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Taking the Long View in New Employee Training

by Doug Wright

Whenever you bring in a bright, recent college grad as an entry-level employee, you want to make sure you take every opportunity to train them well so that they can get in the swing of things as soon as possible. By doing this, you not only efficiently integrate them into your team, but you are also facilitating the proliferation of your corporate culture.

As you work with new staffers to get their feet wet in day-to-day projects and responsibilities, you will undoubtedly find that you are reinforcing in your own mind the best practices and philosophies you’ve learned throughout your career. At a higher level, you are drawing on your personal benchmarks for what makes a “good” PR person. This will impact the new hire not just for the time he or she works at your firm, but throughout their careers. Your onboarding efforts take on a whole new significance when considered this way.

Here are some basic points I share with new colleagues as they begin their development as PR professionals:

  1. Present yourself well: It is important always to make a good first impression. While you can become friendly with colleagues and clients over time, don’t forget that you’re on the job. Pay attention to how you dress. Be on time. Focus on listening and what’s going on around you. Ask for your next assignment when you find you have free time on your hands.
  2. Be accountable and transparent: Communicate with your team. Let them know when things are going well and when they are not going so well. Let people know if you need help before getting overwhelmed and missing assignments. If you made a mistake, own up to it.
  3. Look forward, not back: Relating to the last point, you are bound to make mistakes as you are learning the job. Do learn from them, but do not dwell on them. It’s simply a part of your development and most people understand this.
  4. Seek out and recognize strategic thinking: In an entry level position, you may not be asked for input on higher level strategy for your client. However, by keeping your eyes and ears open, you will get an invaluable education that will position you to take on tasks that give you more responsibility going forward.
  5.  Lean into teamwork and helping out: We all get busy and feel we have too much to do at times. It is still important to take the time wherever possible to assist co-workers in proofreading a document or making some extra follow up calls behind a client announcement. Besides being simply a nice thing to do, the sweat equity you expend will put you in a position to call in favors when you need them.
  6. Take pride in your work: Whether it’s a press release, pitch letter or even a quick piece of correspondence, you want to take a moment to read what you’ve written before passing it on to colleagues or clients. Don’t just look for typos, but make sure you are saying what you mean to clearly. Is there anything else that can be added to make the piece better?

Of course, it is rarely one person that is solely responsible for working newcomers into their agency and the PR field. It takes a village, as they say. However, the support you offer young PR professionals is invaluable as it will not only benefit them, but, by extension, the many entry-level practitioners they will need to train later in their careers.


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