Why I Love Onboarding

I started my career working for a marketing agency with less than 10 employees. In one sense, this was an excellent experience. Without the luxury of support staff and with minimal resources, I learned very early how to think for myself, multi-task effectively, and do whatever it takes to get the job done. I didn’t have any formal onboarding (or any other training for that matter) so it was very much baptism-by-fire.

Sound familiar, anyone?

After a few years, I moved to Myrtle Beach and took a job as an account manager for a much larger agency – and everything about the company pointed to me absolutely l-o-v-i-n-g it. My boss seemed super cool, like someone I could hang with after work. The culture seemed fun, as evidenced by the fact that you could bring your dogs to work. (Note: This was actually very messy and a huge distraction.) Still, when I was offered the position, I was over. the. moon.

And then I started to work there.

My “cool” boss turned out to be completely threatened by everyone around her, the culture was intentionally siloed by management, and I received no training other than a 30 minute lesson on contact management software.

I stayed for only four months and left to become advertising director for a regional lifestyle magazine.  Once again, my initial excitement fizzled to disappointment at the same “onboarding” experience. Case in point: On my first day at the magazine, the editor-in-chief literally handed me a stack of sales kits and wished me luck. I knew nothing about the magazine’s readership, circulation numbers, or which businesses had already been approached – much less the status of those relationships. Yet there I was, about to go on the road and meet with potential clients representing a product I knew very little about. After about a year, I left.

This is not a rant.

Well, maybe it is a little, but my story has a happy ending. When I wrote Effective Immediately and began preaching about proper onboarding, it’s because I’ve become dedicated to giving new hires the early career support I never had. So – in that spirit – I’m writing a new blog series that will outline WHAT onboarding really is, HOW to implement it effectively, and WHO is doing it right. I hope you’ll join me over the coming weeks and – to kick things off – please share your own onboarding stories below.

I only hope your experiences were better than mine.

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