I don't know about you, but I've had more than a few jobs over the years. Some jobs were consulting, others permanent, but they all had one thing in common: no matter my background and resume, there was a ton of learning to do in the first few days and weeks.
I know that most conglomerate companies have good training or orientation programs, but personally, my experiences have ranged from simple and straightforward self-education to frustratingly lacking in direction and support.
It used to boggle my mind—not sure exactly what that entails--at the quagmire a new hire had to wade through to get up to speed. A great college education is wonderful, but it's just a foundation. The industry has changed since the textbooks were written, and even if up to date, every company does things their own way.
And speaking of industry changes, what does an employee do about a process they've done for ten years, only to find they are woefully behind new methods and technologies? I've never seen a job description yet that includes budgeted time and resources to keep someone up to date. I know they're out there, and probably some even mean it.
A big issue is training costs and time, but there's a good solution. A web conference could make it possible for an employee to go over manuals and training materials with a new hire, days or weeks before they are to step foot in the building. In fact, one employee could do a training teleconference for an hour twice a day with an unlimited amount of new hires. They wouldn't have to mess with setting up a training room or distributing handouts. Talk about a time-saver!
Here's a cool thought: use a web conference to have a new hire “follow” an employee! The employee would just share their desktop with the new hire. The new hire could watch them work all day long without the annoyance of squeezing another person into a cubicle. And if the new hire had a question, they could simply type it out in the chat window so as not to disturb the employee.
Have you used web conferencing for a “follow-along” before? Leave a comment and tell me how it worked out.