New Employee Onboarding group tackles orientation shortfall
ITD’s Leadership Summit is a great opportunity for the department to solve known issues within the organization, or make progress toward that end. It is all about working toward ITD’s mission of being the best transportation department in the country.
The 2017 Leadership Summit was made up of 13 groups, but in the end, there would only be one group standing at the top of the problem-solving podium. That honor, selected by peers at the report-out on Oct. 25, was given to the New Employee Onboarding group pictured above.
Left to right: Charlene McArthur, Jeanna Bailey, Crystal Grasmick, GiAnne Householterr, Carlin Hill, Lisa Kidd, Kyle Monson, Ric Simmons, Drue Hatfield, Jason Minzghor (kneeling in front, holding trophy), Jayme Coonce, Ramon Hobdey-Sanchez, Steve Taylor, Travis McGrath, Ashley Orme, and Director Brian Ness.
The team came together for the first time on October 2, from all corners of the state.
“The first day, we were quiet and hesitant,” said District 4’s Technical Records Specialist, Lisa Kidd. “Each person was watching and learning about the others, our champions, our facilitators and about the problem we were tasked with solving — new employee onboarding.
“There are a few small sections of ITD where onboarding is occurring, but the majority of ITD had little or no formal onboarding process for new employees. In fact, most of us weren’t even really aware of what onboarding was, or that there was a distinct difference between orientation and onboarding.”
Employee orientation generally takes place on Day One and often includes routine paperwork. Onboarding, on the other hand, is an experience that occurs from before employment even begins, all the way through the employee’s first 6-18 months.
“This involves supervisors making sure you have all the necessary accesses and equipment, that you feel comfortable and valued at work, and that you have access to someone who can help you along the way (a peer-leader),” Kidd added.
Kidd said the group’s members all had stories of when they were new to ITD and didn’t have computers, phone numbers, training plans or even badges. There were also stories about being in a new position and not having anyone to assist you or help integrate you into the ITD family. It’s these types of stories that shaped the team’s name…“ONBOARDING MISHAP GROUP” or Team OMG!
New employee onboarding focuses on retaining good employees. Once you land 'em, how do you keep 'em?
Facilitators Ashley Orme and Crystal Grasmick helped in the problem-solving process, and champions Jason Mingzhor and Travis McGrath provided insight and direction. McGrath had his own story of lurking outside and being unable to get in the building for the first few days of his COO tenure because he had no badge!
It was a daunting task, and Kidd said the group wondered how in the world they were we going to get this done in time. But conquer the problem they did, and they did it well, as evidenced by the voting.
The team learned about different ways to solve problems, leaning heavily on the SIPOC (suppliers, inputs, process, outputs and customers) method and Fishboning in order to help sort thoughts and ideas. They fought through a block on Day Three – the inevitable “Groan Zone” that every team experiences.
“We headed down a rabbit trail only to realize we were spinning our wheels and had to start all over,” explained Kidd. “It was not pretty, but in the end, we were all able to come together.”
When the Leadership Report-Out day finally arrived, Kidd said they were all somewhat nervous. They had a great product, but would it be enough?
“We happened to be the second group to present that day, so afterward we were able to sit back and listen to all of the other wonderful presentations.
“We held our breath as Char McArthur announced the winner,” Kidd vividly recalls. “It was the ‘New Employee Onboarding’ team! It took a second to sink in, but we had won!”
“We happened to be the team on top of the podium that night, but that wasn’t really what was so special,” Kidd explained. “What was so special was that this award was based on the voting of our peers and colleagues. It was an incredible feeling to be recognized by them. Our team had come from being strangers thrust together in a room to solve a problem, to leaving the 2017 Leadership Summit as friends, allies and winners of something that we had accomplished TOGETHER.
“This further emphasized that each one of us is important to ITD and that each one of us can make a difference and positively influence change within the department,” she added.
They were co-champions, really — ITD was the winner, too!