PARTICIPANT: I think I’m going to get started just because I want to talk about on boarding and offboarding. If people trickle in, they can come in and take a seat at the tables or whatever.
So I’m Sandhya Kambhampati, I’m open news field i Berlin, and I’m currently working on warding and off warding processes, which is why I presented this session. I started this research actually at myfellowship, and I started off originally asking the question on Twitter and about people’s newsrooms having an on warding or offwarding process that they’re particularly proud of or have in general. And basically what I found was that a lot of these rooms don’t really have processes or if they do, they’re just strong together by one person that’s nicely passed on to the next person and then keeps on forwarding and then there’s no real process.
So, for me, I really like implementation, so this is troublesome, so my goal is to talk about new ways so that’s our news agencies can incorporate on boarding and off boarding into their workflow.
So a little bit more background, I—so I wanted to talk a little bit about my experience with on boarding and off boarding. So in prior positions, we had people in the newsroom writing down documentation and having some people read through it. Sometimes detailed, sometimes not.
And before I left my last job, I also documented my job and put together a list of links, organizations that I contact, acronyms, basics that we often use. And things that in general that people might be interested to know about my job or would be helpful for them to know when they start their job.
And when I’m reflecting on that, I think about—I wish I would have had a better structure for stor FOI is, so I think a lot of people have different ways of attracting the FOI is I’s and when people leave the newsroom, maybe they don’t tell everyone that they have 15FO I’s out, and maybe they just don’t think about it, or maybe they do. So I’m really interested from you guys how your newsroom deal with on boarding and off boarding processes. And we’ll put together a just a basic outline from that.
So that’s the background on me. And I also wanted to give you a little bit more background.
In the ether pad, there’s a link about m research. So I started a survey. And as of July 21st, I have 115 users have responded out of 163 people. So there’s people who have worked in the same newsroom or work in the same newsroom and different departments and as a result of that that’s why there’s 115.
So, yeah, a lot of people say they don’t have a formal on boarding or off boarding process for their newsroom and some people say they have e-mails or notes, and I find that problematic.
The other thing I also found is that a lot of people write that they don’t want to share their institutional knowledge because then they won’t be unique anymore because the person who takes their job will have the same skills as them. Which I think is a stupid and dumb thing to even think about. So I would agree with it if anyone wants to challenge me on that please. I would love to hear the counter to it because I don’t get it. Ye?
PARTICIPANT: I’m not a counter argument but something to keep in mind when you’re figuring out how to off board is what happens when someone leaves to go to the competition and of course they don’t want to pass on all their knowledge because they want to take it with them to their next job.
PARTICIPANT: Absolutely. Ye. So that’s the thing that I found with people that do national security and politics and some other—they’re protective with their sources, and that I can totally understand. But when there’s things that’s common newsroom knowledge, I feel they should be shared with the rest.
And the other thing that I found is that reviews are usually helpful but only in the changes they make.
So I want to do some brainstorming, so everyone has some Post-Its on your tables, and I have some questions here that I wanted to just get everyone started. We’re going to take about 15 minutes since there’s two groups here to kind of think through these questions. And I have two big Post-Its here. So any part of the newsroom on boarding, off boarding processes that are using or problem areas or what your ideal on boarding, off boarding would include. And also what’s the worst, best experience with on boarding and off boarding that you’ve had.
Keep in mind, I should also say that if anything you are saying or writing, you don’t want it to be on the record, please just say it ahead of time because the session is being live transcribed.
PARTICIPANT: Are we supposed to discuss the ideas with our group?
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. So you can discuss now. 15 minutes to discuss in your –
PARTICIPANT: Can we turn on the lights in here?
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. Sorry. You can all just sit in a group. I wasn’t—I didn’t. We can all sit in a group and talk if you guys would prefer that, or we can sit in two separate tables. Whatever everyone prefers. We can just do a big group. That would work. Yeah.
All right. So those are the questions that I have have. But I guess we can just go around in how many of you guys have had on-boarding or off-boarding experiences that are, like, in good, bad—what was, like, good or bad about it?
So on-boarding is basically when you start a job with what things you’re given when you start the job. That might help you to be the job. They could include documents of passwords or documents of notes from the prior recorder or news developer. And—then off-boarding refer to the notes that you take during your job and then what stuff you need to document over the next person.
PARTICIPANT: So it’s not just –
PARTICIPANT: It can include training. So a lot of newsrooms have, like, the HR training and then the managerial training. And I found a lot of people just have the HR training and then they get thrown into the editorial process. And then they don’t really get told anything. So, yeah, I don’t know. That’s been my experience. I want to know what your guys’ experience is.
PARTICIPANT: I think a few examples of what not to do. Because I have samples of how to do it well.
One is I was just doing some databases, we lost our data editor recently, a couple of months ago, and I was looking through the databases trying to figure out what we need to do, what’s going on here. And he had left variable notes, so I looked back at the notes that this predecessor had left and she said, oh, I have all of these notes, really good e-mail explaining what’s where and everything. And then I go, and it’s been now two years since she was gone. Her user folder in the network. So somewhere around two years to disrupt that. So that’s all –
So that’s one. And a similar—not—well, I guess not that similar. But I caution that to only off-boarding when someone is leading but to kind of have a constant alter of documentation is that we had an editor who died unexpectedly and knew everything and had not informed everybody. And then there are things now three years later, like, oh, he used to do this? No wonder.
PARTICIPANT: And is there anything in particular that like what I find that’s also interesting is a lot of newsrooms have one person or two people that know everything. And then when those—that one or two people leave the newsroom, then it’s scrambling, so you find the next person that might not know an inch of knowledge of that stuff. So how can we work in newsrooms to think about these possibly earlier on? How would this work for different roles? So, for example, with news apps developers, is this something that we do with code? Or, like, documenting our code or for data reporters to be—I don’t know take notes in a certain way or—how does this work?
PARTICIPANT: So I think in my experience it’s always really difficult to say what you did; right? To be, like, oh, on this project—I have no idea what I did. Or when I was coming into an organization, I don’t remember. But now that, like, I’ve been through a process purchase.
So previously, I was on a team that had a lot of turnover. So when you read a lot of peoples –
PARTICIPANT: Well, sometimes it’s—I’m not, like, talking about your notes in particular. But, like –
PARTICIPANT: Just –
PARTICIPANT: Full disclosure, all three of us worked together previously, so there was a lot of turn over in our –
PARTICIPANT: And sometimes it’s just so hard to constantly think about, like, okay. How can I write something is that someone else can read it later without being, like, you know—to get the data, go to this website, click file—like, without giving detailed instructions. But to constantly comment and—so this is not even necessarily, like, I’m talking to the person who will have my position. But to be thoughtful about, like, while you’re doing something to kind of explain it as you go so someone else can comment and look at it if they have to. And understand what’s going on.
PARTICIPANT: I think a big part of it is documenting as you go and not try to rely or, like, three years down the line.
AndSo when I got my extension, there was nothing. And people told me things, like, this exists. But there was—it was on the server, which had, like, smoked literally. So we could not rephrase it. So what I’m doing now seems to be –
PARTICIPANT: You think there was no backups of that data anywhere else?
PARTICIPANT: Not that anybody knows of. And this is, like, a lot of call.
PARTICIPANT: Is it back on the record now?
PARTICIPANT: But that’s, like, the worst experience; right? So now what I’m doing is trying to avoid all of that. And it’s not about letting another person know who’s currently there, it’s about just documenting as we go so that whoever is taking over your goal eventually is not going to be. In the newsroom, you need someone who can assimilate very fast.
PARTICIPANT: Does anyone—actually that’s—does anyone’s newsroom have an on-boarding process since you put together or parts of the process that you actually that are happy and proud of.
PARTICIPANT: We tried to start one. We lost somebody who I was, like, pulling teeth to get things that I had started to learn. We had different roles, but I wanted to learn more about what he was doing just in general for collaboration. And then he left so it was, like, tell me all the things that I need to know. But it’s not what I’m looking for.
So I’m really interested in the culture of how you just do that. Because looking ahead in two positions it’s, like, well, we’re having people come in fresh, and I’m being able to look forward to say this is how we do things, like, to start from that point. Because a lot of times it can be hard if you don’t—either it’s not their instinct, or they don’t start doing it one way. They give people to start to change their habits. Even if they’ve not done it for years. Like, if they had to start this job doing it, I think it could be a good way. Okay. This is just how this is done here in this role. So.
PARTICIPANT: I think that’s a good thing to think about because also when you’re dealing with Web producers or data reporters, they all have such different roles, and I don’t think there’s one way that you could say the on-boarding has to be done. So with that, I wonder, like, what—what is the demographic of the people here if you guys don’t mind sharing what you do so that maybe we can have, like, a discussion about certain groups. That might be actually helpful for you guys. Do you want to start?
PARTICIPANT: Sure I’m a reporter, but I also do a little bit of development stuff.
PARTICIPANT: I’m a software engineer, so a lot of code reviews. But also I contribute to our blog for writing, so we have kind of a flow to onboard people for that.
PARTICIPANT: Sorry. I am the assistant editor of a small magazine, and I oversee projects.
PARTICIPANT: I’m the director of a journal fellowship at Stanford.
PARTICIPANT: I’m the designer for –.
PARTICIPANT: I do Web development and data projects.
PARTICIPANT: The management.
PARTICIPANT: I make computational journalist, so I do a lot of data revision and app wrangling.
PARTICIPANT: I’m a data reporter.
PARTICIPANT: I’m a data analyst.
PARTICIPANT: I’m a newsroom digital director so some of the breaking news reporters.
PARTICIPANT: I run a team of five, managing. I actually wanted to share a little bit. Because you’re asking things that work well. But off the record. Thank you.
[Off the record 2:52]
[Back on the record 2:58]
PARTICIPANT: So I wrote down who we have here. So we have, like, one reporter with one engineer, three data reporters, one news apps developer, two editors, two directors with one designer, one project manager.
So I’m going to—why don’t we do, like, three different things. Like, reporting, managing, and data. With news apps people is that . This is on the record.
So let’s go through. So for an editor job, what would be—or any of these jobs, what would be the things that you guys would want included? When you start a job, what would be the notes or documentation that you would want?
PARTICIPANT: The on-boarding thing just includes sharing knowledge; right? So working at the visuals team and what they did was write a blog post about what you need to install when you come to this team. And it’s actually a blog post open for everybody. The setup. So that’s from my things.
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. I agree. Other data teams, like,—so, like, part of the on-boarding is just, like, installing things or getting more familiar and types apps that you have. But—and some of that is proprietary. But the open stuff is, like, L.A. Times on GitHub has different functions for doing math and stats in Python. It’s called calculating.
So part of my on-boarding is going through all those functions and, like, first Python—learning Python. But also, like, importing that and, like, learning the way that they do, like, different types of data analysis. And that’s open for everyone too.
PARTICIPANT: What’s it calle.
PARTICIPANT: It’s called calculated. For things like calculating coefficients and stuff like that.
PARTICIPANT: I’ll find the link. Anyone else?
PARTICIPANT: Understand the path to be published and is approval process.
PARTICIPANT: So what would—a chart of some type or details explanation? Or –
PARTICIPANT: Sign off on this on live and I think they’ll do—and then there’s a common where we have a glorious or style guides. So here’s the knits you’re going to get on your writing and save yourself from getting this knits over time or seeing how we capitalize terms.
PARTICIPANT: Similar to the publication chart. A newsroom organization chart at their official title and official role. So a little bit more about how all those people fit together and who’s the one that you really need to go to if this is what you want instead of just this is your team and, oh, six months from now people still don’t know who he is.
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. And it’s too late to and him what his name is.
PARTICIPANT: Exactly. Awkward.
PARTICIPANT: And I think maybe with that, you can have people’s pictures or something as well; right?
PARTICIPANT: Like, they’re okay with that?
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. It’s much easier to the person at the beginning than, like –
PARTICIPANT: Anyone else?
PARTICIPANT: All the tools that people use to say, like, this works with our system or, hey, these are the event events, look at these things work. Just to sort of introduce you to the universe. Just like the calculate. Here are things that we have or are available. Or here’s the preferred way of doing it. Just to save you time or effort, figuring things out.
PARTICIPANT: What about for reporters? Would it be helpful to have some type of notes on like what the previous person did to start making contacts with the local police department or –
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. Contact list is huge.
PARTICIPANT: That’s the most problematic, though, especially for reporters. We’re going to similar –
PARTICIPANT: Right. If you force everybody to do it, it’s just, like –
PARTICIPANT: But how do we deal with that; right? So if there’s a national security reporter, they’re not want to give you their contacts.
PARTICIPANT: The same people who can fill in the gap. But from a data point of view also, it’s, like, for instance, if there are FO I’s, make the list of the FOIi out there and that kind of information, how many, like, when do you expect the data back? Because sometimes I found there’s a lineament desk.
PARTICIPANT: Or follow up.
PARTICIPANT: Yeah, it’s been two weeks.
PARTICIPANT: Simple spreadsheets.
PARTICIPANT: I think we’ve started to develop, we call it the data archive, but it’s not just data. It’s all the FO I’s, who the contact person is for that FOI, what format they’re in, and then for data. Like, what data bases we’re working with, here’s where the original, here’s where they’re contacting people with the information.
PARTICIPANT: Also release dates as well.
PARTICIPANT: And as a reporter, is there anything—like when you started your job, did anyone give you any information that you found helpful?
PARTICIPANT: Can I say it off the record?
I’ve been in several newsrooms that, like, call this person, okay. Catastrophic some sort of newsroom Rolodex, and he said, yeah, it’s called a phone number. And I was, like, yeah, that’s really helpful. Just seemed like it would be a level above that. Not the same level of sources for that kind of stuff but people that should be and could be contacted.
PARTICIPANT: So something I noticed in the survey that I’ve gotten, some newsrooms do have that Rolodex but the problem is they don’t have someone updating it. So when the police officer or the PIO or FOI officer changes, no one updates it, and they call and the person no longer works there, and it’s a goo hunt to find the other person. So I’m wondering what you guys think of how to deal with that type of person. Like, what contacts are no longer in that position. So, for example, for CMS when you change your CMS or someone on the job.
PARTICIPANT: I think you have to have someone responsible to make sure those things are kept up to date. Even if they’re not the one that’s doing all the updating, they’re the ones checking to see that it’s still up to date. It doesn’t have to be one person or process. But for different processes, one person maintains the Rolodex of contacts. And another person that maintains the CMS. Posts different lists and spreadsheets that should be assigned a different person.
PARTICIPANT: Distribution lists. Like, distribution list to go out to a number of people. On my team, especially plant based and stuff, all my e-mails are logged with clients internally in a system so that if someone happens to be out –
PARTICIPANT: You can see around.
PARTICIPANT: You can assign stuff but, yeah, the client. For example, I’m here right now, so the client needs me urgently, can e-mail no matter and we have someone monitoring that at all times, always get back to them.
PARTICIPANT: What you just mentioned are amazing ideas and never work –
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. I just don’t have the capability for it. And also because this level of secrecy or not really secrecy but –
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. For sure.
PARTICIPANT: These contacts.
PARTICIPANT: For general contact information, that shoul.
PARTICIPANT: Mention having about everything on a blog and getting their e-mail, that would never work.
PARTICIPANT: But why?
PARTICIPANT: I think that would do it.
PARTICIPANT: People in newsroom switch to Slack.can’t –
PARTICIPANT: I think the documentation.
PARTICIPANT: Oh, no. No. If it’s somewhere accessible to everybody like you said. So I think that’s a grea idea.
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. I mean for sure. Like, all my e-mails with my clients, internal stuff you can obviously. You can already use Slack for it, why not just log it and searchable and have little –
PARTICIPANT: We mark our resources. So if someone that was described that’s no longer relevant, sometimes the edit date is used as an indicator. Oh, this was slashed out in 2013, so maybe it’s not the current version. Someone can similarly say this is still relevant.
PARTICIPANT: A person who changes the documents or the person who is supposed to be on boarded.
Describe tools using, like, all the new people who would onboard or change the blog post if it doesn’t work for an operation system.
PARTICIPANT: So what about—how would this differ for. So you mentioned, like, people reading the documents over and then updating them. Now, if you’re an editor, how would this work for you? What would you have to be your editor.
PARTICIPANT: Like, what would you onboard an editor?
PARTICIPANT: Because we have about 15 minutes left. So we spent quite a bit of time talking about reporters and data people. So I’m going to also make sure that we cover the editors in the room.
PARTICIPANT: I think in that case, I mean I’ve never been an editor, but I’m just speculating here that it might be helpful to—I don’t know whether it would be, like, people working under the editor or for the previous person to say this is kind of what they might expect from you. Whether or not that’s what you decide to follow through, but to have some level of, like, as an editor, I read every single one of their stories and—I don’t know. Always there to, like, double-check the numbers so that when, you know, I give my stuff to an editor, and he’s, like, yeah, it’s fine. But I’m expecting something else, like, maybe that doesn’t get lost somehow. Like, basically my expectations as far as their expectations for the job. So I feel there’s more room when you’re in charge of other people to have more people, like, not on the same page.
PARTICIPANT: I thi what we’ve already talked about is just as relevant for anyone else. Might not be the one who is actually hands on calling the source or.
PARTICIPANT: Manipulating the data. But you’re managing people who are, so you need to know those things too.
PARTICIPANT: Also what you said about boarding in the newsroom. I wonder if it’s sometimes a culal thing. It’s always tough to onboard, for me it was tough, and for everyone else it’s going to be tough. Like, tough it out.
PARTICIPANT: Great old school.
PARTICIPANT: I had to figure it out.
PARTICIPANT: It needs to be easier for people.
a very, like, we’re going to throw you in, you’re going to figure it out.
PARTICIPANT: Swim or sink.
PARTICIPANT: It’s dumb. It wastes –
PARTICIPANT: It is.
PARTICIPANT: It wastes everyone’s time.
PARTICIPANT: It really is.
PARTICIPANT: Well, that’s why I said –
PARTICIPANT: You already have that so –
PARTICIPANT: But I guess if you were to make—because I feel the same exact way with the people just throwing you in and saying, well, this is what I had to deal with too. So sucks for you. You’ve got to do it too. But who would be the person to, like, be the keeper of this information? Or is it kind of on a team by team basis that this information –
PARTICIPANT: It depends on the size of the organization.
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. It does.
PARTICIPANT: I think it would be nice to have one kind of point person in the room on boarder or off boarder or trainer or so forth.
PARTICIPANT: So a buddy system?
PARTICIPANT: You can think of it as, like—I’m sorry.
PARTICIPANT: No, go ahead.
PARTICIPANT: We think of it as a system. But, like, when I first became an editor, I had an editor who was supposed to mentor me. She was, like, teaching me about the culture, teaching me about the expectations, and I think that is really what happened.
PARTICIPANT: That’s a really good idea.
PARTICIPANT: Especially the—it’s not something you would want to develop. Even if you have a shine bigly, but I’m not knowing. Have the rotation that can be overkill I think.
PARTICIPANT: The nice thing about a mentor system, you get the things that you wouldn’t necessarily want documented or the—well, this is the way it’s supposed to happen. But so-and-so let’s this slip through the cracks, so you have to be careful that kind of—those are the things that you just—you just either learn on your own . No one’s ever writing that down.
PARTICIPANT: But if you want to follow projection head the first week you’re on the job because no one oriented you to that culture, as a editor, that has the opportunity to super curtail you. Especially in the management systems is very, very –
PARTICIPANT: And other jobs like you said rotating. But even at the beginning even if you don’t have culture of rotating jobs, you just shadow some other departments before you start to see how you fit into the bigger picture I think is really useful. I love hiring people from small weekly papers that put down everything because they get all of that. And it’s a huge—that there’s more out there than just your pieces of the puzzle.
PARTICIPANT: So when I—I work at the Chicago Tribune for a couple of years and for some reason it was all the HR stuff, it took days. It was not fun. But then I had an editor who was super thought of thoughtful about taking me around and letting me sit in on all the different meetings and meet everybody.
So that allows you to—if you need to do something, you know who to ask. Oh, like, if I have a production question, I’m going to ask Nile, if I have a photo request question, I’m going to ask Jen. It lets you get your shit down. That’s not something it’s going to be documentation. There’s going to be a mix of, like, documentation and then real life kit.
PARTICIPANT: Although I think there could be expectations set out for the on boarders of, like, this is what you do. You take them through every single one of your meetings for the first week.
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. I think that’s. A lot of this is just having a good manager or having managers who are thoughtful people. And, like, you know, that doesn’t always happen. So if somebody is naturally—people just –
PARTICIPANT: The personal direction was a good point too. When I started, my boss took me around. It’s a DC bureau, she took me around to all the reporters and told interest or, like, they’re really good about this, like, right there. And that was super helpful, and we had an intern who was a data reporter intern, and we don’t do exactly the same thing but I help them because we were the most similar into the roles. And I did the same thing when he started. I took them around to everybody you possibly, like, need to know, like, who they are or what they do to work with, so.
PARTICIPANT: Where do you agree.
PARTICIPANT: Kolache. They’re a DC bureau.
PARTICIPANT: How big is it?
PARTICIPANT: Like, 50 people. When I was at Post, you couldn’t meet everybody. But within a section of department, it can be really helpful. Because especially doing it early on is helpful. Because if your first interaction is a person versus e-mail, it makes a difference, like, who is this new person e-mailing me asking me stuff? It’s not the best way to start a working relationship versus, oh, this person I met them, they were interviewing. My boss did that for me too. In my interview, she had me meet with a bunch of reporters, like, for me to get a sense of, like, them and have them ask me questions and—so, like, I came in and, like, I already knew those people plus the people I already knew, and then she took me to meet other people. So she’s really great. She worked—she’s all about leadership.
PARTICIPANT: But, again, this is about personality thing.
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. And the culture too. But that expectation is there. And sometimes for her, it just came from, like, she kind of from that point in the culture. But but so many other times it was, like, this is how it is, welcome. Ideally from the top, but it could also come from the bottom. For me, to have the person that I was working with that was not data sharing but to push them in that direction or, like, for that person’s or place. But now it’s like this person will be doctrinated into the verge of control, everything’s documented.
PARTICIPANT: So we talked a lot about on-boarding, but we’ll have a few minutes to talk about off-boarding. Is there anything that’s not in the on-boarding process. So I have something sharing your knowledge. Familiarity with the types of apps the newsroom has. Understanding the pa.
PARTICIPANT: And who isry, style guide, contact list, expectations, and introduce new people. Is there anything you think it would be helpful to have in the off bothering process for them to document before they leave besides those things?
PARTICIPANT: One thing I would is HR does exit interviews, but HR has that information. It’s good to have that newsroom, especially if you’re in a small place with low turn over, they’re going to say, hey, people over and over. It’s one person. Like, no, they’re not going to say, oh, so-and-so said this about you.
PARTICIPANT: So having some sort of newsroom exit your view where you can say what do you wish we would have done differently? Or, you know, had questions that they ask in HR. But actually doing it.
PARTICIPANT: For us to have to be better about documenting the access is granted. And sometimes as the tools become more ad hoc, like, what’s on a Google drive? So if we have a better process for granting, we’ll review and take that away from people.
PARTICIPANT: Similar—well, kind of the same thing. But keeping a checklist, like, when someone leaves, I have to go through the Twitter lists and—so I have a check with –
PARTICIPANT: Tweet at teams.
PARTICIPANT: What are all those things that are happening that they have access to that they are –
PARTICIPANT: So, like, passwords they might have.
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. Or taking them off your contact list page, things like that too that aren’t access per se.
PARTICIPANT: What’s going to happen to the e-mails then? Is it just a fail? Going to go to the manager?
PARTICIPANT: Or does it go to someone else?
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. Working with IT and what happens in the voice mail and e-mail.
PARTICIPANT: One recent example from my new firm that was helpful is we had somebody leave who was a bit of a Jack-of-all-trades person. A lot of animated videos and all sorts of things. And as he’s leaving, he sent an e-mail out to all awl staff that said if there was anything that I helped you with or anything that you’re going to think how would I do this without this person, e-mail me back and let me know. And so I thought that was a good way to just kind of—he had a good sense of what he did most frequently. But I’m sure there were a lot of things that he did that were, like, one off that the newsroom wouldn’t be able to do anymore. So it was a good way to make sure –
PARTICIPANT: How much, like, –
PARTICIPANT: I would say probably like two weeks. Maybe a week.
I would have to and him. I don’t know. I know he had a couple.that wasn’t part of the process, just something –
PARTICIPANT: It can be either people that leave voluntarily or people that are—well, I think if you’re fired, it’s kind of a different experience. But, yeah, I guess most of the time people that are voluntarily leaving or taking time out.
PARTICIPANT: Well, I mean voluntarily. If you’re fired, security escorts you out the building.
PARTICIPANT: Then there’s no off-boarding.
PARTICIPANT: But voluntarily, oh, yeah, you know, go for it. But volunteer I’m going to work really hard to establish versus voluntarily as in, like, I kind of hate my job. I need to find something else. Oh, I found it. Great. Now I have, like, zero motivation to care about what I’m doing because I found a great job, what is my incentive to, like, be helpful? Like, I actually don’t really plan to do that.
PARTICIPANT: I think the idea would be that off-boarding would be something that happens continuously, like, you always think about.
PARTICIPANT: Like it’s a formalized process, and it’s mandatory that you have to write some type of documentation on your job and have somebody read it.
PARTICIPANT: Did you ever talk to anybody?
PARTICIPANT: Yeah, so there’s some newsrooms that have old guide books. But there’s also newsrooms that are small and have nothing, and they have, like, two e-mails, and they send me those. And it’s literally just, like, talk to Jim Smith in this –
PARTICIPANT: A forward chain, like, ten –
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. And then the next thing that says talk to Heidi whatever and then the next one is, like, talk to this person. And by the time you get to the end of it, there’s a small thing and then that person already left too and it’s a useless e-mail.
PARTICIPANT: One of the things that I have to add is that you have to make sure that you give people time t it.
PARTICIPANT: So how much people would you say to give for off-boarding?
PARTICIPANT: I mean I guess it depends on how complicated the job is and how well documented it is, but maybe that’s something you negotiate when you give you notice. So it’s, like, I’m going full force doing my job and then, oh, now I don’t—oh, whoops. See you. You have to do your job.
PARTICIPANT: But documenting as you go but –
PARTICIPANT: There’s always going to be some mosey end o it.
PARTICIPANT: I think the Boston globe does this thing for Slack if there’s something that’s relevant for any person, they do a tree emoji, and then you can just search the tree emoji in the slack and the person can just read through it.
PARTICIPANT: Giving to the whole team.
PARTICIPANT: Office hour be with so be without the preparation, I have to be available at this time for you to ask me anything.
PARTICIPANT: That’s a great idea.
PARTICIPANT: Have you tried that? And has it worked?
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. And it’s also included wanting to talk about why that person was leaving if you wanted to come by for that. And that can be part of the announcement that they’re leaving.
PARTICIPANT: Anyone else? We have about three minutes. So is there anything else that anyone really wanted to talk about on boarding and off-boarding so that we can help you with?
PARTICIPANT: So for the off-boarding, the exit interviews and also having some people write up their thoughts. You want to have people continuously document but there’s also the value of people looki cumulatively to offer, you know, thoughts. Not just making sure, like, is this updated to be, like, correct but also, like, you know, if we were to do this over again, I think we should do it this way or things like that that sort of last thoughts.
PARTICIPANT: Or this was really worth doing and this we spent a lot of time, and it wasn’t.
PARTICIPANT: The one thing I’m curious about is not people who leave permanently but transition planning like medical leave. How do you make it so that they can sort of be kept with things while they’re away and have a process for them to be able to come back in?
PARTICIPANT: Any thoughts?
PARTICIPANT: I went on leave from my last job, and I just talked to people, like, in the last half or quarter of the period to catch up. There wasn’t a formal process. But I think that could be helpful. It’s not the most formal thing, but it just sort of, like, reporting on, you know, keeping comprised of what’s going on. But more formal would be helpful.
PARTICIPANT: So a checklist of some sort?
PARTICIPANT: Yeah. Just, like—I mean I would also just follow public announcements because it’s a bigger newsroom and who was hired, what jobs? Who left? Who departed? A farewell list, making sure that—so I guess one thing could be making sure that people still had access to the systems and things like that to be able to proactively sort of keep up with it. So. Would have been nice.
PARTICIPANT: I didn’t even think about that. That’ a good question.
PARTICIPANT: I try to set up someone who knows how to get ahold of me if need be. And I trust them that they know how to escalate appropriately. Because that’s the problem is that someone says I need to know this information, and I want to interrupt your vacation or your medical leave for various pieces that you have planned so someone says they need a particular piece of information, to manage it well.
PARTICIPANT: Anyone have good—you said earlier documenting a process as you go. I just wonder how to do that best or what are the best practice recommended –
PARTICIPANT: I will say as a promo for another session today, for tomorrow, there’s a session on tomorrow that’s on documenting your processes and how to do them. I’m going. And they have really awesome documentation because I’ve read it. So that might be a good resource. Anyone else?
PARTICIPANT: So your research project, would it be a list of suggestions?
PARTICIPANT: Yes. So in the ether pad if you guys are all interested, I also have a survey in here. It’ Bitly/newsroom on-boarding. And I’m still taking people’s on-boarding, off-boarding experiences. So you don’t have to put your name, you can say you’re a journalist and just say your newsroom. I would love to hear from you, and I’m hoping to—so the month of August, I’m submitting applications. So September I will be looking through this data and doing more documentation on it. So I’m hoping to publish something in December.
I was doing a lot of one-on-one interviews with people, asking them in different roles what the—how their on-boarding is and how they’re dealing with institutional knowledge, which I think is really problematic. So, yea. I appreciate you guys all coming out. I don’t want to take any more of your time. It’s 3:32. But, yeah, if you have anything else, like, I’m around, and if you would love to fill out the survey, there’s a survey. And also a write-up on pointer on my research, which gives you, like, the basics of what I found so far. But, yeah. Thank you.