Investing in their Success

October 8, 2015

When it comes to most businesses, the largest expense is the workforce. Here at Sea-Land Chemical Co., we look at our workforce as an investment that we must continually develop from the very start of employment.
We have been spending a lot of time the last several years refining our “onboarding” procedures. A good definition of onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders. As with all learning curves, the flatter the better. In talking to several of our recent new hires, here is some of their input:
“The transition was extremely easy for me because everyone was extremely welcoming and friendly. The people here really care for one another and can have fun times, but also work hard together as a team. One of the things I love about Sea-Land, and that also made the transition easy, is the training. From the new hire presentation, to getting to sit down with everyone and learn what they do, to even my own job specific training, it all made the transition very easy and enjoyable. I have never felt looked down upon, or stupid for asking a question or not knowing something. My personal opinion is that everyone should be continually learning, growing and improving. Sea-Land encourages and enables me to do so.”
“Atmosphere – Welcoming, friendly, and family feel…Everyone is treated equal in all forms, one job is not more important than the other. This shows with our company provided lunches and outings, we all sit together like a family (including upper management). Recognition of hard work or complements of friendliness and kindness by others and upper management through verbal and or written communication…. everyone is willing to help each other or help answer questions.”
“In just two short weeks Sea-Land Chemical has already made a great impact on my life. Every individual at Sea-Land has made me feel more than welcomed and I am excited to become an important part of this family. Sea-Land stands out not only as a top class distribution company but also as a place that is warm and inviting. …each individual at Sea-Land has been more than accommodating in understanding that there is a learning curve and that it will all come with time. I cannot wait to see where the next few years take both the company and myself.”
While we feel our system is working well, I also asked the above individuals for ways to improve. Here is what one of them said:
“…Better organization for temp to hire…(perhaps) it’s due to finding coverage for my position or because I have been here so long that it was thought that I was already informed…”
Since we have had very good success hiring individuals that came to us as temps, I can assure you we are looking at ways to improve our process based on this last comment. So what methods do we use? Here are some:
1)    We have an informal welcome luncheon. This provides an opportunity for everyone to meet the new employee and is a great excuse to provide a meal to everyone.
2)    For many years there has been an informal “buddy” system that we are now formalizing. New employees are paired with someone who can assist in answering office logistics questions and the most important question – where is the coffee machine located?
3)    Expanded training whereby the new employee spends time in each department within the company. This provides overall company knowledge and helps to build individual relationships.
4)    Conduct a “New Hire” PowerPoint Presentation currently done by me. This presentation has the history, culture and expectations of the company and is done for new employees and interns.
We are proud that we have created a positive environment and atmosphere for our employees. Looking for improvements in this process, both for the employee and the company, will lead to success in achieving our goal to consistently keep our work environment harmonious and productive.
Do you have any other ideas on onboarding? Please feel free to share your ideas so that we can all realize the benefits from our biggest investment – our Employees!

All the best,

Joe Clayton