Talk:New Staff Member Orientation

From FreekiWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


A "buddy" is assigned by HR to newly hired collective members to guide them through their probationary period. The buddy and new hire should initial off on each step


When new staff is hired there are several steps that need to be performed. It's the buddy's job to make certain these steps are accomplished. Some of these things must be done by other people (e.g. an ASS) but it's the buddy's responsibility to make certain that it gets done.

HR paperwork and policy briefing

  • Gather applicable tax info
    • I-9 form (pdf form located on the application server in fgstaff/forms directory)
    • W-4 form (pdf form located on application server in fgstaff/forms directory)
    • After the forms are complete file them in the employee's folder in the Admin drawer of the filing cabinet in the Monkeyhouse.
  • Show him/her the Staff Handbook
    • Especially important are the vacation/sick/holiday policies
      • explain about putting in a schedule request AND bullwinkle ticket for vacations
    • Brief them on what documents can be signed by whom (checks, contracts, invoices)
  • Select committees & direct new hire to send email to <schedule AT freegeek DOT org> with these choices
    • explain Staff Committee (why & when we meet)
  • Sign up for health and dental (Richard & Laurel do this)
  • Update HR Calendar
    • include: start date, 3 month goal-setting, and 6 month probationary review
  • Set up Retirement Plan meeting

Physical orientation

  • Keys (talk to Matteo)
  • Workspace/Office
    • Workspace/Office should have a computer & space for admin work

ASS & Other technical stuff

  • Free Geek email address
  • Application Server account
    • add to applicable groups (e.g. fgstaff and beancounters)
  • Email Lists
    • staff
    • core
    • council
    • committees
    • minutes
  • Phone
    • Darryl can coordinate setting up a phone and creating an extension/voicemail
  • Add to staffworksheet.gnumeric spreadsheet (Ask a beancounter)
  • Add to Contact Info in fgstaff directory on application server
  • Create database account
  • create RT account
  • create wiki account

Technical infrastructure orientation

  • Give new person a workstation or terminal
    • Create a link to appropriate directories (e.g. fgstaff & beancounters)

Cultural indoctrination

  • Introduced around to core volunteers
  • Get photo and bio for staff page
  • Don't tell them they are required to bring donuts to the first staff meeting
  • Explain what to expect the first few weeks
    • what to expect during probationary period
    • how to tell you're doing well = arriving on time, taking floor shifts seriously, moving your position forward, following through with commitments
  • Explain Superbox/Laptop benefits
  • Education
  • Wiki editing
Help:Basic Navigation
Wiki Tutorial
Wiki markup
  • Where to park your car
  • Staff Contact Info (print it out, if desired)
  • Full policy list [[1]]

Other duties

The buddy should also:

  • check-in once a week,
  • be the "go to" person for questions,
  • be proactive about questions and issues, and
  • be sure to check in on how the new member is doing on completing goals set at 3 month mark. The buddy can even help the new collective member distill action plans from items in their job description.

Current buddies

New Sales Person
Laurel is the buddy
Ian is the buddy
Richard is the buddy
Richard is the buddy
Ali is the buddy
Ali is the buddy

Shouldn't we have the buddy give the new person an explanation of our documentation system (or find someone to help do it)? Perhaps it can happen over time, but introducing a new person to RT, the wiki, the email archives, and the fgstaff directory on obsidian would probably be good things to do. Oh, and some basics about the database as well.

Shawn 18:12, 14 Jan 2005 (PST)

Moved to Orienting New Staff Members cause we use it for non collective members as well RfS 17:28, 21 Apr 2006 (PDT)

Old page text: Staff Orientation Howto

This document helps orient people who are new to the staff or core group, and starts to tell them all the miscellaneous stuff they should know. If you're looking for a more basic intro to Free Geek, try Tour Howto.

Our major programs:

FREE GEEK has two main, organized programs for new volunteers:

  • Adoption Program: This program is where people work 24 hours to earn a free computer and a class in how to use it. The program is designed for people with little to no computer experience, but is open to anyone. There is no prerequisite knowledge needed for this program. Participants typically work in receiving, basic testing, and recycling, and we show them whatever they need to know to do the job. Alternately, they can earn double hours for cleaning (we're not the cleanest bunch) or testing monitors.
  • Build: This program teaches people troubleshooting and computer building skills. Participants commit to building six computers for FREE GEEK and in the process learn about hardware assembly, software installation and configuration, and quality control. Builders need to know certain prerequisites that, if they don't already know, they can pick up at other jobs around FREE GEEK -- like card and motherboard sorting and system evaluation.

There are other volunteer opportunities outside of these programs at FREE GEEK, but they require a lot more self motivation and often a high tolerance for a chaotic environment. Some opportunities include:

  • becoming a tour guide
  • joining a Committee
  • after completing the Build program, they may be eligible to volunteer in Advanced or Network Testing, Mac or Laptop Build, or become a Build Instructor

Basic who's who

Staff Member -- someone who's been hired by FREE GEEK to work here. Includes "staff interns", "collective members", and substitutes

Outside Interns -- someone being paid by an outside agency to work here, i.e. SMS

Core Group -- The above two groups of people smooshed together with volunteers that come in and help run the place on a regular basis.

Volunteer -- Anyone who works at FREE GEEK, but isn't getting paid.

Mailing Lists

There are two mailing lists that all staff members need to be on:

  • <staff AT freegeek DOT org>
  • <core AT freegeek DOT org>

Core group members should all be on the core list. Any volunteer that people mistake for a staff member is a likely candidate for the core list. Ditto with folks that we suspect might have taken any arbitrary item (to do something legitimate with it) and we need to ask "does anyone know what happened to such-and-such?"

All people who have keys also need to be on the locks list ( - sign up at

Other Mailing Lists

A zillion mailing lists help FREE GEEK communicate with itself and run and you can sign up for them at .

Staff Meetings

Our schedule for staff meetings and such is:

Every Friday at 10.00 a.m. at FREE GEEK in the Meeting Room is our staff meeting. This is for collective members hired and paid by FREE GEEK. Unless you're sick, out of town, or have a creative excuse you're expected to be there.

These meetings end at 11.00 a.m. or a few minutes earlier in order to let us get FREE GEEK opened up on time.

Other Groups/Meetings

These meetings are open to anyone volunteering or working at FREE GEEK. The schedule for this can be found in the Room Use Calendar#Recurring Weekly Events.

Here's a handy (partial) list of groups that exist at FREE GEEK (see the Structure category for those that have been wikified):

  • ASS -- Administrators of System and Security, responsible for computer infrastructure and security policy.
  • Board of Directors -- the legal entity for FREE GEEK, decides legal and fiscal matters.
  • Coders -- People working on coding projects.
  • Community Council -- the groups that makes basic FREE GEEK policy decisions. Also coordinates between groups when needed.
  • Hardware Grants -- Decides which nonprofits asking for free hardware get it, and makes sure it happens.

Council and Board

Many people ask what is the difference between the Community Council and the Board of Directors. The Council is a group of volunteers, staff, and other workers who are in FREE GEEK on a regular basis and make general policy decisions for FREE GEEK. These policies are then implemented by the Staff and Core Group volunteers. The Board is a group of people that keep an eye on FREE GEEK's fiscal and legal issues. This is the group mentioned in our by-laws that is responsible for FREE GEEK as a corporate entity. Both groups' main purpose is to see that FREE GEEK's mission statement is carried out. Both groups have monthly meetings that are open to any FREE GEEK worker or volunteer.

Links to Meeting-Related Info

Staff Schedule

There's a schedule that covers the staff members and other workers and can be found online at and is maintained by Richard and Dave (not some arbitrary linux script that assigns us each randomly to strangely named jobs, even though that's the story we tell other people).

Howto Documentation

There used to be documentation for how to do everything at Free Geek on the web site. As of 12/05, we are actively moving this to the wiki. See Category:Howto.

( is still available, with the original Howtos. Keep in mind that many of these are out of date.)

Free Geek Wiki Pages

Our wiki (named Freekiwiki) holds policy stuff, discussions of current events, documents that standing committees are working on, recipes, and random thoughts. You're looking at it!

Classes and Workshops

There are regular classes and workshops that make FREE GEEK run. There's a signup book at the front desk for folks who want to sign up. Basically:

  • Build workshops every day (11.30 and 3.30 Tuesday - Saturday)
  • Basic Command Line for Builders on Tuesdays & Saturdays
  • FreekBox Adoption classes on Thursdays & Saturdays

Times all subject to change, additions and subtractions.

Intern Reviews

When Free Geek hires interns, we give them a review 3 months after they started. The documentation/checklist for that process is at Intern Reviews.

Collective Member Reviews

When Free Geek hires collective members, they have probationary collective status until their 3 month review. The review process is detailed in Collective Member Review Policy.

Basic Stuff

Check FREE GEEK's web site out for things like our address and phone number, hours, what stuff we take and don't etc. .

The volunteer manual contains some basic codes of conduct that everyone at Free Geek should be aware of. .

And of course ...

... there are many, many, many other things to learn -- this is just a start.

Add to this

  • Conflict of Interest Agreement