I attended a conference not too long ago and sat in on one of Dan North’s sessions. I met Dan a while back and mostly attended to support so honestly I can’t remember the title of the session. I have a goal that I always try to walk away from any session with at least one new idea/insight. Dan delivered ten fold on this but the one that I want to share today is on Warm Welcomes.
Essentially, warm welcomes is a humanistic perspective of on-boarding. So simple. So obvious. Yet, I sooo wasn’t doing this.
At my last company, several of us worked really hard on improving the on-boarding experience. We implemented several improvements from assigning a coach, having a checklist of things to do before, during and after the hire date. Sure you could say it was for the benefit of the person’s experience but in all reality I really think I was coming at it from a company’s efficiency of not dropping the ball and giving the new hire a completely horrible experience. Did we improve a new hire’s first days experiences? Sure, if you compared across the year of people but most of the value was internally for existing employees.
Let’s face it: teams are not always excited to have a new hire. This is additional effort for the team until the person gets up to speed. So our focus was minimizing this problem. Just like it can be easy to process for efficiency and lose sight of value to the customer, so is losing sight of value to the new hire.
Even just changing the label of on-boarding to warm welcome completely changes the priority and what would be on the checklist. For example, welcome lunch. Good intent: one lunch to have everyone welcome the person to the team. Who feels comfortable at that lunch? Yep, not the new hire who is meeting a bunch of people at one time. I know I tend to feel overwhelmed in these situations: what was his name? what is he talking about? am I going to fit into this dynamic? So why do we do it…cause the team only has to dedicate one lunch hour. I might change this up to one-one lunches then a team one. I’m pretty excited the next time that I’ll get to work with a team to experiment on the impact a warm welcome can have.
What experiment would you try to provide a warm welcome?