New Employee Orientation – Rituals and Rites of Passage

How do you ritualise a new employee orientation ? When your employee joins your organization you would initiate the process to unlearn and learn. Here the preparation during the interviews emotionally and intellectually prepares the candidate to work for your organization. How do you essentially begin this metamorphosis of the new employee from an interviewee to a pro in your organization?

SidLee corporation, a creative services firm established in 1994, based in Montreal have a rite of ‘unlocking the SidLee’. Here every new employee is given a key to the SidLee book. This book is kept in a casket inside a green colored room. The color of the room is specifically chosen to stand apart from other rooms in the office premises. This room is positioned near a common area where every employee would pass by. There is a big white chair kept inside the room, where the new employee is required to sit while reading the book. This book includes all the details about the company since its inception. As mentioned by the CEO, Martin Gauther, Partner SidLee, “Its about the struggle to build the corporation”. This book also known as SidLee Bible was started by Jean-Francois Bouchard, shares how the owners conceptualized the corporation with every achievements and mistakes till date. The employees who were made to read the book had vivid experiences. For some it’s overwhelming to sit in that chair and read while others were impressed as the mistakes made were clearly discussed. This creates a greater ownership among the new employees. The takeaway which is targeted from this ritual, is to inculcate the values of hard work and industry which is the cornerstone for SidLee’s Success. When the struggles faced by the owners and the leaders are shared on the very first day, it prepares the employee for the effort that requires to build a legacy .

There are companies which arrange for a detailed tour of the office including not just the main areas of production but areas that share the core culture of the organization. At certain times it is conducted in a room or a vicinity away from the office to allow the new employees to open-up for a new experience and then take them to the office. The leaders and evangelists to the company often spend considerable amount of time with the employees on ‘Day 1’. This aims fundamentally to impact the perception of the employee. The best learning comes from honest and genuine interactions. When this coincides with the first day at an organization it leaves a special memory which gels the employee for long.

An effective induction includes the information sharing and the first steps to culture initiation. It can impact the learning curve of the employee with an increased ownership to their jobs. By design , it would include all the usual information sharing about the processes and benefits the employee would be required to know. But the behavior building results from rituals which differentiates each orientation program.

Tell us what are the rites that are there in your firm and how does it impact the mindset of a new employee.

  • Y.Bhaskara Rao

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  • Thankyou Mr. Rao. Please do share the best practices that you came across. I look forward to read your insights on them.