Why do we make such a big deal of it when someone leaves an organization instead of making a big deal when they come in?

This is something that has always been somewhat of a curiosity to me…so maybe someone else can explain it for me.

So often, when new people are hired into our businesses, we take the time to introduce them to their immediate co-workers …if they’re lucky…and never give them a really good sense of where they fit into the big scheme of things.

Even if you have a small business, your new employees will have questions.  Simple questions – such as: Where do I go for lunch? How do I use the telephone? What the things I should learn first about my job? Who are the people I go to for things I need?

I walked into one of my local Chapter’s Book stores the other day in search of a specific book.  As it turned out, this store did not have the book but the clerk was very friendly and offered to check at another branch for me.  I went over to the computer kiosk where the telephones are set up; and all of sudden, she went all red-faced and apologized because she had only been on the job for two weeks and didn’t know how to use the phone yet.  She didn’t know that there were some special steps involved in getting an outside line.  She got another clerk to come over and I was dealt with very quickly and efficiently – that wasn’t a problem – but the seasoned clerk said, “Oh, I guess they forgot to show you that.” Ya… I guess.  I felt very badly for the new clerk because it caused her obvious embarrassment.

The same day, I went to another store in the mall across the street.  Again, I got a new clerk waiting on me.  She very pleasant as well; however, when it came time to ring in my purchase…she realized she didn’t know how to do the transaction – it involved a gift certificate being cashed.  She could only ring in cash sales and her ‘supervisor’ was out for dinner.  What gives???

I think that too many business owners are trying to cut back in the wrong places.  Service is one of the factors that will bring you repeat customers.  The competition is stiff out there.  We hear every day about how businesses are struggling and yet – here is such a simple thing they could fix.  Train your people – orient them to their jobs properly – give them the confidence to do well.

There are number of easy, inexpensive ways to implement orientation and on-boarding programs.  Much of it is as simple as really keying in on the key components of what the person is expected to do in his or her role, and making a check list so things are not missed.

So…to the initial point I made about people leaving an organization.  When I left my last employer, they wanted to know why I didn’t want a luncheon.  In fact, I was adamant that I didn’t want one.  Why?  I didn’t even know half the people that were going to be asked to contribute to either the cost of my dinner or a gift – or possibly even both.  I know how many times I’ve been approached for the same thing and of course, you want to wish the departing employee well; but doesn’t that seem like the wrong time to shower them with love and affection?  The truth is, the people I did get to know while working there are still friends and acquaintances, and if they chose to get me a card or say farewell, it was because we had a working or friendly relationship with one another.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we reversed the order?  Greet them whole-heartedly when they come.  Equip them with the tools they need to be successful.  Set them up to have good working relationships because they blend in quickly – then sit back and watch them flourish!