Last week I was lucky to be working (hard!) in London. One of my meetings was in the Virgin Battleship Building. I was instantly inspired by the enthusiasm, energy and drive of the people who are so obviously committed to the brand…and to the people they work for. In this dynamic environment team members seemed self-propelled, responsible and productive – in spite of their relaxed and informal work setting.
My message to leaders out there is – hire like Branson. Richard Branson of Virgin hires for aptitude, attitude, intelligence (ability to be creative and find solutions), intensity, and integrity…and believes that these qualities are inherent, not learned. I have never made a mistake when hiring on instinct, even when individuals are under-qualified. I think sometimes it may be an advantage – those who demonstrate passion and potential, come with no bad habits, show a great attitude and are grateful for the job – out-perform those who are better qualified. Qualifications can always be added whilst in employ if you think the candidate deserves or needs them.
Think back to school days when a new learner arrived. They were immediately appointed a buddy – someone to show them around, to make them feel secure. Not someone who was going to throw the school rule book at them and leave them alone to flounder. They showed them the bicycle shed, the cloakrooms and warned them about which teacher had a terrible temper. We need to implement an induction system that is similar for new recruits to settle in and to give value, quickly.
A new recruit would like to have a little piece of the leader. In a small company it is possible for the leader personally to meet new team members. In a large, global corporate there should be an introductory video or phone call. Give them something of you. Remember that your first impression sets the tone for your relationship in the future, so be sure to give it the best start possible. Start the way you mean to end, with a good induction programme.
It is not just showing new team members their parking spot, desk and where the coffee is brewed. Nor is it just a brief outline of expectations. Expose them to the company culture and demonstrate “this is how we do it here”. Then they will feel orientated.