Dave Toole on employee onboarding
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Today, I’d like to explore something beyond how we’ve done things before.
We create a video, and we try to get a lot of attention around it, or we send people to online learning. There’s a new way for us to start to share methods, systems, new ways to do things without making it as cumbersome as we’ve had to in the past.
I’m going to explore onboarding today. I have a story from when I was 21 years old. I was a new employee at Advanced Micro Devices, a semiconductor company in the early days and I was a guinea pig. They had never trained anyone before in the way that they committed to train me. They taught me how to make semiconductors. They put me in the manufacturing area. I learned how to make microprocessors logic DRAM and they were all in the first four-inch wafer fab which now they cost billions of dollars. I learned how to make semiconductors and I learned how to use the tools that made semiconductors. And they also put me through a training program and how to manage and how to help people get the most out of the time that they put into their jobs.
When AMD put me through that training it taught me the importance of being on the front line, learning on the front line, learning how people have to get jobs done and some of the struggles that they run into. I was fortunate enough to end up being given the responsibility for around 100 people. Every week we used to get together and we would share stories of things that we did together why the company, Advanced Micro Devices was an exciting place to be and the things that we needed to get done together.
It really helped us be able to improve how we work together as a team. Turnover rate when I first started was 50% and it was single digits when I left the company. I believe that the people had a greater sense of purpose as to what they were doing, why it related to what the company was about.
So, the takeaway from today is onboarding is not doing it the way we’ve done it before. It’s not going sending someone to read a manual, sending someone to read stuff, watch stuff. It’s having them help do stuff so they gain knowledge, but they also learn what it’s like to apply it and get things done. I carried that forward in my career where it helped me have a lot better respect for people who had to struggle on the front lines and those who had to manage that so they could act together. They could understand how to sort through the problems that need to be solved, and they were able to work together better as a team.
I challenge people to use these new tools. What I’m doing with you, how it takes ten minutes, and if you did that and gave examples of success stories and how things were getting done, and you shared cultural experiences in the company and what was important, you’d help people in a very easy way, get a lot more done.
I’d like to encourage you. If you’d like to learn how to do this, get a hold of us. We’d love to work with you. We’re very passionate about this topic, and that’s something that happens in a lot of creative ways and a lot of different companies in Silicon Valley. Hopefully you’ll explore that further, and we’ll get to see you again soon.