You Need NEO

One More Thing…You Need NEO

Happy Wednesday!

If you’ve been following this story, you know that I have personally and professionally grown immensely as a result of building a company culture with intention. I share a heartbeat with Crystal D, and it has become one of the most important things in my life.

I am all in, and I drink the Kool-Aid on a daily basis and wouldn’t change a thing. I’m a committed Memory Maker and wear that badge with pride.

I’ve shared my journey in Our Story. But there is more. A few more golden nuggets that have helped us be successful. I will share more with you over time. But for today, I have one more thing to tell you: companies need New Employee Orientation (NEO).

NEO is a pre-planned, scheduled process for onboarding a new employee. It’s the perfect time to show your new employees that your commitment to company values and purpose is genuine and sincere. NEO is a vital part of our culture-building efforts because it encompasses the first few weeks that new employees spend on our campus.

Our new employees don’t start working in their positions until they have completed NEO. Before they start working in production, customer service, sales, marketing, or accounting, they learn about the company.

Bridget DahlgrenThey start by meeting with an “old timer” employee who has been with Crystal D for many, many years to get a history lesson on the trajectory of our company. Old pictures tell the tale of Crystal D in the early years. Here the new employee learns about the process I uncovered in Our Story that we used to create our corporate core purpose and values.

Next, new employees meet with Memory Makers from individual departments to learn more about the day-to-day tasks of each department. They also learn about our catalog, product line, and production processes. They even get a chance to etch an award that they keep for themselves.

New employees learn about the community outreach activities we traditionally do each year. They have lunch with Value Champions and meet with the reigning Grand Value Champion to learn about the peer-to-peer recognition program.

They learn about the employee-driven nature of our organization, and they start to feel the values come forth from the people they encounter.

Whenever we have the chance, we talk about how We Turn Emotions Into Memories!® for more than 150,000 people each year.

For almost two weeks, new employees spend most of their time in training, learning about Crystal D and our products. Only then are they ready to start learning about the requirements of their day-to-day work.

This may seem like overkill. And you’re probably thinking, “Really, two weeks? Is that really necessary? It seems like a lot of training.”

Good question.

When we started developing a NEO process, it began as a half-day meeting, and over the years has turned into what it is today. Currently, two weeks is what it takes for someone to onboard properly here. This may not be the case for every organization. We have found that when we cut it short, we regret it later.

Pisenny Xiong, Mike "Zito" Vitali, Mike Irvine & Barron DuncanMaking a point of talking about values and purpose in the first few days that new employees walk onto your campus is a must. Start the process and add to it as you see fit.

Recently, Caleb started working in our art department as a production artist. He is a new graduate from a local art school. This is his first professional job. When I asked him how NEO was going, this is what he said:

“NEO has helped me feel ‘at home’ in all parts of the company. I think if I wouldn’t have had NEO, I’d always be wondering what people in marketing or accounting really do. And I definitely wouldn’t feel like I was on their team. NEO has helped me understand my part in the big picture, and I feel like I am actually part of something larger.”

As a company, we are committed to giving our new employees a solid launchpad from which to spring forth. And we’ve found a rhythm to new employee orientation that works for us.

I’d love to hear more about how you onboard your new employees. What works for you?

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