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Old 04-12-2021, 05:52 PM
 
140 posts, read 124,286 times
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Many people think sink or swim is a valid onboarding strategy, but I don’t understand it. It personally seems like a bad idea, especially for new grads and interns. How do you guys feel about the sink or swim approach to onboarding? I think many talented people don't operate this way and need basic support when they start out. Personally, I think it's "lazy" and poor management.
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Old 04-12-2021, 06:01 PM
 
11,119 posts, read 20,125,072 times
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It's stupid. It doesn't benefit the person, and it doesn't benefit the company.
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Old 04-12-2021, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Stuck on the East Coast, hoping to head West
4,597 posts, read 10,785,697 times
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It creates stress and hurts productivity for everyone. Also, places that resort to it tend to have bigger problems and lack direction/leadership.
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Old 04-12-2021, 06:36 PM
 
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A sign of horrible management but very common at most companies who lack quality management with proper experience
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Old 04-12-2021, 06:56 PM
 
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If you need support, what's preventing you from seeking it yourself? Most long term colleagues are willing to answer questions.
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Old 04-12-2021, 09:51 PM
 
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Sink or Swim?
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Old 04-12-2021, 11:02 PM
 
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the place i've worked for going on 20 years has very basic onboarding, and people really are expected to hit the ground running and do their job from day one. it's kind of the company culture, we basically learn as we go. this was unnerving at first for me, but i've gotten used to it. we just learn how to find the resources we need to do our job. we really are sort of thrown in the deep end and expected to swim. but it's not out of cruelty or being malicious, and it's not setting people up to fail. it kind of sets us up to be problem solvers and resourceful. also, there is good information sharing. we are all sort of in the same boat, and in general people are good about sharing and responding to questions when we are asked by others, and setting up "job aids" and "how to" guides which we can send out when someone wants to know how to do something.

and if something has to get done, and get done right away, and there isn't training, and no one there to walk us through it, well, as my buddy said, and she has turned out to be right and I have grown comfortable doing this because it works, she says "there may not be anyone there to tell you how to do it, but when you do it wrong, you'll have 15 people sending you emails telling you do it this way and pointing out the mistakes, and then you know for next time." plus you have the names of contacts, to ask related questions in the future. so i've grown comfortable with making mistakes and see that as very valuable training. and very quickly you are then seen as the subject matter expert, and are valued and gain cachet in the company. those are now some of my best talking points during based interviews, and have helped me get promoted within the company.

i don't see it as "poor management" or "lazy" i think it's due to growing demand, growing departments, not enough staff, ongoing demand and high vacancy rates.

Last edited by Tzaphkiel; 04-12-2021 at 11:13 PM..
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Old 04-13-2021, 02:55 AM
 
Location: Honolulu, HI
14,137 posts, read 4,299,725 times
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Sink or swim is very archaic and unproductive. All you need is one trainer or one manual to explain what the hell is going on and after a week or two, the new hire should have the basics.

Luckily, I'm a solid career point where I can find another job if a new one isn't a good match.
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Old 04-13-2021, 06:28 AM
 
Location: In a vehicle.
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Reputation: 10490
While we give the newbie a packet and a trainer for a week. We're still losing them due to how to fill out paperwork. Even with a week training, they still have issues....
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Old 04-13-2021, 06:46 AM
 
6,911 posts, read 5,195,367 times
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I've run into this with my last two positions. I received literally ZERO training at all and was assigned fairly complex work in the first week, even before I had access to many of the systems necessary to perform my job. So I'm as good as anyone to discuss this topic.

I would say, in general....of course there are exceptions.....for someone who has extensive experience, there is no real need for a formal training program to hand-hold them through their first few months. If the company is hiring they need help and they need it quickly. If you're coming in with ample experience there should be no need to sit down and have someone explain every minor detail to you. Things that are specific to the firm, yes.

If you're bringing in someone with little to no experience, those are the types of folks who need more time to acclimate to the job and possibly even to shadow a more tenured colleague to get them up to speed.

I think there is a healthy balance here. In my case, assigning me HUGE projects in my first week absolutely stressed me out and soured me immediately on my Director and the company in general. No reason they couldn't have assigned me to work on such things in tandem with someone to be able to see how things are done within this company vs. simply saying "Here is Project X, ask questions if you have any." There has to be some type of onboarding in place at every job.
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