A Well-Designed First Day | Summary and Q&A

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May 9, 2018
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Stanford eCorner
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A Well-Designed First Day

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Summary

In this video, the speaker shares a story about John Deere and how they transformed the typical first day on the job into an exceptional experience for new employees. He explains the various elements that John Deere incorporated to make a lasting impact on their employees, such as assigning them a texting buddy, personalizing their workspace, providing a welcome email from the CEO, and organizing a lunch with peers. The speaker raises the question of why every first day isn't designed to be as memorable as this.

Questions & Answers

Q: How did John Deere enhance the first day experience for new employees?

John Deere made several changes to transform the usual first day on the job into a memorable experience. They assigned everyone a texting buddy who would guide them and make them feel welcomed. They personalized the workspace by having the employee's name displayed on the monitor and a banner above the cubicle farm. They also incorporated visual elements like beautiful tractor pictures on the monitors. Additionally, they sent a welcome email from the CEO and arranged a lunch with peers.

Q: Why did John Deere focus on improving the first day experience specifically?

The speaker explains that the first day on the job is a significant moment for new employees. It sets the tone for their entire experience with the company. John Deere recognized this and saw it as an opportunity to make a positive impact on their employees. They wanted to ensure that the employees' first day was memorable, engaging, and reflective of the company's values.

Q: What was the significance of the CEO's welcome email and video?

The CEO's welcome email and video were crucial in laying the foundation for a meaningful first day. By sharing the history of the company, the CEO connected the employee to the purpose and mission of John Deere. He emphasized that the work the employees were doing was vital in providing food and shelter to people around the world. This instilled a sense of pride and purpose in the new employee from the very start of their journey with the company.

Q: How did the personalization of the workspace contribute to the first day experience?

The personalization of the workspace played a significant role in making the first day experience at John Deere exceptional. Having the employee's name displayed on the monitor and a banner above the cubicle farm allowed others to identify that there were new employees on the floor. This encouraged current employees to stop by and greet the new hires, fostering a sense of connection and community. Additionally, the presence of a model plow on the desk served as a tangible reminder of the company's history and purpose.

Q: What was the reaction of employees who experienced the new first day program at John Deere?

The speaker mentions that many employees who had been with the company before the implementation of the new first day program expressed a desire to quit and start again just to have the same memorable experience. This reaction indicates the significant impact that the enhanced first day had on employee engagement and satisfaction. It also highlights the potential for other organizations to improve their onboarding processes to create a similar positive impression.

Q: Why do you think the speaker believes that every first day should be like the one at John Deere?

The speaker believes that every first day should mirror the experience at John Deere because it has shown to have a profound impact on employee engagement, happiness, and connection to the company's purpose. By providing a positive first day experience, organizations can set the tone for building a strong and motivated workforce from the very beginning. Additionally, a memorable first day helps employees feel valued, welcomed, and excited about their new role, leading to increased productivity and loyalty.

Takeaways

Creating an exceptional first day experience for new employees can have a lasting positive impact on their engagement, motivation, and connection to the organization's mission. Incorporating elements like personalized greetings, meaningful interactions, and highlighting the company's purpose can significantly enhance the onboarding process. By investing in creating a memorable and engaging first day, companies can foster a sense of belonging, improve employee satisfaction, and lay the foundation for a successful employee journey.

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