Emotional Workplace Raincoats As New Hire Tchotchkes

“C’mon you little fighter
No need to get uptighter
C’mon you little fighter
And get back up again…”

—Supertramp, It’s Raining Again

Facebook messenger popped up: Did you hear the news?

The person messaging me was a new co-worker. I just stared at the words, a sick feeling of knowing something I didn’t want to know roiled in my stomach. The blinking cursor taunted me.

I wrote back: What news?

The cursor blinked a steady robotic wink.

That your boss was fired today.

Two weeks on the new job, alone at a conference 3,000 miles away from home, and no where near the office I was onboarded and trained.

Your boss was fired today. This being the person who recruited and wooed me, and, I thought, brought me in to be part of the A-team.

Fear bubbled up like bile in my throat. I knew something was wrong all day when I hadn’t heard back from the multiple messages I had left. Frantic second guessing seized me – the offer, my acceptance, my excitement – the opportunity I had been looking for.

Another message popped up: Kevin, you there? You all right?

No, I’m not all right. Not even close, I thought.

I had no idea what to do. I thought of my wife and my two daughters. I thought of the lean times and risk-taking and the rock bottom perspective before this point. Although I didn’t know for sure if this was the end of a very short beginning, it definitely felt like a long walk off a short pier somewhere in the dead of frozen winter.

Until it wasn’t. Until I discovered it had nothing to do with me and the winter freeze thawed quickly and all was as well as could be. It was then I found myself parachuted into a hot jungle thicket of unpredictable monsoons that was thankfully alive with the work I loved to do and with people I loved doing it with.

I thought I had done my due diligence. I thought I had asked all the right questions from others besides my boss who had recruited me. I read about them online via Glassdoor and LinkedIn and various other press releases and Internet smack – and was okay with all of it.

Ready to go to work! Onward! Let’s do this!

Sound familiar to some of you? We don’t know what we don’t know until we’re truly in it, right? When we talked about the Amazon work experience with Kidpower Founder and Executive Director Irene van der Zande on the TalentCulture #TChat Show, Irene made a valid point. She said that people who decide to work for difficult even harsh workplace cultures go in with eyes wide open, and they either adapt and make it work, or they leave.

But we all know the world of work can be volatile for any one of us at any time. How we respond to tough workplaces is up to us and she shared some examples of how Kidpower has prepared hundreds of thousands of teens and adults worldwide to take charge of their emotional and physical safety when others (and your environment) are acting in unkind, hurtful, unsafe ways – one of which is by wearing an emotional raincoat.

Cry me a river, right? Work is work, so suck it up and deal and be happy with a bright and shiny new job. The problem is that, although more and more companies are forced to be more transparent during the recruiting process and have improved it throughout, we’re just not getting a clear enough picture of what it’s like when we get to the suitor’s front door and go inside.

The Talent Board’s Candidate Experience Awards research data – now in it’s fifth year with 130,000 completed surveys from North America, 100,000 from Europe and 20,000 from Australia and New Zealand – tell us that companies have showed no maturity in strengthening the new hire onboarding experience year after year.

Also from the data – less than half of new hires received a phone call from their hiring manager during the onboarding process, and less than a fifth engaged in any social connection with their future team members. Of course, a deeper comparative analysis across job types (hourly, salaried and executive) may uncover onboarding practice differentials, but the fact remains beyond the employers supplying information and completing required paperwork, muggy thunderstorms may loom.

Historically onboarding has lagged behind other recruiting and hiring processes — but the eye of the storm is here. According to the 2015 CandE data being analyzed now, 74 percent of participating companies have now invested in onboarding technology (higher than 2014) and the remaining 26 percent are considering it for 2015-2016.

That’s good news. Take it from me and what I’ve learned from Kidpower – if storm clouds are brewing on your just-hired horizon, put on your waterproof emotional raincoat and weather it like the champ you are, especially for the the work you love to do and get compensated for. It will pass and you’ll be fine. Most of the time. And in the end you’ll stay or leave accordingly.

In fact, just imagine employer branded emotional workplace raincoats. Hey, there’s a new hire tchotchke for us all.

Come see the must-see keynotes and the 2015 CandE Winners at the 2nd Annual Candidate Experience Symposium September 30 – October 2 in Fort Worth, TX.  Connect with me to learn more.