Introducing new employees to organizational culture
- In this video, we're going to focus on engaging new hires with your organizational culture. This is a critical part of the onboarding process. It can mean the difference between new employees becoming accepted members of the team or feeling like they don't fit in and wondering if they made a mistake in joining your company. Let's take a moment to define culture. Author and work-place culture expert, Catherine Mattice, defines it this way: "Organizational culture is the way an organization's members think, act, and understand the world around them." Take a moment to think about how you would describe your company's unique culture to a new employee.
One thing that can help is if your company has a mission, vision, or set of values. A mission statement explains why the company exists. A vision statement describes how the company hopes to fulfill the mission. It's designed to give employees a clear purpose to strive towards. Values provide guidelines for employees to adhere to in their daily work. Now don't worry if your company doesn't have a mission, vision, or values, you can still create a clear definition to share with new hires by answering these three questions.
How do we treat each other? Think about how employees generally interact with one another. What are some of our company norms? In other words, what are some of the unwritten rules of behavior in your organization? And finally, what makes us unique? Try to think of things your company does that are unusual, quirky, or even fun. You may want to download the Organizational Culture Worksheet to capture your company's cultural descriptors. This will come in handy later on in the process when you decide how to communicate all of this information during the onboarding program.
Just knowing about the culture isn't enough. Employees need to know how to use that information to guide their actions. I recommend that all employees should know three things by the time onboarding ends. How is our culture defined? By this, I mean mission, values, or other cultural descriptors. What does all this mean? It's important for employees to be able to clearly and simply describe the culture in their own words. And finally, how do I contribute? Employees should be able to give specific examples of behaviors that are aligned with the culture.
Now, we need to decide when to communicate essential elements of our culture. I encourage you to download the Onboarding Self-Assessment Worksheet to use as a reference. Here's some general suggestions. The prehire stage is a great way to give new hires a preview of organizational culture. Many companies have a culture page on their website that explains the mission, vision, and values. Some even have a short video that explains what it's like to work there. The first day is an opportunity to begin introducing new hires to the culture.
For example, you might show them something that makes your company unique. New employee orientation is when you can provide training on key cultural elements like mission, vision, and values. New hire training is when you give employees in-depth guidance on how to be a strong contributor. Finally, the performance phase is when you can reinforce the culture and help new hires develop behaviors, habits, and norms that help them become a productive member of their team. Remember the goal is to help new hires quickly become engaged with their company.
Emphasizing culture is a great way to start.
- Identifying key onboarding stages
- Tracking onboarding progress
- Engaging employees
- Setting onboarding goals
- Planning day one
- Training new hires