Is It Possible to Reduce the Learning Curve for New Employees?


You are new to the company or have just been transferred to a new position and you’re unaware of the new functions and responsibilities so what do you do? What’s one way to get a high-level outline and perspective of the new position and some of its key terminology.

Perhaps a seasoned veteran of this department could have proactively built a file structure of the new position – something in Windows Explorer. The title, at Level 1, could be defined as the new position or function of the new job and certainly not the key piece as you build this new outline. Once Level 1 is defined, what folders or files will be included under these key folders and categories as level 2? This level may be the key piece so much thought would be needed to be inclusive so all folders and files underneath would have an appropriate resting place. Often, and to stay organized with new challenges, level 3 may be necessary. This basic outline could allow those new to the department enough structure and working space to place critical files or important documents in this space.

paint2Let’s say Bill was transferred into technical support for a company named Jericho. Titles for Level 1 may be Jericho, Technology, IT Support or Technical Support – something that’s generic enough to represent all the sub-folders that will resonate in your new position. Because Level 2 is critically important — let’s say under IT Support, you may include sub-folders such as documentation, networking, operating system, hardware, software, management support, mobile devices, and miscellaneous projects. This may not be an exhaustive list but it’s a good starting point. If you use operating system for one of your Level 2 folders, Level 3 msy include sub-folders such as Microsoft Windows, Linux, OS X, QNX, and IBM z/OS. For some users, the 3 level hierarchy may suffice although one has the option to add more with this basic file structure.

zzOf course, this basic file hierarchy could be duplicated in Windows Outlook. Outlook allows for folders, subfolders and more subfolders. If it’s well defined through Windows Explorer, this same structure or template could be leveraged for emails, calendar activities and emails with attachments. Would that not be beneficial?

Having a hierarchical template for Windows Explorer and/or Outlook would provide new employees a well-defined space in which to begin. It would not have to be followed exactly or at all, however, this structure could provide two things: one, as we mentioned earlier, better organization and structure. The second and perhaps more important is a better understanding of the new role, potential projects and department. Knowing that structure could help one to know what’s important, and may help them connect the dots between various tasks or projects. It may also help guide the employee on some of the key players with whom they will work.

When you’re new to the job, there’s a learning curve regardless of how long you’ve been with the company or the level of familiarity with the material – change is a key constant. Many of us have been in a multitude of positions where they thought it would be great to have such a file structure for the new position. This could help mitigate steep challenges of learning about the new job and give confidence to those new to get familiar with key documents, concepts and contacts.

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