In January 2013 I wrote a review of a book I didn't care for:
One of its authors, Micah Solomon, contacted me and sent me his new book. Later that same month in 2013, I read it and wrote a review:
My daughter, Stephanie Sheppard, works for PR for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts (blog). This week she sent me this:
- Forbes: To Transform Your Company Culture, Change Your POV: Hyatt CEO's Perspective by Micah Solomon
Micah Solomon! What are the odds? It's a small world after all.
Micah interviewed Hyatt CEO, Mark Hoplamazian, to learn about how he is changing the employee culture, particularly around new employee orientation, to better serve employees, and as a result, better serve Hyatt customers.
At Autodesk, rather than focus on ways you can get fired (and yes, there are ways that can happen), our new employee orientation focuses on our culture. I was pretty sure we didn't have a horror story like the one in the article, so I asked our training consultant, Kari Loken, to describe our new employee orientation (NEO) process. Here is what she said:
Our New Employee Orientation program was completely re-designed in July 2013 to give new employees a broader perspective of the organization — where we came from and where we are going — and get them excited about the company they just joined. We tell them at the start that onboarding at Autodesk isn't the type of orientation where you sit through benefits information and fill out paperwork. The program has been designed to be interactive, educational, and engaging.
After getting to know them through a participatory activity, we introduce them to Autodesk’s history and vision, including our commitment to sustainability and being a leading provider of sustainable design tools. Next they get a tour of the Autodesk Gallery (either in person in San Francisco or virtually via videos) which is always a hit. After the gallery tour, we play a game to introduce them to our products and the industries we serve from an external perspective. Then we walk them through the company strategy and introduce them to our over-arching corporate goals. All the while we also show a couple of "words of advice" videos from current employees and ask new employees to listen to the messages, and discuss our expectations of new hires. Throughout the day, we talk a lot about collaboration, networking, and building relationships, as these are key to one's success at Autodesk.
After lunch, we walk them through the organization, high level, touching on each of the product groups, business functions, and corporate functions, as well as the executives that head each group. Then the rest of the afternoon is more tactical. We talk about how to get technical support and give them a tour of our enterprise information systems. Then they work in teams on a virtual scavenger hunt, which helps them learn how to find information they need on our intranet, while also touching on some of the important things they will want to know as new employees (e.g., how to sign up for benefits, etc.). We end with a short section on the next 90 days, as we realize onboarding doesn't end after one day — and then they are off to meet their manager and/or teams, to begin to get oriented to their specific role.
Though she didn't mention it, unlike in Micah's article, employees don't shed tears during orientation. It's quite a trick to have big company benefits with a small company feel. It's a small world after all.
Coincidences are alive in the lab.