Some names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Imagine the scene. You’ve passed the interviews and all the tests. Finally it is day one at Doofus Corp and in you walk, the new broom, ready to sweep clean. Sitting in the shiny new reception area you wonder, what excitement awaits you on this day of days?
Hallelujah – it’s induction time! Time to find out all that cool useful stuff you just have to know about.
The doors to the inner sanctum slide effortlessly open and you are bathed in a warm, welcoming light. Unable to resist you are drawn to the light and you enter in. Keen to show willing you move to the front of the room and take a seat. The lights dim, the curtains part to reveal a screen and you feel a little…different? The screen illuminates with a slide. The slide says welcome to Doofus Corp. It is followed by another slide, and another, and another, and another…
Six hours and one hundred and ninety five slides later you emerge. The shine has gone. Long gone. You have been inducted. And it hurts. I wish I was kidding, but I’m not. In a recent conversation I learned that a company delivers a one way, six hour, one hundred and ninety five slide induction nightmare.
It doesn’t have to be like this – does it?
Thankfully it doesn’t. There are folks out there, caring sharing folks who have some interesting and thoughtful ideas around how to make the onboarding, the induction experience more meaningful. One of these sharers is Ben Eubanks. I’ve not met Ben but we’ve shared tweets and blogs, and he seems a good guy. He likes zombie HR too. Ben runs UpstartHR and has recently published a useful ebook about onboarding and induction. He’s collaborated with some interesting folk to give this publication a diversity and a depth you don’t normally find. Especially in the world of induction.
And then there’s Sukhvinder Pabial. Sukh has been in the field of learning and development for a number of years, he and I meet regularly in twitter land and we’ve even shared a few good ideas in real life. I recently read and enjoyed an interesting article about onboarding that Sukh wrote for Training Journal. In it he talks about the importance of collaboration and one of my favourite things – the power of proceed until apprehended.
And as much as I respect Ben and Sukh, and as much as their ideas are much better than those at Doofus Corp – I feel there’s still something missing. All this onboarding, induction stuff is too one way, too broadcast. Cue a great conversation with Liam Barrington-Bush. Liam is from Toronto, and he’s been to the bar owned by Alex Lifeson of Rush fame which instantly qualifies him as a dude. And he is a founder of Concrete Solutions, an innovative community interest company which is all about “helping organisations to be more like people”. I love that.
Liam and I have followed each other on twitter for several months. We met recently and enjoyed a diverse and vibrant conversation about how to make the world of work feel more like…the rest of the world. We both had a good moan about induction and its dehumanising effect. I mean – companies recruit individuals because they believe they will fit in, sure. But what about the spark you saw in the potential new recruit – that sense of individual flare? Surely you’re not telling us that you only asked those questions about creativity and innovation because someone told you to?
Over the course of two beers (each – how rock n roll is that?) Liam and I agreed that there needs to be something else. What about anti-induction, antiduction? Nahhh, that word doesn’t work but the idea might. A lot of what seems to get covered at induction (is it just me or is that word starting to creep you out too?), could be given out as reading material if it’s really necessary – and then new folks could get together with each other and a few folk who have been there a while and chew this stuff over.
Wouldn’t it be cool if when folks are onboarded, they get a chance to onboard something of themselves too? It would be really interesting and hell, maybe even really useful to learn more about these people, their ideas, their personalities. But nearly all Liam and I see in the world of induction and onboarding (aaaccckkk!!) is one way – telling telling telling. Kinda haunting eh?
So next time you welcome some new folks into your place – why not make some time for them to remind you about why you invited them in. Help them to help you, one conversation at a time. Is there room for that? I think there should be.
photo c/o …Alba…