A Look Inside Hancock’s Onboarding, Hiring + Training Programs

October 9, 2020 10:46 am Comments Off on A Look Inside Hancock’s Onboarding, Hiring + Training Programs

BPTW 2020

Take a look inside Hancock’s onboarding, hiring + training programs with two interviews below with both John Muzzy, our Retail Division Training + Onboarding Coordinator and Kevin Raven, our Sawmill Division Training + Development Manager.



TELL ME ABOUT YOUR ROLE AND WHY YOU DECIDED TO JOIN TEAM HANCOCK? I started at Hancock in the beginning of February. I have always had a passion for employee engagement and development. I’ve long held the belief that the most valuable thing a company has is its people and they should be treated as such. So, when an opportunity came along to work for a company that truly feels the same way and where I was told my job was to make it even better, I jumped on it. In my role I work with new employees as early as the moment they apply through their onboarding process as they get up to speed on their role and the Hancock culture. I will also be working with employees to facilitate and coordinate ongoing trainings and education throughout their career at Hancock.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PROJECTS YOU’VE BEEN WORKING ON RELATED TO HIRING, ONBOARDING +TRAINING? Tough question! Dozens. It’s been an exciting challenge to find and meet with folks who can meet the caliber of our current teammates. I’m proud to say since I started in my role, I have been involved in the hiring of approximately 30 employees with the vast majority of them coming on in the last two months. Hands down, the most rewarding part of my job has been seeing someone hard at work in a store–already looking like a pro’s pro–who I originally connected with over the phone when they first applied.

HOW HAS ONBOARDING EVOLVED SINCE YOU STARTED? I believe the two biggest things so far have been greater organization and a more focused commitment to the process. What I saw when I got started was that people were more than willing to help train others, however there was no clear path on how that was to be done or who exactly was responsible for ensuring all the proper training was done. The first step was to develop a procedure that can be followed at all of our retail stores and clearly define who was responsible for what. Then, you have someone in this role constantly learning from the stores to refine this process to make it continuously more efficient and effective.

TELL ME ABOUT THE NEW MENTOR PROGRAM? WHAT DOES IT ENTAIL? HOW IS IT GOING? The new mentor program is a combination of old and new. There was an existing mentor program for a number of positions—so, instead of recreating the wheel, we built out from that program with feedback I received while spending time with employees. There are now detailed mentor sheets for the majority of our positions. Those sheets are utilized by the mentors when a new employee starts to guarantee that a new employee is receiving training on the various processes and duties required to do their jobs effectively. We have 1-2 mentors at each store and, so far, we have implemented this process in six of our locations. This system creates great opportunities for feedback both ways and helps to ensure a new employee is receiving the tools and training they need to become a successful member of our team. Early on I would say it’s going well! And, I am optimistic that we will continually strengthen the program—in large part due to the wonderful group of mentors we have. Their feedback combined with the feedback of new employees is instrumental in the future of this program.

WHAT HAVE YOU ENJOYED THE MOST ABOUT WORKING AT HANCOCK LUMBER? Our people and our culture. I’ve never worked in an environment with so many hard working, dedicated, knowledgeable individuals. Each person we have is so important to the entire process and I believe that’s a shared belief across the company. In addition to that, I feel so fortunate to work with people as they begin their careers here. People come to us from a multitude of environments, so to have been the first one to tell them about our culture and then later on have them tell me this is the best place they’ve ever worked is a wonderful feeling. It goes without saying–but, I’m glad we say it as much as we do!–the employees are truly the most valuable part of Hancock Lumber. I believe this role gives us a greater opportunity to give all our amazing teammates a better opportunity to succeed.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE NEXT 12-MONTHS LOOK LIKE FOR OUR RETAIL TRAINING + ONBOARDING COORDINATOR? The next 12 months will be very interesting! We have brought on a significant number of employees with the addition of the Saco store and I’m excited to work with them in the coming months. Looking forward, I’ll have an opportunity to dive deeper into projects such as establishing a more organized process for training position backups, designing greater structure around scheduling training for employees, and whatever else may arise in talking with people. Folks have been wonderful in providing me feedback and ideas on how they believe we can improve in these areas, and I’m always open to more!


KEVIN RAVEN DISCUSSES A NEW APPROACH TO HIRING AND ONBOARDING. A cool thing the sawmill division experimented with is the concept of employee team interviews. At the Bethel Sawmill, Aaron and Keith suggested—and encouraged—the five, second shift moulder employees to take an hour out of production time to interview a new-hire candidate. The thought was that if Hancock decided to hire the person, fellow co-workers would have been a part of vetting the employee and help with a more successful onboarding. After checking in with the candidate to see how the experience was for him, he said he felt it went really well, stating that the current employees asked a lot of questions regarding his personality, work ethic, and different situational questions.

After, I asked the candidate—who is now a new employee—which interview process he was more comfortable with and he said he was more at ease with the employee interview. When he started work, he felt like he already knew the crew and was a welcomed addition to the team. A couple months in—and, so far, so good—the new employee is thriving, with good feedback from his co-workers.

Below is the Sawmill ‘Onboarding and Retention Checklist’ to help guide the new employee hiring and onboarding process.

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This post was written by Erin Plummer

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