What “Modern Family” Reminded Me About Onboarding


Did you happen to catch Modern Family last week?

I know I did! It’s one of my favorite current shows. Usually, I tune in for the comedy and the great writing, but last Wednesday, I found myself taking notes. Yep – I’m a nerd like that.

One of the storylines in the episode featured Mitch – if you don’t watch, he’s the red-haired guy in the photo above. Mitch is an attorney and was starting a new job at a non-profit. His new boss was an old college friend (the woman in the photo above). In true sitcom fashion, there was a series of misunderstandings on his first day that made him question his decision to start the job.

Watch this part of the episode here. Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

This storyline naturally got me thinking about real-life onboarding.

Starting a new job is just as much the new employee’s decision as it is the organization’s decision to hire the person. On a new employee’s first day, our job is to reaffirm his decision to join our organization.

Today’s post is a simple, quick reminder: Just like Mitch didn’t have the context to understand the office culture, dynamics, relationships (or even everyone’s name), neither do our new employees. During those crucial first days, we need to embrace our newest associates, provide them with the content they need to become integrated, but also the context to understand that content.

Your turn: How do you do this in your onboarding programs? Leave a comment to share your experiences!

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