Gamification in New Hire Orientation

Recently, I was fortunate enough to work alongside Miranda Greenberg and Marci Morford on one of the most creative and fun projects I’ve ever worked on in my career.

I wrote about this in a two-part case study: An New Employee Orientation Overhaul and The Exciting Conclusion: What Happens When A New Hire Orientation Becomes a Game.

After speaking with Alex Moore at the Association for Talent Development, we were also given an opportunity to share about adding gamification in new hire orientation, which was published in TD magazine. Continue reading

New Employee Orientation Game

“This is going to be very cool. I know I’m not a new employee, but I want to attend!”
– Employees after hearing about the new employee orientation game about to be developed.

I’ve heard a sentence very similar to this, many times, over the past month or so as my team and I have spoken with key leaders across our organization to gather information and completely overhaul our existing new employee orientation.

Following is a brief case study on what we did, why we went in this direction and how we put it all together.   Continue reading

Two Things Every New Hire Orientation Must Have

Do you remember the night before starting a new job?  What was going through your mind? Do any of these comments (ripped straight from actual Tweets) resonate with you?

Excited1

Excited2

Excited3

Then do you remember how you felt sitting through new hire orientation, listening to someone talk (or perhaps watching videos or even completing a series of elearning segments) about all the mandatory HR requirements (employee handbook, sexual harassment, OSHA, etc.)?  Do any of these comments (again, from actual Tweets) resonate with you?

New Hire Orientation 1

New Hire Orientation 2

New Hire Orientation 3

New Hire Orientation 4

New Hire Orientation 5

The importance of bringing new employees up to speed as quickly as possible on things such as organizational culture, company policies and their actual role cannot be understated. In The Lean Startup – a book about operating an organization as efficiently as possible – entrepreneur Eric Ries writes: “Without a [training] program, new employees will make mistakes while in their learning curve that will require assistance and intervention from other team members, slowing everyone down.”

You should also check out the two part case study about revitalizing a new hire orientations: An New Employee Orientation Overhaul and The Exciting Conclusion: What Happens When A New Hire Orientation Becomes a Game.

What kind of content should go into new hire orientation? That will depend on your organization’s goals and objectives when it comes to new hire orientation. If you’re looking for suggestions, the MindTickle blog has phenomenal new hire orientation tips and strategies.

New hire orientation that doesn’t snuff out the excitement and enthusiasm that new hires feel on the night before they start their new jobs really boils down to two questions:

  1. Two months from now, will the new hire remember most of what was presented (and know where to go to find other information they may have forgotten)?
  2. Did the person designing the orientation respect the new hires enough to ensure they will be engaged throughout every topic that will be covered (ie: they will not be sitting as people or videos or computers bestow tons of forgettable information upon them)?

When your new hires begin tweeting something two hours into their first day, what do you think their 140 characters will say about your orientation program?

Making New Hire Orientation Mean Something

Congratulations!  You beat out 128 other applicants for this position and today is your first day on the new job.   Right away you realize it’s not going to be a snoozer of a new hire orientation.  Your manager and someone from HR greet you with a document as soon as you walk through the door.  You’ve been on the job 38 seconds and you realize you’ve already been given a professional development plan (PDP).

What would happen if all new hires began day #1 of their employment with a PDP, a development plan containing specific goals for which they’d be held accountable over their first month of work?  It sure would be memorable for the employee.  And it should serve to help a manager better target specifically what should be covered (and what should be eliminated) during new hire orientation.

I’ve sat through many new hire orientations, and I can’t really remember much about any of them – other than the fact I’ve spent the day filling out forms and sitting through a number of (forgettable) presentations.  I’ve also presented at a number of new hire orientations, sharing a brief overview of my department to new colleagues who have been drinking from an information-laden fire hose all day.  Is this the best use of a new hire’s time?  Is this the best use of the various presenters’ time?

Recently I’ve had a number of conversations with colleagues and several clients who were all looking to speed the time to competence for new hires.  Losing a day (or in some cases a week) to presentations for new employees is not a way to speed time to competence.  From a new employee’s standpoint, he often doesn’t know which parts of these presentations are important or will impact his job.  And too often the presenters use the same canned presentation for a new employee regardless of the employee’s responsibilities.

Training – including new hire orientation – just won’t stick unless a manager holds an employee accountable for using (or remembering) what he’s learned. Giving a new employee a PDP from day 1 could be just the tool that a manager and a new employee need to have a meaningful new hire experience and speed time to competency.

You should also check out the two part case study about revitalizing a new hire orientations: An New Employee Orientation Overhaul and The Exciting Conclusion: What Happens When A New Hire Orientation Becomes a Game.