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Do you “over-welcome” your new employees?

A story of a CEO attuned to creating great company culture.

A CEO friend of mine who managed her one-hundred-person remote workforce as a virtual company told me her story of how she welcomed new employees as she grew her firm.  Strike that. She over-welcomed her new employees.

Preparing for the new employee

Days before the official start date, she made sure that the new employee’s business cards arrived in the mail, that the employee’s phone and Internet services were up and running, and that an email account was 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 arrived 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.”

“You will be successful at our company!” the fortune stated.

One pleasant surprise after another

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 Zoom, Slack or Teams, and texting, and to be productive immediately when hitting the ground.

The benefits of hitting the ground running.

[Email readers, continue here…]   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?

Special considerations for salespeople

For a salesperson, how about paying an override commission to another salesperson 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?

The outcome from “over-welcoming”

My CEO friend created a great company with a culture so strong, every single employee was able to work from their home, wherever in the world it might be, and contribute at the highest level to the success of the enterprise.  And oh, yes, she sold her company recently for a tidy sum to a buyer anxious to spread such enviable practices throughout the parent organization.

So, considering the benefits, maybe we should start with a surprise fortune cookie with a personal welcome message.

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