and being a sounding board to people creating new content
  4. Focusing on the administration that keeps the Training Team running smoothly

Notice, the answer to this question will tell us which of the 4 areas of expertise in the team the contributor is interested in:

  1. Content Creator
  2. Editor
  3. Subject Matter Expert
  4. Administrator

Step 2: Onboarding pages

Depending on their answer, folks are navigated to one of four onboarding pages in the Training Team handbook. Each page has a similar format, but includes information specific to that area of expertise.

Example of what the "Editor Onboarding" handbook page would look like
Example of what the “Editor Onboarding” handbook page would look like
  • Page title: “area_of_expertise Onboarding”
  • Welcome Video with script
    • A quick overview of how this area of expertise functions in the content creation flow within the Training Team.
  • List of faculty members with this expertise
    • Introduce the faculty members as the new contributor’s mentors. Mention how to use the at-mention feature in SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at to reach all these folks at once in the #training channel.
  • Walkthrough of how to complete a first contribution
    • Ideally, this would be a task listed early on in the team’s contributor ladder.
    • Ideally, this first contribution should be something people can complete in 30-60 minutes.
    • This would be a link to another page in the handbook titled “A first contribution as an area_of_expertise“. The page would include short videos for each process, accompanied by text explanations.
    • It would be nice if each page had a “Thank you video” at the end folks would watch where they see the face of a real human thanking them for their contribution.
  • Invitation to have the contributor add themselves to a list of contributors available to continue contributing in that area of expertise
    • By walking a contributor through adding themselves to a list, we give them a sense of empowerment, and a touch of responsibility. They’d be free to come back and remove themselves from the list whenever they become unavailable to contribute.
  • A list of roles in this expertise for the contributor to explore further
    • This would be a link to another page in the handbook titled “area_of_expertise roles”. It would Include video walkthroughs and step-by-step instructions for all roles currently listed in the handbook that pertain to that particular area of expertise.
  • Invitation to join team meetings

Step 3: Continued mentorship

This proposal stops here for the moment. But I can see the team building out additional processes for those who want to continue growing to move up the contributor ladder and/or become Faculty Members.

Other considerations

What about casual contributors who only have 30-60 minutes?

In the above proposal, we would have created a page for each expertise walking folks through a first contribution in that expertise. These would be ideal pages to share with folks who want to make a quick contribution. Making one handbook page that links to those 4 pages would make sharing easier.

  • Page title: “Quick contributions you can make now!”
  • Welcome video with script
    • In this video, the speaker will still ask the same question as step 1 above. This will help the contributor decide which of the 4 links below they should follow.
    • We could also use a similar survey to to pair a contributor up with an area of expertise.
  • List of four “first contribution” pages
    • Pages are reused from the flow above, and conclude with a “Thank you video”.
  • Invitation to work through the official onboarding flow above to contribute even more!

How would we make sure the list of contributors is accurate?

Administrators could keep an eye on the list and send a “Hi!” message to anyone who adds themselves, just to make sure the contributor is aware of the purpose of the list. Then, every 6 months or so, administrators could touch base with all who have added their names to confirm they’re still interested in contributing for another 6 months.

How are we ensuring the contributor ladder is applied to this idea?

The current contributor ladder model is a great start, but will need to be updated as this onboarding flow is created and implemented. For example, there are currently no Content Creator roles in the very first rung of the ladder. However, there should be something a new volunteer with a passion for creating content should be able to do without having to experience other areas of expertise first. We would work out which of the Content Creator related roles could be moved down the ladder and introduced as a first contribution to those with a passion to create content.

Could we get, say, Matt or Josepha to record the Thank You videos? 😃

That is definitely something we could consider. Another idea is to record multiple Thank You videos from multiple contributors, and then show a random video each time the page is loaded.

Next Steps: The plan is to start building out the proposed onboarding flows from mid-November. Please leave any other ideas, questions or comments you have below. We will come up with a concrete plan by November 18th.

#onboarding, #procedures, #training-team