• How Others Do It: Vanguard Refocuses Orientation Program

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    May 15, 2013

    As Vanguard continues to expand internationally, it recognized the need to create a consistent day-one orientation program for new hires that translates its mission, purpose, and philosophy throughout all regions of the globe.

    Vanguard conducted a thorough needs assessment that included reaching out to its leaders and existing and new employees through surveys, focus groups, and interviews.

    “With this, we took into consideration the various cultural, country, and market and economic environment differences,” says Sherryann Plessé, principal and Vanguard’s chief learning officer whose team led the development and implementation of the orientation program changes. “Our findings showed a need to streamline our presentation of information and shift non-essential content out of day-one orientation to be shared throughout the new hire’s first year. In short, we focused corporate orientation on who Vanguard is and why we do what we do.”

    Vanguard’s new orientation program—which is used for both traditional full-time hires and interns—weaves the onboarding experience into three main themes:

    • How Vanguard helps clients invest.
    • How Vanguard invests in its employees.
    • How Vanguard invests in its community.

    “Focusing on these three themes enables us to streamline our communication around the ‘what’ and the ‘why,’” Plessé explains. “Initial results show that helping [new hires] connect with these key themes at a higher level provides a digestible base level of knowledge and leaves them with a hunger to learn more. We then have the ability to follow up with additional training and development opportunities throughout the first year and beyond the initial orientation touch point.”

    Anecdotal evidence of the program’s effectiveness has been favorable. Furthermore, since the program’s implementation, the organization has seen a 13 percent increase in the percentage of participants who would recommend the course to others.

    Plessé adds that although Vanguard’s training and employee development starts at orientation, it certainly does not end there.

    “We believe that career development is imperative at all levels in the organization,” she says. “For that reason, Vanguard University, our in-house training program, offers more than 2,300 courses on a broad range of topics, including investments and financial markets; leadership and management development; presentations and writing; business processing, and licensing.”

    Still, Plessé touts the importance of orientation, noting that it’s your opportunity to make an impression on your new employees.

    “Through our research, we find most new employees are excited, overwhelmed, and forget most of what is covered on their first day,” she says. “Examining what is currently included in your program and how it is shared can help shed light on opportunities to make updates.”

    Plessé explains that it’s important to think about what a new employee needs to know on their first day and separate out everything else to be taught later when the new hire is better acclimated and able to absorb new information.

    “Think about your company culture and what it is you want a new hire to know at the end of their first day, week, month, and year,” she advises. “Then, build your program accordingly.”

How Others Do It: Vanguard Refocuses Orientation Program