I bumped into an old friend by the elevator at work and he began to tell me about his On-boarding experience with his new employer. As we talked we kept using the phrase “Being thrown to the wolves” to describe the way some companies train (or don’t) and the way this method of orientation makes new employees feel. When he told me that they actually said “That’s the way we like to “train” our new employees” I literally LOL’ed (that’s “laughed out loud” if you didn’t know).
I am a huge believer that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so I always try to put my best foot forward initially and then let you meet the real me (wink wink). I am also a huge proponent of organizations taking the first impression with their new employees seriously as well. Think about it, I just left another employer, where I am leaving behind a certain level of comfort, tenure, a larger bank of vacation, etc. My nerves need to be eased because I don’t really know what I’ve gotten myself into until my on-boarding. This is your chance as an employer to ease those fears.
….but then you’re going to throw me into an environment with wild, flesh eating dogs?!?! Really?!?! …and you’re actually going to tell me this, out loud, and expect me to be ok with it?!?!
I went to my friends at http://www.whitewolf.com and learned some interesting things about these creatures we’d rather not be thrown to. The first thing was being thrown to them may not be that bad! Wolves actually avoid humans at all costs in the wild and pose no real threat. Great to know for that next camping trip. But even more interesting was the fact that while wolves are ferocious hunters, only 3% of their prey are actually killed. Of the 3%, most are the weak (untrainable), sick (selfish), old (resistant to change) and injured (checked out) of the flock. Those 3% represent those that can’t be saved by training, coaching and support. So wolves are actually very important to the ecology of the environment because they ultimately create stronger flocks and control overpopulation.
So I pose two questions:
1. Should we continue to throw new employees to the wolves to weed out those that would ultimately be a liability to our company?
2. Should we focus on the new editions to the flock (the babies), protect them from the wolves, give them the resources and chances to grow, succeed and contribute to our business?
I vote for #2. Lets develop solid training and on-boarding programs for our newly hired employees because they are the future of our businesses. The very one that we initially think will be a trouble maker could be the next CEO with the right management.
If we must feed the wolves, lets throw out the ones that have been bringing others down, hurting the team, neglecting our clients, and rejecting the core values of our organization. They don’t really want to be amongst the flock anyway.