65: Onboarding New Hires with Ackerman

65: Onboarding New Hires with Ackerman

Ackerman has a ton of onboarding experience, both as new hire and hiring manager. Here she describes how important it is to introduce each part of the product and organisation the right time, and give time to absorb and regroup in-between.


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 0:14
Hello, and welcome to Episode 65 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 to the podcast today. Ackerman, Ackerman. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Yes, thank you. Thank you for having me on the podcast. My name is Ackerman. I am the head of pilot experience at wisely. wisely is a restaurant app that helps your front of house operations from waitlist to reservations, we have marketing automation suite and also be a sentiment so all points of interaction with your guests to help you leverage your data and give them the best client experience. So that’s what we do, I’ve been at wisely since August of 2019. So not a very long time, but have had a lot of onboarding experiences with them. Before that I worked for me email marketing, on their support team on their onboarding team and on the renewals team. So I’ve been working in tech for quite a bit.

So Ackerman. Thank you for coming on the podcast. The topic for this week is onboarding new hires in support.

Yeah, I’ve I’ve had experiences Obviously, we’ve all been on boarded into companies as individual contributors. And a lot of us have have on boarded employees that are working for our teams. My experience, my opinionated data comes from the, from the places where I have have been on boarded, and it’s been confusing or frustrating or it just lacked structure. So I’ve tried to make sure that when I onboard, new folks and I hire new employees that I give them a structure that’s not micromanage, so it’s always the balance between Providing structure and providing flexibility and leeway some of my experiences at at mo was actually really, really good. We had a dedicated senior supporter that walked me through it. He was my trainer for two weeks. And it started with let’s just talk about the product. Let’s take some quick quizzes. Let’s do a lot of shadowing on at different times of the day when different types of tickets would come in. Then Then there was like the you need to get on the phone now. And I was very afraid of this. They’re like, okay, let’s let’s back up a step. They didn’t just push me through it. They were like, let’s back up a step. So I answer emails for several hours. And I’m like, Okay, let’s get on the phone. Now. Let’s do a mock call. They’ve seeded to me a fake question. And I was talking to another supporter, who was in a different room. So just like helping me get through those moments of fear. And then eventually it was you got to do this. You wanted the job?

You got to go alone eventually. Right?

Ackerman 2:52
Yeah, yeah. And I think that was a really interesting intro into the support world. That was my first foray into support and some of the other experiences that I’ve had have just been like, hey, you’re here. Let’s figure out what to do with you. And that’s, that’s never good. So one of the things that was really interesting on one of my jobs was, they sent out in advance, they sent me an email and they said, here’s what you can expect from today, here, the hours that you’re gonna be working, we will provide lunch on the first day. This is the type of attire we wear, because it was it wasn’t an office, so they were helping me feel comfortable walking into the building first day, so I knew what to expect, and that that just eased my nerves a lot. And I’ve tried to employ that in, in the onboarding I’ve done with with employees that I’ve hired. So again, make your people feel comfortable. Let them know what to expect, especially on the first day, give them a structure but also have some flexibility and that some people can go hard for eight hours. Some people need a 10 minute break every now and again.

Charlotte Ward 3:51
Yeah, actually, you said something, though, about being walked into the office almost. I mean, whether it’s a virtual office or not, I think that’s an interesting way of putting it. It’s kind of guiding them through those opening minutes and hours, isn’t it so they don’t feel immediately lost, kind of giving them that sense that they’re being introduced actually is really a big part of those early hours, isn’t it?

Ackerman 4:11
Yeah. And I think that in support in general, it has to be a family, you have to be able to rely on your fellow supporters, on the documentation on the engineers in your company, you have to be able to find the information and you have to not be afraid to do so. So I never want to create an intimidating environment of desire SLA, you got to get your tickets done. That can’t be the off the bat way of approaching at least in a company that I want to work for. So again, making people feel comfortable helping them understand what they can expect. We also do a two week onboarding. And at the end of the second week, you’re off to the races. Of course you can ask questions in slack and in our knowledge base and all those things but day one, you come in the office you meet me we sit down for 30 minutes, I give you the rundown. Here’s what it is. Here’s who I am. Here’s how the teamwork and then every hour is scheduled on the first day, the first hour, you’re going to talk to HR and get your benefits package done, then you’re going to meet with one of our implementation specialists. And they’re going to give you a demo of one of our three products. After that, you’re going to have time to sit with the product for about 30 minutes, develop any questions you have, and then go into your first your first shadowing session with the supporter. So now you have some context, go to your first shadow session, after your first shadow session, go back and talk to the person who implement Who gave you the implementation training. So now you have questions to ask. So I like to do a back and forth kind of like a spiral education.

Charlotte Ward 5:33
And you almost skipped over it, but you said a little bit in there, which was that you get a chance to sit down with the product and just form some questions. So that that’s a combination of a learning experience and a little bit of headspace as well, which is what you were talking about before just about building some gaps in to allow people to just to have a little bit of breathing room. Right,

Ackerman 5:53
right. Yeah, I think I mean, we could we all know somebody, probably a lot of people on their first day they come home from work. you say How was your day in there? Like I don’t even know it was there was so much I learned so much. It’s like drinking from a firehose. And of course, we want our supporters to get ramped up as quickly as possible. But I think it’s also like, the way that humans learn and the way that people intake knowledge. I can I can give you a bunch of stuff right now. But how much of it are you going to retain? Let’s break it into bite sized chunks. We have our product and then we have specific features. So let’s give you a broad overview of the product. Let’s focus on one feature right now.

Charlotte Ward 6:26
Yeah, yeah, breaking it down, almost into features or modules or something that has a natural break point that allows you to absorb it and sits as a cohesive kind of bubble in its own respect. That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/65 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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