As today is the first Monday of the new fiscal year in my homeland, many companies held welcome receptions for their new hires today. I do not think I have ever heard of one being held outside our country, but is there something similar to it in your homeland?
Back in my days, it used to be an occasion for the companies to communicate to their new hires about what is expected of them – to uphold corporate values, perform and produce desired results in line with these values, and contribute to the society with these results, for example. Elderly male company executives would talk about these things, quite authoritatively from the podium, looking down on the new hires, and they would (appear to) listen appreciatively.
I always found it to be a bit strange, maybe because it looked like the new hires were coming back to school on their first day of work, sitting quietly in their seats and listening to the “teacher” give instructions on what to study and how to behave. I have watched many company executives say “this is not school any more – you must think and decide on your own,” but they were sending the wrong message with the receptions. A few years later, these new hires would become obedient “corporate slaves” who have given up on thinking on their own… or unable to become one, leave the company.
Not very productive, neither for the companies nor for the new hires. Holding welcome receptions probably stems from the hospitable nature of my people, and I respect that. I also find it very important for company executives to communicate corporate values to their employees, especially to new hires. But if all these receptions do is to make the new hires feel welcomed a little but intimidated a lot, and have no positive impact on their performance once they start working, then there is no use having them!
As I watched the evening news tonight, I am seeing that welcome receptions have changed dramatically in recent years… but for the worse, I am afraid. Nowadays, the company executives (who seem to be much younger and more balanced in gender than in my days) have stepped down from the podium and joined the new hires on the same floor, looking much friendlier and more approachable. Doesn’t sound too bad, you say?
Well, what if I told you that they got the idea to make it all fun and memorable with no reference to what is expected of the new hires, or to invite the parents of the new hires to appeal what hospitable companies their sons and daughters have joined. Is it just me, or maybe you also get the impression that they are not thinking straight… or not thinking, period! I have a hard time understanding how such receptions will have positive impact on the productivity, either of the companies or the new hires.
Am I being too critical if I thought that maybe these execs are those who learned to give up thinking over their years working for the companies that welcomed them as new hires? But after watching the news tonight, I cannot help but be critical – critically concerned that we will be producing more and more minds that learn to give up thinking because they are never taught how to think productively.
So, as a person who thinks all the time (I won’t say they’re all productive thoughts, but I feel it’s much better than not thinking at all), I want to step up to the podium where I can productively scatter seeds of thoughts onto the new hires of this fiscal year. I want them to look around themselves and get acquainted with their peers. I want them to really get to know each other, to the point where they are the best of friends, and best of rivals.
Then, maybe I will have planted at least two seeds of thoughts that will keep growing in their minds – how can I help my best friends, and how can I outdo my best rivals?
Maybe these seeds will form the base in critical thinking, and lead to better performance and increased productivity, not just for the new hires but also for the companies welcoming them today.
I want to scatter these seeds, because I watched them grow in my father and his peers. I still see them growing to this day, over half a century after being planted! They have all retired, and some have sadly passed away, but they are all still the bests of friends and the best of rivals in their retired lives, playing golf together and talking about how many grandchildren they have… and living lives healthy and happy. How much more productive can you get in your life than this?
I would love to watch these seeds that I planted on this new day grow as big in the new hires of today as they did for my father and his peers. I shall take good care of them, watering them when necessary and guarding them from harsh weather… and maybe some day, they will bloom into pleasantly productive petals. I wish them all the best in turning over a new leaf in their lives!