Last week we had two new Design Associates start their New Hire Orientation (NHO) process with us. I’ve been involved in leading a few of the education topics for all of the new folks who have joined us and gone through NHO here in the Seattle showroom. It has been great to see how the process has evolved as the people who have been in charge of coordinating education in our store have really worked hard to streamline the experience for both new hires and those who are leading education topics. For instance, we used to have a giant binder to refer to which was full of great information, but also a little unwieldy. Now, we have folders (see photo above) with the training calendar and a map of where to find each training topic online. So much simpler and so much easier to keep the contents up-to-date!
Being able to participate in NHO has always been a great experience. From going through my own training–which I was lucky enough to do in our Edina showroom–and the various education topics I have been able to lead in NHO over the past year, it is great to reflect back and see how much growth has taken place, both for myself personally and in our showroom as a team. One thing that I think has really helped to accelerate my comfort with Room & Board’s values, brand and offering was to take on different roles. Since I started about a year and a half ago, I’ve been involved in DA Support, where I was the point person in communicating a variety of questions between our Design Associates and our Central partners; Tagging Lead during a busy holiday and floor change season; writing schedules and entering punches for payroll; and now, currently exploring the Retail Merchant role. This may not be the norm in all of our showrooms, but as a new store, when our business needs presented an opportunity, I was there to fill in as needed.
When I first started, I hadn’t worked in a retail sales environment for many years. I was excited to go through NHO, but also found myself nervous at times about the amount of knowledge needed to engage with customers on a regular basis about our products and processes. The best advice I heard was from a Design Associate who reminded us that we didn’t need to know everything all at once, but to focus on knowing what our tools and resources were. The specific knowledge would come with experience. This proved to be true and the information I have been exposed to by taking on a variety of different roles has given me a better understanding of how the company operates and made me a stronger Design Associate. Through all of this, one of my favorite activities is to be involved with creating a positive NHO experience for our new Design Associates. Whether we are training just one person at a time or a group of four, it is great to see what strengths each new person will bring to our team. I’m happy to welcome our two newest Design Associates and excited to see what the future holds for them!