I’m a sucker for swag – my laptops are covered in stickers, I’ve still got a LinkedIn umbrella that Craig Ringland gave me four years ago, and my bright red Vodafone pen is a thing of beauty. However, as you’ve probably noticed, there’s been a huge rise in the ‘it’s my first day at [insert name] and what a welcome package!’ it’s usually a picture of a MacBook, surrounded by notebooks, water bottles, t-shirts and stickers, and along with 'solve if you are a genius' and Wolf of wall street quotes, is likely filling your LinkedIn newsfeed on a daily basis. I get it, it’s like Christmas, you’re getting loads of stuff as a present, the company is getting some free branding, and everyone’s a winner, I’m certainly not one to shoot down someone’s excitement over the next stage in their career.
You may have noticed that last week, I changed jobs. I moved to a startup over here in the US, and as you’ve probably noticed, startups are the prime culprits of ‘first-day photos’ – an official flag that the onboarding has started. But for me, it had started long before I stepped into the HireVue office in beautiful Utah.
I’d worked with HireVue at Vodafone and it’s safe to say I drink the kool-aid big time. Not only because Porter has such infectious enthusiasm, but also because it’s truly a game changer – I was one of those evangelical customers that wouldn’t stop telling everyone about the product – so when my wife and I moved to the US, it was an obvious next step for me. Anyone who’s ever moved to the US from the UK will know that Visa documentation is not always the simplest of processes and I ended up with a four month stint of waiting for the final go-ahead to start. During this time, Kara my new boss, and Oumar were giving me regular calls to check in and see how things were going – none of that ‘quiet phase between accepting an offer and starting’ here. I also met Melissa and Lauren in NYC for dinner, I was making friends in the business before I’d even got my laptop on the first day.
Moreover, when we finally got the go ahead, those of us who were about to start got sent out an invite to a HireVue ‘Introvue’ – for those of you not familiar with HireVue, we combine digital video with predictive analytics to help companies build and coach higher performing teams. We were getting to meet everyone before ever seeing them in person, and they were getting to know us. This meant that when I walked in the door for day one of our induction, we were straight into the swing of things. After getting a coffee (from the crazily well stocked kitchen) we were straight onto our built and configured laptops (thanks Phil!) and in the depths of the HireVue products in minutes after walking in. It also meant that there was none of the 'first day nerves' - I felt like I was old friends with the three other inductees, and I'd been able to forewarn them about my awful jokes.
Later in the week, we had the chance to meet all of the people we recognized from our ‘IntroVue’ at the HireVue in-house bar, HireBrew (For those of you that know me well, you’ll know I appreciated the pun)
There was no waste of half a morning walking around the office and being introduced to a load of people who’s name you won’t remember, and them awkwardly trying to explain in twenty seconds what they do. Instead, I got to speak to the people I’ll be working with, and have informed chats about what I’d watched them say about their job the week before.
While employer branding is in part how people feel when they walk in the door, I’m not going to profess to be an onboarding expert, but I’m sure everyone has at least once experienced the ‘first week’ issues of no laptop being ordered, no systems access or last minute frantic on-boarding schedules being created, and for me that’s the key. You can have all the great swag in the World, but what is your photo saying about your onboarding process? At most, it’s an indication of a well-stocked storage room, but for me, it’s much more about the whole process and experience of on-boarding. And that’s not to say I didn’t get swagged up – big thanks to Terra and Scot for everything from a rucksack to a webcam cover – but my point is this; why don’t we stop the humblebrag show off photos, and start showing what we’re doing on day one, and not what we’re getting.