Want to find out what new employees think of your IT department? Just ask them, says Direct Energy CIO Kumud Kalia.
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Kalia takes 20 minutes to meet with all the people he’s hired in the past 90 days to ask them for their observations while they’re still fresh. It’s a trick he picked up from executives at a previous company and implemented once he entered the C suite.
Kalia likes to use this informal group meeting to get real-time feedback on the company’s on-boarding process, to find out what the newest employees think of the work environment, and ask them how they’ve interacted thus far with colleagues, business partners and customers. He also likes to pick their brains about how Direct Energy compares to other companies. “This is good for breaking down old myths that support grass-is-greener kind of views [that can crop up],” says Kalia. “We can also get some insight into best practices we haven’t considered.”
This kind of information has a short shelf life; employees forget their early experiences once they’re settled. New employees obviously won’t want to be too harsh, “but it is possible to get at the truth without overt criticism of coworkers [or] the company,” says Kalia.
He’s let the practice slide as his time has become tight, but he intends to reintroduce it this year. “I’ve noticed a few new faces around and think it’s a little sad that I don’t recognize everyone,” he says. “This will help connect me to new staff. It’s important that employees have met with their department head and feel like they have a relationship.”