Orientation focuses on the company’s three tenets of the “Total Team Member—Personal, Character, and Professional Development.”
By Margery Weinstein
IMG College thinks of its new hire orientation as the first opportunity new employees, or “team members,” have to experience the organization’s culture. Orientation focuses on the company’s three tenets of the “Total Team Member—Personal, Character, and Professional Development.” This five-day, four-night program is held at IMG College’s corporate headquarters in Winston-Salem, NC. All new team members are required to attend, and on average, receive 120 hours of training during the week. Here are the multiple components that make up this program:
Personal Development: Within three days of their start date, all new hires receive the dates to attend orientation. Further, the Chief IDEAS officer sends a personalized, handwritten welcome note to reinforce the importance of personal communication and relationships. The company is “unapologetically old school” in its approach to dress, communication, and the importance of intellectual curiosity. To reinforce this, a detailed presentation reviews dress code, the WRITE program (We Remember IMG College Thanks Everyone), and the company’s commitment to peer-to-peer recognition.
Character Development: Social interaction, which IMG College considers crucial to character development, is an equally important aspect of the company’s orientation. Each morning, a different division hosts breakfast and offers a chance for teambuilding and fellowship. Members of the executive team and senior management host dinners, one of which is an etiquette dinner. The four-course wine dinner is led by a five-star maître’d, who covers topics such as dining pitfalls, proper etiquette, and professionalism. A welcome reception is held during the week by President Ben C. Sutton, Jr., who challenges new hires to “aspire to take his job.” The week culminates in a free-throw contest conducted in the lobby of company headquarters, which happens to be a basketball court. All attendees participate in this friendly competition, while team members join in cheering on the participants.
Professional Development: As a sales organization, all of the company’s efforts support the sales process and cycle. Prior to arrival, the book, “Consultative Closing,” is sent to new hires with a list of pre-work assignments. Internal team members offer detailed presentations on their departments including: Audio, Digital/Interactive, Print, TV, Corporate Communications, Licensing, Marketing & Sales Support, and Human Resources. A five-hour session on KORE, the company’s customer relationship management system, includes both instructor-led training and internal Power Users offering best practices, self-study, and simulations in the system. Conference Vice President Jim Woodrum leads six hours of inventory analysis, profitability, and best practices from a consultative needs approach. This training culminates in client analysis using a desk tour exercise. Sales trainer Greg Bennett leads an eight-hour session including instructor-led classroom, role-play, and blended techniques. Regardless of role, all IMG College employees participate in this training to understand and empathize with its sellers. In addition, IMG College’s general managers also attend additional training for higher-level business, operational, institutional relationships, contract review, and Human Resources. Once new hires leave orientation, they are armed with the material, cultural knowledge, and internal relationships necessary to run and facilitate operations successfully within IMG College.
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