Transfusion Is A Good Thing
Transfusion is most frequently associated with the process by which blood is introduced into a human being (EDITOR NOTE: The author’s medical skills and knowledge extend to generally responding appropriately to burns or cuts, accessing Web-MD, and calling 911). The purposes can be under planned or unexpected circumstances, to either replace the loss of blood, or introduce blood when the body is unable to manufacture it by itself.
An organization receives a transfusion whenever it replaces membership. This replacement can be planned, such as retirements and transfers. It can also be unexpected, such as sudden vacancies or new positions created where none existed before. Whether or not the departed was a positive contributor or a cancerous tumor, adding new blood to your team creates a different dynamic. No matter how new or experienced, they bring skill levels, talents, and a personal story that creates a new team upon arrival.
There are many organizations that expend great amounts of energy making sure that newcomers know their place, accept the culture, and blend in. While there is no industry standard for a time limit on how long a “new” person is supposed to endure attempting to be like everyone else, the veterans in the organization would like it to be as long as possible. This is understandable. Getting people to toe the line early and often is validation of the “line”, whatever it may be.
An organization which usually hires people with skills or education, or both, is at a dilemma then. Having selected people who are smart, accomplished, and “fit” the team, to turn around and then require them to conform to the established culture seems a little counter-intuitive. The more your organization exists to exercise judgment, the more self-defeating this would seem to be. It would also seem to be in direct conflict with the reality of the workplace, and the generational differences at play. No matter your hiring process, it is not possible to hire the same experienced teammate to replace them because that person isn’t in the talent pool anymore.
I would propose an alternative direction. New people bring a necessary transfusion to any team. They bring energy, and intention unspoiled by experience. Now is not the time to hibernate until it is safe to come outside. Encourage them to be the individuals that the team recruited in the first place, and throw their hats into the ring early and often. Regardless of whether you wish to accept it, the team was changed the day they walked in the door and WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN. After a brief period of mourning (if that is your thing), get over it, move on, and become a part of the new team. Don’t expect them to spend hours in rapt attention as you talk about the “good old days” because they are going to be too busy creating their own stories. The question is not “how do we get these people to act like us” but “what new things are this team capable of doing with this transfusion”.