Bin Your Traditional Company Induction Day(s)
Picture the scenario; It is induction day in the hotel. If we are lucky, it is only one day. 20+ of us in the room, the trainer asks us to write our name on the card, and we start. Company history, brands, portfolio, vision, mission, values, brand pillars, brand promises, brand differentiators, brand positioning, hotel features, services, and amenities. Then you have the executive team pictures, or they line up execution style to introduce themselves. By lunchtime, your brain is gone. Then comes security with their safety training, followed by a couple more mandatory training and maybe a show around the hotel.
What do we remember of all this? Absolutely nothing!
Here is what we should do instead. It works; I have done it before for my property and am expanding on the original idea for a mid-size company now.
Don’t make training sessions mandatory. Make competence mandatory.
What do I mean? Treat people like adults by telling them what they need to know, how they need to behave, and what skills they need to develop within the next one to three months. I often find that people don’t lack the ability to find solutions to their learning needs but rather struggle to understand what competencies they are required to demonstrate. Once criteria for performance are clearly communicated, you can constantly assess their knowledge, skills, and behaviour. If they fail, redirect them to the available learning resources like books, courses, online webinars, mentors or coaches. Then assess them again. If they fail the assessment three times, review their suitability for the role.
You can start instilling independent learning with your company induction program. Instead of the one or two days of mandatory classroom brainwashing delivered by the L&D person desperately trying to make the insane amount of content engaging and exciting, try this.
Making attendance mandatory doesn’t guarantee learning or understanding.
Make the knowledge and understanding mandatory and assess after a month. In the case of onboarding, digitalise the content. I use an online platform where all information is provided through videos, conversations, articles, and texts.
Employees have a month to study, experience the workplace, meet people, and ask questions, finding the most suitable way to acquire the needed knowledge. They have exercises to assess learning and some help highlighting important information that will be asked during the assessment after a month of joining. Encourage them to join the company's social media accounts and give feedback on them like "What do you think we are missing from our communication?" That way, you get them to look at your brand/company from the customers' point of view.
At the end of the first month, test their knowledge and understanding of the culture. Design questions to test explicit knowledge like product knowledge, company history, or other know-how. To test tacit knowledge, ask them about their experiences around culture, i.e. whether or not they have seen examples of the values demonstrated by their managers. Inquire about the relationships they built and the training they received within the department. You can get really creative during your assessment as you are not only assessing explicit knowledge.
If they fail, assess them two more times. Involve the line managers and get them to assist their colleagues in their learning journey. If they fail the third time, it may be time to say goodbye to them. Does that sound harsh? Well, it isn’t. It helps the organisation weed out people without drive, discipline, or motivation. Who are unwilling to learn and do things independently, don’t take charge of their self-development, and lack curiosity. Those people are hard to train and motivate (of course, we aren’t talking about people with learning difficulties here). It also depends on how many resources the company is willing to allocate to people development. If you have a workforce of dependent learners, you will need an army of trainers to meet minimum requirements. If you breed independent learners, all you need is content and guidance.
But before you introduce independent learning, make sure your managers and supervisors are highly, and I mean highly competent. Superstars! They must demonstrate the behaviours, culture, knowledge, expertise, care, independence, etc., you want your team to have. Social learning is the most powerful learning in organisations. We copy each other, but we copy supervisors and managers the most. No training will fix the team if they lack the above skills. I have seen that many times. This is why I insist on developing supervisors and above because it cascades down to the team.
Lastly, you must have business leaders whose minds have caught up to the 21st century and are open to doing things differently. When I told a couple of hotel GMs about the new way we could conduct orientation, they almost died! “How can you do that? Orientation must be face-to-face!” I just rolled my eyes and thought, these are the people who line up the leadership team during orientation execution style, so they can say something about themselves and welcome the new joiners. Wouldn’t it be better if new joiners were shown around by their managers and introduced to everyone?
Check out how we incorporated CliftonStrengths-Based self-development into their onboarding: https://the-strengths-company-4681.thinkific.com/courses/TheStrengths-Company