Treating temporary staff like family

Last week I came across an article in The Wall Street Journal that discussed making employee engagement investments not only with the employees themselves, but also with their families. In fact, at the end of the article the author suggests that hiring managers find out what their new employees' personal support networks look like and then engage the important elements of those networks.

The concept is fairly simple, and can be summed up as such:
  1. Have all necessary onboarding forms completed PRIOR TO the employee's first day.
  2. Have a "welcome party" of sorts for the new hire, complete with a gift.
  3. As hiring manager, spend the entire day with the employee and provide deeper insight into the company's culture, mission, industry, market, etc.
  4. Find out a little about the new employee's values.
  5. Go to lunch with a large number of staff.
  6. Send him or her home with a gift for their significant others and children.
Admittedly, some of these suggestions might not be practical in every situation, but the takeaway clearly is to ensure the opportunity to positively engage the new hire is not lost. I would also argue that the suggestions are intended to be a little labor intensive (i.e. the hiring manager has to invest time, money, and effort to make them happen) in order to underscore the fact that immediate engagement of the new hire cannot simply be accomplished by lip service.

So while sending home an Xbox for the kids might not be realistic for some firms, the intention is to guarantee there is a personal level of appreciation and recognition of the life that exists outside the work environment.

Another important takeaway here is that regardless of what the actions are to welcome and help a new hire assimilate positively into the culture, it is critical to apply these actions where possible to the entire workforce.

New consultants should be welcomed as members of the team. Temporary staff must not be treated in a purely utilitarian fashion. Project teams should be introduced to those in the business that will consume their work.

It is an interesting approach, and my guess would be that on first glance the majority of hiring managers would scoff at the suggestions made. And to be candid, my first reaction was more in that direction, but I think there is merit here.

What do you think? Is this sort of welcoming plan a waste of time and money, or will it develop a more cohesive team? And do you believe the practice is easily extrapolated to non-employees?

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