At the Engage for Success conference last month, I was inspired by a tale from serial entrepreneur Sir Eric Peacock regarding one of the practices he follows within his companies.
It’s a simple thing: his companies send a bottle of champagne with a couple of glasses to people about to join them. The message is clear: “we’re looking forward to seeing you”. The aim is to engage the employee before they even walk through the door, to demonstrate that this is an employer that will value them. Of course, there’s a defensive aspect to this – they don’t want the prospective employee to be attracted by a counter-offer from their current company – but there is also a real commitment to engagement and to treating an employee as individual, even before he/she joins.
It’s not the only thing that is sent. There is other material that follows it, including the usual pre-joining stuff you will get in any company. But the celebration comes first: an important signal that sets the context for the connection between employer and employee.
I’ve heard about it before, but I still found it inspiring. Why? Because we don’t do enough of it, in any of our organisations. It doesn’t have to be champagne, that’s not right for everyone, but a gesture that shows we are excited to welcome a new employee and can’t wait to start working with them is a powerful signal of intent. It’s easy to appreciate the warmth that such a gesture creates. So why don’t we do more if it?
To start as we mean to go on, to really connect with people and seek to build engagement, we should be using every opportunity. We should also be creating additional touchpoints to ensure a connection struck during recruitment is maintained and even strengthened rather than falling fallow. The ‘Peacock Principle’ as I shall now be calling this, is one to remember.