Onboarding done with flair

Piyush Patel, CEO of digital animation training company Digital-Tutors, knows how to make new employees feel at home and appreciated. In his book Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work, he describes what a typical newbie could expect from the experience of being hired at his organization.

First, an inconspicuous black box would arrive in the employee’s mailbox. It contained all their necessary HR forms so they would have plenty of time to fill them out before day one. Also inside the box was a brief history and description of the company, complete with team photos and stories. Included too was a bright orange Digital-Tutors T-shirt included as a suggestion on what to wear the first day, because, Patel writes, why shouldn’t you feel part of a team from the beginning?

Wait, the box wasn’t empty yet. A bright orange picture frame was in there. Attached was a note encouraging the employee to put a picture of their family or friends in it and bring it to work. A notebook and pen in the same color made sure he or she would be prepared for the inevitable first day meetings; and one of Patel’s favorite books, Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek, rounded out the gift box by capturing in prose the essence of the Digital-Tutors philosophy.

It was all a prelude to Patel spending the entire morning of that first day with the new employee, discussing the job, reviewing the company’s purpose and making introductions.

When Patel attended a business management course at MIT, he was stunned to find that only a few of the 60+ CEOs in the room did anything like the gift box as part of their onboarding. Are you?

—Adapted from Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating a Culture That Matters, Piyush Patel, Dream Big.