Welcoming the bride: Key to successful Induction
Finally, the day has come. After the organisation has gone through the time-consuming process of identifying need gap and desired competencies, filtered shortlisted candidates through references and back-checks, the selected candidate is joining to take charge of assigned responsibilities.
The new bride walks in the family. The candidate (bride) and the organisation (family), both are unsure about many things. New equations are being redrawn in the early days. Is there something we can learn from the family structure that will help us create the best possible induction?
Now that the bride is in, the organisation expects her to settle down, take her role within the family and start delivering results. There is the ritualistic induction, designed to ensure a smooth transition and immediate impact. In most places, it is a simple act of filling personal records and showing the candidates office building and facilities.
Introduction to many overtly smiling faces and warm handshakes is part of the process, the productionwala Chachajee ( uncle), the admin dadajee ( grandfather), the marketing devar ( young brother in law), the sales jhet ( grooms elder brother), the departmental bhabhi, other surrounding family and the Patriarch ( top Management)- all introduced in a speed dating format. No one expects the bride to remember them.
However, the candidate is left to take care of his life, find new support system, create allies and understand the omnipotent political undercurrents.
From a purely male-dominated, gender distanced society. This was enough.
What else was there to do?
Times have changed. There are newer expectations.
The bride is no longer just to deliver in the role of mother, wife and daughter-in-law.
There is a demand of equality in treatment, and ambitions are being newly redefined.
For organizational growth, impact and solidarity, a lot more than fake introductions is needed.
A ritualized induction process helps the bride to better grasp family values, culture, operating processes, decision making systems, and Do’s & Don’ts. It places in right perspective, who’s who in the family. Net benefit; the bride finds her place and settles faster.
A happier bride leads to a happier family. It is as simple as that.
To revamp or redesign the induction process, you need to wear two three hats. See it from the point-of-view and experience of the new bride ( Candidate) , her expectations and apprehensions, demands and desire of the patriarch (management) and her husband ( HOD). Do not forget, how the rest of the support system within the family will see it.
It is true that the family is never completely new to the bride. She has been introduced to it during the match making process. She has made her own enquiries and have accepted the alliance. Maybe some family members are known to her. Nevertheless, she brings with her a certain style of working, and upbringing. She comes with unfathomed passion, ambition, dreams and excitement. And, hopefully she is willing to adopt a bit. The marriage most likely is a result of a long courtship. A period when the candidate and the organization have been at their best behavior. Once the bride joins the family, all systems become transparently naked and the reality strikes.
If induction is to be the process that ensures homogenization and mutual acceptance of the bride and the family, then you must answer some questions.
What all the bride needs to know?
What will make her comfortable and settle fast?
What are the first impressions you want to create? Is it, a warm working environment, result-oriented place or a process oriented regime?
Who are the family members the candidate must be introduced to?
When, where and how long the interactions will be?
Is there a family member ( mentor, buddy) assigned to help her see through the initial period?
How will you make her feel secure and welcomed?
Having the direct senior (husband) available for interaction and answering her questions on the first day, give enough importance, time and attention could help the new member settle down fast.
What are the policies and practices that must be explained in the initial months?
Hopefully in the existing organization, talking to the candidates who have been through the process could help redesign the rituals. Maybe some of the rituals practiced ,when the organization was small or in a fast-growth process or really struggling are no longer required.
Settling in a new family is neither easy and nor a days work. Hence, it is better for induction to be more than a day’s process. The excitement and public rituals could be a day or a week long but the internal supervision, processes and support should be designed for a much longer period. So a clear role expectation, do’s and don’ts along with a well-designed welcome kit is helpful.
When the candidate joins, ensure that the designed seating place is available. It does not have the tell-tale signs and memories of past occupants. The items of daily need ( computer, visiting cards, identity card) are ready to be handed over.
It helps when the family members are aware of the scheduled arrival. They can then instead of waiting for the ritualised introdcutions come and meet the candidate at their own pace. A person of equal status grounded in the organisation culture should be assigned as a buddy or guide. It is he who will answer the candidates FAQs.
Like the mehndi ( henna patterns) and the Chooda ( thick white bangles) identifies a bride, it may be worthwhile to create a system to identify the new member. The system could be extra courteous and helpful to the candidate in the initial period.
An effective induction program requires deep planning and a smooth execution to ensures the new member starts taking pride in being a part of the family.
There is no gender sterotypes used in naming and assigning roles as Husband and bride- its used in the current social norms as a point of refrence