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Successful workplace socialization begins with the details

SmartBrief is partnering with Big Think to create a weekly video spotlight in SmartBrief on Leadership called “VIP Corner: Video Insights Powered by Big Think.” This week, we’re featuring Jennifer Deal, a senior research scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership.

While many organizations have official on-board policies that include employee manuals, training sessions and orientations, oft forgotten are the informal details — which can matter quite a bit.

These include “details and norms that make work more effective and make people more effective within your organization,” said Jennifer Deal, a senior research scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership.

Deal cited a story about one manager who complained that after a new hire finished his work, he watched television on his computer. The manager was horrified that the employee — who had just graduated from college — was “entitled” enough to watch TV instead of asking his teammates whether he could help. Deal suggested considering the employee’s last environment: In college, once you finish your work, you relax — you don’t ask your roommate whether he needs help.

Assuming that new hires automatically understand these types of expectations is a common mistake, and it’s ineffective, Deal said. It’s critical for managers to take the extra step and help them understand what’s expected, leaving no room for misinterpretation.

“[Your direct reports] need you to tell them what these things are so that they can be effective, too,” Deal said.

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