63: Onboarding New Hires with Craig Stoss

63: Onboarding New Hires with Craig Stoss

Craig Stoss recently onboarded at a new company with a large support team, and a well-established onboarding process, almost exactly the same day I onboarded at a smaller organisation to head up their support team! Here, we don’t directly compare those two experiences, but rather draw on the good and the bad of our respective careers.


I’d love your thoughts on this episode! Comment below, and like/love/share/support if you found this inspiring, thought-provoking, or useful!

Charlotte Ward 0:13
Hello, and welcome to Episode 63 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. The theme for this week is onboarding new hires. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. I’d like to welcome back to the podcast today, Craig Stoss. And Craig is joining me in a perfect storm of support leaders who have recently on boarded with companies to actually talk about onboarding properly. So let’s talk about onboarding staff in support. Craig, nice to have you back, by the way.

Craig Stoss 0:54
Thanks, Charlotte. Great to be here. Yeah, onboarding is a mixed bag. I’ve had A bit of turnover in my career in the past few years. And so I’ve been on board in multiple different companies with multiple different ways. And I think that it’s very interesting to see the different mentalities. You know, you have some companies whose version of onboarding is sitting in a room with someone from HR, someone from my tea, someone from development, someone from your product team, you know, and they just talk a little bit about themselves, or you set your laptop up or whatever it might be. And then there’s then there’s my most recent experience, where, you know, the focus was really on providing the full context and perspective around an organisation. And I think that it became so useful as we dove into the specifics, because understanding why a company exists, understanding what each department and service line provide to the business. And just the general context about why would I talk to this department about these topics that impact me was very useful. What I really found intriguing was that they were took the time to see how support fit into the flow and the process of the company and why support was important kind of the whole flow for the the customer experience in the sense of how did a case come in, you know, what are the channels we offer? It was really, really that perspective that Shawn on it, rather than, you know, here’s a support department and here’s the leader of the support department telling you whatthey do.

Charlotte Ward 2:24
Do you think that speaks more to the fact that you have recently on boarded a bigger organisation a more established support team? Do you think that there are lessons here for smaller organisations?

Craig Stoss 2:35
I think that’s absolutely and I think that as being in a bigger organisation, they’ve had the practice to know what works and what doesn’t, you know, I can think back to a previous onboarding experience where you sat in a meeting room of sorts for eight hours a day, and really was just shown slide after slide after slide this, this onboarding was much different. There was a combination of slides of key important things about the company that mission statements values of the organisation, but then it was a go off and watch this video go off and do this self learning, especially given that this was onboarding was done remotely because of our current pandemic situation, you know, it was also great to be able to have that break from staring at a video screen. I think they had that luxury being a large organisation, but I do think it can be done at a small scale, you know, maybe maybe with less context needed. It’s a smaller organisation with fewer departments and fewer workflows and processes. But certainly, providing context overall seems to be incredibly important to new employees.

Charlotte Ward 3:37
I really think you’ve hit on something important there as well is that onboarding isn’t something that has to happen or intensely for the first four days and then you’re set free, it’s a longer process and you do need downtime. I mean, in these times, downtime away from the screen because we’re all onboarding remotely is helpful anyway to our mental health and our physical health but Just having that break away from being expected to absorb stuff and being given time to explore, consolidate, and figure out your place in all of this, it is super important. I went through an onboarding a roughly 20 years ago. So as an agent, and I was put through the same onboarding programme, a full on week, and we were put in a room and pretty intense room for day after day after day, watching those slides and being expected to participate in areas that actually at that stage in my career in the role I was going into had very little bearing on what my role was, what the expectations of that were going to be placed on me where I’ll tell you now something I’ve told very few people which is I fell asleep. I fell asleep two and a half days internet onboarding and in the semicircle and that was the point in which I said I slightly made an excuse To use, I said, I wasn’t feeling particularly well. But I think if I’m honest, it was the onboarding. I feel a bit ill. And I went back to my desk, and I did some useful onboarding, like getting to know the product, getting to know my team, getting to know processes and things that were actually relevant. And it was at my own pace. And it did take place over another week or so. But it was much more relevant and gave me time to process.

Craig Stoss 5:24
I think getting to know the product is a key part of onboarding, too, we actually spent a good part of a full day doing the actual workflow that customers would go through, we signed up for an account, we had to use the product and the exact way we were given scenarios that we had to create. And then after one of the best questions, I think I’ve ever been asked in onboarding, where were the pain points? What can you see why our customers are struggling? Or do they customer struggle? Because you just did it? You know, you know, that feedback was received as like, Look, we just had 30 people run through this exact process and then give candid feedback about what they did or didn’t like about it. How powerful is that creativity. For a customer, I think the second part of what you said, which is interesting is, you know, the self study bit is very useful and being able to kind of learn on your own. But I think that has to also be guided by, especially in a large organisation who you need to work with

Charlotte Ward 6:14
that context early on is important understanding where you fit in terms of the, the organisation, your team and the impact that you will have and that your role has is really significant in your early efficacy, I think in any role. And I think if there’s one thing I want to take away from this conversation is it’s to build that context in early on, rather than expect people to just pick it up is be really intentional about it. That’s it for today. Go to customer support leaders comm forward slash 63 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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