Interjecting Fun Into OnBoarding

Hmm. When There’s None to be Found in the Job Itself? 

Story 1

Back in 1979 my new boss and co-worker shared a story with me in my first job out of college about the time they revamped an existing new hire training program – what today we’d call OnBoarding.

They had decided that this 2 week-long program, which they had inherited due to a reorganization, was just too dry and dull – so they interjected all sorts of fun activities and games with prizes into it.

Their internal client was supportive and really liked it until they all discovered that instead of new hires quitting the program in the early days of their initial training they were now waiting until after a few days on the job. And as the compensation for those in the new hire training program came out of the client’s budget, they were spending more now training people who were leaving 2 weeks later than usual.

The lesson to be learned, my very experienced boss and co-worker shared with me, the new kid, was that the training they had revamped no longer reflected the realities of the job, and it fooled the new candidates longer, costing their client a boatload of money.

Story 2

That lesson has stayed with me. In 1987 I did a Curriculum Architecture Design for AT&T Network Systems Product Managers – and designed both a T&D Path and a T&D Planning Guide. In the early portion of the Path was a “module” that I titled “The PM Novel” – the story of 3 new Product Planners onboarding and adjusting to their new jobs.

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To read the rest of this article on LinedIn – please go here.

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I should mention that my inspiration (there’s nothing new under the sun) for The PM Novel – mentioned in Story 2 – was Tracy Kidder’s novel, The Soul of a New Machine, which was a non-fiction book published in 1981 – and was all the rage with all of my internal clients when I was an employee at Motorola, and also with corporate clients when I became a consultant in 1982.


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