Re: Need Help with Onboarding #knowledge-retention #onboarding

Patrick Lambe

Thanks for sharing that Andrew, I will read the article with great interest.

A couple of things you said resonated with me. Working from home (and hybrid working, however that shapes up in the next few years) has - as you say, removed a lot of the informal support that new hires could rely on just from being in an environment where people can notice needs and give ad hoc support - we’ve noticed that onboarding is getting renewed emphasis in organisations we talk to, precisely because video conferencing is so thin,a medium, that new hires brought on during the pandemic have really been suffering. So ironically, while the pandemic has really accelerated the adoption and use of digital collaboration tools, it has also created a new emphasis on the value of “soft” KM, because so much of the informal organisation has been stripped away. Here are some insights we have had from the past couple of months and from some sharing at a virtual conference we ran this week:

  • Onboarding as we’ve said - we have to get better at it and more deliberate about it, because the means of helping are so limited at the moment;
  • Change management in rolling out new programmes/platforms is another one - when we know that everybody is working remotely, we all have to try that much harder to support the rollout and ironically, we are doing a better job of supporting change than if we were face to face in the same space;
  • We have had to become more deliberate and prepared about virtual meetings and facilitated events, and HOPEFULLY that will have a backwash effect to improve the way we conduct face to face meetings.

On hybrid meetings/events, I shared a blog post from Bev Wenger-Trayner on KM4Dev a week or so ago, on some principles to abide by for these events - it’s really good. I don’t think I shared it here, apologies if I’m repeating myself. One of the key principles is to make sure that each remote attendee has a “buddy” in the room to support their presence there. 

And Nick Milton gave a great session on “post-Covid KM” at our conference this week (all virtual) - the recording and materials are at


Patrick Lambe
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

knowledge mapping:

On 9 Jul 2021, at 9:11 PM, Andrew Trickett via <andrewtrickett@...> wrote:

A lengthy topic, but thought to add to the debate a recent article this month in the Sloan management Review.


Although its about social capital and hybrid work, there are a couple of issues that would help around on-boarding.


It highlights that on-boarding is a critical part of workforce development that we all say yes to. one of the main issues that I've seen and discussed with new starters can be the lack of implicit knowledge transfer about the norms, the way we do things around here and the general norms that can't always be picked up via a video call. A bit like the late Donald Rumsfeld's quote they face a lot of unknown unknowns.

The article also reminds us of the importance of weak ties and how the pandemic has eroded some of these for existing people and the inability to form them for those new starters. The article recommends that leaders prioritise those new/younger starters and their development as a priority in any return to work planning. The article says the following

"We recommend that any in-person solutions leaders come up with include the opportunity for young people to interact both with one another and with older, more experienced mentors. While it is important that new employees bond together as peers, it is also critical that they have the chance to develop relationships with established staff members who can provide real answers to their questions about organisational norms and culture."

There is also an interesting observation around trying to do hybrid  team/project meetings with some people are face to face and some on video link. One organisation has taken the view that if everyone can;'t be in the room then it goes to online. The article states " they’ve found that the team functions better, and all members of the team can contribute more equally, when every individual attends the meeting virtually on their own screen.."

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