Growing Pains Shouldn’t Hurt
(Imagine what a bummer this is if you’re name is “Heather.” We already have six of them and when someone calls you “Heather7,” it’s just weird.)
This hiring explosion means we’re outgrowing our sweet suburban Richmond digs like big brother’s hand-me-down church pants. And, more importantly, we need to work twice as hard to make sure our award-winning workplace culture doesn’t get thrown in the shredder during the frenzy.
We know we’re not alone. When we conducted a webcast earlier this week examining the changing profile of America’s hourly workforce, more than 80 percent of you responded that you plan on ramping up hiring this year.
That’s why we figured we would share some of the best practices that have helped us balance responsible growth with a thriving, vibrant culture. Feel free to steal, borrow and tweak these practices to fit your workplace.
Get beyond buddies
Sure, lots of companies have training buddies and mentors. But do yours call new employees the week before they start to dish tips, advice and just plain funny workplace yarns? (Like the time Chip inhaled from the helium tank and sang the lollipop kids song from “The Wizard of Oz.) Do newbies get taken out to lunch on the company dime? Are they vigorously followed up with for a whopping 12 weeks to make sure they can decode our buzzwords, find the right meeting rooms and avoid the stigma of wearing “jorts” (jean shorts)? Our Snagger Sidekicks do all this and more. They’re the human glue that creates cultural stickiness from day one.
Keep your finger on the pulse
So, you think can gauge workplace happiness by slapping on a hairnet or hardhat, steppin’ out to rub shoulders with your front-line hourly workers, and measuring their satisfaction by the size of their smiles? Think again. You need a simple, recurring and objective tool. Try a pulse survey. Come up with five or 10 questions to measure your unique core values and mission. Send it to everyone. Then act on the results – and do so with transparency.
Bribe employees with candy
It’s not as shameless as it sounds. Each Thursday during our company meeting, we have new Snaggers stand up front and read off fun trivia about their fellow newbies. The first Snagger to raise his or her hand and shout out the correct answers gets some Skittles or a Milky Way tossed their way. We stick to the fun-size candy after we found out a full-size, off-the-mark Twix can make an analyst look like a pirate (Just for two to four weeks, until the eye patch can be removed).
So how will you ramp up your workforce without sacrificing the teamwork and camaraderie that helped get you where you are today? Name tags and handshakes aren’t gonna cut it.