“Learning” a new workplace

Finding a way to speed up the process of instilling organization values and culture on its new employees. After passing the interview and meeting process i hiring, the company looks to see if the possible employee is suitable to be ‘conditioned’ with the culture of the organization. To reach this end, there are various options and techniques available.

Recent discoveries by Carol Goman have shown that feeling excluded actually results in physical pain and a host of other effects as well. This shows how important it is to create a culture at the workplace that promotes inclusion and where everyone feels comfortable. A culture that keeps workers happy and cohesive also helps the company become more productive as well, as countless observations have shown that happy workers are more active and creative.

How to approach this task? There are many ways available to create an inclusive culture at one’s workplace. Mentors, informal learning, social networking and orientations are some ways organizations are directing their cultures. Many organizations are pushing to have friendly, supportive cultures that do not rely on ranks to help them promote customer-centric workforces.

Mentors give new employees an assigned senior colleague to help them ‘fit’ in in their new surroundings. Like “the new kid” at school, having someone to bounce simple questions off of and an inside look at the goings on at the organization with a  guide can drastically increase the morale of a new employee. A well-matched mentor partnership can benefit both parties as both the employees involved in the process gain insight into each other’s roles and viewpoints. New employees are less intimidated when they have a ‘friend’ to help them out with the new environment.

Informal learning is sometimes hard to define, but in a way it has to do with building experience and allowing the new employees to learn by doing, rather than sitting in a classroom listening about how to ‘do.’ This may seem simple, but the ability to learn with a hands-on approach can be underestimated. Informal learning might feel like ‘being thrown in the deep-end,’ however, if the process is facilitated properly, it can speed up the acculturation of the employee. While it may not be suitable for everyone, having the ability to feel around for one’s self allows learning at a comfortable pace.

Social media has made communication easier than ever. This has inevitably worked its way into the workplace as well, with companies using blogs, wikis and their own versions of social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) to promote cooperation and collaboration throughout the company.  Being able to relate and include everyone on the company helps create a forum of like-minded individuals who mirror the attitudes of employees.

Orientations are another way of exhibiting the culture that is present in an organization. A three or four day course in which seniors can teach and exemplify how new employees can act and behave can encourage many new hires about their future at the company. Having an open forum where questions can be asked, new hires can relate to each other about their learnings and the seniors can guide first impressions can be invaluable in terms of ‘setting the bar’ for the culture expected.

Overall, with so much of or lives spent at work, it is important that it become a place that is pleasant to be and the people are like-minded to promote the business that is central to the organization. No where is this more important that at the entrance or learning phase, where the new employees are molded into  the future of the company.

Works Cited:

Thompson, Erik ; Journal of Accountancy, How to be a Better Mentor,Nov2010, Vol. 210


Goman, Carol K. ; Calgary Beacon,  13 January 2011. It hurts to feel excluded. Accessed May 17, 2011.


Kjelrulf, Alexander; Chief Happiness Officer, Top 10 reasons why happiness at work is the ultimate productivity booster. Accessed May 17, 2011.


Bowness, Anita and Tom Gram ; HRVoice  Informal Learning: Simple Strategies for Developing Knowledge Outside the Classroom. Accessed May 17, 2011.


One Response to ““Learning” a new workplace”
  1. Kevin Tran says:

    I can say that living in Vancouver, that most corporate offices and workplaces alike do involve mentors, open forums to accomodate new hires. I use to work for Vancity Group, and I have to say that they made easing into the workplace as comfortable as possible. The company would not only train, mentor and shadow us, but provide roadmaps for our future with the company should we take advantage of it. Senior managers would provide a lot of assistance especially during the first six months before really expecting us to be comfortable with our duties. It also helps that most people working work for a company that insist on promoting a healthy workplace. Good article.


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