In the original Toy Story – the toys didn’t understand why Buzz Lightyear thought he was real. They tried everything they could to have him “get it,” but he resisted and resisted all the cues around him until it was almost too late. Thankfully Woody saved him and Buzz finally was part of the gang.
Sound like work to you?
When new employees join your company, you assume that they should just jump right in and know all of the established traditions and norms of your culture. Different than Toy Story though, we just expect newbies to simply “get it.” It is astonishing how quickly we forget that we were once new at a company because existing employees fall into the trap of “assumed culture.”
For instance, your office practices Casual Friday, but you don’t tell the new hire. You all go out to a certain restaurant for Chinese Tuesday, but don’t even see if the new person in your department wants to go – or if they even like Chinese.
HR and hiring leaders are notorious for this. We spend so much time during new hire orientation on paperwork, manuals and a facility tour that we miss the chance to educate new folks on the company’s workplace culture. This needs to change. You can’t aspire to be a great place to work if you don’t work on engaging people from the first time you contact them as a candidate through the entire process when they get to join you.
Leaders – Take the time to be Woody. Go out of your way to do everything you can to break through to the new hires in your company to make sure that they learn ALL of the culture around them. What you’ll find is how awesome they really are and that they will add to your unique culture.
Don’t let anyone just exist. Be intentional and engage. It’s vital for company growth and creating a positive workplace culture.