Imagine walking into a new job on Day One feeling like they didn’t really care (or know) that you were starting that day? There you are, dressed to the nines, your brand new designer bag and a smile that looks painted on because you’re so nervous. You don’t know a soul; you’re feeling insecure (‘How the hell did they think I was even slightly qualified for this job?!’). When you muster up the confidence to walk in the door, the receptionist is on the phone, doesn’t acknowledge you, so you wait, and wait, and wait some more. While you get more and more uncomfortable, she finally (after what feels like an eternity) hangs up the phone and stares at you. Then a light bulb goes off and she realizes that you’re the new employee that her boss told you about last week, and tells you that it totally slipped her mind until now. She gives you the half-assed tour and introduces you to a few people along the way, and leaves you to start your day so she can get back hers.
Starting a new employee off on the right foot is essential. This is someone you spent a lot of time and resources to find; don’t let their first impression be that you don’t care. We have a training program that all new hires go through which entails the usual HR paperwork and lots of learning, but the most beneficial parts are the interactions the new employee gets with the rest of the team. We want to welcome them to our family; our hope is that they are not intimidated but they are excited to get to know us more, to be part of something wonderful, a place that they can see themselves being part of for a long time.
We meet with every new hire on the first day to share our story, to be as genuine as possible in explaining our why, and setting expectations of trust, direct and open communication, constant never ending improvement and growth. During that first meeting, we give our new hires a gift, a small gesture that they’re not expecting which we hope makes their first day a warm and welcoming experience. The gift bag contains our team t-shirts, a water bottle, 3 gift cards to local restaurants so they can get to know the neighborhood, and 4 of our favorite books:
- The Polite Elephant: Yes, this is a children’s book, but one of the best ever! It actually was out of print for several years and we tracked down every used copy we could find! Luckily, the 1963 classic is now a Little Golden Book and new copies are readily available for purchase. The reason we love to give this book, is because it’s a quick read 😉 and it lays out the basic manners that are so crucial in life as well as in any service business: things as simple as welcoming a new client to our “home”, saying thank you for being part of our business, and sharing our “toys” in the gym. It’s a cute and fun way to teach that the little things matter. Being polite and appreciative is such an important part of our business. The Polite Elephant explains this better than we ever could!
- How to Win Friends and Influence People: First published in 1936, this timeless book by Dale Carnegie might be the best book for just about everyone, but especially for anyone in a service business. It’s a truly powerful book about building relationships. This book shares stories and gives example after example of how to relate to people, how to make situations work in your favor and how to make people (i.e. your clients) not want to live without you. One of the challenges for personal trainers can be relating to, and building relationships with, someone who they have nothing in common with, and someone who they would not normally gravitate towards. This book has helped our trainers’ businesses thrive. For some it was the light bulb they needed to take their clientele to another level. We can’t recommend this book enough!
- Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual: We were first introduced to Jocko Willink on Tim Ferriss’ podcast, and we were sold! Since then we have listened to his postcast, read his book, Extreme Ownership, and bought his two children’s books for our own kids. Prior to becoming an author and business consultant, Jocko was the commander of one of the most highly decorated special operation SEAL teams in the Iraq war. His lessons on ownership, leadership and discipline are rooted in real experience and void of fluff. The Field Manual is a great gift for a kid or adult. We love his no excuses approach to being great.
- The AXIS Your Potential Journal: This is something we created out of necessity and with love. We started this project for us after trying so many different guided journals. We wanted something that would be easy, that would be all-in-one: a planner to stay on track, and a journal to be sure we’re always grateful for what we have and always thinking about how we can improve ourselves and our business. It’s a perfect gift for new employees to introduce them to who we are and to help them be productive and to encourage self-reflection. The tools in this journal have allowed us to succeed, to not worry about the small stuff and focus on what matters, to always do something to make someone’s day, and to be better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than today!
At some point in our lives, we’ve all been the newbie; we must step into the shoes of our new employees and show them a little love. These four books are fabulous gifts for a new employee or a new graduate, or for a loved one starting a new job, or even your kid going off to summer camp. We hope you enjoy gifting them as much as we have!