Georgia-Pacific – new hire orientation
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the business need
Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products wanted to elevate the level of its new hire orientation program to address the learning styles of the Millennial generation and create an “immersive” experience for new employees. The goals were to present new and existing information relevant to new hires using a proven learning design approach, extensive use of visualization, and high levels of interactivity.
Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products worked with Root to craft a unique blend of media treatment and learning design that incorporated gaming and fun elements to complement the content. Already familiar with Root’s work, Woodard brought the project to Root for “the ability to really push the envelope – break it wide open with creative ideas and high-end technology.”
“I’d been asked to build new hire orientations at other companies,” said Woodard. “Leaders were always asking for the same thing – they were focused on getting leaders and other people scheduled for a one-or-two-week time period. When I was asked to build a program at Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products, I decided to do it differently. When a new hire needs orientation, they shouldn’t have to wait until certain people are available. People need to begin orientation on Day One. I realized that through technology, we could create a learner-centered digital solution that a person could start immediately.” A big challenge was the timeline: It needed to be rolled out within a year. Ultimately, the project took six months to build and three months to test and refine.
Working with Root’s Digital Interactive Group, Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products built a game-like platform “located” at its world headquarters. Learning begins outside the building and progresses into the lobby in a 3-D world. Learners interact with a variety of content as they move through the new hire program. After they visit the initial areas onscreen and print materials for reference, they take an “elevator” to other floors to explore more information. As learners travel through the building, they encounter avatars who share information more specific to their own roles and to those of others at Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products.
This project was designed in three phases. In Phase 1, learners explore things they need to know right away – customers, products, facilities, and distribution centers.
In Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products’ “virtual company,” those things are on the landing page of the experience.
Once new hires are up to speed on the basics, they need to know how Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products are made. Phase 2 “brought the plant to the people” virtually. Using video, a narrated PowerPoint deck, and Georgia-Pacific’s own television system, new hires could tour a mill and learn efficiently and with less cost.
Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products University is in the process of creating Phase 3, which will focus on more specific product knowledge and product placement in different customer segments.
For most companies, new hire orientation isn’t an event; it’s an ongoing process. However, this project was marketed to the entire company about six weeks before its rollout. A “commercial,” or “teaser,” was created by Root and sent via email, which got the entire employee population instantly intrigued and entertained. Then, all new hires were involved immediately. The program auto-links with managers to notify them if a learner hasn’t completed any area by its due date.
The orientation was purposely intended to take a learner nine to 12 months to complete. Other events are tied to the digital module as well, such as attendance at certain times by certain dates.
For both phases rolled out to date, Woodard says that the initial feedback was “Wow!” People are pleased to find everything they needed and wanted to know in one place. He says that employees appreciate that they’re pulling the information instead of having it pushed. Retention seems to be much better, likely due to the need to pass an assessment with 85% at the end of each section.
Although the experience was designed for new hires, existing employees became interested, and it has become a platform for universal knowledge about
“I’ve been doing business with Root for over 12 years, and every single project has been a blessing. Your people are so talented and are always willing and able to communicate where we are on the project, what we do from our end, and what to expect from your end. It’s a pleasure to work with Root. You always overdeliver.”
– Mike Woodard, Director of Georgia Pacific Consumer Products University