First Day of “School”

Starting a new job is a big transition.  No matter how much you’ve prepared for your first day, there are bound to be certain levels of anxiety and nerves that come with this new chapter in your professional life. 

Sure, it’s exciting.  But, think back to your first day of school – new teachers, new classmates, and a new curriculum.  While we age, mature, and gain life experience, somehow that “first day” feeling hangs with us whether we’re 5 or 35. 

Part of my role in HR is prepping our new team members, before their first day, for what’s to come.  Knowing what to expect calms some of those new job jitters and also allows our new team members to be best able to hit the ground running.

Recently, a new group of Account Managers started at C&A.  The week prior, my team of HR recruiters called each of them to verify everything was set for their first day.  Typically, our new hires have last minute questions and we provide a refresher.

Orientation is first on the first day schedule.  Employees get a bit of company history, tour the building, meet other staff, and learn more about the organization and how employees operate day to day. 

The Training department spends time making sure new employees understand the basics of the phone system, our company email system, and other key software that relates to their position. 

Our new Account Managers are each assigned a Mentor who they get to know over lunch as well as others in their new hire training class.  Because our sales training is 10-weeks long, getting to know others in their class on a personal level is helpful and this gets the group off to a great start. 

One of the things we talk to our prospective employees about during our interview process is our training.  It’s something we’re very proud of and one of the aspects of C&A that makes us unique.  It’s extensive and thorough yet full of variety, which keeps it fresh and interesting  – classroom lectures, role playing, subject matter expert workshops, computer based training, then a period of hands-on application of what’s been learned. 

When we ask our employees, down the road, what it was that best prepared them for success at C&A, they tell us, hands-down, the training.  Virtually every one has said it’s the best they’ve received in their career to date. 

That makes me feel good about the company I work for and also about the many C&A employees who dedicate themselves to developing our training tools and continually looking at new ways to deliver first rate education to our employees. 

Next week, it’s my turn to talk to the new class about my area of expertise, HR.  I’m excited to see them again, hear how they’re progressing, and give them some takeaways that will help them become the very best they can be, long after those first day nerves have settled. 


bretAbout Bret Williams, HR Director, C&A Industries, Inc.
Bret began his career at C&A in 2002 as a recruiting manager. He was awarded C&A’s highest honor of Employee of the Year in 2005 and has continued to grow with the company as it has expanded, now serving as the Director of HR, a position he’s held since 2006. Bret has a bachelor’s degree in HR management is an active member of both The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the local Human Resource Association of the Midlands (HRAM) organizations. Away from work, family, church, and basketball consume most of Bret’s spare time. He serves as an Elder in his church and volunteers for many of its activities and committees. Bret also coaches girl’s basketball and is currently in his third season as head coach for one of Millard West girl’s feeder teams. When he’s not spending cherished time with his wife and two kids, Bret jumps on his Harley Softtail and goes for a ride or grabs a fishing pole and heads for the lake.

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