July 24, 2012

They Tested Aliza’s Swimming Skills 10 Minutes After She Got There

By Paul Bieber

Now that is a headline that absolutely no one will understand. Let’s explore:

“They” are the camp waterfront directors.

“Aliza” is my great-niece.

“There” is Camp Wiyaka in Richmond, N.H.

So, the whole family, four generations, came to camp to see off Aliza for her one-week adventure at sleep-away camp. This is her third year going, but the tradition is we all go, taking oodles of pictures and trying very hard to embarrass Aliza in front of her friends. She put her foot locker in the tent, changed into her swimming suit, and jumped in the lake under the watchful eyes of the lifeguards so she could be placed in the proper swimming group for instruction.  Ten minutes and she was already being graded and a plan was made to help her improve.

Did you do this with your last hire at work? Or did you just throw the person into the workplace, telling a co-worker to show him where the bathroom was? The first ten minutes, then the first hour, then the first day are key to the impression a new hire gets of  your company.  Have a distinct plan for all new hires including:

  • Meet and greet the owners/executives.
  • A history of the company and a description of the company’s values and mission. If you have a mission statement, so much the better. If not, simply explain your view of where the company is going, and how it will get there; and how the new hire will fit into this plan.
  • A tour of your company.
  • Many companies give a new employee a special color hard-hat or badge, so that others can recognize and welcome a new member of the team.
  • Assign a work-buddy that will help the new employee with everyday chores and learning.

And, thanks to Aliza, get an understanding of his/her skills. See what they can contribute right away; see where they don’t have to work with supervision and where they do; and what they need help with. Set up that training now, rather than waiting two weeks and the new hire is not doing well in his job duties.

Aliza was placed in the “Blue” swimming group. She was all excited. She could have been red, yellow or green. So much smarter than saying 1, 2, 3 or 4. No stigma attached and everyone felt good.

I wonder what life will bring for a topic next week.