What happens after a new employee is hired?
Julie walked into the front door on the first day of her new job and was greeted by a sign that said “Welcome Aboard, Julie”. The receptionist gave Julie a big smile, put out her hand to Julie and said, “We are all so glad that you decided to accept the position with our company, we really need someone of your caliber here”. Seconds later, Julie’s boss, Harry, walked down the hall and said, “Welcome. We have plenty of time to sign all of the new hire paperwork later. First, I want to introduce you to all of the other members of the department and have you attend your first Monday morning meeting.” Julie’s first impression of the new company was excellent. She felt she made the right decision to change jobs.
When Julie walked into the conference room, she saw three co-workers sitting at the table. David was blindly stirring a cup of coffee with one hand while his other hand kept his head from banging on the table. Connie was looking into a small mirror while pursing her lips to ensure her lipstick was just right. John was complaining about the lack of pitching on the local baseball team. When Julie was introduced as the new member of the team, Connie was the only one who said anything. Connie glanced away from her mirror for a moment to look at Julie and said, “You look a little too energetic for this place.” and then looked back in the mirror to check her mascara.
Julie’s first impression of her co-workers was quite different than the warmth she felt when she walked in the front door. The initial excitement has transformed to uncertainty about her new position. But she told herself that she would not let these people bother her and she would do whatever she could to bring some positive energy to her department.
The meeting was the usual Monday meeting in which each member of the team took turns informing the others of last week’s accomplishments, complaining about customers, the sales department and that the computers were very slow lately. Harry congratulated everyone on the team for their accomplishments. He also explained that the customers paid their salaries; the sales department was supposed to be a little overly optimistic with the capabilities and also informed the group that there were some issues with the computers and the information technology staff was working diligently to get the glitches ironed out.
Harry then reviewed the departmental orientation schedule for Julie. For the rest of that morning, Julie was then assigned to work with Connie who rolled her eyes when her name was brought up. Lunch with Connie, David and John was scheduled for noon and new employee orientation with the human resources department was scheduled for 1:30.
Connie spent most of the morning on the telephone talking to her friends about the past weekend, so Julie just sat and listened. At lunch, Julie was left out of the conversation.
After lunch, Julie was relieved that she would be going through orientation in the afternoon and not have to deal with Connie, David and John. Upon arriving in the human resources department, Julie was ushered into a conference room with boxes piled in the corners and a motivational poster on the wall that said, “There is no ‘I’ in Team.” Thirty minutes later, the HR manager came into the conference room, dropped a stack of papers on the desk and asked Julie to sign where indicated and to contact her with questions. She was also instructed to leave all of the papers in the folder for the HR manager to pick up later. When Julie had a question about the paperwork, she went searching for the HR manager, but no one was in the office. Julie did the best she could and put all of the papers in the folder as instructed. Three months later, much to the Harry and the HR manager’s surprise, Julie resigned as she found another job.
First impressions are the most lasting. Is your orientation and on-boarding process engaging or alienating new employees?
Bob McKenzie, President, McKenzieHR