Making New Employee Orientation Fun, Part 2: Company Culture & Incentives

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In my last post, I talked about the style of new employee orientation. This week I will focus on how to incorporate company culture in your presentation and ways you can use incentives to make orientation fun.

Company culture is not just about proper etiquette at holiday parties and dress code requirements. Orientation needs to include something about your company’s mission, vision and values. As I mentioned in my previous post, your presentation style is important because you want to send the message that your company is a great place to work. Adding a game and incentives to your orientation is one way to send this message.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

At my company, one of the two owners stops by almost every orientation. He begins by introducing himself and then takes the time to have each new employee share something interesting about themselves. The message here is that we do not just want you to learn about the company; the company wants to learn about you. Even though our company has grown to nearly 600 people, having the owners take the time to connect with all of our employees shows them that our executives care about them from day one. Depending on your company structure, having an owner stop by might not always be possible. See if there is another executive or director-level employee who can attend.

I then show a welcome video I put together with one of the owners earlier this year. The video includes pictures from the early days of the company, the history of the company and interviews with the owners and employees. This gives the new employees a view into the vibrant history and culture of the company from the people who work there and not just me. Having one of the owners available to answer questions after the video means that this is not just a process where I hit play and let the video do the work—the new employees interact with the one person who knows the company better than anyone.

Throughout the orientation, I keep the focus on the company’s mission, vision and values. For example, two of our values are dedication and respect. When I get to the customer service portion of my presentation, I talk about how these values are present in how we treat customers. When I discuss benefits, I mention that providing health insurance is a cornerstone of the respect and dedication that the owners have toward the employees.

I also keep bringing the material back to the employees and ask them to share examples of things that have happened to them during their first few weeks of employment or even experiences they have had at other companies. This keeps the material relevant to them.

EVERYONE LOVES FREE STUFF!

My orientation lasts for four hours. That’s a long time for anyone to sit through a presentation, especially for grocery store employees who are used to being on their feet, moving around and constantly interacting with customers. That’s why I like to reward employees with something fun as well as a prize.

I end my presentation with a quiz. It is a mix of multiple choice and true/false questions that cover the material I presented. Each employee gets laminated cards with letters A through D, True and False. Employees hold up the card with the answer to each question. I could do this as a written quiz, but that is not nearly as much fun as seeing people rush to hold up the right answer. There is something about doing a quiz in this style that makes adults get a little goofy. They smile and laugh when they get an answer right, and I have even heard a gasp or two when someone gets an answer wrong. It ends the whole orientation with a sort of game show feel. At the conclusion of the quiz, I give each employee a certificate worth ten tokens in our company’s incentive program. These can be used to buy company clothing, gift certificates or movie tickets.

IN THE END…

Incorporating company culture into your presentation does not have to be complicated. Keep it simple and focus on the material. Ending with a quiz or other interactive activity is a good way to review the key points of your presentation, and it is also sends employees back to their jobs on a high note. Pump a little energy into the room to get people excited to be at your company.

What do you do to make your orientation fun? How do you incorporate company culture in a way that engages new hires?

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