Like individuals, an organization has only one chance to make a good first impression. Even small efforts can work wonders in alleviating new employee anxieties. The way we welcome and treat a new employee can make a significant impact on how soon, and to what extent, they become the most productive.
Most new employees…
- Want to belong – to be part of a group.
- Need to be accepted.
- Want to be liked, respected, paid attention to, even loved.
- Want to be heard, as well as seen.
- Want to fit in.
Employers generally give remarkably low priority to the need for orienting new workers. Employers assign very little in time, budget, and personnel to the task. What a tremendous opportunity we have, as leaders, to help new workers quickly become all we expect.
I think you’ll agree, the on-boarding of our new team-members merits more of our attention as leaders.
Each year during the month of May our company would have the Albert Trolley History Tour. This Tour was part of a multi-day introduction and orientation, and one of my favorite times to be involved. We would ride a rented trolley-like bus around the city as I explained the history of our company.
In the moving and storage business we hire new employees before our peak season, which runs from mid-May until the last week of September.
Here’s what I’d do during the tours:
- I shared lots of stories over the history of our company as we visited physical locations going back to 1938.
- I shared traditions that have made our company special by giving our new people roots as a foundation.
- I was truly a tour-guide vs. being a travel agent because I spoke out of my experiences vs. telling about what I read that had happened.
Here are some of the results from the tours:
- I got personal time with our new people and our new people got to know me on a more personal level.
- Our new people heard and saw my excitement and pride about where we had been and where we were going.
- Our new team members not only heard me talk about, but also, saw me exhibit Our Values, Our Purpose, Our Vision, and Our Objectives.
- Our new employees came away from the Tour with a better understanding of our culture and why we do things differently from most other companies.
- Our new hires begin to understand if they really fit in our company or not. And if not, this was the right time to leave our company so they can go and be successful with another company.
Is Your Company Built to Last?
Best-selling author, Jim Collins, in his book “Built to Last”, offers evidence of what drives healthy, great, and enduringly successful organizations vs. other organizations:
- Stronger indoctrination into a core ideology (values and purpose) through the history.
- Greater tightness of fit through the history – people tend to either fit well with the company and its ideology or tend to not fit at all (“buy in or get out”).
- Greater elitism (a sense of belonging to something special and superior) through the history.
- More emphasis on employee training in general. Not just ideological orientation, but also skills and professional development training.
Clearly, it’s important for our people to be aligned with who we are as a company. I’ve found the orientation of new employees is a unique opportunity to communicate our purpose and values. The Albert Trolley History Tour is a fun and effective way to accelerate this process.
How do you communicate and demonstrate your corporate culture and values to new employees?