A CEO friend of mine who manages her one hundred person remote workforce as a virtual company told me her story of how she welcomes new employees as she grows her firm. Strike that. She over-welcomes her new employees.
Days before the official start date, she makes sure that the new employee’s business cards arrive in the mail, that the employee’s phone and Internet services are up and running, and that an email account is already established. But many of us do that, maybe not so timely.
Then she topped her explanation with: “A few days before the start, a package arrives from us at the employee’s home with a welcome letter, a copy of the CEOs book, and a giant fortune cookie, with the fortune cookie message streamer clearly visible.”
[Email readers, continue here…] “You will be successful at our company!” the fortune states.
What a great touch – especially for someone expected to be self-motivated enough to work long hours from home, to get to know fellow employees through Skype and texting, and to be productive immediately when hitting the ground.
It started me thinking. How many days or weeks or even months do we expect a new employee to take in becoming acclimated to our company and its culture, to the marketplace, and to our ways of doing business? For example, most of us expect a salesperson to be truly productive only after about six months of building a territory or client base. But isn’t there a better way to approach this expensive process of acclimation?
For a salesperson, how about paying an override commission to another sales person for a short period to help find and close new business? Or how about helping the employee gain confidence by handing the first several accounts to the new person ready to close? How about assigning a big brother or sister to each new employee to show them the culture and process? How about teaching a class in corporate culture yourself to one or more new employees? Some of us have done one or more of these things. But what could we have done better to launch a new employee successfully?
Maybe we should start with a surprise fortune cookie with a personal welcome message.