Editor’s note: Managing human beings is one of the toughest jobs you’ll ever face, especially as your team grows. We spoke with six founders about what works (and what doesn't).
At KIND, we've created a fun onboarding event that helps new team members get comfortable with one another and with me, and provides a super-relaxed forum for me to talk about our values.
Once a quarter, I get together with new hires. I start by asking the first few people to talk about themselves. I'm looking for something more personal, even a little peculiar. As people tell stories, at least two or three will have a common theme--like music, or dating stories, or strange food experiences. Once that theme emerges, I'll ask everyone else to share how the theme relates to them, and it becomes the identity for that "class" of new team members. I always share a personal, often embarrassing, story as well.
Those class identities-- the Musicians, the Clumsy Romantics, the Weird Eaters--create bonds that endure throughout people's careers at Kind, bonds reinforced whenever the company hits a sales target. Then new hires from that quarter create a funny video for the staff.
In the second half of the session, they'll ask me questions. I work into the conversation the most important points about our open communication, integrity, and entrepreneurial culture. HR holds new-hire meetings to explain policies and guidelines. My sessions are to turn new team members into a small community ready to be absorbed into the larger Kind community. I hope they feel a connection to me. I'm not just the CEO. I'm that guy who's eaten crickets.