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ERS New Hires 2006 096
originally uploaded by wizhard.

I don’t know if this is true in every state but Minnesota as a program to provide matching funds for companies that want to provide training for their employees.  The program is a called Minnesota Job Skills Partnership.  It’s part of the Minnesota Department of Economic Opportunity.

The program focuses on different types of grants by the major ones are for training the stimulates employment (new hire training) and retraining potentially displaced workers.  The way the grant works is that a company works with a Minnesota college to submit a grant proposal.  The college administers the grant and provides services which can include subcontracting to consultants and other training providers.  The company must then match the grant either in cash or inkind services.  This includes paying the wages of employees who go through training.

I’ve worked on serveral of these grants with Century College and Dakota Technical College.  Both are great schools with a lot of good programs.  I’d be interested in know about similar programs elsewhere.

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Here are two very traditional new hire orientations.  First, you put new hires in the classroom and then have each department head come in with a PowerPoint presentation and talk for an hour.  I’ve seen this go on for up to five days.

 The second method is to have new hires go to each department and get a short presentation on what that department does.  It’s a little less formal and you get to see the department.  I’ve seen this last for up to two weeks.

So, when you ask new hires how they liked this orientation here’s the typical response.  (You actually don’t need to go to the expense of doing this survey here’s what you always get.)  “That was really interesting but I don’t remember much of it.” or..”it would have been more helpful after I’d been here a while.” or..”I couldn’t stay awake.”

These methods are actually more like a hazing than anything of substantial value.  It’s too much, too soon and delivered in the worst possible way.

What’s the alternative? 

First of all, the information is valuable.  However, it’s probably different every time it’s presented and it doesn’t have a context.  So what we do is try to capture that information and put it into some type of reference material.  Could be online but doesn’t have to be.  Then new hires read or go through that information over a period of several weeks and then they get an opportunity to meet with departments for informal discussions or maybe some job shadowing.   In other words, it’s spread along a Learning Path.

Here’s an easy way to capture this information.  The next time you go through your traditional orientation tape record it and then transcribe it.  Now with the PowerPoints you  have all the information you need for a good writer to put it together.

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