The idea of organizational culture took off in the 1960s when businesses found that their unique mission could give them a competitive edge over similar companies. Culture encompasses the core values and principles that drive the organization. Some may think of company culture as the “north star” that guides the behaviors of employees. Ensuring that someone joining understands and embraces the culture is key to them becoming fully engaged and contributing to the company’s goals.
Culture makes the difference between engaged teams moving in different directions and aligned teams working toward a common goal. Companies with a positive culture can retain their most valuable assets, their people. These organizations provide collaborative environments (even virtually) where teamwork leads to great success. An employee who doesn’t comprehend culture can easily become lost and frustrated. Therefore, orienting new employees to culture is a key requirement of onboarding.
Ways To Familiarize New Employees With Your Company Culture From The First Day
Many companies send out a welcome video from the CEO. These recorded messages are designed around the mission, vision, and values that drive the organization and clarify that every team member is critical to achieving the goals. The tone of the video will also help to paint the picture of the culture. If the CEO is riding his bike through an open-concept workspace, sitting in her home office petting her dog, or speaking from a research lab, new employees are forming an image about what it will be like to work there. With many new employees onboarding off-site, getting a glimpse of what the main office looks like helps them connect to their new home base.
The First Few Days
With so many people still working remotely, companies must work harder to foster connections and drive purpose for their associates, existing and incoming. A warm welcome for employees starting their onboarding journey also reinforces the messages they heard during their pre-boarding experience by weaving company values into their first tasks. This will engage new hires in corporate mission and vision right away. Tie the values to everything that they do in their first few weeks. For example, if they are assigned their first project, explain how that contributes to its mission and exemplifies its values.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” It’s true. Research shows that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Instead of sending pages of paragraphs explaining the corporate culture, consider using a colorful infographic as an alternative. Infographics are visually engaging and simplify important information into bite-sized nuggets that are easier to remember. This all translates into helping new employees understand and embrace their new culture more quickly.
Build a culture where new employees know that it’s okay to be themselves at work from the very beginning. Hollie Delaney, former CHRO of Zappos, a company that is well known for its outstanding corporate culture, shares “create an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work. It was very important to us (at Zappos) that we had that environment where people could bring those little quirky things about themselves they don’t usually share in an office setting to make them feel more whole. It helped us become more diverse, more fun, and better able to see people for who they are.”
Another way to help with the onboarding journey is to assign each new hire a “buddy,” someone that has been carefully selected to be their mentor. While quickly creating a sense of connectedness to their new company, a new team member will become more aligned to the organization’s cultural ‘north star.’ When you are considering who would be a great buddy, look for colleagues that visibly demonstrate the culture in their day-to-day activities.
Get To Know Your Colleagues
Meeting lots of new colleagues in the first few days of a new job is exciting but overwhelming. When there is a group onboarding together, it can be helpful to put names with faces by sharing brief video introductions and fun facts about themselves. Encourage all employees to complete bio pages that can be stored on a shared site so that new people can refresh their memory when needed.
While working from home offers welcome flexibility, it can also bring isolation. New people need to become part of the “water cooler” and peer praise channels often found in Teams or Slack. Channels such as these show exactly what behaviors are positively recognized and can quickly incorporate these practices into their daily activities.
Organizations that encourage new employees to join peer coaching groups can help newbies connect with their departments. Companies that offer cross-functional mentoring teams can reveal the daily activities of their collaborative teammates.
Not only does this develop empathy for coworkers, but it can also lead to future career opportunities that employees may not have otherwise considered.
Employees’ connection to your organization’s purpose is as unique as the employees themselves. When a manager takes the time to get to know everyone on their team and discover their drivers, they can address them in coaching and connect them to the organization’s culture. Additionally, team-building activities can help all employees understand one another better, feel more engaged, and build trust.
Companies are finding a more competitive landscape than ever before. They must compete to grow new business, retain customers, and hire great people to join the firm. A great culture can create loyalty from staff, which cascades to better performance, ultimately driving the bottom line.
Download the eBook The Pillars Of Strategic Employee Onboarding for insider secrets to launching a new hire training program that’s adaptive, personalized, and perfectly suited for your modern workforce. Also, join the webinar to discover how onboarding drives business success!