Individualized employee onboarding has a lot in common with pigeons. To explain, though, I have to start with yoga.
If you ever want to feel really bad about your coordination or control of your body, go to an advanced yoga class. There, you’ll see a number of people who have trained their bodies and mind to hold positions you never thought possible. Some of those poses may even require you to stare for a moment or two before you really understand what’s happening.
Suppose your curiosity gets the better of you and you decide to stay and take part in that class session.
Prepare to be humbled.
The first thing that will get you is not that you can’t get your body to do what everyone else is (although that will be true), but that you don’t have any idea what they are saying. Which Warrior’s pose are you supposed to emulate? Is it more Steph Curry or Arminius? Wait, now you’re a Pigeon? Or is it a Warrior Pigeon? And how does that relate to carrier pigeons? Oh, another one now? What does a Cat’s Cowl even look like? You thought only Batman wore a cowl…
Despite your confusion, the class moves on. As they go past what you now realize was the warm up, you see them work in poses you will never do, such as Firefly or the King Pigeon, which may or may not be the warrior pigeon after he got promoted.
After about ten minutes, you get bored with not knowing what’s happening, give up, and go home. The next day, you will have forgotten the names of all those poses, and all you’ll remember is the fearsome warrior pigeon and his eventual kingdom.
Believe it or not, oftentimes an onboarding process is a lot like an advanced yoga class. Without individualized employee onboarding, time and money are wasted by presenting employees with information that is either redundant or too advanced. Additionally, because companies frequently have a one-size-fits-all approach to training, it’s not unusual for people to fall through the cracks.
For the newcomers who have little to no industry experience, the onboarding process is intimidating. There are a lot of terms that make no sense and sound like gibberish. They send the mind scrambling to guess what they might mean, only to distract the person and leave them even further behind. Added to that confusion is the fact that everyone else seems to understand perfectly well, and the result is an employee who feels as if they will never catch up. What’s worse, they managed to internalize very little of the onboarding information, meaning they will have a very difficult time being successful at their job.
On the other hand, if the company decides to cater to this type of person, the experienced workers in the crowd are the ones who suffer. Rather than learn advanced information that will help them develop, like the King Pigeon pose for the yoga class, they will be stuck re-learning how to do things they have done for years, such as the Warrior pose.
The answer, then, is clear. The best approach is to have individualized employee onboarding. While the training process is for both newcomers and veteran employees alike, it should be individualized to each person according to his or her own development. This means that there must be flexibility in the training program to allow for it to provide relevant information and resources to employees of various skill levels and backgrounds.
Otherwise, employees will end up talking about Arminius, the warrior pigeon who took down Batman and became King.
For more information on Successful Individualized Employee Onboarding, see our other blog posts.