Picture a new hire’s first day on the job: Nervousness. Apprehension. Excitement. So much on the line for the person and the organization.
Yet Cate Given, Vice President of Human Resource Services for Joni and Friends, has created a way (with ongoing help from her superb team) to make sure every new employee feels welcomed, on the way to work fulfillment from day one.
A few weeks ago, we learned about Joni and Friends’ onboarding strategy that aligns an employee’s expectations with that of the organization over the first several months. Today, Cate is back to tell us how to zero in on a new hire’s very first days and weeks.
I asked her to unpack this proven approach, used for hundreds of employees who have grown Joni and Friends into a ministry equipping churches to evangelize people affected with disabilities all around the world.
It’s completely open-book stuff you can use, customize and make your own. The one who can tell you all about it is Cate.
“With every new hire, we’ve found a way to make their first impression of Joni and Friends immensely positive and productive,” says Cate. It happens through a three-step process.
1. First Day
- Each new hire is warmly greeted in the lobby by his or her supervisor.
- After they attend morning all-staff prayer, the employee meets his or her team.
- Then they are personally welcomed by President Doug Mazza, who brews them coffee and hosts a private, one-on-one visit. Good stories and free-flowing conversation set the tone for Doug to give an overview of the organization, highlighting the fact that in his or her first year, every new hire will engage with each department staffer.
- After a special lunch, the new hire receives a gift package, including one of Joni’s books signed by Joni, herself.
- A personal tour of the International Disability Center headquarters completes the person’s first day.
All told, there’s an immediate sense of belonging and team-fit that translates into productivity, effectiveness and enjoyment of coming to work.
2. First Two Weeks
Says Cate, “We’ve learned to extend our ‘first day’ impression by helping every new employee learn and understand more about our ministry, through our ‘First Call’ curriculum and visits with each department Director or VP. These are foundational steps to the integration process. Becoming fully immersed in their job duties will take place at the completion of orientation. It’s all by design.
“People look back on their onboarding process with deeper appreciation of how such a smooth orientation and purposeful integration prepared them so well to enjoy their job and be part of the great work God has given us to do for his glory.”
3. Starting, Staying, and Standing Out
“We’ve developed a three-fold approach that helps employees start well, stay involved and stand out,” says Cate. “This really pinpoints and benchmarks the ideal work experience for every employee, from their first days and weeks on the job through their coming months and years at Joni and Friends. We want every good first impression to contribute to a positive 90-day self-assessment.
“It helps set the stage for once-a-year Lead Like Jesus training, which anchors every employee with Christ-centered leadership and a servant-like approach.”
This immensely effective “good first impression” approach to onboarding has helped Joni and Friends soar into the top 15th percentile of parachurch ministry organizations that have built flourishing workplace cultures, after completing the BCWI Employee Engagement Survey.
Says Cate, “Strategic, effective onboarding is how every new hire can catch the very heart and essence of our culture from the first day forward. These fresh faces will one day be the ones meeting with new employees, doing their part to help make the organization a great workplace for years to come.”