Train Now Or Police Later

Read this post by Dave from Agilebits.

“The reality is we could make Slack work for us but it would require constant policing. I simply don’t want to be that bad cop, and I don’t want to hire a police force either. Furthermore, Slack was not designed for the deep, meaningful conversations that are needed to move 1Password forward.”

One of the startling results of our survey is most organisations spend precisely 0 hours training their employees how to collaborate. Yet everyone seems to expect new colleagues to be great team players from day 1.

Consider that for a second. New employees learn who their colleagues are, how to do their work, where the break room is, and even how to safely lift heavy objects…but no-one tells them how to be an effective team member.

What tools should they use for which purpose? Who needs what information and when? How should information be delivered? What are the intricacies of the tools we should know?

If you don’t train now, you will need to police later. And policing isn’t fun.


  1. Richard Lucas says:

    The point is well made.

    Fully agree that giving people tools without training and support is a sign of very bad leadership.

    Do you have good guidelines for how to training people to use Basecamp? I run a TEDx event and some team members are not that keen to learn. so it is a question of dveloping motivation amongst other things.


  2. Courtney Calvin says:

    After onboarding my close-knit team’s first new employees earlier this year, we conducted an After Action Review of the process during a team reflection and learned that we needed to provide more guidance in how to use our operational tools for KM, including Basecamp, Google Drive, and our team Wiki. That realization lead to an acknowledgement that it was time for a Pause & Reflect moment in how we are using these tools, which we have decided to do as a card sort of the various types of content or information that we create and use on Basecamp and where they are best fit on Basecamp and our other tools so that everyone participates in the conversation of how we want to use them. I expect this activity to lead to more consistency and help current and new staff better find and store information about our activities. The other key is an acknowledgement of what Basecamp is good for (communication) and what it’s not (collaboration).

  3. Richard Lucas says:

    How did you train people in Basecamp and Drive. were there tests, target competence levels and assessment
    did you use tools provided by Basecamp and Google. I have to admit I don;t like videos which
    often seem to the be training method of choice for web pages. Is it time for me to change my approach

    I’m interested in examples of Team wikis. What are the best value for money Wikis out there that are easy for
    non specialists to use, ?

  4. Courtney Calvin says:

    I’m afraid that we’ve never gotten that technical about Basecamp training even though we are a team of learning specialists. When a new person joins, part of their onboarding is orienting them to Basecamp and how our team uses it. I spend maybe 10 minutes walking them through the different sections and talking about what we use and what we don’t use. We’ve grown from a team of 10 to a team of 20, but this seems to be enough instruction. If you’re working with a larger number or people less comfortable with technology, that might be more of a challenge. It helps that our leadership also uses Basecamp and what’s on Basecamp helps to inform agendas for meetings, so it’s ingrained in our team culture and rather organic.

    We use Google Apps for much of our work and that includes Google Sites for our wiki. One person on the team created the Google site from a template and I have taken it over and taught myself to use it and now we have it set up in a way that anyone can edit a page and if they want to create a new page or resource, I will help them with it. It is like a wiki approach to an intranet for a small team. We have an FAQ on the wiki that provides some instruction and part of new employees’ onboarding is to add their personal profile or bio. Their onboarding materials live on the wiki as well, so they get used to visiting it early on. We also have some fun categories of information that drive people to it, such as a quote board and kudos board, as well as a reflection blog. Sometimes people read something or attend an event that ties to our work and we use that space to reflect on it. It is truly an organic wiki though and when issues come up, such as level of detail, we are usually able to resolve them in a couple of minutes at our regular weekly team meetings.

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