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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Rustemeyer

A Solution Admin’s Practical Guide to Smartsheet - Part 3 | Onboarding Users to a Smartsheet Solution

Updated: Jan 23

Onboarding new hires and new users

We started this series by defining the difference between a Smartsheet System Admin and a Solution Admin, key domains Solution Admins must master to achieve Operational Excellence, challenges they face in those domains, and practical solutions that can be implemented to overcome those obstacles.  

If you want to catch up, you can read Part 1 or Part 2.

Part 3: Onboarding Users to a Smartsheet Solution


The initial onboarding process can be a maze for both new and existing team members.


Create robust onboarding materials, including guides and tutorials, utilize templates for swift user adoption, offer continuous support through forums, and collaborate with internal change management for seamless integration into new hire systems.

The initial onboarding process can be a maze for both new and existing team members. Solution Admins are responsible for ensuring new solution users, whether they are joining from another team or as a new hire, have access to the knowledge base of the overall solution and understand the impact it drives for the business. It is equally important that new users understand their level of involvement, why their contribution is valuable, and how their inputs affect processes and workflows within the solution. Without an effective onboarding process and supporting content, Solution Admins run the risk of new user adoption, ultimately decreasing value for all users involved over time.

Create comprehensive onboarding guides, video tutorials, and conduct training sessions to ensure everyone is well-versed in Smartsheet functionalities. Utilize Smartsheet templates to fast-track user adoption and provide ongoing support through forums or dedicated support channels. Once you have the right set of assets, partner with any internal change management resources to ensure these assets are available in learning management or other systems new hires would access when they join the team.

Now that we have identified the roadblocks that will inevitably become a reality, let's look at some practical solutions that can be implemented to improve how Solution Admins onboard users to Smartsheet solutions.


5-Step Action Plan for Effective Smartsheet Onboarding 

To ensure effective onboarding and to maximize the value of your Smartsheet solution, you should review the action plan provided below. You don't have to handle this alone - seek help from people managers responsible for business unit teams using the solution. It's important to get their support in developing an effective onboarding strategy.

Step 1: Assess and Prepare:

  • Analyze your current onboarding process: Review existing materials, identify gaps, and understand new hire workflow.

  • Gather necessary information: Collect details on teams, roles, and typical Smartsheet usage for different positions.

  • Prepare onboarding resources: Update or create Smartsheet-specific onboarding guides, video tutorials, and quick reference sheets or dashboards.

Step 2: Welcome and Introduce:

  • Personalized welcome email: Send a warm welcome with their Smartsheet login details, access links, and a brief introduction to your team and solution.

  • Schedule a virtual meet-and-greet: Introduce new hires to key Smartsheet users and team members who can answer questions and offer support.

  • Walkthrough of core functionalities: Conduct a live or prerecorded video demonstration of essential Smartsheet features relevant to their role.

Step 3: Hands-on Training and Practice:

  • Tailored training sessions: Provide role-specific training sessions focused on relevant workflows and templates used by their team.

  • Encourage individual exploration to drive user agency and autonomy within the Smartsheet platform: 

  • Encourage users unfamiliar with Smartsheet capabilities to explore free training resources available to them on the Smartsheet website. Or, if your account has Smartsheet University available, encourage them to step through self-paced or instructor-led training through more in-depth courses.

  • Assign practice tasks using pre-built Smartsheet templates, disconnected from the real-world solution, to guide them through typical scenarios in safe space that is ok to “break”.

Step 4: Ongoing Support and Feedback:

  • Create a dedicated support channel: Set up a forum, Slack channel, or internal dashboard for ongoing questions and troubleshooting.

  • Offer regular check-ins: Schedule follow-up meetings or calls to address concerns, answer questions, and provide additional support.

  • Gather feedback and iterate: Use Smartsheet feedback forms to understand new hires' experience and improve your onboarding process continuously.

Step 5: Connect and Celebrate:

  • Connect new hires with collaborators: Introduce them to team members they'll be working with on Smartsheet projects.

  • Highlight their contributions: Publicly recognize and celebrate new hires' successful use of Smartsheet within the team. Elevating wins and tying them back to the original intent and vision of the solution is even helpful for existing team members who need a reminder from time to time.

  • Encourage peer-to-peer learning: Create opportunities for new hires to share their knowledge and tips with other team members.


Bonus Tip: Partner with your HR or training teams to integrate your Smartsheet onboarding materials into their new hire onboarding process and/or learning management systems. This ensures new hires encounter your tools and resources as part of the organizational onboarding process and promotes wider adoption.


By following these steps and continuously adapting your approach, you can ensure a smooth and effective onboarding experience for new hires to your Smartsheet solution, setting them up for success and maximizing the value of your platform for everyone involved.

In Part 4 of this series we’ll dive into practical tips on Access and User Management of a Smartsheet solution.


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