This morning, as I get ready to welcome new employees to my company, I'm reminded what orientation means to me, and what it means to my learners.
It doesn't mean I "get through the lesson," and it doesn't mean I recite the employee handbook to these excited new recruits. Those are the best ways to transform a new hire's enthusiasm about a new opportunity into boredom and apathy.
Instead, I've learned that I need to soak these employees in the company culture. They should leave orientation knowing about who we are, what we stand for, and most importantly, they should have an idea about how they can personally contribute to the organization and grow the culture.
This is a chance for me to make a good first impression for the company as a whole. Maybe every last aspect of the session won't go perfectly, and maybe some learners won't leave ready to jump in feet first. But I have an effect on how they feel when they leave.
More than anything, the attitude and enthusiasm of the facilitator are key to successful orientation sessions. I spend time before class listing things I love about my position and my employer, ready to share them at a moment's notice. I get pumped by listening to music that makes me happy (Blitzen Trapper at the moment), and, most importantly, I choose my attitude.
That's right. Most orientation days I'm tired from the weekend, have been at the office since 6:45 AM, and have a million other projects and tasks on my mind. I'm spending every spare second answering email, putting out fires, and chipping away at projects. But I make the conscious and careful choice to be enthusiastic, positive, and happy to help my new hires take their first step. And I've realized that what I'm choosing is to be myself.
Choose to be yourself. Everything works out better when you're genuinely, unabashedly, enthusiastically you. It's also easier than putting on a show.