Posted by: Knightbird | June 16, 2010

New Employee Deployment

Have you ever been hired for a new job and the offeror talks about how excited they are to have you come on board? Then you show up for your first day of work and there is no one there to greet you. No one orients you to the workplace, your benefits, your job responsibilities or shows you to your desk (with a working computer, email address, keys to the workplace, telephone and supplies). No one introduces you to the rest of the staff. You don’t know where the restrooms are, where or how to use the fax machine, and how you get access to or find the records you will have to work with. Your new boss is not in the office and you sit around for days because no one tells you what your responsibilities are. Welcome to my former world. I was fortunate when hired at Chugachmiut because the Executive Office was already in existence. However, to this day I have never had a benefits orientation, and I learned my job by doing it and asking others what I needed to do to comply with Chugachmiut systems.

Just out of curiosity, one day I asked another of our long term employees about his introduction to Chugachmiut. The story I told above is basically his story. And there are many others like it. In a new workplace, many of us are left on our own. We have to figure out who knows what, then befriend them so we have access to that supposedly “organizational” knowledge. We quickly learn about the political land mines in an organization as new employees come over to find out why you are there. (Most of the time they have not been told why you are there.)

As Chugachmiut began working on its hiring process, which I described somewhat in an earlier post, we realized that making an employee feel welcome is critical to their success in the workplace. And many people and departments are involved in the process of bringing a new employee into the company. We extended our value mapping beyond the offer letter and into what I call the “New Employee Deployment” process. First of all, we have 2 days each month when we welcome new employees with their benefits orientation. We have a list of goals we want to accomplish during this process. First and foremost, we want our employees to understand the importance of our Chugachmiut Employee Values Statement. Then we want them to understand that we operate in a No Blame, No Shame culture where every employee is expected to identify defects they encounter in the workplace and in cooperation with their coworkers, fix them using lean tools and techniques. They are expected to be fact based, and non judgmental regarding the facts they find. We let them know about our policies against sexual harassment, gossiping in the work place, and our customer focus, continuous improvement expectations. At the conclusion of their orientation, they are taken on a tour of our building where they meet their new coworkers and see our emergency escape routes, fire extinguishers, first aid kits and alarm system.

Our New Employee Deployment Checklist makes sure that the newest members of our team have everything they need to start work on that first day. They receive their keys, office, email address, alarm codes, computer, mobile phone if their position requires one and introduced to their position. For example, new receptionists receive extensive training in all of our communication systems. Since our receptionist has been historically tasked with making sure that special occasion cards (birthday, new baby, get well, grief and loss) are prepared and signed by all staff, they are trained to make sure it is done efficiently. We have a notebook with a variety of special occasion cards kept stocked and available at the front desk. A checklist of employees records who has or hasn’t signed. The card makes it to the special employee at the right time with their coworker signatures.

This checklist coordinates an important process among many people and departments, with the end result being an employee who has received a thorough introduction to our workplace, the appropriate tools to perform their job and an understanding of what an efficient workplace looks like.


  1. Wow! That is really very welcomy! We have the same kind of employee orientation process although your process seem more personal and really warm.
    Makes anyone would really like to work with you in your office.

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