Level Up - Onboarding that enables writers to thrive




How do you help a newly hired writer get off to a good start without overwhelming them? And how do you continue to support their growth?

Company onboarding frequently lacks context and resources for writers to ramp up and grow successfully, leaving writers struggling to onboard themselves and their teammates.

I’ve experienced onboarding writers from various perspectives across my 20+ year career, including:

  • First tech writer at a company, establishing structure, relationships, and boundaries
  • One writer among many, navigating the complexity of a large, global company
  • Helping writers from acquisitions to transition into a company
  • Documenting knowledge when leaving a team or company
  • Doc tool support and education for writers and SMEs
  • Official and unofficial leadership and mentoring

When I joined Google, I saw onboarding gaps that I’ve seen throughout my career. I brought together a team to develop writer-specific onboarding that we've used to ramp up many tech writers, editors, and tech writing managers since mid-2019. The education supports writers coming from a wide range of experience who will write for consumer or developer products, internal projects, or data centers.

This talk is for anyone onboarding a new writer, whether it's your first or your fiftieth. You'll learn about:

  • Why writers are poorly served by generic onboarding
  • My Google onboarding experience and how it led to creation of our education
  • Our approach to creating our onboarding and how to apply it to your own context
  • Selecting and prioritizing content
  • Providing a path for growth after the initial education
  • Scaling education, fostering doc culture, and increasing the visibility of documentarians
  • Conference: Write the Docs Portland
  • Year: 2021

About the speaker

Nicola Yap