Onboarding new staff and vollies

Hi everyone,

This is my first post in Global Discourse so I hope it makes sense and I’ve done it correctly :slight_smile:

I am interested in learning more about onboarding new staff at Open Food Network. Currently, we’re collecting the processes for Open Food Network Australia but I’m sure there are lots of other ways and means out there and it makes sense to build and document rather than duplicate.

I know this topic was covered in the Operationalising Values session during the Global Gathering (detail included below), and I will draw on the same questions that @Jen did so for the ‘Process for Growth/Thriving/Self Actualisation team members’.

How we want people to feel**
Like their contribution to change is welcomed
They understand their colleagues
Not afraid to ask questions
Empowered to make suggestions, take leadership

What information we should convey
Our ways of working: decision-making, communication, goal setting, etc
Processes for reporting, accountability eg how can you know your working on the right things and how can we know you know that
Which (communication / interaction) tools are used, and their respective context
Where to go if you need help… which people (probably different for different things)
Clarity about roles

What we legally need to convey

Tools and processes we have in place
1:1 check ins especially in early days
Regular online team meetings that model the way OFN works
UK daily Slack check In template

Inspiration from elsewhere
‘Intro to working with me’ documentation - what is good about working with me, my sacred wounds, what I’m working on, what I react to
The tech sector are starting to use readme files for their leaders, which may be useful as a data point in creating these: https://hackernoon.com/12-manager-readmes-from-silicon-valleys-top-tech-companies-26588a660afe and https://managerreadme.com/
Stewarship process at Enspiral https://handbook.enspiral.com/agreements/stewardship
Integration virtual drinks !


  1. What else is missing in terms of how we want people to feel?
  2. Have you set up processes in your instance that you can share? Are you working on any?
  3. Are there any processes from elsewhere you think we should look at?
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Not sure what you call “Vollies”

Two thoughts about onboarding new Community members (whatever they are staff “vollies” :wink: or other kind of participants:

  • Slack profile can be enriched with some information for anyone to know better each other (see that Slack post for detail). Maybe we could add a reminder in the Welcome guide about it (filling few fields for anyone to know the newcomer)
  • I feel the tech welcome is pretty well organized. I wonder what we offer for onboarding of non-technical profile. How they can contribute, on what.

bonus : Maybe a go-to person for each newcomer could be sympathetic (as Wikipedia does, just to break the ice).

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That’s some classic Australian slang @Thomas! Vollies = volunteers. (We can’t help ourselves, we add an ‘o’ or ‘ie’ to the end of everything :laughing: )

In this use case we are also particularly interested in how people get onboarded at the instance level, where team members might not be in the global slack.

As we build teams at the instance level, how are others who manage instances onboarding them?

we are only just beginning to ‘formalize’ onboarding processes. So far - each new employee or vollie (love it) gets an offer letter. I sign it as instance director (maybe general manager or lead is a better title), and the employee/vollie signs. The letter indicates start date, end date (if applicable), serves as noticie of termination for that date if applicable, salary, hours, how payment is being made, benefits if applicable, who they report to, job details like: the circle/team they are part of, primary duties. So far, we haven’t been outlining any kind of ‘performance management’ process - but that would be the next step. Each new vollie/employee would complete a plan and discuss with the person they report to. I’d say that so far we have a reporting ‘chain of command’. I’m not sure if moving to circle governance changes this. We all receive the same payment rate (unless a grant stipulates otherwise) and we work collaboratively as circles – but I’m not sure how circle governance works in terms of the ‘supervisor’ role. I’d like to hear ideas on this.