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It’s one of the biggest pain points of a business, not to mention a blister in the shoe of every new hire: the transition into a new job.

It takes the average person anywhere between 8 to 26 weeks to become fully productive in a new role. That means thousands of dollars lost for the company, and a long and humbling game of catch-up for the employee. And when it’s your first job? Well, that’s often where the higher numbers come into play.

So how can a first-time hire shave down the length of their onboarding process, saving their company money and themselves unnecessary pain and sorrow?

According to employers, we could learn a lot from the hires they’ve made out of RED’s technical programs.

Fully-baked expertise

Philip Manzano, Head of Marketing at Keela in Vancouver, has hired at least half a dozen RED grads, and has noticed their onboarding goes noticeably smoothly. “They’re ready for what the role entails,” he says. “There’s not as much handling because they’re coming in with an expertise that’s pretty much fully-baked.” 

RED Career Coach and Digital Marketing Instructor Peter Lane says learning in an agency-style setting helps, where the focus is on developing well-rounded technical skills rather than theory. “We can read a book about skiing, but until we go down a mountain we’re not going to know what it’s like to ski,” Lane explains. “RED students aren’t learning from a textbook or reading about marketing, they’re playing with Google Analytics and setting up campaigns.”

Client handling

An excellent way to practice your technical skills is working with real clients, which can be a daunting leap when entering the workforce. Greg Ryder, Senior Project Manager at BAM Digital in Vancouver, has noticed his RED grads have little to no growing pains in that department. They have all been quick to pick up on the understanding of working with and for clients,” he says. “The real client work they do at RED really helps bridge that process and that mindset.”

Read about RED’s Real Client Work here.

Lane explains why understanding how to work with clients is so important. “When you’re speaking to a client, it presents a whole new set of challenges—you’re not just tackling a technical problem, you’re also tackling a human problem,” he says. “A lot of people don’t think about how different these two things are. It’s a whole different set of skills, and students at RED learn that very quickly.”

Client Work

Good problem-solving

Part of transitioning smoothly into a new role has to do with tenacity—and that’s a skill that is baked-in with the RED education. Gianmichael di Lallo, Director of User Experience at Athlon’s Toronto studio, offers his perspective. “We’ve managed to find RED graduates that were really good problem solvers and could dive into the deep end,” Di Lallo says. “They’re multi-faceted and willing to jump in, which comes from a fairly open creative environment that supports both success and failure in a positive way.”

That ability to problem solve is part of how RED sets its students up for the working world, Lane explains. “They’re technicians,” he says of newly graduated RED students. “They can all get better at their task, but they have a great foundation that they essentially can plug and play. We’ve given them the tools to figure out how to do that properly.”

A can-do attitude

And lastly, the right attitude can work wonders in making the transition into a new job smooth. Alexis Shuster, Director of Business Operations at Thrive Digital in Vancouver, says she’s noticed a distinct attitude in her RED hires. “They’re really hungry to learn and hit the ground running,” Shuster points out. “Which is awesome for us—we want people who are excited about our company, but also self-starters and excited about what they’re doing.”

So while you may never fully dodge the growing pains of a new role, with the right foundation you can pare the length of that uncomfortable process down to a mere couple of months.

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