Day 1, Month 1, Year 1: How Colorado companies set up new hires for success

by Joyce Famakinwa
July 19, 2018

Starting at a new company can be like moving to a new country: you want to learn the language, fit in with the local residents and soak up all the opportunities coming your way. It can be easy to get lost, but Colorado tech companies are making sure that new hires are prepared for long-term success. Here’s how four local companies aim to do so. 

 

FWI team
photo via fwi

Four Winds Interactive aims to change the way we think about communication. The company’s digital platform drives visual communication to people through displays at airports, hotels, hospitals, banks and sports stadiums. The company explained how Four Winds Interactive turns day one into a celebration.

 

Describe what day one at FWI looks like for a new employee. How does your company welcome new hires to the team?

"When you arrive at Four Winds Interactive, your manager will greet you and walk you to your desk, where you’ll find FWI swag and a welcome card from your new team. And on the way to meet your orientation class — the other new hires you’ll spend much of your first week with — you might notice your picture and bio displayed on our internal signage network. Because we know that transitions can bring a mix of emotions, our first day is a celebration. We want to get to know you and help you get to know us! As with any celebration, there is a lot of cheering, clapping and of course, plenty of high fives. We’ve also created an app called FastStart which has experiential, scavenger-hunt like activities that new hires can engage in to help them learn about our company while also taking part in some friendly competition.

Also, our CEO, David Levin, makes it a priority to meet every new hire on their first day. He does an hour-long session, sharing the company history and the vision for our future, plus he always makes time to answer questions. Our goal is to make your first day welcoming, fun and informative!" — Tor Stenbakken, organizational effectiveness leader

 

From a software developer to a senior sales executive, FWI is dedicated to the growth and development of its team members.”

 

How about month one? What support systems are in place to help new hires get up to speed?

"After orientation wraps up, we have many resources available to help you get comfortable with your new role, team and company. We have a very active learning and development team dedicated to ensuring every employee has the tools and resources needed to empower their success. Within your first month of employment, you will meet with your manager to develop a 30-, 60- and 90-day plan, attend a monthly town hall meeting and can sign up for a variety of training, including new manager boot camp, diversity and inclusion workshops and professional development seminars on a wide range of topics." — Maureen Hofmann, director of training & development

 

And what about in their first year? Do employees typically fall into a schedule?

"From a software developer to a senior sales executive, FWI is dedicated to the growth and development of its team members. Within the first year at FWI, you will have the chance to participate in FWI University — our development program with over 40 courses. In addition to facilitator-led training, we have over 30 training modules available in our custom-built LMS. Over the past couple of years, we have also introduced a variety of formal leadership development programs, each one specific to the level of responsibility and skills required to advance from one role to the next — whether that transition is from an individual contributor to a first-time manager or a director to a VP.

Our professional development approach focuses on building one’s personal brand and enabling everyone to create a vision for themselves, while also providing insight into their “sweet spot.”  We define that “sweet spot” as work you have a passion for — something that plays to your strengths, and fulfills an organizational need." — Courtney Graham, VP of people operations.

 

 

Personal Capital team
photo via personal capital

Personal Capital wants to take financial advice to the next level. Its decision management platform allows users to track their network portfolios, transactions and net worth. Meghan Schreiber, the company’s director of HR and talent acquisition, filled us in on how their training is an ongoing process.

 

Describe what day one at Personal Capital looks like for a new employee. How does your company welcome new hires to the team?

At Personal Capital, it’s crucial to us that every new employee feels welcomed and part of a team. While each team has its unique training and welcome activities for day one tailored to the specific role, every new employee’s first day kicks off with a morning coffee and tour of our entire office. We intentionally introduce new hires to people outside their immediate team on their first day by hosting lunches and happy hours.

 

Regardless of how long someone has been at Personal Capital, we always want to provide them with opportunities to learn new skills.”

 

How about month one? What support systems are in place to help new hires get up to speed?

We always describe training as an ongoing process. Regardless of how long someone has been at Personal Capital, we always want to provide them with opportunities to learn new skills. When someone joins the Personal Capital team, training usually takes up to two weeks depending on the role. The most successful features of our training program are when new employees shadow more tenured employees and run mock scenarios. New advisors are assigned a mentor who guides them through training and runs them through scenarios, which allows for a good amount of feedback and growth so they feel in control and prepared to work with actual clients.

 

And what about in their first year? Do employees typically fall into a schedule?

Everyone has a different year one experience, but regardless of the role, we are constantly discussing career growth. We work hard to give Personal Capital employees the opportunity to master their current role while being considered for other opportunities that interest them. While this doesn’t always happen year one into a position, performance in someone’s first year can have a huge impact on their future with the company. Personal Capital encourages managers to consistently have an open dialogue with employees so each employee knows exactly where they stand with regards to performance. We conduct formal reviews once a year. This is a great opportunity to evaluate the previous year, highlight major achievements, set new goals, discuss areas for improvement and future growth opportunities with each employee.

 

FareHarbor team
photo via fareharbor

FareHarbor’s software allows tour and activity businesses to manage their operations and booking. Bri Tonns, the company’s operations manager, talked to us about how at FareHarbor, new employees are organized as classes to help build camaraderie.

 

Describe what day one at FareHarbor looks like for a new employee. How does your company welcome new hires to the team?

At FareHarbor, we like to start our new hires in “classes” with a mix of various teams and positions in each hiring class. This allows you to make a few new friends right away and results in a tight-knit group with your “classmates” that lasts far beyond the training period. We start the day with breakfast and coffee, followed by the famous FareHarbor tradition of building your own desk chair. Our training manager and talent acquisition coordinator will walk our new hires around the office and introduce them to each team with a fun memorable fact. The rest of day one is spent getting acquainted with your training class, getting to know the company’s organizational structure, enjoying some yummy catered lunch and getting your laptop set up and ready to dive into training on the software on day two.

 

When employees know an open line of communication with their manager is encouraged, it creates an incredibly exciting and motivating environment.”

 

How about month one? What support systems are in place to help new hires get up to speed?

Regardless of what team you will be joining, your first two weeks at FareHarbor will be an intensive “classroom-style” training on how to navigate the software itself, how each team interacts with one another for smooth client interactions, and FareHarbor’s history, values and mission. These two weeks are followed by another few weeks of training with your specific team, which will allow new hires to dive deeper into their role with some role-play exercises, problem-solving tests and shadowing. This training process ensures that you are well-versed in what is expected of you before you begin working directly with clients. We have implemented an awesome mentor program, where you are paired up with a more senior member of your team for some lunch and coffee “dates” to be able to have a more candid explanation of day-to-day responsibilities, challenges, etc.

 

And what about in their first year? Do employees typically fall into a schedule?

One of the most amazing parts of working at FareHarbor is that there is no structured trajectory for employee growth: we make it up as we go along, and things can (and will) change at any time. When employees know an open line of communication with their manager is encouraged, and that they are especially encouraged to express goals for growth within the context of the organization, it creates an incredibly exciting and motivating environment. From personal experience, I can say that if you come to work each day and work your ass off, the sky is truly the limit. Many of the positions that exist today weren’t even on the radar six months, so it is impossible to say what your growth potential looks like one year into your journey here. But rest assured that there is always room for a new challenge. Whether it is a more senior promotion within your team to build upon your existing knowledge or a lateral transition across teams to broaden your skills and experience, the opportunity for growth is always there!

 

Signpost team
photo via signpost

Signpost wants to strengthen the relationship between local businesses and their customers with a cloud-based marketing and CRM software. Director of Training Brian Troxell talked to us about how new hires are immersed in the company culture from day one.

 

Describe what day one at Signpost looks like for a new employee. How does your company welcome new hires to the team?

The day kicks off by joining our daily morning huddle so new hires can get a glimpse into our office culture and routine. The remainder of the day is filled with quick meet and greets with department heads and executives. The goal is for all employees to understand the mission, vision and culture of each department and the business as a whole. The day ends with new hire intros. Each employee shares a bit about themselves. Bonus points if you can share a hidden talent!

 

We want all employees to develop skills that will make them successful no matter where their career takes them.”

 

How about month one? What support systems are in place to help new hires get up to speed?

Month one is all about building a solid foundation for the future. All new employees will work directly with our amazing training manager, Adam Kincaid. His whole goal is to ensure that all employees know our product, possess the necessary skills and can use all tools effectively. In addition, we assign each new hire a mentor as another layer of support. We know one of the best ways to learn is from your peers.

 

And what about in their first year? Do employees typically fall into a schedule?

The first year will fly by. Once employees have met their onboarding requirements, they will join a team and begin working under their new manager. Employees will continue to sharpen their skills with the weekly team or office-wide training. And as you become more seasoned, you are given opportunities to mentor new employees, lead trainings and take on additional big picture tasks. We want all employees to develop skills that will make them successful no matter where their career takes them.

 

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