Here at Plymate, we’ve found that our team works better when we all understand each of the roles within the company. More than understanding, experiencing each of the roles helps us to know exactly what it’s like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. That’s why at Plymate, part of our onboarding process is to do a little job shadowing! First hand experience with each part of the uniform and mat rental process gives our team a greater sense of connection, and ultimately helps us better serve one another and our customers.
The Internal Customer
There’s a saying around here that co-workers are our internal customers. We don’t just work hard to serve our uniform and mat customers; we work hard for each other as well. Getting a glimpse into behind-the-scenes operations in other departments helps us see how we affect one another. It also demonstrates what it takes to ensure everything runs smoothly at Plymate. That’s why we make sure co-workers have the opportunity to be with one another and see what a given role looks like on a daily basis.
Job Shadowing: How It Works
So what does this kind of job shadowing look like practically? Over the years, we’ve organized a program that allows co-workers in different departments to join together:
- Service Representatives take a break from their routine route deliveries and spend a day in “Plant School,” where they learn the in’s and out’s of production and how to best support the department.
- Production operators spend a day on a delivery route every year. Getting out and seeing our customers face-to-face helps them to be more in touch with needs.
- Each manager rides along on a delivery route at least once a year.
- All new hires go through “Plant School” as part of their onboarding process, and receive regular refreshers!
Job shadowing has made a tremendous impact on the culture and productivity at Plymate. And it isn’t a one-time thing; our co-workers are exposed on an annual basis to other facets of our organization. This practice always reinforces how important it is to understand—and be understood by—those we work with. It underscores Plymate’s core values of communication and always striving to do better.