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Create a Culture That Inspires: Onboarding

Create a Culture That Inspires: Onboarding

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 8, Episode 61
  • Learn what corporate culture means and what an effective onboarding process involves in the last installment of the "Create a Culture That Inspires" series.
  • Interested in learning more on this topic? Read more about how to improve teamwork in the workplace.

Danny Lee, Learning Development Consultant at Gallup, was our guest on a recent Called to Coach. In Part 11 -- the final episode -- of a webcast series focusing on Creating a Culture That Inspires, Danny shared about corporate culture and developing an effective organizational onboarding process. Key insights from the webcast included:

  • What "corporate culture" really means, and how it relates to personal habits
  • How onboarding is a multifaceted, long-term process rather than a short-term event
  • The importance of bringing your true self to your onboarding process

Access Create a Culture That Inspires -- Part 1, and Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9 and Part 10 of the Create a Culture That Inspires series.

Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.

Culture is like personal habits. We all have [them]. And those personal habits, when it's aggregated with a group of people, it becomes that culture. ... And ... habit becomes my destiny.

Danny Lee, 2:29

When people think about onboarding, ... they're thinking about HR ... employee handbooks or compliance or new employee orientation ... But ... it's actually more like a journey than an event.

Danny Lee, 7:09

[In onboarding], folks come in thinking ... for whatever reason that they're going to present themselves as someone they're not, when in actuality we really want their true selves from the very beginning.

Jim Collison, 9:58

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and live from the Gallup Studios here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on July 10, 2020.

Jim Collison 0:20

Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, we'd love to have you join us on our YouTube page. If you just go right above me there, there's a link it says join in the chat room. You can do that. It'll take you to YouTube; sign into the chat room, we can take your questions live during the program. If you have questions after the fact, you can send us an email: Don't forget, if you're on YouTube there, there's a little Like button down there. Just just click on that -- we appreciate that. Helps us actually with visibility on YouTube. And then if you want to subscribe while you're at it, you'll get notifications whenever we go live. If you want to listen to us as a podcast, just search "Gallup Webcasts" on any podcast player. Danny Lee is our host today, Danny's a Learning Development Consultant here at Gallup. And Danny, it's always a great day when I get to spend it with you. Welcome to Called to Coach!

Danny Lee 1:15

Ah, my pleasure. Happy to be here.

Jim Collison 1:17

Good to have you. We have been going through a series, and this will actually wrap a 10-part [11-part] series, I think, that we were doing on Inspiring Strengths-Based Cultures, and --

Danny Lee 1:27

It's like a season finale.

Jim Collison 1:28

Yeah, it kind of is in a lot of way. And really, we started with Name, Claim and Aim, and we talked about 22 different ways. This morning, we talked about collaboration, we talked about recognition. But really, I think the kingpin to the whole process is with onboarding. And the word "onboarding" takes on a different meaning kind of to everyone. But I want you to start -- I want to back up a little bit even more, and I kind of want you to start thinking us through, since we have the time this morning -- What is culture? We throw that word around a lot, and you had some, some things you wanted to talk about on this. But how do we define culture? What is it?

Danny Lee 2:06

So I think when we think about culture, it's one of those like fly-by words. We use it all the time. We use it in -- we see it a lot in PowerPoint slides and presentations. But when we kind of like pause and think about it, and changing culture is really hard, right? Really hard. Everybody wants to change it. But really, if we simplify what is culture, here's my personal definition and how I see it. Culture is like personal habits. We all have personal habits. And those personal habits, when it's aggregated with a group of people, it becomes that culture. And just like habits, it's what repeats. And, you know, somebody said something really cool about habits is like, habit becomes my destiny. Right? So it's like what repeats, that kind of forms.

Danny Lee 2:57

So if I have a habit of like just thinking about things, but never putting those into action, that will kind of become my destiny. Or if I'm somebody like, you know, Jason Maiden, who lives with a spirit of like, you know, "I'd rather try and fail than fail to try," then that becomes a habit; then that kind of creates the -- his destiny. And you know, the power of habit is it kind of like, I wrote down this quote from Michael Jordan, and he said, you know, "Never quit." And here's why -- I like this. "Never quit. If you quit once, it becomes a habit." So it's not that that one time quitting really makes a difference, but when it becomes a repeated habit, it becomes a destination, almost like a destiny.

Danny Lee 3:37

So when we think about organizational like culture, it's aggregated habits. So if it's a culture of backstabbing, or if you have a culture of recognizing, or if you have a culture of not recognizing, or if you have a culture of whatever we start doing things, and there's a lot of just skepticism, and that's ingrained in the habit and culture, it becomes a destination for the, the organization.

Danny Lee 3:51

So, in that sense, I think culture is really powerful. But if we really dissect down, it's these little things that happen day in and day out. And many times it's, it happens unconsciously. So, if we have a culture of, let's say, blaming, that determines something about that company. Or if we have a culture of owning up, and that becomes a frequent habit, and that's what happens on a day-to-day basis, then that kind of creates a destination. So, you know, even at our Gallup at Work Summit, the CEO of SHRM, Johnny C. Taylor, talked about culture and I think culture is kind of like strengths. So, you know, think about before when we didn't know about our talents, then we can't develop them, we can't use it intentionally.

Danny Lee 5:11

And culture is kind of like that, too. If we don't know a culture, what our culture is, we can't really develop it, we can't strengthen it, we can't use it with intention. But when we do, then almost like an organizational culture does become something very, you can grasp it, you can recruit, you can build it, you can strengthen it and you can intentionally use the culture towards the whatever team aspiration or business aspiration, or that destination where they want to, where they want to go. So a lot of times we just kind of fly by, Oh, culture. Or, you know, Oh, we'll deal with culture later. But it is indeed that powerful habits that makes or breaks.

Jim Collison 5:59

Yeah, and I think we're starting to see a lot of the organizations we work with why it's so important that they really spend some time defining what their culture is. What are we going to stand for? Who are we going to be? Because it's those repeated habits, the aggregate -- I like that -- the aggregate of repeated habits over time, especially the collective sense, that we, we begin those things begin to be reinforced and why that's so important. So when we think about the term onboarding, let's do a similar exercise. What do we mean by the word "onboarding"?

Danny Lee 6:29

Yeah. So I love that we're covering onboarding, like at the last season finale. So it's kind of like that great, powerful movie where you have all these like series of development. But then the last scene is, this is how it all started, like the origin story, like ending with the start. So this is great. Onboarding is another thing. When we -- I mean, I don't know how many of you guys really got really excited when you heard the word "onboarding" -- it was like, "Yeah, I'm really excited about this!" It's also a word that we, we know. But we can kind of pause and think about what onboarding really is. Because typically when people think about onboarding, on a day-to-day basis is they're thinking about HR. They're thinking about, like, employee handbooks, or compliance, or basically new employee orientation. Yeah.

Danny Lee 7:26

So, but onboarding is much more than that. It's much more than that. Even like behavioral economics, that 30% rational, 70% emotional. Onboarding is a very emotional experience. And I'll go into a little bit more about that. Because the onboarding itself is not that first, you know, first 1 or 2 weeks and, you know, a lot of folks get together and do this kind of rah-rah onboarding session, or like new employee orientation. It's actually more like a journey than an event. It's a series of moments of interactions. And it, it expands throughout like 6 to 12 months, 6- to 12-month period. And it is a time where there's a lot of emotions involved. And those emotion is like going through a different, like, you know, do I belong here? Did I make this right choice?

Danny Lee 8:21

And it's also I think a time where people are pretending. Like, you know, if you're on your onboarding period for 6 to, you know, 10 months, it's like, "Hey, how you feeling?" You say, "Oh, good!" You know, "Do you need anything? Just let me know." So there's a lot of, even though there's anxiety -- like the manager might be, "I'm not sure that guy was the right choice," or something, but we pretend. So it's a very important, important period. And when we think about onboarding, it's very emotional. It's about change for everybody. Change for team members, big change for the employee themselves. It's a change for the manager and the leader. So that volatile stage how we form that experience becomes critically important. So onboarding is not like this; onboarding is more like an expanded journey of experience.

Jim Collison 9:12

Danny, I love that you call out the fact that this idea of pretending. Sometimes we, we, when we drop into new situations, it's really easy for us to be somebody we're not. But those you can't do that for long periods of time. I asked, when, when the very first summit that we did, I met a lot of people for the first time that I had been talking to via these webcasts. And I got comments, they said, "Wow, you're exactly like you are on the webcasts." Like, you know, and, and, I kind of started thinking about it. And I'm like, yeah, there would be no way -- I've been, by that point, we'd been doing webcasts for about 3 years. There was no way I could keep up a façade for 3 years. Like, I couldn't lie that long. I'm just not that good at it. And so the best possible scenario is just to be myself.

Jim Collison 9:58

When we think of that onboarding experience, I think folks come in thinking because they maybe they feel the culture isn't safe or they, for whatever reason that they're going to present themselves as someone they're not, when in actuality we really want their true selves from the very beginning. A reason why we have everyone take the CliftonStrengths assessment, it'd be weird if we didn't, but from the very beginning and those things start. Why else is that onboarding experience important? What other factors come in that really help break down the walls in an org sense to introduce them to the culture?

Danny Lee 10:33

Yeah, well, I would say it's like that power of first impression. So if you think about when you go on a date, and then you meet somebody that you kind of, No, this guy's not gonna work out or this, you know, this person is not going to work out. When do you actually -- when was that first time you made that decision if you track it back? Like is it at the end of the date, really? Or did you kind of sense it the first 10 to 15 minutes?

Danny Lee 11:04

So think about the time where, even when we're checking into a hotel, when we check into the hotel, and sometimes we check into the hotel and start like, Oh, I'm gonna, you know, you know, text this person on how great this hotel is, or, you know, post it on Facebook. That decision probably -- or whether I'm going to complain about this, you know, hotel experience -- that decision probably comes very, very early. It may not be a conscious decision, but subconsciously, it kind of happens when you first walk in. Or maybe it's at the parking lot, or, you know, at the front desk, like, check-in experience.

Danny Lee 11:41

I used to work in a hospital and we always used to say, like, patient care starts at the parking lot. That's where it all starts. So that initial experience has great power and even think about us binge watching Netflix -- like how long did it take for us to decide whether I'm gonna, like, keep on watching or not? And it happens all the time. Even when we're taking -- a lot of us lead courses and take courses, and, you know, it's that first 15 minutes, you're in that state, did I make the right decision or not? And it's kind of like, you know, as we lead courses, it's like, you know, that judgment period, you know, is that instructor worth listening to? How much am I gonna like really engage myself? Or am I gonna kind of half be here, but then worry about my projects or my emails or what my boss is requesting?

Danny Lee 12:35

So all those decisions happen really, really fast. And even when we watch all these, like YouTube interviews or contents, those decisions come very fast. And I don't know, depending on how we're doing, like maybe some people already checked out right now, or -- so that initial experience has great power. From a business point of view, obviously, you know, there's stats out there that says, you know, people, when people leave, replacing them -- that replacement cost is about 1.5 to 2 times the annual salary. Even in some stats that published by SHRM -- Society for Human Resource Management -- says that, here's what they said. You know, the turnover, the first turnover for hourly employees can be 50%, up to 50% in the first 4 months, and it's not just hourly employees, even like high-level senior executive levels, that first year, not first year, but the first 18-month turnover, that can also be as high as like 50%.

Danny Lee 13:44

So it's very, very expensive. It's very expensive. And it's, it impacts their level of engagement, how they really commit to it. So a little bit about we're on the quantita -- qualitative side -- is I was actually reading one of our position papers at Gallup, and you can find this and download it from And here's an interest -- let me just read it off what it says. So here's a great onboarding experience and, and what's not. This is kind of like their brain process.

Danny Lee 14:21

It starts with, "Oh, man, I'm so excited about my job. I hope I made the right choice!" We all kind of start there. But then it's like, "Hmm, they don't seem to be ready for me here. And then it goes to onboarding is over. What -- that was it? That was all?" Then, "Hmm, my manager doesn't seem to have time for me. I've been here a month and I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing. Hmm, this is not what I expected. Maybe there's a better place for me."

Danny Lee 14:54

So whether you're verbalizing that or you know you're thinking subconsciously, people are going through this stage, whereas a great onboarding experience might look like this: "Hey, I'm excited about my new job. I hope I made the right choice." So it starts the same place, but then it goes to a "Wow, I really feel like they're excited to have me here. Orientation is over. Now look at all these activities and resources to help me learn more. My manager and teammates are so accessible and seem to appreciate my contributions. I've been here a month and I feel like I'm finding my groove and it's great to feel like I belong here." Then it goes to "Hmm, this is better than I expected. I think I have a future here."

Danny Lee 15:39

So you can see the difference what it will make -- that very first just 6 to 12 months, how that experience goes, will really define how much they're really committed and putting their selves into the future. And not just thinking about this as a job but more like a career or a vocation. That decision happens really early. So that power of that first impression, what happens in that initial stage, almost like under the radar, can be very, very powerful. And even for an employee's point of view, it's like that, that first 90 days, people want to make that first impression, or first mark or that first win in the first 90 days. And if that onboarding process is not optimal, it's very hard for them to do that. So they start feeling that kind of sense of insecurity.

Jim Collison 16:37

Daniel, a question from the chat room. And I think important in this phase as what we're talking about. How can an organization measure their culture? I mean, what's the appropriate way to look at it and say, "Here's what we stand for." We can certainly have goals and values and things written on paper. But how do, how do you think an org gets a really good look? Who are we actually?

Danny Lee 16:59

Yeah, so we can do it like quantitatively and qualitatively. So quantitatively, it's more like, you can use employee engagement surveys or cultural assessment surveys on particular dimensions. And the good ones are actually specifically targeted, looking for specific cultural components. The poor ones tend to be just all over the place; want to be like well-rounded and asking like 120 questions and everything. Whereas we want to make sure that we -- it's kind of aligns with almost like, what's the impact we want to leave as an organization? Or what do we stand for? It starts from that aspiration and then think about what are the components? What are the habits? So kind of going back to the habit analogy is like, Where do I want to be? What's my kind of end destination? And what are the habits that I need to get there?

Danny Lee 17:54

So if physical wellbeing is one of my vision, and it's very specific, then we'll identify specific habits that we need to put into place and then measure that along the way. Similar we can use those kind of quantitative surveys to construct one. So, there is no like one-size-fits-all culture survey, because every organizations are different, where they want to be, how they want to be is very, very different. Some are about having fun. Not everybody is about that.

Danny Lee 18:29

On a quali -- quant -- qualitative side is just by observing, observing specific aspects of culture, a culture of does it have more future-oriented culture? Which means, when we're talking about things where we, are we just talking about things that almost like judging what, what happened in the past or analyzing what's happened in the past? Or are we in a habit of more conversing what this means in the future and where we need to go? And all these mistakes that we made was actually not bad. It helped us get to the future faster. It's a power of like, habit of Do we have recognition? Or do we have a culture of trusting, a culture of openness? So there are specific measures that we can actually -- specific items that we can actually observe and experience on a, on a day-to-day, day-to-day basis.

Jim Collison 19:31

I also think exit interviews are a great opportunity to -- if you really want to understand your culture, you know, doing an internal customer survey -- Q12, for us -- it's good data in the sense that you're gonna get some opportunities, but the folks who will really tell you what your culture is are the ones who have nothing to lose by saying it. And so in exit interviews, I think you get some very, very candid feedback. And I think if you're listening carefully, you can really start sensing the clues to who are we really, culturally? And it -- this is, I don't know if this is a process that takes, you know, 2 or 3 weeks; it may take 2 or 3 years to really work out what -- how are you really feeling about ourselves, this culture?

Jim Collison 20:14

Danny, whose responsibility is culture in an organization? I think sometimes we pin that on HR, but is it purely an HR responsibility?

Danny Lee 20:23

Well, culture is I think something that can be anything, it can be anything really. So when somebody says, you know, we want a better culture, then we really have to -- it's like being that good coach, like, tell me more, expand more, elaborate more to really understand what are they actually saying when they say we need a stronger culture or a better culture.

Danny Lee 20:52

Sometimes it's just about blaming; it's like, we don't have a good culture. So we're like, Man, we don't have a good culture. It's more like a complaining session. So I think culture does -- it starts at the leadership level. At the end of the day, who creates the culture, who actually portrays the culture is everybody, it's everybody. But if we're saying that, OK, we have a culture like here and then we need to go here, then it does get defined less in reality, grassroot. It does get defined at the leadership level. And then we're going to find ways to continuously build those, build those muscles.

Danny Lee 21:35

Now from an onboarding point of view, like if we can even twist that question, tweet that question and say, Who's responsible for onboarding? Then the question is, it's not HR. And the onboarding may not always be leadership either. So if you think about, you know, a new employee joining to my team, does the CEO or president of the organization really have a big impact of their onboarding experience? And the reality is, yes, but there's -- I mean, there's some big visioning or inspiration that can provide, but really, the most important role is becomes that interaction with the manager. So it's not that interaction with the HR; it's interaction with the manager.

Danny Lee 22:20

So once that formal orientation takes place, then the real onboarding is when they actually join the team. And is the manager more like a coach than a boss? Does the manager understand me? Do I feel like the manager is somebody that can really help my growth and somebody I can really pour my passion towards this team? All of those decisions are highly dependent on the manager. Even from a, you know, research point of view, it says when the manager is actively a part of the onboarding process, people say there's 3.4 times more likelihood that employees will remember the onboarding experience being very, very positive.

Danny Lee 23:09

When people think about onboarding, they're not thinking about HR at the end of the day. They -- what they do remember is that interaction with their boss or the manager, interaction with their team members.

Danny Lee 23:22

One thing that sometimes we overlook a lot is the responsibility of the coworkers and team members. So for example, when somebody, you know, joins Gallup, and then there's this email that goes, Hey, so-and-so joins, and I'm not their boss. But my responsibility goes beyond just Hey, welcome to Gallup! You know, that's, that's, there's actually a more active role that I can play in that sense. And we often miss that. We often miss that because in that first 6- to 12-month period, that interaction with the team members and the compatibility and knowing their strengths and how they're different, and that, you know, welcoming phase that, you know, "norm, storm and form" phase, all of that comes into play.

Danny Lee 24:19

So it doesn't matter whether I have Woo or not. So some people go say hello and get to know the person because they have Woo. And, you know, there was a time where I like man, I ain't got Woo. So I'll just give it a, give, give the time. I'm a Relator. I'm just gonna, you know, make it through a little bit. And then, you know, start, you know, getting to know the person. But once I know that, hey, actually, me as a team member also has an active role in their onboarding. Once I know that, then it starts thinking, huh, then what are the things that I can do?

Danny Lee 24:53

And even like from a CliftonStrengths point of view, hey, I have Developer so I'm going to use my Developer and go -- I have Individualization. I don't have Woo, but I'll go start asking some questions, make sure they have some needs. I may even use my Empathy and say, Hey, thinking about how I felt when I first joined the organization, how can I create that similar great, great experience?

Danny Lee 25:15

So one of the things I think we can do better, with more intention is, yes, the manager is a given. The role of the manager is very important. But the responsibility of the team members becomes really important. And in that process, CliftonStrengths can be very powerful. So it's not like, "Hey, did you check out that new guy? You know, he's pretty quiet. He's pretty, you know, introverted." Versus "Oh, that guy's a Relator; that guy's Intellection. Let's go, you know, have a conversation with that guy," or really diving into the specifics of understanding who they are. And we can really expedite that process of getting to know the person rather than like 12 months out, 16 months out and like, man, I thought you were just a quiet person; where'd that where'd all that come from? And CliftonStrengths can give that DNA and information and expedite that process pretty fast.

Jim Collison 26:10

Danny, how the, how the employees accept, take on new employees often is a representation of the culture as well. So that is, right, that is something that's not planned, it doesn't always come across as a, as a process or a procedure that's mandated. And so if you want to get a measurement of your culture, see how a new employee is being treated in the first 6 months can give you -- now a new employee will actually tell you how, they, they'll do that as well. How are we -- so speaking of that, like let's just do a quick check. How are we doing? What does our data say about the job we're doing onboarding?

Danny Lee 26:49

So, so I can speak to not, not "Gallup 'us'" but just in the world in general. And, you know, when we research just the onboarding topic, here's what we hear. The percentage of people who say they had a really good onboarding experience is 50%. No, it's not 50%. It's not 40%. It's not 30. It's not 20. It's actually 12%. Yeah. So -- which means considering such, it's so important, only about 88% of people really feel that their onboarding experience was good.

Danny Lee 27:38

So when you think about that channel we talked about where they start from, you know, "I'm so excited about, you know, starting this new job," and then how it like ... there's a lot that just kind of floats beneath the, beneath the surface that, that happens. If you're interested, Gallup also has a position paper available, just go to and type in "onboarding." And we have a position paper. And one of the things that's pointed out there are, like 7 mistakes, 7 mistakes that organizations are making in their onboarding process. And it's a good kind of barometer to check.

Danny Lee 28:21

Like, not all organizations are like failing at all 7 points, but we can kind of see, Hmm, yeah, we're pretty good at like 3 of them. But yeah, these other 4 we need to be more intentional about things like that. And, you know, one of the big mistakes are, again, going back to, yeah, onboarding as an HR theme, or an onboarding is that, you know, new employee orientation. You know, giving out that handbook or having like, great, energizing like speakers and having a lot of fun. But in reality, it's more than that.

Jim Collison 28:57

Danny, what are some of the best practices you've seen? You've seen a lot. You've worked with a lot of organizations on this. What, what are some of those best practices that you've seen?

Danny Lee 29:05

Well, you know, one thing I would share is just my own experience, my own experience joining Gallup. So one thing is kind of connecting, bridging with the strengths and CliftonStrengths is, even if I didn't take CliftonStrengths at the time, just the interviewing questions, the interview experience, was very both focused on strengths and asked me what I'm great at, what gives me energy and talked about strengths a lot. And at the time, I did actually take CliftonStrengths through the book, and that's one of the reasons why I applied for Gallup.

Danny Lee 29:50

But then we're having that conversation even at the interview stage. And then obviously, you know, you join, you officially kind of take CliftonStrengths. I didn't have to, but I did because I was just curious at the time, didn't know really much about it. And, but then we cover that more like officially in the on, you know, onboarding phase, like the orientation -- orientation, get to talk about it, you know, I walk into the new employees, everybody has their Top 5, and you know, all of that. And then when I joined the office, you know, my, I have an official, here's Danny Lee, here's Danny Lee's Top 5, so people get to know me. I can walk around and now see like what other people's Top 5s are, get to start working with them.

Danny Lee 30:44

There's also part where it's kind of like an internal intranet Facebook page where I can look up people's Top 5, and actually, you know, if I'm working on a new project with them, and I know that person's Analytical, then it kind of prepares me to think about, OK, I'll bring some facts and data. And, you know, if that person asks questions, I won't be offended. Because it's, you know, a person who just naturally leads with Analytical, and that's how they make sense of, sense of the world.

Danny Lee 31:13

But I would say, that piece is kind of easy. Like, OK, let's reveal everybody's Top 5 and, you know, do a really good employee orientation, and all of that. But, again, what really made a difference was that onboarding kind of journey, so I still remember, you know, my former boss at the time, and we still stay in touch and she's my mentor now is just having those -- every conversation we had, I felt understood. And one of the reasons why I felt understood was because those conversations -- was not about CliftonStrengths but strengths-based, right.

Danny Lee 31:59

So whether it's a challenge I was having and will connect to, like, how I'm wired and what excites me. Even if it was new project opportunities or going to a different country, I remember, like, she was so good at it. I remember like "Man, does she have my same Top 5?" And she doesn't, she doesn't. But her level of understanding and being able to really connect and see the world through my talent lens was very powerful. So I remember, whether it's a tough topic or an exciting topic, every interaction that I had with her, I felt energized, inspired and, and motivated.

Danny Lee 32:45

I also remember, like we're starting a project and the project starts with the best of us. So the project leader at the time just hands out a piece of paper and here's the best of us, and then we're going to spend like, you know, 7-8 minutes kind of just fill this out. And that -- I get to know people, I get to know people and I get to know people where, oh, for that person I shouldn't invite into the meeting. Unless there's a specific role defined, I shouldn't invite that person, just to be polite, because he hates it, You know, those kind of things, or send out an agenda ahead of time.

Danny Lee 33:23

So it allowed me to onboard really quickly. And initially, I would say when I was like, first joining, to be honest, maybe I was thinking 3 to 4 years with Gallup. Fourteen years have passed; 14 years have passed. And still, what I remember from that onboarding experience is not that employee handbook or the binder that I received, or I don't even remember what training program was part of the orientation. What I do remember is that feeling, how I felt, how I was treated and how I felt understood. And it kind of goes back to people will forget what you say. But people remember how they made you feel.

Jim Collison 34:07

Mm hmm. No, that, it's a great quote, and I, and I think something to live for, with managers' responsibility working with their teams, really being responsible for this, both both orientation and onboarding programs that are coming in. What are some tools and I think the best-kept secret, like, our Certified Coaches that have these kits, a lot of the tools that we use ourselves for onboarding are those same ones that are in the kits. It's, we use "The best of me," we use the individual development plan. I mean, we use those, all of those. They're not just, I mean, yeah, they're great for one-on-one coaching, but they're also dynamite tools for managers to use in the onboarding experience. What other tools like that are available?

Danny Lee 34:49

So now we're thinking about, OK, it's more of these mini-moments of interactions that creates that onboarding experience throughout the first, you know, 6 to 12 months. So the how So what are some tools out there that we can utilize is there's, there's, there's a lot. And it's not about, there's not enough tools; it's almost like that wisdom, "common sense is not always common practice." So "common knowledge is not always common practice"; it's about using those.

Danny Lee 35:20

So think about, for those of you went through Gallup's Boss to Coach program or Leading High-Performance Teams program, there's a wonderful interview guide. It's called Individual Conversation Guide. And it just gives people great questions that they can integrate in their day to day. And it just, I mean, some of them are, Hey, what is your Top 5 and which one's your favorite? There's the kind of like one-on-one version of it. But then there's also questions like, Hey, how can I help you? How can I help you using your strengths more in your particular role? Or based on your Top 5, you know, what should I know about working with you? How can I help you be more successful?

Danny Lee 35:28

There's also, even just -- many of you guys are Gallup Strengths Coaches, and even in our Digital Kit, there are like the Strengths Discovery Discussion Guide, which is covered when we talk about coaching managers, and it's part of coaching conversation, too. And it's just managers asking questions like, you know, How do you like to be supported in your particular work?

Danny Lee 36:30

And this kind of reminds me of a coaching conversation I had, actually this week, and we're talking about the client actually say, Hey, I, this is my next career. I want to have this role because of this. And so, when we dissect it, we actually was able to look at her dominant talent theme as what is lesser and then think about, Well, let's think about not just this particular role; let's think about a real estate agent. And then what version of a real estate agent would actually really sync well? Like charge your Top 5 batteries and allow you not to get too bogged down on these, like that Bottom 5, and then we use the same concept of, OK, let's swap that in a teacher role, what would that look like? And then we looked at a coach role.

Danny Lee 37:26

So we were able to find that it wasn't actually the title or the type of work. It was when they're in that role, what really energizes them? And so when we think about even that piece, like, for example, being a let's say, a real estate agent, then there is a version of being a real estate agent where they have to use their Bottom 10 or 5 and don't get to -- almost like have to suffocate their Top 10 and, you know, Top 5.

Danny Lee 37:57

And so it's not just about the role. Because when we think about onboarding, we think about there's a job to get done. And we need to make sure this person fits in this particular role. And that's not the case. The role is actually very creative and loose and flexible, as long as we deliver the outcome. And when we have that CliftonStrengths 34 report and kind of looking at that, that's also a great tool to think about, you know, looking at this, what is the best version of this role that fits your style that will be firing on all cylinders? There's also the "Best of Us" tool that we all, you know, love and use a lot. There's also, so this was more like a, this can be an underdog tool.

Danny Lee 38:44

Also, there's this thing called Talent Map. And it's in your Digital Kit as well. What this is, is it actually -- you're taking one talent theme as a singular focus, and then you're stretching across almost 7 different activities that's important, in particular role. So how does Empathy influence how you communicate, how you build relationships, how you set clear expectations, how you hold people accountable, how you develop people, how you recognize people.

Danny Lee 39:20

So then it kind of stretches beyond Oh, here's my Top 5, but then we'll take one, and then really make it applicable how I can use this in my particular role. Q12 is another great tool. Just even looking at the bottom three, basic Q1, Q2, Q3: I know what's expected of me at work, I have the materials and equipment I need to do my job right, and I get to do what I do best every day. So as team members and managers when people onboard, they can really hone in those conversations to make sure those dimensions are fed. And also as an employee, they can use that -- just those 3 questions to think about, Where am I and what else do I really need to fulfill this, this aspect?

Danny Lee 40:08

There's also the cool 5 Conversation frameworks that Gallup uses in many of our management development programs. It's, you know, it's the Role and Relationship; it's the Quick Connects; it's the Check-Ins; it's the Developmental Coaching; it's the Progress Review. So even just using one tool, again, it's about culture. It's about habit. Just make sure you're using it over and over and over again, on a day-to-day basis. I think those are just a few examples that are great tools when we're thinking about onboarding, not just one-on-one individual coaching.

Jim Collison 40:46

That's such great examples of, I think, coaches in their kits have everything you need to help organizations do onboarding with these tools. Again, that's what we do. Danny, you mentioned Q12. And a lot of think -- a lot of people think, well isn't that an engagement survey? Well, I would use it as an onboarding experience. And so for 12 weeks, we would go through each question. It's outlined very, very well, that you're starting with the basic needs and then moving to the more advanced. But those first 3 weeks, at the end of the first week, I'd meet with them on Friday, and say, answer this question for me; Do you know what's expected of you? By the, by the end of this week, do you know what's expected of you? And I would ask that question until I got the answer I needed, right. And I didn't tell him, I mean, during the week, we would outline, I would give them expectations and where I want them to go. I wanted to make sure they were listening. I wanted to make sure they were hearing. I wanted to make sure that was getting communicated because you never know. Right. So to hear back from them on that expectation on a Friday, and again, if they struggle a little bit, we'd cover it the next week and we'd talk about, OK, end of week 2, do you have all the tools that you need to be able to get your job done? It was a great framework for me to do that. I did it with interns. I did it with full-time employees. Internship program was too short, in some cases, to get all 12 questions. So we'd jam the last 3 or 4 into the final week to get that done.

Jim Collison 42:06

But a great opportunity to take that framework at the end of each week, however you want to do it. But for a manager to be able to ask those questions, you don't have to make it up. It's all there for you. Now, if you want to trend it and do it across an organization, we've got the ability to do that for you through our Q12 surveys. But as a manager, a great way to coach. Coaches, a great way to use that in your coaching, to say, Hey, would you know what's expected of you? Right? Do you have the materials and equipment? Those questions are done for you. Danny, as we think about kind of bringing this in for a landing, kind of sum it up. Some final thoughts. What do you think?

Danny Lee 42:42

Yeah, well, as a Korean, I'll just, you know, when I was growing up, there's a lot of, you know, old wisdoms that we, we learn. And one of the saying was, [Korean phrase]. So [Korean words] means "the beginning" or "the start." [Korean word] means it's half. So in essence, it's, it can be interpreted in many different ways. But you know, it can be one way is, How you start just determines like half of the journey, right? So it's about how we start something that just has a big, big influence over how the rest of the journey, journey goes. And it's like, yeah, that's like, just how we start is just 50% of the battle.

Danny Lee 43:31

So, onboarding, I think, a lot of times, we just kind of, Oh, that's an HR thing. Or, you know, let's wait if the new guy is gonna, like, survive or, you know, just we kind of like, throw it in the back end. But it is a very powerful, intentional kind of phase, where we are intentional about it. It's just like, even our Top 5, if we say, "Oh, yeah, that's me. And you know, we'll talk about it later," versus if we're really zeroing in on it and really think about how we can be more intentional about it, it can be a very powerful tool for almost building a culture and going to a particular destination.

Danny Lee 44:10

And also it's a, it's a very kind of emotional phase. It's an emotional experience where it's not just about the compliance, but it's about the confidence, like, do I feel confident? And I -- do I get that in that first 6 months or 12 months, or am I still questioning and feel that sense of, sense of doubt? So thinking about our kind of season, like building a culture of inspiration, sometimes we think about building a culture of inspiration is about this rah-rah thing. We got to inspire people and make fun, energize them. But those type of inspirations are very, like, short-term. Like it lasts 2 days, 3 days. It's kind of like going to a great motivational speaker and you know, getting energized and then the week later, you're back to yourself. But inspiration, if you think about it, it's not, it's more inside. It's "INspiration"; things have to happen within. And it's not like "OUTspiration," where somebody like rallies above and I get inspired. It really comes from within, and to really have it come from within, it has to start from who they are and really understanding their sparks. Because my sparks are different from, Jim, your sparks, and understanding each individual's sparks, CliftonStrengths helps it and it also allows that true kind of almost like in-spirit inspiration.

Jim Collison 45:42

John kind of summarizes it nicely for us in the chat room. He says we have a phrase: "Onboarding is everyone's responsibility." You know, right. We've, we've, I think that's just a great way of putting it in the sense that you've outlined. The whole organization needs to be a part of this; the whole culture needs to be a part of this to really kind of make this work and to be successful. And so for organizations that are struggling with this -- and I don't think it takes but a couple questions to ask to find out if you are -- and we know, 88% of the population, 88% of the ones we've surveyed are struggling with it. There are some opportunities to do better. And I think coaches are at the center of this. Working with managers and management teams to change this. It often takes time, like, this is not a week, you know, we're not going to have a retreat and all of a sudden fix our onboarding experience. Any other final thoughts, Danny?

Danny Lee 46:37

Yeah. Well, to that, I think, to make it actionable, though. It's like, yes, it's everyone's responsibility. Yes, it's entire, you know, responsibility, but just like engagement, technically, yes, it's everybody's responsibility. But engagement is very local. It's that interaction with my manager and my day-to-day team members. So even like onboarding, it's everybody's responsibility. But to make it actionable, we can actually, when we zero the scope on but it's actually, OK, it's manager, it's team members. Let's start there, then I think we can make something happening. Whereas if it's too big, like yeah, it's everybody, Kum-ba-yah, then nobody does anything. But if we start somewhere with accountability, we can make some improvements.

Jim Collison 47:27

That's good advice. And we're here to help. And of course, of course, our coaches, our certified coaches, are there to help as well. Danny, thanks for taking the time today to be a part of that. We'll have you stick around for just a few minutes of postshow, maybe a few questions to kind of cover.

Jim Collison 47:42

With that, I'll remind to take -- I'll remind everyone to take full advantages of all the resources we have available. Danny mentioned that, and let Search be your friend on So Gallup, but in this case, If you're -- any of these topics, just click the search bar, click "onboarding." We have a bunch of information out there for you -- or any topic that you might have. We have literally thousands of articles out there available for you to take in around strengths, around themes, around onboarding, around engagement, all those available for you. Head out there and search. Couple reminders also on that: If you want to sign up for the CliftonStrengths Community Newsletter, bottom of the page of any of those pages, you can click, click and check out any of our newsletters. If you have any questions at all about anything, you can send us an email: If you want to sign up for these live webcasts, and why wouldn't you? You've heard us reference the chat room several times. A lot of learning is going on in the chat room right now -- Follow us there and then get registered. And I'll send you an email every time I add one of these to the list. Great way to keep up. If you want to join us on our social groups: On LinkedIn, you can find us just by searching "CliftonStrengths Trained Coaches." If you are listening live, thanks for joining us today. Appreciate it. If you're listening to the recorded version, I bet there's more where this came from. I want to thank you for coming out today. A little bit of postshow at the end here. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Danny Lee's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Individualization, Empathy, Connectedness, Harmony and Developer.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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