According to a survey in USA Today, 32% of new employee's state that getting acclimated to a new workplace culture/co-workers is the Top Hurdle to re-entering the workforce (source: Office Team Survey). Technology was a distant second. Despite countless examples of best practices of employee orientation programs, apparently something is missing. What is it? I believe it is time and team.Every employee orientation program focuses on information. Telling people about the organization and even selling them on what a great company they have joined. All good things and necessary however, orientation is not enough. The real orientation starts when the employee report to their office.
Whenever a new team member is added, it is human nature to want to check them out. Existing team members are skeptical and may feel threatened until they get to know the new member and that takes time. The new person arrives with a boatload of energy, eager to show what they can do. Not so fast, newbie says the team. We need to observe you for a while.
Could a team building exercise help build relationships. Sure, but only to a certain degree. What the team really needs is time to build trust. Obviously, the team would like to accelerate this and likewise the new employee.
Can something be done to accelerate this process? You can lock the team into a room until they have reached a verdict. Or another way is to hire people who fit the culture of the organization. Not many employers do that, they think they do, but really do not.
Consider the fact that the majority of people conducting job interviews are not trained to interview let alone assess organization fit. Liking someone, connecting with them, or trusting your gut instinct is not sufficient. Checking references helps and using formal assessments. However, in the end it comes down to the team. If only employers had involved them in the process earlier, but that would have taken time and training.