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Rituals Rock

* Beschreibung: moderner, industrieller Schutz...Image via Wikipedia

Remember your first day on your current job? What did you do? Did you sit in a room by yourself and read procedure manuals or don a safety hat and goggles and hop on the back of a forklift to tour the company's two-block-square warehouse?

Studies show that how a new employee is introduced and assimilated into a new culture is one of the key reasons why over 55 percent of them don't stick around for more than two years.

New employees walk through your company's door their first day on the job with certain impressions and expectations they got during the hiring process while you were "courting" them. After a few days on the job, will those impressions hold true? Maybe even improve? Or, will the employees be starting to think, "What have I done, coming here?"

I'll never forget my first week on the job at Meredith Corp. Every day that week Meredith employees would pass me in the hallways, recognize me as a new employee, and say something like, "You're new. Welcome! You're going to love it here!" And I did. Employees weren't set up to say that -- they said it because they did -- love it.

If you're looking for a way to on-board new hires in a powerful way so they'll stick around and voluntarily engage other new hires in a welcoming way, establish a ritual or two. A ritual engages new employees in activities that convey the organization's character while creating an instant bond. Taking part in that activity -- whatever it is -- is sort of a rite of passage. As a result of participating in the ritual, they now feel like they "belong."

In the March, 2010 issue of Inc., Leigh Buchanan gives examples of company rituals:

  • Gentle Giant moving company in MA initiates new hires with a run up the steps at Harvard Stadium -- alongside Larry O'Toole, the CEO.
  • New employees at Foot Levelers eat popcorn, watch the movie Rudy,and cry together and then talk with CEO Kent Greenawalt about how Rudy's character traits and practices play out in their culture.
  • CXtec new hires are paired with a veteran staff member early on in their tenure and they spend a morning together serving donuts and coffee from a cart to everyone in the Syracuse, NY offices.

As a result of these simple rituals, now these new hires "belong." And when they belong, they're much more likely to "love it there!" And stay. And be innovative and productive and a good ambassador for the company. And that rocks.

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