As you may have seen in previous posts, each year we host a retreat. It’s a companywide event that has some serious teambuilding, and helps explain and define our culture. A lot of companies invest in this type of activity. It would be great if by having new employees simply attend the retreat, they would magically understand all our processes, culture and nuances of daily business, but the retreat alone doesn’t make a new an employee as submersed as a tenured one.
A lot of times there is a gap with the new employees in terms of getting them up to speed. There is the phrase, “Hit the ground running.” But how do they actually hit the ground running to the point where they contribute to projects right off the bat? New employees are usually thrown materials – like guides and company hand books, and sometimes even are offered a training class to help them learn company policy, process and culture. We provide these materials, and it’s helpful, but not as successful as a mentor or partnership program.
We’ve started incorporating a mentor program for new hires as we’ve grown as a company and a team. Regardless of the new employee’s previous experience and level of seniority, we place them with a more tenured Arke employee. This creates a real synergy between partners. The senior Arke employee is getting fresh ideas, while new person learns Arke ways. It’s an excellent hands-on opportunity to watch one of our senior people in action. It offers more than just reading over, or even being told processes because the newer employee can see exactly how the process would be applied in an exact scenario.
We’ve kind of reached this critical mass so we can do it, but with smaller companies it’s harder. We are starting to see dividends from this program, and our investments in this are starting to pay off. We are continuing to work and improve on the mentor program because it’s been the most successful strategy we’ve had in on-boarding.