Whether you're getting virtual coffee meetups off the ground or trying a mentorship program for the first time, there are a few steps we recommend to all teams to make your connections program a success.
Create a dedicated Donut channel, and make the program opt-in. Stay out of #general if you can. When folks have explicitly opted into the program and know to expect intros, meeting completion rates are higher and it's a better experience for everyone involved.
Getting as much participation as possible always makes the program better! Try turning on our free welcome message to let new joiners know about your Donut channel(s), and be sure to announce it via Slack and/or email regularly.
As you're announcing Donut, set clear expectations: let people know where, when, and how often to expect intros. Make sure they know it's okay to take time out of their schedule to complete them (even better if it's coming from a company leader).
If there's a specific purpose for meetings like reviewing code together or hopping on sales demo calls, be sure to spell that out for participants. And don't forget to give them instructions for snoozing or opting out.
Make the purpose of meetings clear to participants. If it's a social occasion, turn on free conversation starters to break the ice. Or add conversation prompts or links to resources like a feedback rubric to your intro message.
Reduce friction for scheduling meetings: If your team uses Google Calendar and/or Zoom, turn on Donut's integrations to allow them to schedule and start calls right from their intro message. If you're in multiple time zones, consider setting aside a common day/time that everyone is expected to do their Donut meetups.
Encourage folks to share selfies or things they learned or discussed during their Donut meetups back in the channel. People tend to upvote and thread off these posts, which creates a positive feedback loop and incentivizes others to participate.
If things are going well, consider creating multiple Donut channels. It's not uncommon for teams to have channels like #donut-be-strangers, #code-review-pals and #APAC-donuts all on the same workspace!