Here at The Fool, we don’t do many things “just because everyone does it that way”.
We don’t keep track of vacation days or sick days because “most companies do”, and we don’t always second-guess our employees on where they are if they take the afternoon off. If they have gotten their work done, they can go home and do laundry! Or take the afternoon off to catch a sports game.
And we definitely don’t do orientation the way that every other company does.
I was on a call the other day with a vendor, and the representative asked me how we use a specific program to “onboard.”
My response was something like this, “Well, we don’t use the term onboarding. I actually haven’t heard that word in months, and the only reason I’ve heard it then was because I was at a traditional human resources conference.”
Onboarding to us does not mean the same as it does to most companies. It does not mean that we throw enough paperwork at you to get lost behind it your first day. Of course, there will always be paperwork to fill out (even electronically), but we don’t make that your complete first day’s work.
We don’t want your first day as a Fool to be remembered as the never-ending day of filling out paperwork.
In fact, for a lot of our newer hires, we start BEFORE their first day with welcoming them in our own Foolish way into the culture. We send them a welcome email, like many companies do, but our includes something fun for them. It may be a gift card for dinner out with their spouse, family, or friends, or it may be a gift card that could go toward decorating their office desk. We want to make sure that our Fools are comfortable with their work environment, and that if they don’t want to – they don’t even have to cook the night before their first day.
Their very first morning with us, we normally take them for a walk around the block, show them where fun lunch places are, where the closest dry cleaners is, and perhaps pick up a coffee along the way. We also talk them through a basic business model, set the expectation of our high-performing/lifestyle culture, and answer any questions they may have.
After the necessary paperwork meetings and the computer usage information, we invite them out to lunch with a group of Fools that are outside their department. You may ask – why are these Fools outside of their department?
Well, it’s funny you should ask – we feel that our new Fools will be collaborating with their departments quickly, and picked them based on Foolish fit with their department. But if we have a few other Fools outside of their department take them out to lunch, those Fools – even just subconsciously – will want that new Fool to succeed and will have a stake their success. As a small company of less than 300 Fools, we are more and more a Foolish family, and it’s important to network with more than just your immediate group.
After all of that, we want their first day to end in success, so they will likely get to leave a bit earlier than most Fools – beating rush hour traffic home, and hopefully, having a most Foolish and fun first day.