Yesterday I facilitated (shepherded) an all day Induction. In a post I wrote for the Training Journal, I spoke about how this is the one key structured piece of activity any organisation or business just has to get right. It’s the first entry point to the business and makes such a key difference to the performance of the new starter. The day made me think about how this is so important for others that are engaged with a business too. You know, the dirty people – suppliers.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the L&D sweet spot and how I designed possibly my most favourite exercise. Today I’d like to share with you what I think was my best ever piece of facilitation. I was given a task of putting together a programme to help our vendors get who we are, how we work and why we work the way we do. I and the manager involved had no idea how this would pan out. We were both shooting in the dark but hoping for the best.
We decided that there needed to be key merchandising, planning and operational managers presenting. The company values had to be shared, as well as the company vision. Organisationally, QVC had come on leaps and bounds in the years that I was there. (Just realised that sounds like I did that. In true fairness the L&D team made it happen. I was part of that team and learned a lot.) So to do this for our vendors didn’t seem like a chore. A lot of the collateral we needed was already to hand. The key presenters already had relationships with a lot of the vendors. The vendors just needed some airtime and some answers.
So we gave them what they asked for. We were open about everything we presented and hid nothing. The result? A programme that runs to this day. I’m confident about sharing this in that it’s been 5 years since I left the company, and the programme has developed since then. But here’s why I loved it. I got to be part of a programme which we had no idea how it would be received. We put together a day full of interaction and information that was bang on for the audience. The relationships with our vendors who attended were stronger as a result. Our merchandisers became far more comfortable talking with our vendors as they now understand company aims and vision.
It may not sound exciting, and indeed is just an Induction for suppliers and vendors. But what makes a day like this exciting is the flavour and enthusiasm you bring to it. We could just as easily have put together a day of presentations that were one-way delivery and left it at that. But we saw this as an opportunity to do so much more and not let the opportunity pass. That’s also why I enjoy the company induction. If this is such an important event – and it is – why leave things at being standard?