I joined MVF as a SME Sales Executive after completing a sociology degree from Warwick last year. I moved to Leeds for six months to experience the North, then decided to move to London to build my career, and that led to me ending up at MVF!
Sales appealed because it's a job that is often really hard work and can be quite difficult, but when you make a sale or grow an account, it's super rewarding and makes all the blood, sweat and tears worthwhile.
I recently found out that giving new employees an amazing onboarding programme isn’t just vital to set staff up for success, it has a huge impact on retention. Research shows almost 70% of employees are more likely to stay with a business for up to three years if they experience great onboarding.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to share my recent onboarding experience with MVF. Having been at MVF for just over three months and successfully passing probation my experience of the onboarding process is extremely fresh and to an extent, still ongoing.
Interview and Offer
Onboarding really starts from the interview process, and I found the interview and offer process with MVF really positive and efficient. Having completed my second stage interview, I was made an offer that same day (which also happened to be my birthday!). Offer accepted and start date agreed, I received an email of congratulations from the CEO.
Before I started, I also had a phone call from my future manager. Staying in touch during the limbo phase definitely made me feel that I had made the right choice in employer and they were looking forward to me joining as much as I was looking forward to joining them.
The Highly Anticipated First Week
Start Smart, which is MVF’s onboarding week which all new starters go through, is a somewhat intense yet acutely helpful way of introducing new employees to the business. It’s a full programme for your first five days, with check-ins every few weeks afterwards throughout your probation. It provides an in-depth understanding of all parts of the business, and also introduces you to a good initial group of friends, all of whom are going through the same process.
Something which is not to be underestimated is understanding how you learn, and there was a particular Smart Start session in which we are made aware of personal learning styles. The point of this session was to show how knowing your particular learning style enables you to discuss with your manager and put together a plan that suits both of you to provide the most thorough and effective learning experience. This made me feel like my individual requirements were being thought about and it was not just a one size fits all approach to training and learning.
Learning On The Job
Usually when you join MVF’s sales department, you go through Sales Academy - a full course where you learn everything you need to be successful in your role. However, I started outside the normal Sales Academy rotation which meant my training had to be adapted in terms of timeline, proving to be a valuable learning curve!
My weekly sales meeting with my manager is the time in which we discuss tasks for the week ahead, but also the space in which we discuss progression. I’ve always been asked to offer any feedback as well as receiving my own and the transparency has been immensely helpful. Being part of the Sales Academy means we complete a number of tests, and there is always the chance to go through the questions and learn how best to approach them.
Any role in sales automatically comes with KPIs and targets, and whilst this type of measurement doesn’t suit everyone, these metrics give you a thorough understanding of the progress you are making and the areas in which you need to improve. Some companies use metrics against their employees, and make them something to feel scared of. I found with MVF they are very much a useful tool, and a great guideline to know where I stood with my progression.
Probation is largely measured on your application of MVF’s values in your role, and having a mid-probation review summing up how I was scoring against each of these was really helpful and I think helped me to eventually pass probation successfully.
Experiencing The Company Culture
At a company that is as focused on culture and values as MVF, I think onboarding applies to more than just being able to do the job, but learning how to embrace the entire company. There are a multitude of opportunities to get involved in sporting clubs, social committees, social clubs and other interest groups.
Because of these initiatives, I don’t just view work as a 9-5, where I turn up, do the job, go home, and repeat Monday to Friday. It’s no secret a happy employee makes for a more productive and enthusiastic employee so the company perks benefit both MVF and me. Thus, immersion into the culture and values is an equally important part of the onboarding process.
For example, I’ve started going boxing every Wednesday and not only am I getting some exercise in during the day which means I don’t have to drag myself to the gym after work, but it’s also been a great way to meet a few more people outside my immediate team.
Set Up For Success
Starting a new role is really exciting but is often fairly daunting, regardless of your level of experience and years in the industry. It is quite easy to feel a bit overwhelmed and overthink the probation period!
However, upon reflection and having now passed, I was reassured many times that if there was an issue, I would know about it, and I was always given open and honest feedback in terms of how I was doing.
Overall, it’s important to remember that a company has hired you because you’ve exhibited the right personality and skills to excel within your role; nobody is trying to catch you out. Try and enjoy the experience, it’s your chance to learn loads of new skills, make mistakes, ask silly questions and figure out the day to day of a new role.
Onboarding is a two way process, and you should feel comfortable giving and asking for feedback. Managers will always be supportive and help you where they can, as they want you to succeed too!