The clock is ticking.
It’s been a while – months, likely years. You are afraid to check.
You know it is way past its consume-by date but you are still serving it cold to your unsuspecting audience.
You don’t need read the employee feedback comments or the expressions on the participant’s faces. You know. It is painfully passé.
You know that it is dull and dreary. Let’s be honest, it is an unbelievable unappetising mess.
The sad state of affairs that is the company orientation programme is broadcasting your dereliction of duty ‘to’ care to your new employees.
Of course, the bog-standard orientation programme is the trusty vehicle used to communicate important company information; the organisation’s structure, vision, mission, core values, policies, payroll and performance expectations.
Sadly this is often delivered as a culture sheep-dip programme and a dry top-down, force-feeding of the company’s expectations and goals.
Yes the time has come to take decisive action.
HR leaders, Recruiters, Business owners and leaders, Entrepreneurs; this one is for you.
Think deep and answer these 3 questions.
1. What kind of experience do you want to deliver to your customers (guests)?
2. What is the experience you want your customers (guests) to have at every connection point with your company and brand?
3. What is the experience of your brand you want your customers (guests) to share with the world?
Finally and this is the biggie – Do you care enough to craft your new employee experience around what you want your customers to experience, spread and champion for you?
Psst! This question also applies to your existing employees’ experience in work and around your organisation. But more on topic this another time.
“When a company cares about its staff, suppliers, customers and the way it shows up in and affects the world, that caring is reflected in the products and services the company creates.”
Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly, Bernadette Jiwa.
Design for Care, Not Control
A thoughtfully designed new employee orientation is a onetime opportunity in the employment relationship that you would be foolish to miss.
It is a good way for new team members to learn about their new organisation and colleagues. But it is also the occasion where both the employer and employee confirm to each other that the decision to enter into the work agreement is and feels right for both parties.
This is an enormous opportunity for the organisation’s leaders to learn more about their employees. Don’t stop there! Hear their stories.
Invest the time and craft ways to connect their stories with the organisation’s story; and their personal goals with the business purpose. Sincerely show them that you see them as individuals to be cared about not as a ‘resource’ to be exploited.
How you care about your employees will be reflected in the way they care about your customers (guests) and your business.
In return, you increase the likelihood that your employees will gift your organisation with the best of their talents and creativity, commitment to do great work and their energy to help your business fulfill its purpose.
Your ideas, products and services can be copied or stolen.
Your competitor can pay more and offer more generous perks to try to entice your employees to leave you.
But the way you genuinely care about your employees and show how you sincerely value their opinions, contributions, and lives are hard for your competitors to copy and steal.
They may even be impossible to replicate and rip off if you care and value your employee community – consistently across all touch points of your employer brand. Zero in on HR-led processes from the start of the employment relationship to the end. E.g. recruitment, onboarding, orientation/induction, performance management, learning and development, compensation and exit.
“…giving a damn is seriously underrated and caring is competitive advantage.”
Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly, Bernadette Jiwa
Let me share some ideas how you can upgrade your bog-standard new hire orientation programme to a stellar welcome experience infused with care and value.
3 Creative Plugins for Your New Employee Orientation
I have selected 3 of my favourite creative plugins to upgrade your orientation from standard to superior experience.
Each plugin is a way to upgrade your existing dull and dreary orientation programme to a purpose-connecting and human-centric welcome.
Plugin Option 1: Thoughtful, considered and customised to suit idea from luxury hotels.
Luxury hotels invest serious time and energy in creating a complete dossier on their guests’ habits, preferences and desires way before they check in.
The purpose of this pre-emptive profiling ahead of time, is to craft a customised guest experience before, during and after the guest departs. The goal is to consistently deliver an experience so great and tailored, it feels as if the hotel employees are telepathic.
A few years back, I reluctantly travelled 3,000 miles to attend an orientation at the corporate HQ of a collection of luxury properties. I was the new employee – just starting as the Director of Human Resources for a soon-to-be-opened hotel.
In the break, I was literally gobsmacked to discover my name on beautiful hand-written envelope, welcome note inside and placed on small plate of my favourite weakness.
Another colleague found his envelope next to a tall elaborately decorated Knickerbocker Glory. This treat was a personal trip down memory lane to childhood Saturday’s being spoilt by a beloved Uncle.
The company’s HR team had trawled through our recruitment selection notes and analysed our responses on our ‘pre-arrival’ questionnaire to create our own personalised welcome experience at the orientation.
It also demonstrated better than any boring bullet points on a PowerPoint the company’s values and core behaviours. The same values and behaviours all employees were expected to demonstrate in every guest and colleague interaction. Their new employee orientation was a small but key part of a solid luxury hospitality strategy.
Plugin Option 2: Learn through playacting
Often quoted and still completely true then and today.
“I hear and I forget
I see and I understand
I do and I remember.” – Confucius circa 450 B.C
Interactive multi-media presentations are great for engaging visual and aural communication.
As in recruitment and selection assessment centres, or training and development programmes; well-designed context relevant role plays or exercises are hard to beat in getting results in a fun and lively way.
If you want to create the mind-set for extraordinary performance executed with the desired values and behaviours you need to get your new employees up on their feet and acting.
If you are able to design material from scratch, great. Sometimes you may need some inspiration about what kind of material to design or customise to suit. I still keep my well used copy of Gary Kroehnert’s ‘101 More Training Games’ handy. This book has since been updated to include More Training Games.
Plugin Option 3: Tell AND Show Steal-Worthy Ideas
Free yourself and save your new employees from left-over sales and marketing brochures, plain old printed materials, and lacklustre media presentations.
Save some of your recruitment marketing budget, lobby marketing for some of their loot or ask a design-savvy friend, pay a quality design agency or freelancer to get your hands on employee communication / welcome material that rocks!
I am completely crushing on the design agency Fuzzco’s crazy creative work for Mailchimp – the email marketing services company. I love the welcome kits – “will you be my co-worker?” cards.
Check out their lust-worthy portfolio of incredible work and be inspired.
Here’s is my final question to you.
Why Aren’t You Upgrading Your New Employee Orientation from Standard to Superior Experience?
Don’t wait to get started.
“The job of every single business on the planet is to do just one thing—to make people happy. When you find ways to do that, you win.” ― Bernadette Jiwa, Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly.
Which creative idea will you try to upgrade your existing new employee orientation experience? Let me know how you get on.
What do you think makes an authentic welcome in a new employee orientation? Share your experience. Pop me a note in the comment box. You may inspire someone to get started with their upgrade.
I appreciate you hitting the share buttons to help other readers enjoy this article.
This post was originally posted in full in the blog The HR Rabbit Hole on 13th March 2016. It has been tweaked only a little by the author and now freshly served for the Recruiting Blogs community.
Nicole is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Aquarius Human Resources Consulting Ltd. Passionate about HR as Art, she is an advocate of Creative HR and transforming HR. Connect via Twitter @AquariusHRLtd.