Friday, February 27, 2009

Another thing I learned in a committee meeting

The second heated topic of discussion in this committee meeting was how to make the new employee feel more welcome and part of the organization.

Again, I talked a lot more than I wanted to about this. And here, I need a little help.

I'm really lucky. I have 2 managers above me who are well versed in the workings of the organization. Who does what well (whether or not it is a formal part of their job description), personalities, history. They are also willing to share this information.

Most of the other folks in my department aren't so lucky.

The inevitable conversations around more meetings, committees, mentorship, cohorts, etc. occurred. I know that for me personally, a cohort of employees who started during X month could potentially be useful - with a volunteer mentor.

When I mentioned the cohort / mentor idea, the inevitable "what is your vision of this thing?" Question came up. I admitted I didn't have one - just an unformed idea. All I knew was that when I run into people that I went to Orientation with - there is a welcome glimmer of recognition between the parties and greater openness to conversation.

Afterwards, I wondered whether it needed to be, or should be, that formalized.

Maybe we should just recognize that we will learn more about our colleages, as an organic part of our work. Not expect that a new employee will know everything and everyone within a month and feel comfortable. Especially with a department this big and spread out (we are on 2 campuses about 20+ miles apart).

I've had lots of new jobs. No matter where I end up - inclusion is still a process.

Am I off base? Is there a way to mitigate some of the natural discomfort of a new job and getting to know a new group of people? Should there be a formal process in place to make people feel included? Any models you have seen that worked well?

1 comment:

Clark said...

Wendy, can't talk from models (for a change :), but you've got to reckon onboarding that helps you learn the values and vocabulary, provides information about how to self-help, and welcomes you has got to be part of the picture. Mentoring is a powerful way to accomplish that. Go get 'em!