It’s not the most common technique, but I fully endorse the idea of employee on-boarding by spending time on phone support. I think 3 weeks is probably the right amount of time. Certainly 3 days is too short and 3 months is too long.
The reason this is a good technique is that it forces employees to interact directly with customers. It’s so easy to abstract customers to be statistics or faceless company logos. Spending time with them when they are most vulnerable and the employee knows the least is the perfect chance for two people to connect on a meaningful/emotional level.
Too often, employees join a company and are thrown into the job. I’ve met countless people who had deliverables in their first few weeks. This is not a very pleasant way to start a new job. You have to ease into it. Learn the culture, learn the customers, learn your surroundings. Where are the printers?
We are in such a rush and we assume people know what we know. We assume they can do what we can do. It’s just not the truth. People changing jobs have excitement and energy and absolutely no knowledge of the environment they just entered.
For new UX Designers, I have them answer support style questions on the community as well as shadow numerous people throughout the organization. I don’t think I have perfected the process, but I remain committed to the goal. How do you on-board employees?