Onboarding new employees is a long-lasting process. It takes one to three years for a new employee to get fully integrated with a new work environment, to know colleagues, learn the culture and understand the structure; in short, be an integrated part of the system. Onboarding processes are often limited, and often thought of as a one-way process, with a lot of explaining to the new employee. Often on-boarding is disregarded entirely and one hopes that the new employee will learn organically over time. This has two effects: It takes an unnecessarily long time and leaves big white spots in the employee’s knowledge. These spots might remain over time and make collaboration less smooth and efficient.

We think SOD is a sound methodology for allowing the new employee to onboard herself by exploring the new workplace. A positive effect is that the new employee gets a very clear responsibility for her own learning, and will be encouraged to take an active role. Giving the new employee or collaborator ample time to explore and map out and co-investigate with colleagues is well-invested time. This process should be highly efficient and profitable for the employer.

Below is an example of such an onboarding process conducted by Simon Fladen Lie, a fresh employee at Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace, the Division Land Systems (DLS). The employee was a student at the University of South East Norway (USN) pursuing an industrial master’s in Systems Engineering, where he was joining a short course in SOD.

From the introduction to the map (Simon Fladen Lie 2023) :

As a new hire at The Kongsberg Group, I was overwhelmed with the amount of information I had to absorb during my first few weeks on the job. There were multiple projects to keep track of, laws and regulations to understand, and new technologies to study. To keep up with the constant stream of meetings, workshops, and other activities, I often found myself frantically searching through a complex system for specific information if I had forgotten any details. Thet’s why why i decided to create an onboarding gigamap, a complrehensive resource that can be shared with new hires to provide all the necessary infomraiton in one convenient locaiton. By having this resource available, new employees can feel more confident and prepared as they navigate their roles within the company. As a recent hire at KDA, I found it valuable to reflect on and consolidate my understanding of the various topics that are important for my comprehension and success in my new role.