Monday, March 26, 2007

 

Why new employees are your best marketers

Each month, I tell a gathered group of new employees at HouseValues that they're the most important marketers at the company. And I mean it.

Most of these employees are actually joining very different groups across the organization - finance, technology, operations, etc. But I don't really care where they'll be working. They're all our most important marketers.
Why?

I've been with HouseValues now for almost five years. These newbies have typically been with HouseValues for just a couple days. While it's relatively difficult for me to see our company, our products, our processes and our industry in a new light, it's natural to do so for these new employees.

They bring to HouseValues a wide variety of experiences, perspectives and histories. They've done things and been a part of things I haven't yet seen or experienced, things that haven't yet become a part of my worldview.

These new employees are able to deliver incredibly important insights into our business that I, and company veterans like me, just can't see anymore.

So the trick with these new employees is two-fold:

1) Getting them to understand how important their perspectives are
2) Getting them to communicate and share their insights in the coming weeks and months

The first part is usually easy. The second part is hard. Hard because new employees typically assume that veteran employees know more, hard because they assume processes and perspectives are in place at the company for a reason, and hard because not every manager is open to feedback and criticism, sometimes in general and often especially from a newbie.

If you're reading this, I hope that you at least buy into the idea that your new employees are incredibly powerful marketers. If that's true, then your real challenge is to unlock the second "trick" listed above.

Create a culture at your company that empowers, encourages and rewards new employees for sharing their perspectives. Show them that their feedback is indeed valuable, and show them that you actually follow-up on and implement their ideas.

Today's newbies will be tomorrow's company veterans. And those veterans will help you to continue fostering the kind of culture that empowers fresh ideas and innovations from new perspectives.

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