Building the Foundation for a Network of 300,000 Volunteers

Swing Left Prepares to Double in Size by the end of 2018

On January 18th, 2017, Swing Left launched a small website with a single purpose: enter your ZIP Code, and it would find the nearest U.S. House district whose seat was decided by a small margin. By January 22, over 100,000 people had signed up.

Matt Ewing
Chief Community Officer

“Our team is made up of talented self-starters. But as we expand, we need more established processes.”

Growth Brings New Challenges

Soon Matt Ewing, Swing Left's Chief Community Officer, found himself with more new volunteers than anyone anticipated.

Figuring out who did what became a challenge, and the knowledge that wasn't locked in key staff members was a sea of Google docs that quickly became outdated as volunteers joined and left. Getting new volunteers up-to-speed took weeks, and with many balancing full-time jobs, high attrition was the norm.

“We’re a distributed office, so we really have to take the initiative on culture.”

Onboarding Helps New Staff Quickly Ramp Up

Standardization brought order to an ad-hoc process.

Onboarding Hub

New members are sent to Swing Left's onboarding hub. A one-sheet sets expectations and guides them through their first week.

New Hire Checklists

Checklists for everyone involved make sure new members get set up, announced to the team, and paired with mentors and stakeholders on the first day.

  • Manager calls with verbal offer
  • HR emails offer and e-signature
  • HR requests a head shot and short bio
  • Manager and HR pick a mentor
  • Manager adds hire to shared calendars
  • Manager adds one-on-one to calendar

Drip Messaging in Slack

After signing up for the team’s Slack, members are greeted by Aloha, a chat bot that uses the power of nudges to guide them towards resources that will help them ramp up.

“When we boiled down the journey map into checklist items, that was the moment it all came together.”

More Signal, Less Noise

New members report higher engagement compared to before the onboarding initiative.

Significant Drop in Wasted Time

A set of new Slack channel conventions with dedicated channels for help requests has cut down on confusion and back-and-forth. Even the weekly calls have become quicker and more productive by moving status reports to brief weekly updates sent via Slack ahead-of-time.

The Next Phase: Team by Team

With global standards in place, now it's time to review onboarding across departments and tailor the experience to each team.

We’ve gone from treating onboarding as an HR problem to integrating new hires into their team and the wider organization.”

A Report for Decision Makers

How Onboarding Can Add 30% to Your Hiring Budget

Read a Sample