Over recent days I have been involved with assisting a valued client recruit for a senior business leadership role. That task is now complete, however, the real challenge for this client has just begun which is the successful induction of this new business leader into their organisation.
The value of a well designed and implemented induction program for people joining an organisation is well documented:
- Increased retention.
- People’s satisfaction for ‘buy in’ and commitment are higher.
- Reduced anxiety – people become productive sooner.
- People provide a better customer experience.
- Strong relationships between new people and existing team members form faster.
- Reaffirms for people their decision to join the company was the correct one.
However, one of the areas many organisations place limited emphasis on is introducing new people to the organisation’s culture. Recently writing in Forbes Magazine, George Brandt raises three points we need to keep in mind:
- Today your organisation’s culture is your only “truly sustainable” source of competitive advantage.
- Poor cultural fit is the “number one cause” of people failing when they enter a new organisation.
- Senior leaders must not be exempt from participation in the full induction process.
To ensure culture has a starring role in your induction process these five things you, as a business leader in your organisation, need to ensure occur every time:
- Hire for both cultural fit and knowledge, skill and experience, not just knowledge, skill and experience.
- Cultural induction commences in the recruitment process. Key cultural messages are delivered during interviews and assessment.
- Induction is not just about the position the new person is taking up. Induction has to be linked to the organisation: why it was founded, its history, strategic goals and focus, and core behaviours that are used to guide decisions and actions in dealing with people inside and outside the company. It is particularly important in the early stages of induction that core messages about the company’s culture are memorable.
- Don’t view induction as a ‘one off’ event. With culture the journey is more important than the destination. So many induction programs begin with great promise and a flourish over the first week and then nothing. Inducting someone into the organisation’s culture takes time; ensure there are ample check-in points built in over the first year that people join your company.
- The immediate business leader of the person who joins plays an important role in induction. Beyond the new person’s immediate business leader there is value in having the new person work with a ‘buddy’ whose role is as a mentor. Their role is to:
- Model the company’s values and behaviours.
- Answer specific questions about the company’s culture.
- Assist the person to establish networks inside and outside the company.
Size doesn’t matter. Both small and large organisations need a set of guidelines that reinforce the culture – the way we do things around here in our company. These guidelines when introduced early to everyone who joins your organisation offers you the best opportunity to preserve those critical aspects that make your organisation what it is. This allows you to protect the ‘heart and soul’ of your organisation and preserve your one clear competitive advantage, your culture.
Vivente Australia enables leaders and managers to create the conditions that allow their people to do their best work every day thus creating a powerful advantage: the synergy between people, leadership, management, and culture, produces performance that allows your business to achieve its outcomes.