Monday, December 04, 2006

New Hires

I had a new employee start today.

I started preparing for her shortly after we made an offer.

We have a checklist for new hires that includes things like:
  • Identify a cube

  • Have hardware set up

  • Identify a mentor

  • And I create a training plan.

    For Sam, his new hire training plan consists of meeting with his work leader to figure out the skills he'll need to succeed at testing their product. But for others - employees who don't have a work leader or for whom I'm the work leader - I have to create a complete training plan.

    I used to be a teacher (back in the olden days) and I had to create lesson plans for each of my one hour classes. A training plan is very similar to a lesson plan. You start with objectives. "Sam will be able to set up a client in our test environment." It's measurable - he can either do it or he can't, but it's not time boxed. Do we want Sam to be able to do this on his second day at work? How long should this take him to do? To learn?

    I find it hard, even as a former teacher, to think like that so, when I have to come up with a training plan, I tend to use a form for each sizable chunk of work. The form asks the following questions:

  • What should the trainee learn?

  • When will they learn it?

  • How long will it take to learn?

  • Who is their mentor / teacher for this task?

  • Is there a clear connection for this task to his job as he understands it?

  • How will I know he's successful?

  • How will he know he's successful?

  • This helps me think about the supporting things like a login or access to another system that might be necessary.

    Do your training plans differ for each trainee? How can I make my plans better?


    At 12:09 PM, Blogger Meg in Nelson said...

    When were you a teacher? What/where did you teach, Liz?

    The best boss I had, John, (but I didn't realise that at the time - who by the way went to St John's) made me pick a few goals for the first six months - he said they were just guidelines and as I get used to the job, I may identify other goals which I think are more urgent and I can add them to the list and work on them instead. After six months, we reviewed my list, and got another for the next year, I think. On his "Meg has achieved" list, he put down everything we agreed I learned, plus a few things he noticed I had learned, or knew all along but didn't think were pertinent to the job, which was a bonus. After that, it was annually reviewed.

    Now that I've written it, it sounds so boring, but maybe it was John's personality that made the performance reviews so exciting and rewarding.


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