Digging through inboxes, messy folders and cluttered conversations to find crucial information is never fun. Not only is it frustrating, but it’s a major time suck for employees and teams.
Proper documentation and content organization are key to boosting team productivity — especially when working remotely. And one of the best tools on the market to get that done is Confluence.
Confluence makes it easy to create, share, and organize all company documents and content — but as with any new tool, there’s a bit of a learning curve to bring your team up to speed.
We’ll walk through everything you need to do to build a Confluence onboarding program for your team.
What is Confluence?
Confluence is a versatile team workspace that can be used for knowledge management, project collaboration, and team communication. Using Pages and Spaces, you can create rich, dynamic content that is easy to organize and search.
Confluence comes packed with features that make documentation and collaboration easy, including:
- Real-time editing. Edit pages in real time with the help of your team.
- Commenting. Let team members provide feedback or suggestions in comments, including likes, images and emojis.
- Page trees. View page hierarchy and linked content with easy-to-view page trees.
- Templates. Customizable templates make it easy to create your most popular pages.
- Notifications. Keep important team members up to date with tags and task assignments.
- Permissions. Give access to specific team members to keep sensitive company information protected.
- Atlassian suite. Integrate seamlessly with other Atlassian tools, including Jira and Trello.
Building your Confluence onboarding plan
A strong onboarding plan will set your team up for success. Here’s how you can introduce your team to Confluence (with a little help from Scribe!) and show them how to get the most out of the platform.
1. Set up your Confluence Spaces
Each Confluence Space is a collection of pages that all relate to a specific project, team, or purpose. Think of each Space as a shared folder.
Before starting to onboard your team, build out each Space. Your Spaces should match your team’s unique needs, but might include a mix of:
- Project spaces dedicated to major projects, including tasks, specifications, teams involved in the completion process, and project deadlines.
- Team spaces where each team or department can share goals, resources, updates, and high-level strategy.
- Knowledge base spaces for storing answers to frequently asked questions or policies.
- Personal spaces that each team member can customize for quick access to notes, personal goals, and projects.
Set permissions for each Space. You can do this by creating user groups or assigning permissions by person.
2. Create page templates
Templates fast track the onboarding process by giving your team a leg up in the documentation process. Creating templates for popular or recurring page types can shorten onboarding time and help your team practice creating new content in Confluence.
Start by creating templates for pages your team is most likely to use, such as meeting notes or process overviews. If you’re unsure of where to start, try browsing software documentation examples for more inspiration.
Confluence offers pre-made templates to make this part of the process even easier.
3. Prioritize content organization and navigation
The best time to organize your content is when you’re starting with a fresh slate. Before you introduce your team to Confluence, come up with a designated plan for organizing your content so it’s easy for your team to find and navigate.
Use your Confluence spaces and pages to establish a content hierarchy or structure. Make sure appropriate pages are linked and it’s easy for your team to find the next piece of content they might need.
It’s also important to create a plan for revising your hierarchy or organizational structure as new content develops. Determine a process to follow when your team needs to create new content that doesn’t fit within the structure you’ve already set.
4. Integrate your apps & tools
Confluence integrates with the tools and apps your team already uses and loves. Connecting your accounts makes it easy to move information from one tool to another, increasing team productivity.
The Atlassian Marketplace offers additional apps and themes to get more out of Confluence. Adding features like page tabs, custom content visibility, or in-line spreadsheets can make it easier to customize your content to meet your team’s needs.
5. Build your onboarding checklist
An onboarding checklist is the best way to tell your team what steps they need to follow to familiarize themselves with the new tool.
Create personalized pages in Confluence for each employee to follow. Include due dates, subtasks, and other resources to ensure they complete the appropriate tasks on time.
Embedding Scribes to your Confluence checklist gives individuals more detailed instructions on how to complete tasks while keeping your pages clean and easy to navigate. With Scribe, you can create how-to guides with images and GIFs that explain in detail each step your users should follow.
Here’s how to integrate Scribe in Confluence to directly embed your Scribes:
You can also use Scribe to create Pages to share in Confluence as links. Pages are helpful when a particular task involves multiple tasks or when a particular activity requires additional explanation or context.
Confluence onboarding best practices
Creating an onboarding process is just the starting point. To make your transition to Confluence easier and more successful, here are the best practices and frequently asked questions you need to know.
1. Ease into the transition
When introducing a new tool, you want to get the most out of it immediately. But jumping too quickly into something new can scare off your team and make it difficult for them to adjust fully.
Create an onboarding timeline that gets you to achieve Confluence’s full value quickly but gives your team some room to breathe and play around. Schedule an introductory meeting to update your team on the changes they can expect, why you’re making those changes, and what will be expected of them.
2. Encourage team members to create their own page
The best way to get familiar with a new tool is to experiment a bit. Encouraging team members to create their own personal page will give them a low-risk opportunity to see what Confluence is capable of.
Pages might include bios, an employee headshot, and what they do at the company. It can also be a great opportunity to let your team be creative. They can use their personal page to share their hobbies, fun facts, pictures of their pets, or anything else they may want to show off.
Interacting with each other’s pages can also give your team experience commenting on or providing feedback in Confluence. These low-risk opportunities to explore the tool can give them more confidence to use it for projects, collaboration, or creating content.
3. Be the first line of support
Confluence (and Atlassian) have a great user support hub, but when your team runs into a question, you’re likely the first person they’re going to look to for answers. Preparing to answer common questions or finding what resources are readily available will make it easier to answer team questions and keep the onboarding process running smoothly.
Depending on the size of your team, you may want to recruit a few other team members to act as inside onboarding support staff and tool advocates. Bringing team leaders up to speed before onboarding the rest of your team can give them more experience and familiarity with the tool so they can answer questions independently.
This tiered approach to onboarding might take a bit longer, but it can be extremely helpful for larger teams.
4. Look for ongoing improvement opportunities
It’s hard to get new processes right the first time around — and that’s okay. If you find that your Confluence onboarding process isn’t going as smoothly as you hoped, look for the areas you can improve.
How your team uses Confluence will likely change as you grow, scale, and your offerings change. It’s important to continue to review your onboarding process to ensure it aligns with the way things are currently done.
Let your team provide feedback on what they think could be improved. Using surveys, polls, and group discussions can make it easy to collaborate on how to make your onboarding process as strong as it should be.
Make Confluence onboarding even easier with Scribe
Confluence is a strong tool on its own, but when paired with the power of Scribe, it’s even stronger. With Scribe, you don’t need to worry about perfectly describing how to complete each task — you can show them. Building interactive, visual, and easy-to-follow guides to embed with your Confluence pages can streamline your entire onboarding process.
See for yourself with Scribe — for free!