Analyzing the onboarding experience

Hands-on approach helps retain millennials in transitioning workforce

Generation Y
Generation Y

While we (at Living As A Leader) have a key role in helping leaders learn how to maximize fulfillment and retention of their emerging workforce, we are not immune to some of the same challenges faced by the majority of organizations.

Recently, I asked Alyce Peterson, the newest millennial on our team, to share some things about her onboarding experience at Living As A Leader.  You’ll see that some things went well and some things were challenging.

Some thoughts to set the stage

“When entering the workforce, I had a limited understanding of the challenges of securing a full-time position and adjusting to a company. I felt with the tireless work I had put in (i.e., juggling multiple jobs to self-fund college, participating in diverse internship experiences), I would not personally experience challenges.

“Many of my peers had been eager to escape the Milwaukee area to move to Chicago, New York and elsewhere upon graduation. I wanted to stay local. Milwaukee is an underrated city for millennials. This community gave me a number of things that I viewed as beneficial (mentorship, friendships, small town feel, the opportunity to be a bigger fish in a small pond). It became home during my undergraduate years at Marquette University.

“My journey ultimately led me to be introduced to Living As A Leader earlier this year. Upon receiving a message from a recruiter, I decided to take a look into Living As A Leader. I welcomed this new opportunity and was excited to interview; then excited to receive a job offer. One of the things I conveyed during the interview is that I love to work. That was, by the way, well received!

“Living As A Leader was offering the opportunity to be pushed out of my comfort zone into an invigorating, multi-faceted position within a rapidly growing company.  Some things went well for me during my first 30 days and some things, not so well. The one thing we did all agree on is that I’m a hard worker.

“Thoughts I had as I started my job:

  • I expected pros and cons to working in a small business; mostly advantages.
  • I was excited to work in a B2B setting, something I had not done before.
  • I was thrilled to use skills from my degree in my career (not everyone right out of school has that opportunity).

“Challenges with onboarding
at Living As A Leader:

  • During the first 30 days, I struggled to gain a comfortable level of knowledge about the company itself and to crack the code on how everyone liked to best communicate.
  • I am a high C on the DISC, and details are important to me. I struggled to know what level of involvement I would have in certain things or what my job description would entail in the day-to-day. A lot of things were being handed off to me, and I didn’t necessarily see where the pieces fit.   
  • The orientation process was clear initially (as everything followed a schedule during my early onboarding).  A few weeks in, I was struggling to feel balance in having a multi-faceted role.
  • I will admit…I was becoming a bit disillusioned.  And others were struggling with my struggle.
  • 30 days in, I was less than happy.

“Getting unstuck:  

  • I was able to sit down with my leader and Aleta for a robust, three-hour conversation. Fortunately, the uncertainties were resolved in a conversation in which we all were able to discuss (from each of our perspectives) what went well and what went not as well over the course of the first month. In our preparation, we had a lot of agreement.
  • We were able to establish expectations and learn more about one another, too, in an open discussion format. I felt listened to.”

A hands-on approach matters. While the initial 30-day onboarding experience was imperfect, it allowed us the opportunity to dig in and diagnose. Alyce’s perspective mattered to us. We met somewhere in the middle, and we’re all very happy at the 90-day mark.   

What challenges are you facing during early onboarding?

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

Aleta Norris is a partner and co-founder of Living As A Leader, a national leadership training, coaching and consulting firm. Living As A Leader supports the development of leaders in more than 125 organizations across the country. For several years, Aleta has been researching and speaking about the critical responsibilities organizations and leaders share related to the attraction, retention and engagement of the emerging workforce.

No posts to display