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Better Employee Onboarding

The free course will show you how to setup an employee onboarding process that engages people with strategy from day one:

Cascade Guide_ Cascade for Onboarding


Cascade is an excellent platform to assist with the onboarding of employees. It provides new employees with:

  • An easy way to explore the organization’s overall strategy
  • An easy way to explore their own team’s strategy
  • A simple view of their own goals and how those goals contribute to the strategy
  • A way to access their own role description as well as the role descriptions of their new team mates
  • A dashboard from which they can complete other onboarding steps (such as signing documents, etc)
  • A way to quickly take-over the goals, projects and KPIs of their predecessor

In this guide, we will show you how to create an Onboarding Dashboard which you can share with all new employees. The Onboarding Dashboard will be the main tool we will be using in this guide.

1: Prepare users & roles

If you’re using Cascade’s Recruit app, this step will be taken care of for you. The Recruit app includes an onboarding option that will automatically create a user record and appoint that user into the appropriate role. This occurs when the new employee accepts a job offer you have provided to them.

If you’re not using the Recruit app, you will need to manually create the role and user record, then appoint the new user to the role record.

For new employees going into new roles:

If this is an entirely new role that has been created for this employee, you’ll need to navigate to Admin -> Organization -> Roles.

From there, you’ll follow the process to create a new role. Once the role is create, follow the steps to create a new user, being sure to appoint the new user into the newly created role.

For new employees going into existing roles:

If your new employee is going into a role that is already defined in Cascade (ie taking over an incumbent’s role) then don’t create a new role. Navigate to Admin -> Organization -> Roles. Make sure that you un-appoint the old employee from the role that the new employee will be going into.

Then, follow the steps to create a new user and appoint them into the empty role.

2: Create the employee Role Description

If you haven’t already done so, you’ll want to ensure that a good quality Role Description exists for the new role. This means that when the new employee visits their Onboarding Dashboard, they will see the Role Description there.

Follow the process to create a Role Description

3: Assign goals to the employee

If your new employee will be taking-over a role that was previously occupied by an incumbent, they will automatically inherit all of the goals (including their current status, updates, etc) from that incumbent.

If however you have created an entirely new role for the new employee, they won’t have any existing goals in Cascade.

It’s a good idea to assign some goals from the strategic plan to the new employee to give them a way to get started quickly in their new role.

These goals will show in the Onboarding Dashboard that we will be creating for the employee shortly.

4: Create an Onboarding Dashboard

We’ll now start the process of creating the Onboarding Dashboard which will form the heart of the employee onboarding process. Navigate to [Your Name] -> My Dashboard.

Click the Dashboards drop-down button and then click Add Dashboard. Name the new dashboard ‘Welcome to [Your Company Name Here]’.

You will now have a blank dashboard onto which we will start adding widgets.

5: Add a welcome widget

We’ll start by adding a widget to the dashboard which will welcome the new employee to the organization. Click the + Widget button then select the ‘Notes’ widget and add it to the dashboard.

Option 1: Record a welcome video

Use your favorite video recording tool (a mobile phone will work just fine) to record a video welcoming the new employee to your organization. You may want to ask the CEO or other prominent figure to feature in the video. A typical script for such a video might be:

  • Hi, my name is XXX and I’m the CEO of XX
  • Welcome to XXX, we’re delighted you’ve joined us
  • Our vision is to…
  • On this dashboard, you’ll find tons of info about your new role, your goals, and about our strategy in general

Once you’ve created the video, you’ll need to upload it to a video hosting service (good options for business include Wistia or Vimeo, but you can also use YouTube).

Finally, just copy the link to the video into the ‘Video’ section of the new Notes widget you have created, save the widget and your new video will appear on the dashboard ready to be played.

Option 2: Use text / pictures

If you don’t want to use video, simply select the ‘Text’ option for new Notes widget. You’ll get a rich-text editor where you can craft your welcome message. Don’t forget that you can also include pictures in the text editor if you need.

6: Add a widget for onboarding tasks & useful information

Next we’re going to add a widget that walks the new employee through any key tasks they need complete (outside of Cascade) and points them in the direction of some useful resources for their new role.

Start by creating another Notes widget, exactly as we did in step 5. Name this widget ‘Onboarding Tasks & Useful Info’. We’re going to be using the ‘Notes’ type for this widget (note the ‘Video’ type).

Onboarding Tasks

Whilst you can’t use Cascade for every single possible type of onboarding task, you can at least link to other web systems you use for different things. For example, internally we:

  • Have employees sign our IT Non Disclosure Agreement in HelloSign.
  • Ask them to submit their payroll information via a Google Form which is automatically sent to our payroll team.

Tools like Google Forms can be used for a wide range of automations. Just be sure to setup the security side of things to match your specific needs.

Useful Resources

In addition to tasks, you might also want to add links to useful internal resources for your new employee. We add links things such as:

  • Our knowledge base & internal wiki
  • Our help video library
  • A list of local restaurants and coffee shops we all love

Just add text and links using the rich-text editor.

7: Add the My Goals widget

The My Goals widget is going to show your new employee exactly what goals have been assigned to them from the strategic plan. This is why in step 3 we made certain to actually assign some goals to the employee so that they would appear on this widget.

Click the + Widget button and then select the ‘Multi-Goals’ widget. In the widget’s settings, choose the ‘My Goals’ option. You can change the other options here too if you life, but the default settings work fairly well for this purpose.

Save the widget settings and you will see that the widget will now be displaying your goals. This is because the way this widget works is that it will show the goals which are assigned to the user who is viewing the dashboard. This makes it a perfect choice for an Onboarding Dashboard as it will change dynamically to show the goals of whichever employee is looking at the dashboard.

8: Add a ‘How Your Goal Contributes’ widget

This cool little widget will show a pie chart of how the new employee’s goals will help the organization achieve its strategic plan. This is all done automatically using Cascade’s alignment logic.

All you need to do is click the + Widget button, then select the ‘Contribution’ widget. Configure the widget to show ‘Focus Area Contribution’ then select the option for ‘Me’.

This will show a pie chart of how the current viewer of the dashboard’s goals are contributing to the strategic plan.

9: Add a Values widget

This is a small thing, but you might want to use this opportunity to reinforce the importance of the organization’s values on your Onboarding Dashboard.

Simply click the + Widgets button then select the Values widget. You can configure the widget show the values from any of the strategic plans you have previously created.

10: Add a Role Description widget

Assuming you have previously created a Role Description for this new employee, you can display this on their Onboarding Dashboard.

Click the +Widgets button, then select the Role Description widget. Configure the widget to show ‘Your Role Description’. Again, this option will show the Role Description of whichever user is currently viewing the dashboard, which means it will automatically adapt to anyone who you share the dashboard with (such as new employees).

11: Add the strategic plan as a widget

The final widget we’re going to create is going to allow your new employee to easily explore the strategic plan of the organization. This is a critical part of engaging new employees with your strategy.

Click the + Widget button and then select the Planner widget. Configure the widget to show the appropriate strategic plan (usually the ‘top’ level plan) and decide whether you want it to appear in the ‘Planner’ style or the ‘Gantt’ style.

12: Share your Onboarding Dashboard

Now that we’ve finishing adding our widgets, the final step is to share your widget with your employees. Even though this is an Onboarding Dashboard, the easiest thing to do is to share this with all employees, as this means you won’t need to remember to add new starts to the sharing list every time. You’ll probably find that even current employees appreciate the content of the dashboard, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

Click the Share button, then select ‘Share with entire organization’. Alternatively, if you want to only share the dashboard with new employees, you’ll need to manually add them one-by-one as they start using the ‘Share with specific people’ option instead.

13: Invite new employees to Cascade

Don’t forget to invite any new employee that joins your organization to the Cascade application. You can do this easily by navigating to Admin -> Organization -> Users. From there you’ll see a small envelope icon next to each employee’s name. Simply click the envelope icon to send them a welcome email which will include a new username / password and a link to access Cascade. Easy!

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