A good coach knows how to get their team to work together on the field. A great coach understands that to get their team to consistently win together on the field, they have to get to know each other off the field.
It’s important for members of your tribe to do more than just work together. At Digital-Tutors, we had our groups of movie-goers, the gamers, the book club and plenty of other groups within our tribe that would often hang out together outside of work.
Inside the office, that sense of belonging became a powerful catalyst for productivity — you’re more willing to go the extra mile when you know your teammates have your back.
That strong sense of belonging is great for your veteran employees, but what about new hires? How can you help them to quickly find their social footing, in a non-intimidating way?
My solution was to make a game out of it — something I called The New Hire Game.
The game is simple. Give new hires two weeks to ask everyone in the company the following questions:
- What’s your role in the organization?
- What’s your favorite movie?
- What’s your favorite work memory?
- What’s something unique about you?
- What’s your driver for coming to work?
Have the new hire write down each person’s responses. Encourage everyone in the company to ask the new hire the same questions, so it’s a back-and-forth conversation instead of a one-sided interview. If you have over 50 people in your company, it may not be feasible for the new hire to have a meaningful conversation with every single person. In this case, you can have the new hire focus on one or two teams.
I’ve found that The New Hire Game has many benefits, but there are three in particular:
It quickly builds a sense of belonging
As I said before, belonging is a powerful feeling that is also a strong personal motivator. By asking a few simple questions, you’d be surprised at how quickly a sense of belonging can take hold.
For example, I recall an instance when I overheard a new hire named Mike going through The New Hire Game with a veteran employee named James. When asked to tell something unique about himself, James mentioned that he was restoring a classic Ford Mustang in his spare time. Mike chuckled and mentioned that he and his grandfather used to work on old cars all the time, and it was something he always loved doing. The two talked about cars for several more minutes, and Mike even offered to lend a hand with James’ restorations if he ever needed help.
Boom. Instant camaraderie.
This is what The New Hire Game does best. It’s a non-threatening way of discovering shared interests, fun facts and interesting stories from coworkers. Within just a few minutes, two employees can build a genuine rapport with each other, and that sense of belonging multiplied across the entire company can become a powerful force.
It shares the legendary stories of your organization
Even if you are a relatively new startup, your veteran employees have likely experienced some great things during their time at your organization. The company road-trip to Las Vegas. The massive sales deal that helped put your company on the map. That time the programming team refused to go home until the new website was operational. The grateful customer who couldn’t wait to shake your hand at last year’s tech convention.
There were several of these stories that became legends in the Digital-Tutors tribe — stories that were passed on from person to person. When a new hire sees that spark, they want to be a part of that experience. They see the meaning this provides, and it’s something they want.
It helps new hires learn the office layout
One of the biggest challenges for many new hires can be simply acclimating to a new environment. When your new hire goes around to each person in the company, it’ll help the visual learners to put a face to the name.
Instead of seeing a name listed on the org chart, they’ll have a reason to go have a chat face-to-face with each person. It’s also helpful for new hires to know where certain people sit, and where certain teams are situated.
The first few days of any job can be a stressful affair for anyone, no matter their level of experience. There are new places, new faces and information-overload as everyone throws instructions and statistical facts at the company’s newest hire.
While you’re unlikely to overcome all stress of someone’s first day, as an entrepreneur you have the ability to help set your new hires up for success right away.
The New Hire Game will help to jump-start the sense of closeness and belonging that are needed to excel in today’s workplace. The sooner your new hires become integrated into the culture and fabric of your organization, the sooner they’ll be able to experience happiness and success at their job.