Less than 25% of organizations conduct formal onboarding. Onboarding refers to the process through which new employees become socialized and acquire necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors. This process helps them adapt to the company and allows new employees to become effective members of the team. Onboarding is one of the first types of Green Goldfish.
Why is Onboarding Key?
Onboarding is key because you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Research by HCI shows that employees make the critical decision to stay or leave within the first six months. New employees that participate in an onboarding program show improved “retention, engagement, and productivity.” Companies that make an effort to help socialize new employees enjoy positive benefits including higher job satisfaction, better job performance, greater organizational commitment and reduction in stress.
Yet, culturally onboarding new hires can be a real challenge. While sleek videos, laminated pocket cards and lobby placards may help employees memorize the company values, the actual understanding how to “live” the company values can be a whole other story. Culture is only as cohesive as the people willing to live out the shared values.
Attitudes begin to form at the initial point of contact with an organization. There is no better place to start than when you are welcoming new employees to your company. Smart companies take advantage of these early days in order to ensure a strong, productive, and dedicated workforce.
Enter Greene Resources
I had the opportunity to be introduced to Gary Greene last year. Gary is the founder of Greene Resources [see video of Gary]. The 14 year old Raleigh based company is an award-winning employment solutions company. Greene partners with world class companies such as SAS, CREE and RTI.
From Day One, Gary put culture at the heart of Greene Resources. He literally has a school of Green(e) Goldfish in each of the 15 categories. Here is just a small sampling:
Recognition – The company gives out customized “Kermit” awards to employees who create a “Wow” experience. Greene hosts “appreciation” events.
Pay it Forward – They give back to the community through numerous programs such as Habitat for Humanity.
Training & Development – Employee training gets offered through the Greene University program.
The one area that Greene Resources excels in is onboarding. The organization goes above and beyond to acclimate new hires. During the first weekly staff meeting, two interesting things happen. First, team members are asked trivia questions about the new hires. It’s a fun way for the existing team to show an interest in new team members.
The second involves the green carpet. At the end of the meeting, existing team members exit to the hallway. A green carpet is rolled out to the new team members desk. The new team member then walks the green carpet while receiving hallway high fives along the way.
TAKEAWAY: In the words of George Bradt, managing director at PrimeGenesis, “The way you manage the transition of somebody into your culture speaks volumes about the culture to the person coming in, because you’re making those first early impressions and they know what’s expected of them” What’s your signature onboarding practice? What’s Your Green Goldfish?
Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra for good measure) – Gary Greene is fond of a children’s book called The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth.
He says it defines Greene Resources’ culture best. The book’s three questions are:
1. What is the best time to do things?
2. Who is the most important one?
3. What is the right thing to do?
The book concludes: “There is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most right thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side. For these are the answers to what is most important in this world. This is why we are here.”
According to Gary, “At Greene Resources, we strive to live out the answers to these three questions every day.”