New employee orientation at South Carolina Department of Revenue gets learners involved from the get-go

A guest article by Jeanette Hornsby, Director of Taxpayer & Employee Education, South Carolina Department of Revenue

We have revamped our New Employee Orientation Program using accelerated learning concepts. No longer do the new employees sit and listen to people talk. They are sent out into the company to create knowledge on their own.

For example, in small groups, the new hires interview team leaders in the workplace and ask them about their experiences with their teams, the difficulties they've encountered and what the results were.

To introduce people to some of our policies, procedures, and resources, they do a Scavenger Hunt on our intranet. They have to find such things as the career development plans, the training calendar, tax information, how to use our internal chat room for tax issues, and important telephone numbers.

Another activity is a tour of the tax processing area. The new employee "becomes" a tax return for one of our taxes and has to follow that return through the mail room all the way to the computer room.

Participants are each given a puzzle piece and together they have to put together a huge jigsaw puzzle to learn where tax money comes from and how it's distributed among various components of state government.

The new program is so successful that the long-term employees are somewhat jealous. We are now considering a "reorientation" class for them!