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The reasons and the four approaches for implementing orientation training for mid-career hires

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Introduction

Hello. My name is Kairi Watanabe and I work in front-end development at KINTO technologies. As a member of the KINTO development group, I normally work on the development of KINTO ONE services for use in Japan using frameworks such as React.js. The KINTO development group is made up of engineers and accepts multiple new members each month. However, it can be difficult for us to understand the business domain in its entirety when working with a system that is so large in scale. For this reason, we hold orientation training targeting mid-career hires every month in order to support new members and enable them to start playing an active role as soon as possible. In this blog post, I will talk about why having orientation training targeting mid-career highs is important and also about some of the content of actual orientations held in the past.

Announcements of in-group orientations Announcements of in-group orientations

Reasons for implementing orientation training

So that mid-career hires can play an active a role in the company as soon as possible, it is vital that they become accustomed to the work environment at an early stage and that in-team inter-personal relationships are built through daily communication. There are probably some people who think, unlike with new graduates, orientation training is unnecessary as they already have some actual work experience. However, it is not necessarily the case that mid-career hires will always immediately adapt to changes in their work environment. I think that some hires may not understand how the new workplace functions relative to their previous one, or may not understand specialist terminology specific to the industry or the company. In those cases, I think some might feel anxious or lacking in motivation, even though they have only just joined the company. Before we implemented orientation training in our team, we sometimes would have members who would sit at their desks at a loss, not knowing what to do until they were assigned a specific task. It can also be a burden for senior employees to have to keep using spare moments in their day to provide education to these hires at every step.

To help tackle this issue, the KINTO development group believes that holding specially designed orientation training can really help eliminate the anxiety and confusion felt by mid-career hires and thus have a positive impact on their subsequent ability to perform their duties. In order for mid-career hires to settle into the company as quickly as possible, we have designed and implemented orientation training aimed at achieving the following three goals:

  • To deepen understanding of KINTO services

  • To ensure awareness of their specific role and company values

  • To develop a fondness in the hires for the working environment and workplace

Goals of Orientation Training

Four-Stage Approach to Creating Orientation Training

I would now like to talk about the four stages of orientation training that we have held thus far. Each session lasts around 60 minutes, with a senior employee taking the role of lecturer.

  1. Introduction to Product Team (Welcome to the KINTO development group!)

In this orientation training, we talk about which teams within the group do which types of work, using a correlation chart with the faces of employees for reference. We hear from a lot of people that they feel uneasy when they first enter the workplace after joining the company because they cannot match people's faces with their names. This is the first type of orientation we do. By letting the new-hires know who is who in the team and who the product members are, they are better prepared to know who to ask if they are unsure about anything in their work duties.

  1. Description of services and work-duties (Hands-on experience of the service flow!)

This type of orientation involves experiencing the flow of KINTO ONE's services through hands-on learning with example scenarios. By role-playing various types of people the new-hires may encounter as part of their duties and having them operate the online display accordingly, they can get to know the various stakeholders they will encounter in their work duties in future. Also, by using diagrams to introduce stakeholders and other matters like terminology, even those people not directly involved in the automobile industry can gain a deeper understanding.

Duty Actor Introduction

  1. Overview description of system (Understanding the systems and technologies the group uses)

In this type of orientation training, we take a bird's eye view of what goes on behind the scenes of the system our group uses. By introducing the new-hires at this early stage to the structural elements, functions, and interactions of the system in its entirety, we believe it is possible to clarify in the new-hires their own responsibilities and areas of specialization, thereby facilitating their introduction to the project. We also run a Q&A regarding the tech stack during this orientation stage.

  1. Welcome lunch (Get to know senior employees and the company culture)

This is actually the most important stage of the orientation in my view. By allowing the new-hires to speak openly with other senior employees, they are able to get a real sense of the atmosphere within the company. The goal of this stage of the orientation is to drop the formal content for a while and to make the new-hires feel at home within the group. The company has a number of foodies who love to share information on good lunch spots around the office using the Slack channel 😋 (Expect the conversation to get pretty lively if a place with tatami or a sunken kotatsu is chosen! Haha!)

What we have learned from implementing orientation training

The monthly orientations help us improve knowledge and uncover issues people are facing.

  1. No fixed structure to orientation training

Just like with normal development work, orientation training needs to be designed and implemented. Because the mid-career hires are often of different backgrounds and ages, we need to break down, explain, and discuss the content together with the members. In order to help those hires who are not particularly familiar with automobiles gain a greater understanding of the content, we use charts featuring the various stakeholders involved in the service provision as part of our explanations and ask questions back to the hires to help ensure they have not misunderstood the explanations. Once the entire orientation is complete, we ask the new-hires to answer a questionnaire used to measure their degree of understanding of the content and of its effectiveness. This knowledge is then utilized to provide better orientation training in future. One of the most interesting things about the orientation is that it can be customized each month.

  1. Improving connections between new-hires

I think that those mid-career hires who feel a little uneasy just after joining the company can find support in other members who joined at the same time as them. Because new members go through the training and hands-on experiences together, you often also see them going through the same process of trial and error together in their actual duties. For that reason, we created a Slack channel for use by new hires and the persons running the orientation training as part of efforts to facilitate communication with their fellow new-hires in a way that is approachable. We actually hear from a lot of these hires that they find it easier to express themselves in smaller groups than in Slack channels with lots of other people in it. Allowing the orientation training to be an opportunity to improve the relationships between new-hires is one of the greatest rewards of hosting such training.

  1. Improving understanding of the work of senior employees (persons in charge)

Orientation comprises lecture type sessions hosted by senior employees. When we are preparing documents for the orientation, we invite feedback from people in other groups and do some hand-on work ourselves to try and uncover any elements we might have been unaware of previously. For that reason, it is necessary to periodically update the documents. People have a tendency to think that orientation training is only for new-hires, but it is also something that can be very meaningful for senior employees. To this end, we also share the aforementioned questionnaires with the senior employees.

Summary

The most worthwhile effect of orientation training in an organization for engineers is to get rid of any feelings of anxiety in new members and to increase knowledge of their duties in a short and concentrated period. This hopefully will then enable them to begin contributing to the project as early as possible and begin providing value to users.

Mid-career hires tend not to have many opportunities to receive detailed guidance. The tendency is for them to look things up for themselves if they don't understand something. Obviously, learning for yourself how to resolve a problem is best, but I think that by creating a system to support new-hires, we will be able to build a team in which communication is smooth and encouraged.

Moving forward, I would like to continue to update the orientation training using questionnaires and other tools such that we can better support mid-career hires. Also, by having a large number of group members involved in the orientation, I believe we can create a more multi-faceted form of communication and higher quality and more customized types of training.

I would love to hear from others about the types of interesting orientation training sessions going on in their companies.

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【フロントエンドエンジニア】新車サブスク開発G/東京

新車サブスク開発グループについてTOYOTAのクルマのサブスクリプションサービスである『 KINTO ONE 』のWebサイトの開発、運用をしています。​業務内容トヨタグループの金融、モビリティサービスの内製開発組織である同社にて、自社サービスである、TOYOTAのクルマのサブスクリプションサービス『KINTO ONE』のWebサイトの開発、運用を行っていただきます。

【フロントエンドエンジニア(コンテンツ開発)】新車サブスク開発G/東京

新車サブスク開発グループについてTOYOTAのクルマのサブスクリプションサービスである『 KINTO ONE 』のWebサイトの開発、運用をしています。​業務内容トヨタグループの金融、モビリティサービスの内製開発組織である同社にて、自社サービスである、TOYOTAのクルマのサブスクリプションサービス『KINTO ONE』のWebサイトの開発、運用を行っていただきます。