How we onboard new team members to our culture
August 7, 2023
What makes or breaks an organization is its culture.
In a healthy culture, team members thrive and the organization is far more likely to meet its goals and fulfill its vision. So when Bright Morning recently onboarded new team members, we made the decision to prioritize bringing them into our culture in their first months on the team.
What is “our culture,” you might be wondering? It’s reflected in our team norms, which are:
- Take responsibility
- Choose curiosity and learning
- Tell the truth
- Listen deeply
- Make and keep clear agreements
- Practice emotional intelligence
- Talk to people directly and resolve issues
- Choose appreciation
We strive to live into these in every interaction we have with each other, as well as when we’re working independently.
Here are some ways that we intentionally brought new teammates into our culture:
- During the interview process, we were transparent about our norms, core values, and cultural ways of operating; the interview gave candidates experiences in these ways of operating and helped them make a decision about whether Bright Morning might be a good fit for them.
- During their first month, these norms were discussed, explored, and referenced in one-on-one check-in meetings, team meetings, and through our weekly Slack connection prompts. We sought to ensure that there is clear understanding of what it means to live into these norms, because it’s risky to assume shared understanding of these phrases.
- During our end of month team meeting, we practiced how we’d respond if/when we observe a teammate breaching a norm. For example, what we’d say if we heard someone making excuses for not finishing part of a project on time.
- We offered clear, direct feedback if/when we noticed a teammate not living into the norms–be that a new or a veteran teammate. In doing so, we modeled what it sounds like to bring someone’s attention to their actions.
As Peter Drucker says, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
How do you build your team’s culture? Which structures are carriers for culture? What do you do when you see someone on your team who is not living into the expectations for organizational culture?
In our Art of Coaching Teams workshop, we explore these questions–and a whole lot more.
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