In my previous post, The First Day is Too Late, I pointed out that early access to internal communication channels decreases fear and increases confidence of new employees. One of several reasons it happens is that people get to know their future colleagues before actually start working with them. They find out about their interests, skills, habits and communications styles. They begin to build their own network.
Creating many strong connections inside an organisation should be a goal of any onboarding process. New connections help you to learn about the life of organisation much faster. They introduce you to other colleagues and share information on what might be interesting to you. They also help you to get involved in multiple activities.
For example, there’s a movie night on your third day in a company. You read a company-wide announcement on Slack and check the list of participants. You don’t know anyone there. Damn! Being a bit shy you’ve decided to stay and work even though you really want to go. Luckily, Laura whom you met just the day before during the lunch come to you and say, “We’re going to a cinema tonight. Wanna go? There’ll be a couple of guys you definitely need to know.” The only thing you need to do is to say, “Sure, I’m in.”
At Futurice many events are organised for new employees during the first three months of trial period and onboarding. Of course these events include training and educational sessions. There are also introduction meetings when people from different parts of the company and communities come and talk about what’s happening there. And informal gatherings organised especially for new employees to talk to each other, meet older members of the organisation, eat some food and drink beer.
At Netlight new employees get a list of 10-15 colleagues they are suggested to have lunch with. Through the series of lunches they meet new people, learn about the specialities and hobbies of other colleagues and get many advices where to go, what group to join and whom else to have lunch with.
According to this article in Harvard Business Review,
“Research shows that workers are happier in their jobs when they have friendships with co-workers. Employees report that when they have friends at work, their job is more fun, enjoyable, worthwhile, and satisfying. Gallup found that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50% and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work.”
Helping new employees to make valuable connections and, may be, friends is a must-have goal for any onboarding process. New employees adapt faster, get more from company from the first day and are more satisfied and productive.