Promoting Office Etiquette to Millennials

HR professionals of today often find new grad hires struggling to fit in to the company’s professional environment. When this happens, is it HR’s responsibility to teach professionalism?

The simple answer is “yes.” But why? —The issue is talent. There’s a lot of talent out there, and they’re ready to get to work. They may be somewhat irresponsible regarding texting during meetings or just walking into a manager’s office without an appointment, but they have talent. And depending on the industry you work in, you may need the skills more than you need professionalism. So, what can HR do to help better integrate millennials into the corporate environment, while promoting good workplace etiquette?

A Day in the Life

Share your story. Share your culture. Share your goals…online.

Organizational branding and recruiting strategies should include engaging with potential candidates using online social platforms. You may have someone from HR and marketing helping to facilitate the message and creating visibility with customers and candidates, but you’ll want to consider something more robust, more creative. For example, a campaign that focuses on what it’s like to work at your company will help share inside perspective on culture and life. Consider the following idea: “A Day in the Life of an Intern” or something similar allows current employees to tweet and post updates to Facebook and LinkedIn, while drawing in potential candidates with stories that are engaging and informative. Candidates will gain a better understanding of what to expect as a new hire, from onboarding, to appropriate dress, to volunteer and educational opportunities. It’s preparation.

Before the First Day

For a millennial, this may be their first “real” job outside of college, and they’re trying to find their way just like everyone else. The first day on the job can be daunting and stressful, especially if your new hire has no idea what to expect. HR can reduce this anxiety and help prepare new hires for day one by utilizing technology that streamlines the onboarding process. Technology helps ease the uncertainty by providing instant new hire access before the first day. Your new hires will be ready to roll with access to forms, team rosters, and a list of “frequently asked questions” and answers.

I Need a Buddy

Sometimes, we all need a buddy to help guide and direct us, whether it’s a new project, a new team lead or the first day on the job, having a buddy makes the transition to something “new” so much easier.

Every workplace is different, and whether your new hire is a recent college graduate or an experienced professional, provide them with the best onboarding experience possible. To make the new hire process more enjoyable, appoint a more senior staff member to be a buddy at least for the first week or two. A buddy can help walk the new hire through the day-to-day, increasing the comfort level and helping with the transition.

I’ve had firsthand experience with the buddy system at Deloitte, a professional services firm, and can attest to its success. To make sure their interns know about the support system before the first day, they’ve posted it on their website. “We want you to enjoy every day of your internship with us and want you to develop professionally as well as personally. That's why we don't just throw you in at the deep end. You can rely on the support and experience of an ever-expanding network of people that you will get to know at Deloitte. They all went through the same learning stages as you and are more than happy to help you. To make starting easier, we assign two experienced advisors to you right from your first working day, who you can completely and fully rely on. Your buddy helps you get to know our company and our staff. He or she is your contact person for any questions you may have, no matter how big or small. Your buddy is there to help you settle in and feel comfortable with us.”

Helping your new hire to acclimate and adjust will save you time and effort in the long run and your new hire will be on their way to learning how to be a professional before the first day and beyond.

Launching a Successful Onboarding Initiative