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Posted: September 12, 2012

Right brain, left brain

How thinking styles can impact onboarding

Merit Gest

The world is made up of people who are left brain or right brain thinkers.  The left brainers are logical, analytical and think in terms of process.  Right brainers are creative and not necessarily linear thinkers.

What does this have to do with effective onboarding?

A lot.

LB (Left Brain) Corporation has a detailed orientation plan set in place for new hires.  When they walk in the door on day one, they fill out all the necessary paperwork, take the obligatory office tour and start learning the phone system.

RB (Right Brain) Corporation has a “play it by ear” type of orientation.  They think they are being flexible by not having a detailed plan to follow, which doesn’t even occur to them to create.  When someone starts on day one, they have a loose agenda of “getting to know you” sessions with people around the office.

LB and RB are obviously fictional companies, but they may not be that far from reality, and they could learn a lot from each other.

To instantly improve your onboarding strategy, you will need to use both sides of your brain, or tag team with someone of the opposite brain “gender.”

One tip to instantly improve your onboarding strategy is to greet your new hire at the door on their first day with their favorite (nonalcoholic) beverage.  Imagine how surprised and comforted your new hire will feel just by holding that warm carmel macchiato in their hands as soon as they enter unfamiliar territory.

To pull this off, you would have to use left and right parts of your brain.  The left brainer would have to organize a scenario during the interview process to learn the candidate’s favorite beverage.  The right brainer would have to come up with a creative way to get the information (it’s the right brainer in me that came up with the idea of greeting the new hire with their beverage in hand).

To create a memorable experience, it’s best to involve as many of the senses as possible.  The first day on the job is a day you want remembered in the best possible way.  Greeting your new hire at the door, as opposed to having them wait in the lobby chatting with the receptionist who didn’t even know someone was starting a job that day, is a good start.  That’s the part a left brainer would naturally consider.  It’s the creative right brainer who kicks it up a notch with the beverage.

The familiar scent, taste, feel and look of their favorite beverage help to cement the positive experience in their brain.

Now, if you could only get everyone in your office to sing the new hire’s favorite song, you’d really create an event that touches all the senses!  Of course, if your office can’t carry a tune you might create a bigger turnover problem!

Merit Gest is President & Founder of Merit-Based Development, a Denver based firm specializing in on-boarding top sales talent.  She is one of a small handful of specialists in the world certified and trained in Emotional Intelligence and Cultural Transformation Tools, giving her a unique perspective for hiring, on-boarding and retaining top sales talent.  Reach Merit at 720-980-1286 or Merit@MeritGest.com
 

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Readers Respond

Great piece. I also found that devoting most of the day to the new hire and including a lunch and a welcome gift at their desk to be huge in making a great first impression. That sends the message "you are important to us." By Teri Karjala on 2012 09 18
Love the coffee idea to create a welcoming atmosphere from the start! By Debra Kay on 2012 09 12
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