Starting a new job is a transition that most people prefer to avoid. Welcoming a new hire into your workplace is just as important as making them feel at home for the long haul. Otherwise, they’ll move along and continue to search for a company where they feel free to be themselves and serve a purpose that makes them feel good about their contribution to business success.
It’s an absolute must that the modern workplace is able to build a unique culture that keeps their people engaged, but creating a sense of belonging through that unique culture is even more critical to retention and overall satisfaction. Efficient company culture should prioritize appropriate transparency in a professional setting and offer a safe space for employees to express themselves without judgment and still “fit in.” Take it a step further with company traditions that are less likely to be seen or experienced at other companies in your space. Then, the eclectic set of characters and personas you have mingling in the office can find a common ground for connection.
Initiate the new kids
Onboarding doesn’t have to bland and it definitely doesn’t have to stick to the same old boring training schedule. Make time to welcome your new hires and get them acquainted with the vibe of your office with an activity specifically designed to celebrate their arrival. If your new hire is an adventure buff, send them on a scavenger hunt their first week in the office so they can scope out the open floor plan. If you have a group of new hires starting on the same day (you should, research shows it makes their first day less stressful), take them out a tour so they can find the best local lunch spots. Or, if your new hire is into puzzles, leave them daily riddles to learn secrets or facts about their new company. You can even have the most recent hire set up their welcome care package. Instant friends, anyone?
It’s not exactly hazing, but you get the idea. At Hibob, when a new hire joins our company we like to send a global Shout Out that introduces them to their new workplace family. Shout Outs include the general info: name, background, bob role, you know – the usual. But, we also like to include a poll and play two truths and a lie as an icebreaker with personal fun facts.
Invent some slang
Get a little goofy at work and try to speak your own language with colleagues. Having your own company-based slang can give your people a fun new identity to try on and be proud of. It’s also a pretty solid inclusion strategy for all. For example, we’re all #bobbers! Everyone walks into #bobland every morning. We get to use “Bob’s bob,” the product we’ve built for our clients but also meets our needs too, helping us remember “bob-birthdays” and “bobaversaries.” And, who knows? Maybe when Halloween when rolls around, we’ll celebrate Hibobaween, instead.
The point is that we own our product and feel good about our company mission because we feel an internal connection to it. Emphasizing where we work by incorporating this sort of language into our everyday dialogue helps us identify with our second home, our roles, and our workplace family.
Get a work bae
Work wives. Lunch buddies. Mentors. There are a million different ways to describe your go-to work boo. They can be part of a larger collective that gathers for coffee in the kitchen or a close-knit team that goes for off-sites to work. Regardless of what you call them, your favorite colleagues make work fun. I mean, you spend a large chunk of your time together, you share the burden deadline pressure, and you celebrate each other’s accomplishments and milestones. How could you not grow close? Eating lunch wouldn’t be as fun and having a gang to go to happy hour with makes the last leg of the day more tolerable.
One of the many reasons we love bob is for its clubs feature. Having a tool that groups people together based on their interests or hobbies makes introductions feel more organic. Instead of bonding over workplace gossip, your people can sign up for yoga together or start a book club to keep their brains stimulated and busy when hanging in a group.
Embrace impromptu celebrations
Birthdays and happy hours are usually a given, but sharing product updates and feature launches are just as crucial to keeping your people engaged and feeling as if they’re part of an inclusive culture. We like to have scheduled Demo Times that coincide with our weekly happy hours so R&D team members can update everyone on their latest bob innovation. Remember, you should also celebrate the #smallwins just as often and enthusiastically as you celebrate the big ones. Get a gong that you can hit whenever a small milestone or goal is reached! It’ll vibrate good energy across the entire office.
When it comes to celebrating each other take a step further than the standard off-site, team-building retreat, or picnic-style fun day. Take advantage of the diverse people you have at your company and host an exotic pot luck where people bring in different dishes to share. Why not hold a semi-annual award ceremony? It’s the perfect opportunity to spotlight the characteristics and accomplishments that make people stand out in the office. Or, you can get nostalgic by throwing a company-wide prom! Any excuse to dress up, wear corsages, and dance awkwardly to 90’s hits, right?
Through these different activities, types of lingo, and welcome initiatives you can create a culture that makes your people feel as if they’ve stepped inside of a safe bubble that takes its own form and expands with great ideas. No matter how outlandish or strange your initial traditions appear to others – it doesn’t matter. What does matter, though, is that those involved in your culture, the company, and its success enjoy themselves and feel like they truly belong.