A Warm Hug
In contrast to my riff about no-hand-holding, I had another experience as a new employee that I’ll remember forever.
In their book The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath, the authors discuss all the elements that go into creating a life-defining, memorable moment. When you read through this book, it’s easy to see how one can create such moments in every day life.
One of these kinds of moments occurred when I started my most recent job. I was hired as a contractor, so my co-worker group felt kind of splintered. On top of that, we were in many different places across the country, working for different companies and in different capacities.
One of the people that I work with called me in for an orientation meeting.
“I figured you could use a compass to get oriented,” she said, as she made diagrams on napkin paper in the eating area of an office where we’d met up. “Consider this meeting a big warm hug.”
No matter how old we are, and no matter how much experience we have in an industry, a big warm hug is the perfect way to start a new job. As Chip & Dan Heath point out in the Power of Moments, the first day of work is a remarkable time of transition and excitement.
A new employee transitions into new responsibilities, new social structures, and new daily routines. And yet the first thing we do when we arrive at our new job is that we take a tour of the office, bothering everyone trying to do their work, only to forget their names later. Then, we sit at our computer for most of the day checking email (with nothing really coming in).
How amazing would it be for all new employees to get a figurative big warm hug on the first day? It could look different depending on the work, and the person. Despite the fact that you’ve been accepted into a new position, it doesn’t mean that you’ve been invited yet to join the culture.
That’s what we could offer on a new employee’s first day.