by Dan Turner, President
Since we recently defined our company persona as “Positively Distinct,” I thought it’d be worthwhile to describe one of the things we do that I think makes us Positively Distinct.
Among other things, Jack Daly says that it’s important to make a salesperson’s first day memorable by making sure her desk is ready, that she has business cards, and that she is given a bottle of champagne. We have completely bought into Jack’s idea. But it’s more than just a bottle of wine on the first day — an employee’s experiences on the first day will color their entire relationship with the company and the job. If he gets to the office and nobody is excited to see them, if he doesn’t know where to go or what his role is in the context of the team, if he feels like a cog in a big wheel, it’s going to be an uphill climb for the company to convince him that it really does care about him, his family, his hopes and his dreams. Which, indeed, the company may not. But we do, and at one time (two years ago) we struggled to make that clear.
Now we have a process. New employees get all kinds of surprises, big and small. I don’t want to share a list (just in case a new or future new employee is reading this) because I want to retain the joy that comes from getting a surprise, but we make sure they are treated well and that their desk (if they’re not working from home) is ready for them. This seems like a “duh” but it’s SO common for an employee to start and for them to not have a desk, or a phone, or email, or a computer, or a pen. Why? Why would this be common? At a very minimum, new employees should have a home, should know what they are doing, and who they should be reporting to. They should know who works with them, and how to get information on their next steps.
Think of it in terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. A new employee’s needs in a new job are Physiological (a desk, some snacks, where is the lunchroom), Safety (knowing where to report and who their boss is), Love/Belonging (knowing who their team are and having their team acknowledge the momentousness of the occasion), Esteem (business cards, personal attention from the boss and coworkers, and having the team recognize that this is a person whom they desperately need), and Self-actualization (give them a training budget and help them figure out what they want out of life and out of their career). Hitting all five is probably not something a company can do on day one (though we try!) but it’s something that can easily be done over the first week.
One of our goals is that a new employee’s orientation and first week should be the best orientation and first week they’ve ever had. Sadly, that’s not hard to do. Come on, other companies! Step up the competition! We’re ready for you!