Here ‘tis: the core communication strategy for on-boarders in the first 90 days of employment.
Become aware of and understand the choices that are yours to make (and those that aren’t), the changes you need to make (and those you don’t) and what is yours to control (and what isn’t). Also known as: Choice / Change / Control Strategy.
On-boarding is a push—pull experience (in contrast to a steady experience) because of perturbation, a highfalutin word in interpersonal communication theory and practice that means disrupting the norm (in contrast to composing the norm).
On-boarding disrupts the norm for everyone (to a greater or lesser extent depending upon who’s norm we’re talking about, i.e., the norm of an individual, team or organization).
TIPPING POINT: Choice / Change / Control Strategy is first and foremost (but not solely) a meta-communication strategy.
Meta-communication, which is ‘communication about communication’ (Bateson, Gregory, Steps to an ecology of mind: A theory of play and fantasy, 1972, p. 183), denotes how rather than what we say and do. What and how are inextricably linked. You can’t have one without the other; yet, success in on-boarding in the first 90 days is first and foremost (but not solely) about the how.
During on-boarding – or any other time in your career when you want to make sense of WIGO (what is going on?) – become aware of and understand not only the what but the how.
If you pay attention to the what and how in on-boarding, you’ll find the deep answers (in contrast to surface answers) you need to master the push-pull and tame the perturbation (disruption) in a way that makes sense to you.
To put it another way…
Here ’tis: the primary must-do in the first 90 days for a new employee who is on-boarding courtesy of Rona Borre, CEO of Instant Alliance (a technology and finance staffing and recruiting agency) in Chicago.*
Become aware of the living story of the organization and understand how you fit into it. Also known as: ‘Reading’ the story.
‘Reading’ the story of the organization will tell you not only what to say and do, but how to say and do it. It will reveal choice / change / control strategies in the playbook and those currently in play. It will help you ‘fit in’ (become a values, beliefs and practice fit) which will help set you up for success.
The basic communication skill for ‘reading’ the story of an organization particular to on-boarders: listen to and observe others.
TIPPING POINT: Write what you hear and see in a journal and how it was said and done. As a new employee, ‘journaling’ will help you make sense of WIGO (what is going on?) in an unfamiliar environment, i.e., it will help you ‘read’ the story.
1. The focal point of on-boarders in the first 90 days: How does choice / change / control play out at individual, team and organizational-levels?
2. In addition, what and how are you and others communicating?
3. To be successful at on-boarding, ‘read’ the living story of the organization.
*Rona and I had a ‘searching for deep answers’ conversation of late about what it means to be a new employee in a ‘hard to find good talent’ employment market. She was insightful about using the organization’s living story as a way to come on-board successfully.
Organizational communication maven by day. Food, wine and beer buff by night. World traveler. Entrepreneurial spirit. Contact Eroca Gabriel, a former Fortune 100 ‘people and culture’ consultant at email@example.com.