“The best part of orientation was seeing how engaged our new hires were, and hearing them comment that they really felt like they had joined an awesome company.” — Eric Thibault, Learning and Development Facilitator
It’s your first day at your new job.
You’re excited to start your new role, but may be a bit nervous. You double and triple checked your alarm clock the night before, and picked out your outfit before heading to bed. You arrived 15 minutes early to the place that will now consume 40+ hours of your week, and you waited patiently in the lobby with a slight sweat starting to form under your palms.
If this is your first real job, you’re probably not really sure what to expect on day one. Maybe HR told you what to expect…maybe they didn’t. If you’re an experienced hire, you’ve been through this before. Day one is pretty standard, right? It’s HR paperwork, death by Powerpoint presentations, you get shown to your desk, and maybe your new manager takes you out to lunch with your team. If you’re lucky…
Not at Appian.
I had already received a handwritten welcome note from the CEO, so I was feeling pretty good about day one. But, when I walked into Appian’s lobby, I was greeted by a huge “Welcome to Appian” banner, a friendly HR team, and my Onboarding Ambassador who was there to escort me on the first stop of my onboarding journey — breakfast! Little did I know, I was about to take part in Appian’s completely redesigned onboarding experience.
Forget What You Think You Know About Orientation
Imagine walking into your day one orientation room and realizing everything in the room was catered to you. With a speaker playing some upbeat 90’s tune in the background, I took a walk around the room and saw large, trade show style, pop-up banners; healthcare persona posters; a handwritten agenda and theme on what appeared to be a writable wall (I hope!); legos; play dough; a large stuffed elephant; and a wall of “new hire profiles” that introduced me to my other orientation class members. I was slightly curious to say the least.
I took my seat next to three, international, new hires. Next to my name card was an Appian Welcome Gift with a bunch of Appian branded stuff, my new laptop bag, a blank passport, and a miniature, trunk-like suitcase in the middle of the table that was labeled “Time Capsule #1 — Founding Appian (1999- 2003).
By this point, I knew this wasn’t going to be your average corporate, orientation program.
“Welcome Aboard! And welcome to the start of your orientation journey. I’ll be your captain for the next three days,” said one of the facilitators at the front of the room, wearing a pilot hat. “And I’ll be your co-captain,” the other facilitator said. I’ll admit it was funny, slightly awkward perhaps, but they had my attention.
Orientation via a Talk Show, Storytelling & Professional Development Workshop
The remainder of the three-day program covered everything from Appian’s history and culture to its customers, and we even got hands-on with Appian’s product.
I appreciated hearing from a number of executives as well, but they weren’t just guest speakers. Rew Dickinson, a member of the pre-sales team, gave us a live product demo as if we were a new prospect, one of the facilitators hosted a “Talk Show” with the Director of Competitive Intelligence and Director of Product Marketing to teach us about Appian’s competitive landscape, and then we had a facilitated discussion about Appian’s culture and values via employee stories and videos. The “Customer Journey Fairytale” was also a fun way to learn about how a prospective customer becomes a client success story!
My favorite part of the orientation though, came on the morning of day three — a half day DISC workshop. DISC is an interpersonal effectiveness assessment that helps you understand more about your preferred “at work” and “outside of work” communication styles. We spent four hours analyzing what the different styles meant, and used different games and exercises to practice how to adapt our styles to more effectively communicate with others.
The thought that clearly went into this program, and the variety of experiences over the course of three days, really made me feel welcomed as a new employee. I got to meet Appian employees from London office, the Sydney office, and the Paris office, and I connected with them in a way I would never had the chance to without this program. Orientation at Appian kickstarted my career in a fun and engaging way, and was an eye-opening experience that helped me immediately feel part of Appian’s team.
Written by Andie Schilstra, Candidate Experience Coordinator, joined Appian in January 2017.
Not Your Average Corporate Orientation Program: My New Hire Journey at Appian was originally published in AppianLIFE on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.