Is orientation a waste of time?

 

orientation

 

Picture this. It is the first day of your new job. You are all excited to get started and showcase your talents. You arrive at work bright and early and check in at the security desk as a new employee. The security guard prevents you from entering without an access card. You wait and wait but no one comes to greet you for at least one hour. Then you arrive at your desk only to discover that your manager is on vacation and there is no direction on what to do. This was my experience a few years ago on day one of my new job at a media company. I languished alone in the atrium of this building – a cavernous structure – watching people come and go. No one was prepared for my arrival, there was no one to greet me and show me around and worst of all, no orientation program which would have solved the first-day angst experienced by most new employees.

Needless to say, I could have walked out and not look back. Reason prevailed. I persevered and ended up working for this organization for five years. That whole experience tainted my view of the organization but created a development opportunity for me.  I saw an area that was lacking and made gains in introducing improvements. Also, I was able to calm the nagging voice in my head that kept telling me that a career in training and development was my next move.

Fast forward seven years later. I am now working at a financial services company that values being the employer of choice. It provides training and career development plus numerous learning opportunities. I was very pleased to have a two-hour orientation session on day one. This session gave me the tools and knowledge to navigate the campus, the corporate systems, get an overview of the strategy and structure and to know who to call for what and when. Armed with these nuggets of information, I felt I could just jump right in and start making my contribution to the company without wasting time. Now, orientation did not cover every little thing. I still had to do some research into my specific area –   for example, discovering my team; getting acquainted with the content etc.

Some people may argue that orientation is a waste of time. As you can tell, I disagree. If done right, it is a very useful and effective way to begin tenure at any organization. After all, the intent of a company is to retain its talent. The journey does not stop at receiving an offer letter – the audition process continues well after the three or six-month probationary period.

So yes, the orientation session is not only an effective tool for the company but also for employees. Use it to start the relationship off on the right track.

Learning on demand

The days of going to a classroom to take a course to upgrade knowledge and skills are long gone. Welcome to the age of learning on demand! Anytime, anywhere, any which way – you can increase your knowledge using a myriad of mediums.

As adult educators, this is a welcome pace thanks to the advancement of technology. One of the many drawbacks that adult learners usually cite as a hindrance to learning, is the time to do it. As adults, we juggle a balance of personal time with other commitments and responsibilities. The hockey practice, the dance lessons, the shopping, etc. – it’s always a balancing act. Learning on demand offers a solution.

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The learning marketplace has introduced platforms such as Lynda, Coursera, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), even You Tube. These options promote learning in your pajamas and at your fingertips. Log on – choose an interest and presto –  start learning!

I have certainly benefitted from this learning on demand phenomenon. I have always wanted to delve into the fascinating, fun world of e-learning.  First, I needed to get a handle on some of the e-learning authoring software currently on the market such as Articulate Storyline. Well, lucky for me, I saved a ton of dough and still got the knowledge and skill I needed, without putting one foot in a traditional classroom. Thanks to the Articulate E-learning Community. This online forum provided e-books, training videos and practice files. I was able to learn at my own pace, on my own time and in the comfort of my own home. Now that’s progress.