No Fa-Fa-Fa-Fooling – Coaching Def Leppard (and Your New Hires) Not to Commit Political Suicide..

Kris Dunn Culture, Kathy Rapp, Onboarding, Retention

I admit it.  I LOVE Def Leppard.  Regardless of the fact that I don’t understand much of what Joe Elliot actually sings: ”You’re bringin’ on the heartbreak, yeah yeah, uh huh, watermelon…”, the band rocks and I still remember sitting in my date’s Honda Prelude, CD blaring on our way to the “Hysteria” concert – topped off with a post-concert dinner at Bennigan’s.  Yeah, those were the days.

But back to 2008 – in today’s world, Def Leppard is hardly relevant; however, lead singer Joe ElliotDef_leppard created his own hysteria by (gasp!) placing the Stanley Cup up-side-down!

Hey, at least the concert wasn’t in Canada!  Not sure his lawyer is an expert in extradition.

Why the blunder?  Because no one coached him.  No one took the time to pull him aside and whisper, “Hey Joe, this is the U.S. and at least an eighth of the country really digs hockey, so don’t screw this up”.  How easy would it have been to make sure the foreigner was set up for success?

What about the new talent in your organization?  Do you take the time to prep them on the political nuances, the cultural norms, how to navigate the organization to get things done – or do you pat yourself on the back once you’ve ensured they know where to find the bathroom on their first day?  I bet many of you spend a lot of cash attracting, selecting and negotiating a deal with your top talent – only to leave them hanging. Poor chaps – out there wandering the hallways of corporate America like Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott trying to undo an innocent mistake. 

Effective on-boarding/immersion/assimilation, that pre-hire and post-hire huddle, is the right way to ensure your investment makes an impact (and the right kind) within their first 30-60-90 days. It is so much more than just the first day, especially when most of those are focused on endless stacks of new hire paperwork, mug shots, fingerprinting and help us all – the hours spent in a conference room listening to some HR newbie drone on and on about benefits!

A few companies out there actually do this right and focus more on the cultural aspects of becoming part of the team.  Take Yahoo! who, in addition to posting the typical company values, gives you insight into those things they don’t value.  They also lift up their covers via their corporate blog site “Yodel Anecdotal”.  There are numerous blogs to peruse but to get a glimpse of the culture, check out the not so creatively titled, “Working at Yahoo!”. They even share their talent management process with outsiders – at the IQPC’s Talent Onboarding Conference this summer, attendees were taken to the Yahoo! campus and got a peek at their experiential process – in other words, how to find more than the coffee bar.

Take the time to prep your talent and focus on the cultural tone and undercurrent of your organization. It only takes one gaffe to undo credibility, reputations or to cause hockey lovers to rip down their Def Leppard posters.

Editors Note – Kathy Rapp is a Managing Director for HR Search Firm in Houston, where she helps progressive companies find groovy HR Talent to drive business results.  Prior to joining HR Search firm, Kathy booked more than 15 years of progressive human resources leadership experience working for such companies as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the Redstone Companies, Morgan Stanley and First Data Corporation.  A connoisseur of the intersection between pop culture and business, Kathy believes many talent issues can be addressed via the succession planning lessons experienced by Van Halen (David Lee/Sammy and sadly, Gary Cherone).