Get New Hires up to Speed Faster with These 3 Strategies



Did you know that on average it takes about 20-26 weeks for new hires to achieve maximum productivity? This means companies invest about six months waiting for employees to get up to speed.

There’s a more efficient and fun method of onboarding new employees and it has the added benefit of helping them get emotionally committed to your goals and vision during the process. You can significantly reduce the learning curve and that means you’ll save more time and energy on the whole process.

This powerful new tool is based on something we already know and love: movies. By tapping into the storytelling principles used by filmmakers that keep their audiences enthralled, we can give employees a way to hit the ground running more quickly––more informed, engaged, empowered, and united around the company’s mission and strategy. Here’s how.

  1. Understand what your new hires don’t know
    One reason new hires feel lost is that the inside view of a company is taken for granted by management, while new employees can’t really understand the ins and outs until they’ve been there about six months. This includes the jargon and acronyms that make new hires feel like they’ve entered a foreign country. But the area that most dramatically causes employees to miss the mark and undermine their confidence is the nuances of a company’s business model, target customers, and strategy. You’ll see the fallout when they speak up in meetings or offer their first recommendations. It’s a vulnerable time. They want to be acknowledged as the smart people they are, but they’re often faced with blank stares and comments like, “Actually, it doesn’t work that way.” For new employees, these moments can be devastating. They’re also preventable, and by understanding these setbacks, we’re already on the right track to give them the information they need.
  2. Tell them the company story
    Typically, they are given a huge stack of PowerPoint decks to read through. These are usually filled with the very jargon and acronyms that create a confidence tailspin. Instead of weighing them down with cumbersome decks, show them a five-minute movie that introduces an inside view of the company. It could start with the opportunities the company sees in the market, the logic behind its value proposition and business model, and the nuances of its key customer segments and brand positioning. This is less daunting for the employee, and also helpful because it’s self-explanatory, requiring less follow-up time and questions for busy managers.
  3. Real customers and solutions in action
    In the same way heroes in movies help us understand a movie’s theme, a customer story can take new hires right to the experiences where the company provides value. Strategic concepts become much more understandable, relatable, and powerful when told through stories of real customers. New hires will see and feel the customers’ needs, priorities, and choices, making it far easier to understand. When you make these stories emotional, they’ll ingratiate a new employee into the company culture––helping them truly understand and engage in the company’s purpose.
    Let’s say you joined a pharmaceutical company and saw an onboarding movie about a man whose life was saved by one of their medications. You’d see the emotional experience of the diagnosis, the patient confronted with choices, and the people who weighed in––the hope, the pain, the experience of the treatment, and the full spectrum of benefits that come with his recovery, all with the dramatic tools that movies use. That’s so much more inspiring than a stack of PowerPoint decks.

Video storytelling gives new hires the ability to provide value in far less time, but if your company can’t do movies, you can still bring cinematic elements to onboarding presentations by utilizing three movie-style storytelling principles: be simple, be real, and be powerful. Boil it down to this simple strategy, and you’ll quickly find fresh, dynamic ways to formulate messages and insights into resonant stories that move your employees—and that is a great way to move the business!

The good news is that screenwriters, directors, and other master communicators of the movie industry have already created the storytelling template for you. Simply follow their lead to engage your audience—they’ll be inspired and motivated to get onboard and invest in your cause.




Image Credit: CC by matheus almeida

About the author: Ted Frank

Ted Frank is the principal story strategist at Backstories Studio. His book, Get to the Heart, shows professionals how movie-style storytelling can make their presentations clear, compelling, and c-suite ready.

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