Elizabeth Varrenti currently serves as the Vice President of Professional Development at MATRIX. Since starting with MATRIX in Atlanta in 1998, Elizabeth has fulfilled numerous roles including: Account Executive, Recruiter, Sales and Recruiting Team Lead, Director of National Recruiting and Vice President of National Accounts Delivery. A graduate of SUNY Geneseo, Elizabeth resides in Rochester, NY.
Maximize New Hire Experience and Training ROI
Once again, we have just hosted the latest group of new hires in our Atlanta HQ. What a great group – as always! Fresh faced, enthusiastic and excited at the prospect of a lucrative and rewarding career either selling IT Services or recruiting the best talent for our clients at MATRIX.
So, how do we make the new hire onboarding experience productive, memorable and motivating? Here are five areas we have improved on at MATRIX to make our onboarding experience better than ever.
Individual Training Plans
Everyone comes to MATRIX with a different background and experience. Some come from other industries and know little about the IT space, some come to us right out of college, and some are industry veterans who just need to learn “The MATRIX Way”. Regardless of background, each needs a tailored training plan that addresses where they are coming from and where we want them to be in order to start producing, while working closely with managers and getting their sign-off at each stage.
This training can be done in person if practical, or totally remote using the right interactive training tools that allow us to work with new hires in their environment on their desktop. While we have a standard template for onboarding, we know a “one size fits all” solution for training just does not work. Is this practical and sustainable? For organizations onboarding large classes of new hires all at once, probably not. For us, onboarding an average of 8-10 per quarter, we have been able to reduce the time to productivity for Account Executives and Recruiters by 33% by using individualized training plans. Yes, it requires more training staff and time, but it’s paying off in getting new hires productive sooner.
Trainers who know the Business
Look around your company and you might find some top performers who love to share their knowledge and help others grow. Could these be your next trainers? People who have a passion for our business and have been top performers can be your best professional development leaders. They can look beyond the mechanics of using the ATS or your sales process, and dig in deeper to help a new hire really understand the unwritten rules of what it takes to be successful at your company. And they sure do come to the table with a lot of credibility. If I know the person training me was the top performer at MATRIX year over year, that makes a big difference. (Shout out to Megan Abstein!)
The HQ Experience
You have just started at a new company in a branch office and you know the essentials: who the team is, where to get your coffee, and how to get your parking pass; but there is something about coming to the BIG office and seeing all the faces that you can now put a name with to really round out the new hire experience. Each quarter we host a group of our latest hires from all over the country to join us in Atlanta for two days of meetings and hear from all the different areas at MATRIX that support our teams. They learn about the company, the culture, do some role play (of course, always role play!) and have some fun (and food) including a special new hire dinner as well as an officewide “meet the new hires” luncheon that is always well attended. They leave energized and excited about their decision to join MATRIX. One additional perk is that they are now part of a unique “new hire class” that stays in touch, shares stories, celebrates wins, and helps each other out.
Beyond the New Hire Binder
Recently, we undertook a project to migrate all our new hire training material to a digital version of our New Hire Binder and MATRIX training manual. We updated and rebranded all of the training material we have accumulated in the past 35 years and made it available to all employees on their desktop, searchable by topic and updated in real time as documentation changes. Time to finally recycle the old, dusty new hire binder that has been sitting in the corner of your cubicle since 2008 and get digital!
Survey, Measure and Stay Close
In addition to setting up regular checkpoints and maintaining our new hire performance dashboard, we also send an anonymous survey to all new hires after their onboarding and training. We learn a lot about what we are doing well and what we can be doing better, such as… “The training group I was part of will truly stay in touch and really bonded with each other” or “Bob Woods is the bomb. His Agile Transformation presentation was so helpful” or from a recent survey, “Bring in Chick-fil-a for breakfast next time”. Sometimes it’s just all about the food.