Hey, this is Zoheab. I lead People Success at Plum, and I've been in this space for almost ten years. As a manager and individual contributor early in my career, I've faced one common challenge – framing and writing communication and documents across different checkpoints on the employee journey.
Even so, when you're part of a startup.
When you're leading People Success at a startup, you focus on a million things. One minute you're pitching your company to a prospective engineering lead, and the next, you're evaluating a tool to improve the employee experience. Before you know it, it's 5 pm, and you're yet to send an onboarding email to the batch joining tomorrow.
So, you write a three-line message covering the bare minimum.
From writing onboarding emails to framing 1:1 templates, from building decks for monthly all-hands to sending a feedback email, creating communications to engage with employees is a constant requirement that we often have.
Consistent communications that delight our employees remain a considerable challenge.
"But the internet has templates for that."
Yes… and no.
Google 'HR templates', and you will find a plethora of results – ranging from 25 to 2500 ready-to-use documents.
We didn't want this to be a set of purely functional documents. We're a company focused on cultivating a culture of care from day one. And a culture of care isn't about the benefits and perks we provide; it's also about how we make our people feel when we talk to them.
We're a people-first company and wanted our communications to reflect that.
"So what about ChatGPT?"
Our hiring emails are often our first point of contact with a prospective employee. An onboarding mail would be the first thing a new employee would read. Our exit process email would be the last thing an employee would receive from the company.
What we send could leave lasting impressions on the people we work with.
It didn't seem right to have them written by a bot. Maybe someday, technology is evolved enough to infuse empathy and care when it generates an onboarding email, but that day is not today.
Our communications need to be written for people, by people. Existing templates failed us on the former, and ChatGPT couldn't deliver on the latter.
So we took matters into our own hands.
In December last year, we decided to sit down with some of the best writers on our marketing team to develop a repository of templates, from talent acquisition to employee engagement to exit processes.
They spent a week talking to us to understand where we were coming from and took another week to develop it for us. Seven working days (and 5463 comments later), we had a list of templates we loved.
The handbook isn't just a repository of templates. The ecosystem is filled with employer brands that we look up to and love, and some of them were kind enough to open-source their processes and formats to the world. We've put them all in one place and tagged them by category.
Paying it forward.
The toolkit's been extremely useful for the team. It's saved hours of our time and has ensured an element of empathy and care baked into our employee communications.
We're aware that we stand on the shoulders of giants as we build a culture of care. We wouldn't have known where to begin if organisations like Springworks, Notion and Obvious had not decided to share their excellent work for others to build on top of.
In the spirit of paying it forward, we're opening up our collection of templates and inspiration for everyone to access.
We're calling it the People Success Resource Kit, and it contains the following:
- Templates for talent acquisition, onboarding, management, and exit processes
- Tips, along with examples of how we do it at Plum
- Signs that you need this template and signs that you've outgrown it.
- Starter kits and resources from other people-first startups that we've found extremely useful through our research
Access it here, and let us know what you think.
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