Monday, September 28, 2009

First Day of Work & We've Thrown You a Party

Imagine, it's your first day on the new job. You're not expecting much but are hoping that the new firm gives you a warmer welcome than your last. (The desk they assigned you came complete with a half-filled cup of curdled coffee, a greasy computer keyboard and a chair with a wobbly leg.) You've been down the on-boarding road before, attended the mandatory and boring orientations and each time you've hoped for a sincere appreciation for committing valuable time, energy, and creativity to the "man".

Maybe the "man" should take his cue from an elementary school in Connecticut. On the first day of every school year, this particular school throws a welcoming party for its students. Balloons are released, music is pumped through loud speakers and the teachers meet and greet each and every student. (At one job, I was met with jeers and groans when I offered my hand to my over-stressed new colleagues.) Wouldn't that be something if you were met on your first day at the office with balloons as part of the welcome package?

Employees need, yes need to feel valued and first impressions are lasting impressions. If the attitude at the organization is, "you're lucky to have a job, get to work" think of the quality of work the new hire is going to produce. There are many ways to steal from an organization and resentment creates more theft of productivity and profitability than anything else. Sure, maybe your company gives out pens, coffee cups and memo pads with their logo imprinted but what's behind the toys? What's the intention of the gifts? Do they come with a "we're really glad that you decided to come and be a part of our team"? Or, are they just give-aways
that everyone gets?

There are businesses that get it right. They do on-boarding really well and I certainly want to know if yours is one of those businesses. Unfortunately, they seem to be the exception not the norm. When the economy turns around and the ratio to hire moves above the unemployment rate, workers will expect a little bit more on their first day than an electric pencil sharpener.
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