After the contract was signed and start date agreed upon, my supervisor asked me to come in over the weekend so that she could begin my on boarding. What was so important that we needed to get started on Saturday? After all, my start date was the following Monday. My supervisor saw my puzzled look and immediately explained that she wanted to make sure I knew my way around the facility and was familiar with the phone system so that I could handle the basics when I arrived on Monday. That seemed reasonable since a majority of my work was going to involve handling incoming phone calls from our members. As we departed, she reminded me to dress casual, bring the things that I wanted to put in my office and come prepared to spend at least three hours.
Upon entering the building, she greeted me warmly and showed me that I would greet my visitors in the same place. Then she took me over to the receptionist area and made sure I knew where to sign in and out. “This is how you will get to your office,” she explained as we took the elevator to our department’s floor. “Why don’t you get settled in your office and when you’re finished come on over to mine.”
My supervisor made it clear that she was excited about working with me and wanted me to be successful. She then drew a diagram that depicted the roles associated with my position and explained that on Monday, my primary responsibility was to answer incoming member calls. She reviewed the script I was to use when answering internal and external calls; showed me “how to” operate the phone system; reviewed the most frequently asked questions and responses; identified resources available to assist me with calls; and reviewed the process for tracking and reporting calls. Then we engaged in role play. From her office, she called mine. Afterwards, specific feedback was provided- pointing out things I did well and things that needed improvement. We continued until I felt comfortable and confident that I knew “how to” handle the phone system and frequently asked questions. After working for an hour, it was time for a break and that took us to the cafeteria. Now I knew where to go when it was lunch time. After returning to our work area, my supervisor reviewed with me the agenda for my first day. We did one more round of role play. I left feeling confident that upon my return I was prepared to handle my first responsibility, “answering member calls.”
On Monday, confidently I entered the building knowing exactly what to do and where to go. While signing in, the receptionist asked me if she needed to call and have someone come get me. I told her “no,” I knew my way. Once at my desk, the phone rang, I immediately answered with the appropriate greeting and helped my first member get the information needed. Sitting in my chair a smile came over my face “knowing I was off to my BEST start!”
Here’s what I learned.
- Starting early demonstrated to me that my supervisor had a vested interest in my success; we became partners with a shared focus
- Because I was comfortable with my new environment and confident about what I needed to do, I was able to meet the performance expectations
- Knowing how to navigate the phone system and environment helped me to be efficient in my use of time
- Being there on the weekend, eliminated distractions and created an opportunity for us to spend quality time together, building our relationship and focusing on what was expected of me
- Clarity about expectations helped me to know what to do and facilitated experiencing early success on the job