Jan 29, 2021

The undeniable link between storytelling, onboarding + high performance

By Hello-I’m-Nick @ Unsplash

Back in 2018, I wrote a blog piece called Onboarding, Schmonboarding. I like to think my writing style (and rhyming ability) has since improved — but my belief that good onboarding is critical to high performance, productivity and engagement hasn’t changed. In fact, now that more of us are being onboarding remotely — I think it’s become even more crucial to get this right.

Last year, we shared this remote onboarding playbook which we know many businesses, have benefited greatly from and been able to apply to their context and culture.

For this issue, inline with our storytelling theme, I wanted to take a moment to highlight a model called the ‘Tuckman curve’ and illustrate how it can be used to support onboarding.

The model, developed by Bruce (you guessed it) Tuckman dates back to the 1960’s. It’s been developed over time, with more research being done in how it can be applied within different contexts, but these core foundational states it calls out to describe how teams are formed hold true. At its core, the Tuckman model tells us that the path to being a high performing team is messy. And it is hard. We know this!

The feelings expressed in the diagram below hold true for every business!

So — what does this mean for onboarding…?

Everytime you bring a new person into the business, teams go back to ‘forming’ and must re-learn how to work together effectively as a team again. The Tuckman curve can be used to share an important story with teams undergoing to understand that when new team members are brought on board, changes in team dynamics are normal — in fact desired — and that it will feel messy until it doesn’t anymore. In addition, storytelling (the telling of the story of ‘how we got here and where we are going’ is critical for newbies to understand so that they can build context as quickly as possible.

Incredible onboarding therefore enables teams to progress through Forming, to Norming, via Storming and into Performing as quickly as possible!

Written by Founder @ Unleashed.Company Anouk Agussol.

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