Recently at NS4L, we have started an internal shadowing program. A schedule was created which pairs each of us with a co-worker that has a different position than our usual one. On our shadowing days we are encouraged to actively partake in the work experience and “get our hands dirty.” I have only shadowed the Front of House (FOH), but as a driver this experience was something completely new. I have had many “shadowers” and found that it is a great way to learn a little bit more about my co-workers while also showing them a day in the life.
My hired position as a driver requires me to interact with the FOH the most on a day-to-day basis. Any information that is recorded by the FOH when they schedule a scooter pick-up is printed onto paper and is handed over to me so that I can pick them up in the mornings. Prior to my shadow day I had only a minimal understanding of the process of answering the phones and dealing with the customers directly. I will admit that I am usually on their case about something that is unclear or that I don’t understand so I was curious to see how I would do in their shoes.
It took me a good part of the day to remember the right procedure for each problem or person in need, but by the afternoon I felt a little more comfortable with the position. I understood the processes and realized that the FOH doesn’t actually just sit around on Facebook all day (despite the rumors that were going around in the Back of House.) Furthermore, I started to learn a little more about my co-workers too! We shared plenty of laughs that day and learned plenty more about each on a more personal level.
Although I have only one shadowing experience in a different position, I have had all FOH members shadow me at least once during my morning pickups. This is where I have gotten the most out of this shadowing program. Fortunately, the driving position is pretty straightforward so there is not an overwhelming amount to teach. Of course I would show them my responsibilities and give them a chance to be in the shoes of a driver, but eventually we would go off on a tangent and have some really great conversations. Again I found myself learning more about my co-workers.
Each shadowing experience gave me an opportunity to bond with a new team member and for each of us to provide some useful input and ideas about our positions and processes to each other. I was curious to learn about different positions and indeed I did. But my biggest take away from the NS4L shadowing program has been learning more about each personality that maintains the different positions around the shop.