Integrating Employees into The Organization’s Culture

March 21, 2011 / General /

By Shawn Quinn

I was teaching a group of executives about changing organizational culture not long ago and one of them asked me how to effectively integrate new hires into the organization’s culture.  I think the things that were taught helped give him some ideas but I didn’t feel like I ever gave or drew out of the group a satisfactory answer.  During the flight home I was thinking about the question and created a tool that I sent to everyone who attended the course.  I have not used this exact tool in the way described below but I have used every aspect of the tool in ways that lead me to believe it would be helpful.  I don’t share this tool as “the” answer but to trigger thoughts in your mind around what you might do to integrate new hires as they enter your organization.

You will see as you review the tool that this could be used with any employee even if they have been in the organizations for a while.

New Hire Tool

Meeting 1

What is the vision of the company?

  • · Write a story about what the company will be like 3-5 years from now when it becomes more of what is envisioned for the company.  For example, what are you seeing and experiencing as you watch leadership meetings, front line people working with the customer, manager working with their people.  Write as though it has already happened.  Describe the road blocks that got in the way and was done to get around those road blocks.  You will be wrong about many specifics but if you paint the picture clearly people will see the end point and will help create it.

 What are the values of the company?

  • · Describe what each value means to you and tell one or two stories of ways you have seen people live the values in the company
  • · Ask them to share a story from their life where they have seen somebody live each value so you can see how aligned their view of the value is with your view

 What is the strategy of the company and what are the key business priorities?  How does their job ultimately impact the business priorities, the strategy and ultimately the vision of the company?

  • · Describe the strategy and key business priorities
  • · Discuss what the person understands their role to be in the organization
  • · Ask them what they think their role has to do with accomplishing the strategy and vision of the company
  • · Help fill in the blanks where they are having trouble making the connections
  • · Describe what you think the culture of the company is (Using a tool like the Competing Values Framework or other tools you have been taught) and how the values and culture help support or fight against the new hire effectively doing their job

 Help new hire explore what their life mission and core values are

  • · Ask the new hire a series of questions to help them understand their core values
    • o When do people do things that cause you to be very frustrated?  What value is that person not living that has caused you to be so frustrated?
    • o What kinds of people are you naturally drawn to?  What values do you see in them that you feel you connect to?
  • · Help the new hire explore what their unique strengths are and examples of when they are functioning at their best
  • · Challenge them to think about their life mission
    • o What talents have they been given and how can they best put them to use?
    • o What do they daydream about and think about when they have nothing else to think about?
    • o What legacy do they want to leave in this life?
  • · Encourage them to go and think about this further and to come back to share with you

Meeting 2

Connect life mission and core values to the vision and values of the company

  • · Have them share their core values, strengths and life mission with you
  • · How do their core values match or push against the values of the company?
  • · How does their life mission connect up with the vision of the company?
  • · How does what they do for a job help them accomplish their life mission and stay aligned with their core values?

New hire teaches the vision, values and strategy of the company

  • · Have the new hire teach you the vision of the company
  • · Have the new hire teach you the values of the company
  • · Have the new hire teach you the strategy of the company and how their job impacts the strategy
  • · Help fill in the blanks where they are still confused 

I’m curious to know what you like or don’t like about the tool and what other things you have done to effectively integrate new hires (or employees in general) into the organization’s culture.