My company hires a good number of people each year.  “Back in the day” we would all spend several weeks in Seattle at Corp HQ, go to a cooking school, do a bunch of training and it was pretty cool.  We all had a shared experience that we could connect around for years (or decades) to come.  In the intervening years a range of approaches have been attempted, but we’ve settled on the idea of Onboarding for all employees and another program we call Ignition for people we’re hiring straight out of school.

In my new role I own a lot of the decisions and processes around hiring, and I care a lot about retention – so I’m very interested in our onboarding experience.

I’m sure I’ll come back to this topic, so I won’t belabor all the things we’re thinking about, but the biggest issue I want to fix is the quality of our presenters.  I received some stark feedback about the quality of our executive presenters who present at our onboarding sessions.  The feedback was that some of our presenters basically read from the PPT (the content of which is pretty dull – and, you know, PPT) and had really low energy.

I view presentation skills as a core competency of mine – I enjoy it, I’m good at reading the room, and I’m comfortable going off-script.  I appreciate that this is not the case for everyone, but it’s interesting that we tend to assume someone relatively far along in their career is going to be a good presenter.  This is manifestly not the case.

I’m just starting to think about this, but we need to re-energize and improve the quality of our presenters. In my perfect world I could do an America’s Got Talent-style approach and select only those that can blow the doors off.  I suspect, however, that’s my ego talking, and want to explore other options.  Certainly some level of vetting, combined with some high-value training and interaction to help our presenters continue to improve.