Posted by Caveo Learning ● May 26, 2016

Get Newbies Up to Speed with Day-in-the-Life Training

day_in_the_life_training.jpgDay-in-the-life training can provide employees with a realistic, detailed look at the tasks, joys, challenges, and cadence of a work role. Done well, it can also communicate volumes about the organization and profession.

Day-in-the-life training, also known as DITL, can be valuable for employees new and old. But it is most often used for effective onboarding or for easing a worker's transition into a new role. Use DITL training to show what the job is “really” like—how do people dress? Where do people eat? What equipment will they use? How does the team work together?

A day-in-the-life module can give employees a better understanding of what to expect when they start their new role. Moreover, especially for employees of large or globally dispersed organizations who don't have opportunities to explore other locations, business units, or functions, DITL training helps them better understand the business by “meeting” colleagues and giving them a look at other roles.

Day-in-the-Life Delivery Methods

Day in the Life training can take many forms. Here are some examples.

Immersive Hands-On

Imagine visiting another function or location within the company and either witnessing or participating in the action. Companies in retail, hospitality, and service often have training centers that replicate the work environment, such as a restaurant with a working kitchen, an automotive center, or a store. Using company trainers and structured scenarios, employees get a taste of life at that location. Also consider setting up a “pop-up” work environment for group events, such as annual meetings and conferences.

On-the-Job Video

Shoot documentary-style video of employees as they go about their job. It’s often not quite that simple—a professional video shoot requires research, determining focus, narration, shot sequences, and reenactments of tasks. A well-produced video can give employees an almost-live experience.

Another less expensive option is to use live-streaming tools, like Periscope or Skype or Facebook Live, to remotely follow a worker in real time. Of course, like most informal learning approaches, this one comes with its own set of issues, such as unpredictability and the inability to edit out downtime.

Panel Discussions

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Along with promoting authenticity, panel discussions give employees an opportunity to meet team members, even if they are not co-located. When inviting panelists, articulate the importance of their time and thank them. At a minimum, have the panelists introduce themselves, describe their job function, and describe a day in their lives. Consider having them prepare stories of successes, challenges, and noteworthy incidents, and also ask the learners to prepare questions of their own.

Journal Entries

If you can’t engage experienced employees live, consider having them record “journal entries” in writing, video, or audio. Provide guidance on topics like daily activities, funny incidents, challenges, and interactions with others, as well as non-task activities like breaks and team comaraderie.

Social Media

With social media becoming ever more ubiquitous in the learning and development world, why not consider using a social platform to illustrate a day in the life at work? Enlist the help of current employees to write posts, share selfies, and shoot short videos.


Borrow this concept from the world of sales training to give employees a realistic look at the job. Pair learners with in-role employees, and have the learner observe and take notes during the workday. Provide new employees with a list of key activities to observe and note. Allow time in both of their schedules for debrief. Express appreciation to the experienced employee and let him or her know that this is just observation, not part of a performance review.

What to Include in DITL Training

Effective day-in-the-life training typically addresses these key elements.


Even if a job's day-to-day tasks vary, there’s a general cadence to most roles. Give new employees a sense of how most days progress, from start to breaks and lunch to finish. This can be a simple paper agenda or a compilation of text, images, and audio.

Working Environment

Provide a peek into the actual working environment. If onboarding happens outside the workplace, use photos and other media to immerse the new employee.

Interactions with Others

Include information on the team, clients, suppliers, and others with whom the employee will interact. Provide pictures of company leadership and VIPs to avoid those awkward elevator moments.


You can share challenges and solutions without overwhelming new employees. Sharing potential challenges and solutions will help the employee when he or she encounters them on the job.

Success factors

What does it take to succeed at your company? How is success communicated and celebrated?

Task Overview

No DITL training would be complete without at least an overview of tasks. If the new employee is entry-level, be sure to include tasks that more experienced workers may take for granted, such as managing email and documenting worktime.

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