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How Asana uses work management for employee onboarding

Caeleigh MacNeil contributor headshotCaeleigh MacNeil
June 28th, 2024
3 min read
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A company’s onboarding process can make or break a new hire’s performance. No one knows this better than Mike Jordan, Asana’s Head of Growth and Impact. With 20+ years of experience under his belt, Jordan helps Asana create the right frameworks to help every employee thrive. 

His team covers four main areas: 

  • Global people partners

  • Learning and development

  • Talent and performance management

  • Employee relations

Together, these areas make up the entire employee experience at Asana—including the company’s best-in-class onboarding program. And according to Jordan, the Asana platform has been key for onboarding success. “If Asana didn’t have Asana, I’d be surprised if we had the same great onboarding experience,” he says. 

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Overcoming onboarding challenges with Asana

“At every company I’ve worked at, managers have a hard time with onboarding,” says Jordan. “They’re trying to create a thoughtful experience for employees, but that’s challenging without a central space to share information and track progress.This can be especially true of HR teams, who don’t technically own the experience or have the resources they need to create the high quality experience they want to.” 

Managers are forced to navigate multiple platforms to give new hires the resources and training they need, while providing context and introducing them to the right people, at the right time. And through all that, there’s no clear way to track progress and understand how new employees are doing. “It takes a lot of lifting to get everything right,” says Jordan. 

But with Asana, onboarding is simpler. “Asana lets us share information in one place, create standardized onboarding templates so all employees get a consistent experience, and give managers insight into what’s happening—without having to do a lot of work,” Jordan explains. “As a result, new hires are more successful and can integrate faster into the company.”

Here’s an in-depth look at how Jordan’s team optimizes onboarding with Asana.

Standardizing onboarding processes

With onboarding, consistency is key. In Jordan’s experience, this is a challenge across companies—from small startups to large enterprises—where there isn’t a standardized process for all teams. “Employees tend to have a great experience if they join a team that puts a lot of resources into onboarding, or a terrible experience on teams with fewer resources and more time pressure,” says Jordan. 

To solve this, Jordan’s team created a standardized onboarding workflow with template projects.  Mostly, these take the shape of onboarding checklists. Then they can easily duplicate these templates for every new employee to ensure they’re completing the right steps, at the right time. Each team can customize these projects to fit their needs, while still maintaining the same quality experience. “For the people team, managers, and employees, a standardized process gives us higher confidence that new hires will have a good experience,” Jordan explains. While these projects don't replace workshops or welcome sessions for new employees, they augment the experience and connect the dots for employees.

For example, Jordan has a new leader joining soon and is working through this process himself. “I’ve been assigned all my onboarding tasks to make sure I set up the onboarding project, assign a mentor to the new hire, and add them to the project so they can start on their tasks,” he says. “Then I can add onboarding tasks that are more specific to the function and the work, but I have a 90% starting point.”

Asana on Asana employee onboarding project list product UI

Streamlining handoffs

At Asana, multiple teams collaborate to ensure new hires are set up for success—all starting when they sign their offer letter. Recruiters pass information along to the People Operations team, who kick off steps like IT setup, payment, benefits, hiring manager tasks, new hire communications, and more. There are a lot of moving pieces, and Asana helps the team keep track so nothing falls through the cracks. 

Here’s a high-level view of how this works: 

  1. When a new hire signs their offer letter, an automation instantly notifies People Operations that a new employee is joining. 

  2. Integrations with Greenhouse and Workday automatically pull in the new employee’s data for the team to review and approve. 

  3. Once information is approved, an automation kicks off preparation tasks for the hiring manager. 

  4. The People Operations team uses one primary project to track all preboarding operations, with custom labels for details like exemption status, location, and more. 

  5. A library of template projects lets them quickly duplicate onboarding checklists for each new hire, ensuring a standardized experience. 

The key to Asana’s onboarding success? Integrations. “For enterprise companies especially, integrations are key to scaling onboarding processes with Asana,” says Zach Warner, Asana’s People Development Program Manager. “That way you can continue using specialized tools like Greenhouse and Workday by integrating them seamlessly into your Asana workflow.” 

[Resources] Asana on Asana employee onboarding custom rules product UI

Turn first days into first wins

Onboarding doesn’t have to be so hard. Asana gives your business one source of truth to standardize processes, pass information seamlessly between teams, and check every box before—and after—new hires join. 

Get new hires up to speed faster

Keep your team’s priorities on track with streamlined employee onboarding and shorter ramp-up periods.

Get new hires up to speed faster

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