A couple of weeks ago I attended the Remodelers Advantage (RA) Summit. This three-day meeting occurs every three or four years. All the member companies of RA’s roundtables attend, plus members of Remodelers Advantage’s University, along with alumni. These folks are joined by members of the trade press and numerous sponsors. More than 350 people were there.
One of the many speakers was from Zappos, the online shoe company, which many of you already know of. Jonathan Wolske, Zappos' culture evangelist, spoke about customer service lessons.
I was struck by Wolske's description of Zappos’ onboarding process. You know how it goes at a remodeling company, right? Someone is hired and, later on Day 1 or maybe in two or three days time this person is now doing his job, with the assumption being made by the company that he must know what success is at the company.
They do onboarding differently at Zappos. Every employee—from phone answerers to high-level executives—goes through four weeks of onboarding. Four weeks!
And part of the process has the new employee work at virtually every position in the company. This gives the new hire a broad understanding of what the other employees at the company do and how his work will be integrated with the work they do.
Imagine doing that at your company. What would your onboarding process be, with the goal in mind of truly making the new employee a fully informed part of the team? Think about it. Ask your existing employees what they think should be part of the onboarding. Then try out your process with the next new hire.
Your choice for your new employee is to let him sink or to teach him how to swim. What would you want and what would make your company more successful? —Paul Winans, a veteran remodeler, is a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage and a consultant to remodeling business owners.