When the cement is wet, you can move it with a trowel, but when the cement is hard, you’ll need a jackhammer! No illustration could be more apropos than what happens during the orientation or on-boarding process. When you hire that candidate, their first few days on the job, what they are told, what they learn, and the culture they experience will be way more influential in their future performance, understanding and attitude than anything that is conveyed at a later date.

1st Impressions Last Forever

Why? Because that’s when they are the most impressionable. That’s when they form their judgements about your company, it’s purpose, and the expectations you have about their behavior. That’s when they get the answers to all their questions, spoken or internalized. And that’s when they make assumptions to answer those unasked questions. And those assumptions can be wrong!

They can harbor an inaccurate view of what you think may be obvious. You may not find out for years until suddenly they do something that reveals their misconceptions. Ouch! Suddenly they make a decision that is counterproductive and hurts sales, relationships, or your budget.

Or suddenly, after you just get them up to speed and they finally solidify important relationships with key players, they quit!

The Missing Link  

Why didn’t they identify with your company? Why did they leave? We think something was missing in the onboarding process. Sure, they got the manual, went to the training sessions, know where the forms are and who their go-to person is. But something was missing – something important!

What did you give them when “the cement was wet” that gave them a compelling reason to identify with your company? What did you give them that gave them the level of appreciation they need to be loyal, excited, and engaged?

And, remember, people can’t identify unless they can see themselves, their aspirations and their beliefs in what is being presented.

Founders Can’t Be There Forever

Having built a company ourselves from the ground up and having virtually no turnover for the last 7 years, we know from experience that employees have to understand and appreciate what it took to build the company. They need to hear what the founder’s goals were, the challenged they faced, and the ways they overcame them. Employees have to believe that the company they work for is making a difference in the world beyond the mercantile goods and services they provide.

Sure, there are books written about leadership and culture (we even wrote one). There are volumes on team building filled with real gems. But what happens to the company after the founders leave?  What happens after the divisions of labor begin to degenerate into turf wars? What happens when there is no longer anything special about your company and your employees could be happy working anywhere? The answer, unfortunately, is disengagement and turnover.

The Power of Story

During the on-boarding process, new hires are expected to read a ton of stuff. Some of that stuff may even be the company history starting with the founders in a garage. This is all great stuff. …if they will actually read it, retain it and act on it.

One way that will actually get through to your new employees is an onboarding tool that we have made available to founders and their companies to build this identification with your company. We call it Business Audio Theatre. When folks are hired, they are given an MP3 audiobook that chronicles the founder’s goals, challenges and successes. It is presented in a compelling theatrical drama with actors voicing roles in action-packed scenes that recall historical events with outcomes that educate as they entertain. It’s an immersive experience complete with sound effects, interviews, and an original musical score.

The founders are portrayed as people not unlike themselves who have aspirations and setbacks, but who persevere and ultimately create the company and job now enjoyed by so many. Unlike all that written and video material new hires typically receive, this Business Audio Theatre format does not tether them to a screen or a book. They are free to multi-task while they are in their homes or while jogging and commuting. As the critics are saying: “The story comes alive! It’s 3-D audio!”

When They Identify, They Engage

Now your new employee can easily identify with the goals and values of the founders. They feel like they are part of the movement. They want to participate because they identify and appreciate the company! You have just brought the story to life for them in a convenient, compelling and memorable way! Increase engagement and reduce turn-over using Business Audio Theatre! We have done it, and we can help you do it, too!

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.