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Every great office has onboarding. Usually a long, drawn-out system of training modules where a new hire goes through the standard health & safety spiel, learns your company's policies, and gets accustomed to the systems and processes of their role. Important? Yes. Exciting? Maybe. Social? Not at all.
Very often, new employees will go through an onboarding process and understand everything about how to do their job, but know very little about how to fit in with the culture and get along in the office. Given how so many people use their happiness in the office as a deciding factor for staying at a job, these points should not be neglected. What about the simple quirks of the office, like whose desk often has Timbits, which elevator is the slowest, or what restaurant makes the meanest burger? Assuming insights like these are not covered in your training deck, here are some creative ways you can help new employees learn the real facts about their office.
Spice Up the Tour
When an employee comes into the office for the first time, somebody in Human Resources, or maybe their manager, gives them a quick tour. They learn key locations of the bathrooms, copiers, maybe the breakroom, and any important desks they may need to visit. The tour tends to stop there. Instead, ask a teammate (or a few teammates) to give the tour. They will cover the bases, but also go onto provide extra tips such as what not to touch in the fridge, who's desk to avoid first thing in the morning, and where it's safest to make a private phone call. If new hires and tours are frequent, consider a fun, graphical map that outlines the office and some fun points (ex. This window will give you the best view of the city).
Help Them Meet AND Remember People
Remembering names and faces is challenging for many people on a good day. That adds more pressure on the first day (or week) in a new office. Unless your new employee has an amazing photographic memory, the odds of them remembering everybody's name, face and role are slim to none. They have enough to learn, so why not help them out? For example, split up the roles in their onboarding. Ask different people to perform specific training, another to give the tour, another to be a mentor, and somebody else can take them for lunch. Meeting people throughout the day rather than all at once, first thing in the morning, makes it much easier to remember them. Finally, consider a fun alternative. This article from FastCompany suggests giving them a personal collage of immediate staff, including photos and information about them such as hobbies and favourite sayings.
Implement New Hire Team Building Traditions
Culture is an extremely important element to the office. No matter how many slides you use to try to explain it, a new hire will never truly understand it until they're immersed in it by getting to know the team. Get the newest team member involved in the culture as quickly as possible. This could be anything from a team lunch to team building sessions to go-kart races -- as long as it fits with your culture. Understandably, you can't stop everything as soon as somebody new comes into the office, but you can set yourself standards such as "The Friday after a new person comes in we will do this..." or "Every two weeks, this simple 5-minute team building activity happens."
It's every manager's dream to have all of their new hires fit into the team as quickly as possible, so the team can perform to its maximum potential. To achieve this, we need to realize that basic training is not going to suffice. Do you have any creative ways you immerse new hires into your culture?