The peo­ple here are great WEL­COM­ING NEW EM­PLOY­EES TO THE TEAM

Ottawa Business Journal - HR Update - - Book Excerpt -

The first few days a new em­ployee spends with an or­ga­ni­za­tion is a cru­cial time. It is dur­ing this time that em­ploy­ees be­gin to build re­la­tion­ships, garner com­mit­ment to the com­pany, and un­der­stand the im­por­tance of re­la­tion­ships at work. Upon ac­cept­ing a new job, peo­ple are en­er­gized and ex­cited. Great work­places chan­nel that ex­cite­ment through new em­ployee ori­en­ta­tion pro­grams, new hire men­tor­ing, and check-ins with new em­ploy­ees at var­i­ous in­ter­vals af­ter they start. Some even be­gin the wel­com­ing process be­fore em­ploy­ees’ first day. Through a sort of alchemy, new job ex­cite­ment is con­verted into com­mit­ment to the or­ga­ni­za­tion. You will know that you and your work­group have wel­comed em­ploy­ees in a mean­ing­ful way when they can­not wait for the next new hire so they can be a part of the wel­com­ing com­mit­tee!

Best com­pa­nies build upon the ba­sic ne­ces­sity of ori­en­ta­tion in many ways. Some be­gin the wel­com­ing process be­fore em­ploy­ees even sign a letter of of­fer. The Bos­ton Con­sult­ing Group has such a prac­tice. Each prospec­tive hire is as­signed a “cap­tain” – a BCGer who is re­spon­si­ble for de­vel­op­ing a deep one-on-one re­la­tion­ship with the prospect and help­ing him or her through the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process. The cap­tain an­swers all ques­tions and acts as a nav­i­ga­tor through BCG, putting the prospec­tive hire in touch with all rel­e­vant par­ties to en­sure ques­tions are fully ad­dressed and to help him or her meet a di­verse group of BCGers. Cap­tains are typ­i­cally at the prin­ci­ple level or above, em­pha­siz­ing the im­por­tance put on mak­ing sure prospec­tive hires have ac­cess to all the re­sources they need to as­sess fit.

Once an em­ployee is hired, great work­places en­sure he or she be­gins to build re­la­tion­ships with oth­ers in the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Many man­agers en­cour­age their em­ploy­ees to take new hires to lunch or to spend one-on-one time with the new hires. Oth­ers as­sign bud­dies or men­tors to en­sure that each per­son has a sin­gle go-to per­son for ques­tions and con­cerns. Other com­pa­nies take an or­ga­ni­za­tion-wide ap­proach that in­cludes a for­mal wel­come pub­lished in news­let­ters or on the in­tranet. One of our favourite prac­tices comes from CXtec, a New York-based re­seller of net­work­ing and voice equip­ment. In its “dough­nut cart” pro­gram, on the first Fri­day of ev­ery month, new em­ploy­ees who joined within

the pre­vi­ous month walk around the of­fice to de­liver dough­nuts and cof­fee. This tra­di­tion pro­vides a great way for new em­ploy­ees to meet other sea­soned em­ploy­ees and ex­pe­ri­ence CXtec’s cul­ture.

Build­ing re­la­tion­ships with se­nior lead­ers is also im­por­tant. NetApp holds a TOAST (Train­ing on All Spe­cial Things) pro­gram for new hires ev­ery month, led by NetApp’s CEO, Tom Ge­or­gens. TOAST fea­tures pre­sen­ta­tions from at least six of their top ex­ec­u­tives, in­clud­ing the CFO, the se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of Hu­man Re­sources, the CMO, the vice-chair­man, a founder, and oth­ers rep­re­sent­ing ev­ery ma­jor busi­ness func­tion. At lunch, par­tic­i­pat­ing ex­ec­u­tives are joined by a num­ber of vice-pres­i­dents, who each sit at a lunch ta­ble with TOAST at­ten­dees, es­sen­tially giv­ing new em­ploy­ees a one-on-one op­por­tu­nity to have lunch with a se­nior-level ex­ec­u­tive within their first month on the job. As one NetApp em­ployee puts it, “Hav­ing the CEO, pres­i­dent, founders, and other top-level staff con­duct the new hire ori­en­ta­tion makes an amaz­ing im­pact. It helps the new hires to feel ap­pre­ci­ated, drives am­bi­tion, and sets the tone for the work en­vi­ron­ment.”

At some com­pa­nies, the fan­fare wears off quickly, but the best com­pa­nies en­sure the en­tire on­board­ing process does not end so abruptly. Many have some type of check-in process, whereby the new em­ployee gives and re­ceives feed­back on the ex­pe­ri­ence so far. At OhioHealth, a key com­po­nent of the wel­com­ing process is “Right at 90,” which ensures the new­est team mem­bers ad­just com­fort­ably to their roles. Dur­ing their first 90 days of em­ploy­ment, new as­so­ciates meet reg­u­larly with their man­ager on an in­for­mal ba­sis and re­ceive feed­back about their progress and per­for­mance. At the end of 30, 60, and 90 days of em­ploy­ment, new as­so­ciates re­ceive eval­u­a­tions of their progress from their man­ager. At the end of an as­so­ciate’s first 90 days, the as­so­ciate and his or her man­ager are in­vited to a Right at 90 cel­e­bra­tion, which is an op­por­tu­nity to min­gle with se­nior lead­er­ship, share ex­pe­ri­ences, tell sto­ries, and cel­e­brate the new as­so­ciate’s de­sire to suc­ceed. New as­so­ciates are en­cour­aged to bring fam­ily mem­bers and other close friends to cel­e­brate their suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of a mile­stone event in their con­tin­ued jour­ney of growth. Not only do such pro­grams as the one at OhioHealth en­sure the em­ployee’s suc­cess within the or­ga­ni­za­tion, they also fur­ther build com­mit­ment and pro­vide sug­ges­tions for build­ing greater ca­ma­raderie through the ori­en­ta­tion process.

Hav­ing the CEO, pres­i­dent, founders, and other top-level staff con­duct the new hire ori­en­ta­tion makes an amaz­ing im­pact. It helps the new hires to feel ap­pre­ci­ated, drives am­bi­tion, and sets the tone for the work en­vi­ron­ment.

Be­fore we leave the topic of wel­com­ing, con­sider the spe­cial case of wel­com­ing ac­quired em­ploy­ees. While in many cases, ac­quired em­ploy­ees are happy to join a new or­ga­ni­za­tion that is more fi­nan­cially sound or well-known, that isn’t al­ways the case. More­over, large num­bers of em­ploy­ees are brought in at once. And those em­ploy­ees al­ready have es­tab­lished re­la­tion­ships with their orig­i­nal or­ga­ni­za­tion, so the wel­com­ing com­pany has a more com­plex task than wel­com­ing a group of em­ploy­ees who pur­pose­fully and will­ingly ap­plied and chose to join the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Of­ten, the first step to suc­cess in these sit­u­a­tions is to un­der­stand the unique needs of ac­quired em­ploy­ees, and to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties to build re­la­tion­ships with em­ploy­ees in the new or­ga­ni­za­tion. Some ex­am­ples of suc­cess­ful prac­tices fol­low. When CH2M HILL, a Colorado-based en­gi­neer­ing con­sult­ing firm, ac­quired the Alaska-based oil and gas firm VECO, the com­pany made an ex­ten­sive ef­fort to make the new em­ploy­ees feel like a part of their new com­pany. Within weeks of the ac­qui­si­tion, vir­tu­ally ev­ery for­mer VECO em­ployee at­tended face-to-face ori­en­ta­tion pre­sen­ta­tions in lo­cales as far away as Prud­hoe Bay, Alaska; Sakhalin Is­land, Rus­sia; Fort McMur­ray, Alta; and Dubai. In ad­di­tion, as part of the ac­qui­si­tion, em­ploy­ees re­ceived grants of CH2M HILL stock, mak­ing them not just em­ploy­ees, but own­ers of their new com­pany. Valero En­ergy Corp., which owns and op­er­ates re­finer­ies and gas sta­tions, has a his­tory of ac­quir­ing other re­finer­ies. In or­der to smoothly as­sim­i­late the em­ploy­ees from newly ac­quired re­finer­ies, se­nior man­age­ment per­son­ally wel­comes new em­ploy­ees, pro­vides in­for­ma­tion on Valero’s work­place cul­ture and ben­e­fit pro­grams, and an­swers ques­tions. Specif­i­cally, when a new fa­cil­ity is ac­quired, the CEO hosts a wel­come bar­be­cue. In ad­di­tion, hu­man re­sources holds in­for­ma­tional ses­sions and ben­e­fit en­rol­ment meet­ings for em­ploy­ees in all shifts and for their spouses. Qual­comm rec­og­nizes that em­ploy­ees from newly ac­quired com­pa­nies have spe­cific ques­tions and con­cerns. Thus, they make a great ef­fort to ap­pro­pri­ately ad­dress those ques­tions and make the em­ploy­ees feel wel­come and in­te­grated into Qual­comm. Ex­tranet web­sites are cre­ated for each ac­quired com­pany to in­tro­duce them to Qual­comm his­tory, cul­ture, and re­sources, as well as to pro­vide de­tailed an­swers to ques­tions about their ben­e­fits and other em­ploy­ment-re­lated is­sues. In ad­di­tion, the em­ploy­ees re­ceive cus­tom wel­come pack­ets and a cus­tom­ized on-site ori­en­ta­tion session. Fol­low-up in­te­gra­tion sur­veys help mea­sure the suc­cess of their in­te­gra­tion and iden­tify ar­eas that re­quire at­ten­tion.

Wel­com­ing em­ploy­ees in thor­ough and de­lib­er­ate ways helps build re­la­tion­ships, deepen com­mit­ment, and fur­ther the so­cial re­wards of be­ing part of a group. It also po­si­tions em­ploy­ees for suc­cess by giv­ing them more tools and re­sources to nav­i­gate their first few months on the job. Fi­nally, it helps to build a larger sense of com­mu­nity, which max­i­mizes co-op­er­a­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion. Ex­cerpted from The Great Work­place: How to Build it, How to Keep it, and Why it Mat­ters. Copy­right (c) 2011 by The Great Place to Work® In­sti­tute, Inc. Ex­cerpted with per­mis­sion of the pub­lisher John Wi­ley & Sons Canada, Ltd.

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