We could create such a different experience with a little bit of planning, a little bit of forethought, and we could create such a chat-worthy, brag-worthy experience for our new employees if we took the time to do so.

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– Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute. This week, I am coming to you from Pacific Beach, in one of my all-time favorite hotels, TOWER23. You know, one of the things that people are not talking about very much during the pandemic is the fact that many agencies are doing incredibly well, and many of you are hiring. And as I was talking to an agency owner this week about their onboarding process, it reminded me that, as a general rule, we are not awesome at onboarding new employees. We are so behind the ball by the time we actually find someone, get them hired, that on their first day, we expect them to hit the ground running. And we pretty much, we usher them into the office, we show them their desk, maybe we have their computer and password set up, and then we say, “Oh, by the way, you’ve got a client meeting in 15 minutes, and here’s where you can find the coffee, go!” And then they’re on their own. We could create such a different experience with a little bit of planning, a little bit of forethought, and we could create such a chat-worthy, and we could create such a chat-worthy, brag-worthy experience for our new employees if we took the time to do so. So here are some suggestions: Number one, assign every new employee a buddy, somebody who’s been at the agency for a while, who’s going to meet them when they arrive, who’s going to tour them through the office, actually introduce them to everyone, show them their desk, show them the systems, but more important, help them to begin to get connected to the culture of the agency. There should be some sort of a token or a gift on their desk. Maybe it’s a hat with your agency’s logo on it or a T-shirt or something that makes it clear that you’re excited that they are joining the team. And if you’re smart, you’re going to know what their family situation is, and you’re going to have a gift for their significant other or their kids, or something that says, “We’re so excited that your mom/dad or your wife/husband is joining us. And we want to thank you because we know you were important part of their decision-making process to come here.” Then what I want you to do is around 10 o’clock, I want you to bring the whole team together for bagels or whatever. And I know, for some of you, you’re still doing all of this virtually. It doesn’t mean everybody can’t have a bagel or a cupcake or something, right? And bring everybody together, and have everybody introduce themselves and tell their favorite story about working at the agency. So, again, now they’re talking more, the new person is getting a sense of who people are, what they’re all about, and also making sure that they feel connected to everybody, whether they’re someone they’re going to work with every day or not. Another thing we do at my agency is we went around, and we got kind of a fun fact about every employee, and we put together a quiz. And we give that quiz to the new employee and we say, “Okay, it’s your job in the next 7 to 10 days to figure out who is related to each of these statements,” like who has six toes, or who was born in an exotic land, or whatever it may be. But this is gives them a reason to go around and connect with people. And again, their buddy can be helpful in suggesting, maybe giving them some hints about the quiz. The other thing that you should do is you should have a checklist; a checklist of everything a new employee needs from equipment to passwords, to access to software, to trainings, whatever it may be, and make sure you have everything ready for them on day one. One AMI agency owner took this a step further, which I think is brilliant. What she did was she recorded a series of videos that talked about the history of the agency, the values of the agency, all kinds of things that weren’t necessarily job-critical on day one, but were important elements that a new employee understand about the agency. And then she set up an email sequence. So every three or four days, the new employee gets a video from the agency owner telling them a story or talking about the origin of the agency. I think it’s brilliant. The other thing you want to do is you want to set up tours so your new employee can spend time with department heads and people that they’re going to be working with. So schedule out their first week with a mix of work, but also a mix of orientation activities that helps them get connected and be better at their job. All right? Let’s get better about welcoming new employees. Now is a great time for you to work on that plan if you’re not hiring someone. And if you’re in the middle of getting ready to hire someone, then scramble and get it done, because it makes a huge difference. All right? I’ll see you next week.

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