Onboarding via Slack: How To Get The Most Out Of Smart Workflows
We've moved from a 9-5 job to flexible working hours, and work from the office to work from anywhere. Companies have adopted such progressive changes to deliver a great employee experience.
And yet, so many of them continue to use old-school powerpoints, static wikis, and stacks of paper for their onboarding - the period that sets the tone for the whole employee experience to come.
Outdated processes won't cut it with today's workforce. So to wow them from day 1, you need a better way to onboard them. One that is engaging, immersive, and done via a tool that they spend most of their working hours in - such as Slack.
We love Slack. And we've seen that guiding new hires via Slack is a powerful way to make their first impression meaningful and impactful.
Here's why you need to onboard employees via Slack, how to do it step-by-step, and how you can get even more out of it leveraging Zavvy's workflows for Slack.
💬 Why onboarding via Slack is better
Onboarding via Slack guarantees a more natural experience in the flow of work. It's a perfect tool for welcoming just one or a group of employees at once. Let's take a look at several more reasons to onboard new hires through Slack:
1. Create #NewHire(s) Channels to take away first day jitters
Many organizations have made Slack their official space to introduce new hires. Having a dedicated #new-hires channel creates engagement. It allows all new employees to connect with each other, ask questions, or find the best places to grab a bite.
2. Don't Overwhelm The New Hire
With onboarding content typically being "thrown" at new hires without structure, a streamlined process can help keep the overview. Slack can be your one central hub for a new hire's onboarding journey.
3. Higher Completion Rates
At Zavvy, we have found that employees who receive tasks via Slack have a 3x completion rate compared to emails. This is because Slack makes it easier for new hires to access information. It's where we spend most of our working time. Hence, it's more engaging and convenient.
4. Fosters Connections
Remote work has made it challenging for all of us to keep connecting. Slack is where teams naturally connect - so it's also the most natural place for connecting people to each other. Think of team introductions, onboarding buddies, and more.
⚙️ How Slack Helps Automate Simple Tasks
Slack uses its own Workflow Builder that lets People Ops automate routine processes within their Slack workspace.
To set up your own, you need to:
Click on your workspace —> Tools —> Workflow Builder
There, you can also select a workflow from an existing template.
Here's how you can use that workflow builder to onboard new hires:
1. Send customized messages to new hires
Welcome your new hires with customized messages, and connect them with the rest of your team. You can either send a Direct Message or write one in your #new-hires channel. You can ask new joiners to introduce themselves or share their interests while encouraging the rest of your team to greet them.
Additionally, you can also add a button for a more interactive experience. Adding this button prompts them to take action and move on to the next step of your onboarding process.
Note: The button usually makes sense for direct messages, less in channels.
2. Send forms to collect information
Forms are a great way to receive custom responses from your new employees. This includes information about company welcome packages, feedback, job details, and more.
Here are some questions you could ask during onboarding:
- What is your choice of snacks and T-shirt size? // e.g. for welcome packages
- What questions do you still have?
- How would you rate your onboarding experience?
- How welcome do you feel on a scale of 1 to 10 in your team?
3. Integrate apps for a more holistic experience
Slack lets you integrate apps like Loom, Notion, and Zapier for an engaging onboarding process. Organizations use them to create introductory videos tutorials, manage their workflow, and much more.
Connecting apps is a nice way to bring together different tools in one place. It can help create simple automations or embed content from places like Loom within Slack.
4. More features for a smooth collaboration
Whether working in a remote or a hybrid setup, Slack makes it convenient for teams to collaborate. Here are a few tried-and-true ways to use Slack's workflow builder for your onboarding process:
- Automatically notify the whole channel once a new hire is added to it.
- Send a message to a new joiner to give them relevant advice on day one.
- Create a custom onboarding process for specific teams like Sales, Engineering, or Customer Experience - triggered when they enter that team's channel.
- Introduce new team members to each other.
Slack believes that the most effective onboarding is an ongoing one. And we couldn't agree more. It's vital to follow up with your new hires at every step of the process. Offer them assistance, and ensure they can follow and succeed in their training. This way, your new hires will be able to impact your workspace positively.
5. Track Progress
The workflow builder has a built-in feature that lets you track progress at all times. This way, you'll always see who currently is in your workflows.
6. Customize your bot's appearance
The little Zavvy logo you see here - along with the name "Welcome Bot", you can customize under the workflow's "Settings" panel.
This way, you can create a more branded employee experience.
📝 Exemplary Workflow
This is an example of a workflow we've set up to
- Announce the new hire
- Greet the new hire
- Ask them for their T-shirt size so we can send them a company shirt
- Send our new colleague important links
Pretty cool, right?
But: While this sequence is surely a nice add-on to your overall onboarding process, it surely won't cut for a complete process.
❌ Limitations Of Using Slack's Workflow Builder For Onboarding
We cannot stress enough the importance of an in-depth onboarding program. While Slack offers a great start to welcome new hires, is it enough to deliver an end-to-end process?
While the workflow builder is a great place to start, things will quickly get out of hand once you're looking at holistic process that accompanies people for more than a day.
Some limitations of using Slack for onboarding include:
1. No Timeline
Unfortunately, Slack's workflow builder does not have an option to add "delays" between single steps. This means that people can only be lead through single steps by clicking buttons. While an interactive approach is generally favorable, this completely misses out on the chance to create a guided experience that lasts more than a day.
At Zavvy, we recommend guided onboarding processes to span at least 90 days to optimize completions and the experience itself. You might be able to add delays via tools like Zapier, but that would lead us to the next issue:
2. You Quickly Lose The Overview
A decent 30-90-day (or even more) onboarding process involves many steps. This includes learning about the organization, following training programs, and coordinating with managers and team members. It's challenging to manage all the tasks simultaneously.
Even more so, if you have to go into multiple tools to create one workflow - let alone customize it based on single roles or people managers.
This heavily impacts the whole solution's scalability.
3. No Centralized Location For All Your Data
Slack lets you connect external tools via tools like Zapier to build smart automations. However, this also means that there is not this one place that people can always go to. But new hires need structure. They need to know what expects them - and they need a place to go to consume in-depth information.
4. A Lack Of Tailored Experience
Your onboarding is your chance to create a first impression—the more tailored the experience, the better. But unfortunately, there's no easy way to assign roles like "People Manager" or "Onboarding Buddy" with Slack only. This means that you won't be able to engage multiple people over a period of time.
5. Lack Of Flexibility
The trigger you'll use to launch your onboarding workflow will typically be "Starts when someone joins a channel." However, there are several reasons that you might have to add an employee to your workflow manually–from collaborating over projects to starting a training program together. In Slack, you cannot do so without adding your people to existing channels.
Even if you 'make a copy' of that workflow, you still need to use the same trigger (naturally 'new channel member'). So the only way out is to rebuild your workflow from scratch.
6. No Real Space For Content
Slack limits people to only sending short messages, forms, or links. But to make these tasks more fun and engaging, you need to back them up with rich content. This includes embedding training videos, detailed information about the company, the assignment–what it's about, why it's essential, and so on. This means that you will eventually still need a place to host the (rich) content.
Slack is the most important delivery channel for your content - but it's not the place to host it.
7. You Can't Automatically Create A Channel
If your company is growing rather fast, you will typically have more than one new team member per month. And this means you may automatically want to connect all new hires with each other.
The best way to do so is by bringing them together in a dedicated channel. However, this is not something you can automate via Slack's native tool.
📈 Deep Slack workflows with Zavvy: Getting the best out of both worlds
A seamless employee experience is at the foundation of Zavvy's onboarding platform. Every step, journey, or template is designed to ensure your employees experience the best onboarding process possible. Not only that, but we also automate manual tasks to ease the workload off of your plate!
Here are some ways you can integrate Slack with Zavvy for a more guided and holistic onboarding program that takes the unnecessary workload off your back:
1. Take People On a Guided Journey
There's a real danger in delivering all your onboarding content at once. Not only does it get too overwhelming for your new hire, but it also leads to a negative experience. So instead, create a structured, step-by-step onboarding program with Zavvy's guided journeys.
This ensures that information is delivered when it matters, enables new hires to process knowledge at each step, and helps them stay focused. Meanwhile, People Ops and Managers can easily track the progress or guide new hires through the process.
2. Connect And Match Employees
From assigning buddies to appointing managers–with Zavvy, you can automatically connect new hires with the right people. This creates a space for employees to develop personal connections, exchange information, ask questions, and have a comfortable start at your company.
You can also send spaced reminders to a dedicated buddy or manager assigned to your new employee. This ensures they are prepared with all the information, ready to schedule meetings, and have a list of tasks that need to be taken care of.
Read our step-by-step process on designing an onboarding buddy program on Zavvy.
Bonus: Check out these free templates for Buddy Programs!
3. Automatically Create Channels For Cohorts
Onboarding a group of employees is a continuous process in large organizations. We make this process easy by automatically assigning journeys to new hires and creating a group specifically for them. This is an excellent way for recruits to engage with one another while taking away the hassle of creating new workflows on Slack.
Plus: If you've connected your HRMS system and set up an automated trigger, you don't even have to assign anything manually.
4. Send Feedback Forms
Send personalized surveys towards the end of every onboarding phase. Getting a deeper understanding of your employees' experience is the key requirement for improving the process.
In addition to this, you can also ask them questions that will help you prepare for their preboarding. For instance, ask them what's their choice of snacks/T-shirt size/type of required equipment, etc.
With Zavvy, you can create a survey - or simply embed your favorite tools like Typeform or Google Forms to make it more engaging.
5. Add Visual Content
Integrate content of varying formats to every new journey. We're talking about including welcome and training videos, links to courses, podcasts, etc. This is your space to make learning as enjoyable as possible–without any limitations!
Doing this enables your employees to complete the task and helps them retain the knowledge better.
Make the most of our app integrations like Loom, YouTube, Typeform, and a lot more!
6. Share Relevant Content
An onboarding program is valuable when it's customized to meet the requirements of your new hires. This includes sending specific tasks to Marketing Managers or sharing details with an onboarding Buddy.
At Zavvy, you can quickly deliver dedicated tasks, reminders, and messages without the chaos of creating several Slack channels. This ensures a smooth, personalized experience–no matter the department and role of your new hire.
Automatically assign tasks:
- The day new hires join
- Once they log into Zavvy
7. Send Gentle Nudges
A small act of appreciation or guidance goes a long way in motivating your employee during the onboarding. Send thoughtful nudges words of encouragement, and offer guidance at every step of the process.
Use this feature on Zavvy to:
- Remind People Managers to discuss development plans
- Remind employees to take regular breaks
- Check-in to see the progress of a new hire
- Share inspirational content
8. Trigger Onboarding For a New Role
At Zavvy, we believe onboarding shouldn't be limited to just new hires. Our carefully planned journeys help with re-onboarding employees to a remote setup. Or when they're promoted to a leadership position. This acclimatizes them to new skills and responsibilities required to achieve their full potential.
You can select the time and duration of your re-onboarding process, send dedicated tasks, and easily track progress at each step.
9. Beyond onboarding: Connection programs
During the onboarding process, new hires get to know their colleagues, buddies, or managers. Make every conversation or a thoughtful action count by integrating Slack into our Connection Programs.
Build deeper bonds with our templates like Meetup Rituals, Coffee Dates, Walk and Talk, and many more.
Can't find the template you're looking for? Just create your own, fully automated connection routine.
Speak with our experts to learn how to bring your remote team closer together.
10. Progress-Tracking, Training, Development, and More
There's much more you can do with Zavvy's onboarding workflows. Keep reading to find out.
📝 Exemplary Workflow
With Zavvy, you can set up your whole onboarding process - from preboarding to even offboarding. It allows you to guide people throughout the whole experience, instead of leaving it at a couple of practical automations.
➡️ Integrating Zavvy With Slack For Maximum Impact
When designing your onboarding program, ask yourself: How will an employee benefit from this? Is there a way to simplify this process? Or How can I make it more engaging?
Integrating Slack into our platform ensures a seamless, well-connected, easy-to-follow process. With a bit of foresight and planning, we reinvented the way companies onboard their hybrid or remote employees.
Read Roadsurfer's success story on how they onboarded new colleagues spanning 36 locations.
Curious? Learn more about our onboarding solution here.