(Hey! Listen!) The first Zelda game (1987) set you off on your own after only 7 words and less than a minute of play. As game companies recognized how onboarding is crucial to retention and experience, they continuously iterated on the structures and durations. Future introductions ranged from 17 minutes to almost 3 hours and added travel companions to help guide you on your journey, such as Navi or Midna. Whether your company is just getting started or is already established, there’s valuable lessons we can glean from their implementations.
Your new teammate’s onboarding experience will set the tone for their time with you. Too few details and we risk leaving them lost, alone and frustrated. Too many, and we risk overwhelming them. Crafting a repeatable, smooth onboarding process for first time questers or seasoned adventurers is critical to building a healthy team culture. This process itself is a journey that requires buy in, time, and practice. What lessons can we take from Zelda and how can we apply those to improve the onboarding experience in tech?