How Guru Changed The Way I View Employee Onboarding

Last verified Feb 4, 2022

When I read a Gallup poll that claimed 88% of employees feel that their employer did a poor job with their onboarding...I wasn’t surprised. Between my own experiences onboarding at companies and what I’ve heard from friends and family, I know how rough it can be.

Forgotten names and start dates, near-broken equipment, outdated paperwork, endless meetings–the “bad onboarding experiences” list goes on and on. I had no idea what to expect when I joined Guru, but luckily, I was surprised in the best way possible.

Now that I’m done my first month at Guru I’m an official advocate for thoughtful onboarding experiences. Here’s how the company managed to change my entire view on what employee onboarding could be.


Reduced shoulder taps

One of the first Guru-isms I remember hearing when I first started was the “shoulder tap”. How often do you find yourself interrupting a coworker with a “quick” question? That simple “Hey, do you have a minute?” is the definition of the shoulder tap. You need something right away, and you need someone else to give it to you.

I realized that most onboarding experiences I’ve had were a never ending series of shoulder taps. I was completely reliant on HR, my boss, or other co-workers to do and learn anything during my first few weeks.

In a traditional onboarding process, you’re at the mercy of everyone else’s schedules and moods. Did a 2-hour meeting appear on your supervisor’s calendar at the same time as your onboarding meeting? Is there a fire that needs “all hands on deck” level attention? Is your usually chipper boss feeling burnt out after a long week? Well, that’s unfortunate for you and your onboarding needs.

Designing a better experience

In my first weeks here, I’ve seen that Guru has intentionally designed onboarding to be an autonomous process. When I opened my laptop on day one, I had a series of tasks to go through at my own pace in Asana—and the company’s entire knowledge base at my fingertips with Guru. Instead of having to go to long meetings to learn about our office rules and company policies, I could read about them in a matter of minutes.

Questions are a natural part of the onboarding process, but I didn’t have to ask a lot of them because I was set up properly from the beginning. I wasn’t shoulder tapping, I was learning and getting comfortable in my new working environment. For the first time in my career I didn’t feel completely reliant on other people for onboarding, and man, did it feel good.


Helpful autonomy

You’d be surprised at how fast onboarding can be when you don’t have to rely on other people for basic things. Everything I needed to know was already in Guru’s knowledge base, so onboarding came down to a few scheduled check-ins, meetings, and taking things at my own pace.

Being able to search through Cards at my leisure allowed me to dig deeper into topics I had questions about or was interested in. On the flip side, that allowed me to not have to dwell on topics I was already familiar with. I could move as fast or as slow as I needed to, and I could do it all on my own schedule.

That level of flexibility can help any situation, but it’s especially valuable when you’re working remotely. I spend nearly all of my time at home, and sometimes I need a change of scenery (even if it’s just going from the home office to the living room). Being able to watch recorded sales presentations and get up to speed on buyer personas while I burned calories on my exercise bike or chopped vegetables for dinner was huge for me.

I loved that I could really focus on what mattered. Instead of spending time in endless meetings about processes and company policies, I was able to focus on meeting my team members and learning about our latest projects. In the long run, I’ll be much happier that I had a 30-minute meeting with a coworker instead of a 30-minute meeting about office kitchen policies.


True transparency

When I think back to my past employers it can feel like I experienced two companies: the one I interviewed for and the one I actually worked for.

It’s only natural for companies to put their best foot forward when they’re looking for talent, but the lack of transparency can put new hires in an awkward place. If there were big layoffs, recent changes to team structures, or directional pivots, you’d learn about them as time goes on (if you were lucky).

Guru was like a time capsule that gave me a comprehensive view of every part of the company.

I had access to sales presentations, recordings of company-wide meetings, finance reports, and everything I’d need to get an accurate picture. I wasn’t used to that level of transparency, and it completely changed my outlook on the company for the better.


Less stress, more empowerment

Overall, if I had to name what I liked the most about Guru’s onboarding process, it’s how autonomous and empowered I felt. I wasn’t learning at the whims of people that were assigned to onboard me; I was able to truly dive into the experience and make it my own.

Let’s face it, starting a new job is stressful. You’re hyper-focused on making a good first impression and trying to get up to speed on every project, process, and policy. All your coworkers have to do is remember to add the new person to meetings.

I’m not going to pretend like things were absolutely perfect. Of course I had some questions, made some mistakes, and felt a bit self-conscious. Luckily for me, when you’re set up for success from the beginning, “big” problems tend to matter a lot less.

Forgot to sign a document? No problem, you can find a copy in Guru. Have questions about how to participate in an upcoming workshop? Just check the company calendar, reference the Guru card we have for upcoming events, or talk to your onboarding buddy. Need to know what to do today? Check Asana for due dates to see what’s coming up next and do a little pre-work, or dive into some past presentations on buyer personas so you can learn even more about customers.


Innovate your onboarding experience

Remember, a good onboarding experience benefits employers just as much as it does employees. It’s estimated that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for 3 years if they have a positive onboarding experience. Take some time to think about whether your onboarding experience is working for you and your employees, and discover how Guru can help make it one people won’t forget.