Lessons from Delta and Valve on making mundane on-boarding communications interesting


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delta safety video and valve employee handbook

Flight safety videos and employee handbooks. Boring stuff, right? Not necessarily if you are Delta Airlines or Valve Software. Both cleverly leverage humor to make the ordinary into extraordinary.

Safety First

Check out this inflight safety briefing video from Delta:

Delta isn’t alone in its efforts to spice up the bland. According to Mike O’Toole of Gyro in Forbes, Virgin’s safety video has garnered more than 740,000 views on YouTube. Air New Zealand has been an innovator as well, producing a string of safety videos featuring hobbits and Bear Grylls.

A couple weeks ago though, Air New Zealand enlisted the services of Betty White. Check out some “old school” safety  advice from an unlikely, but familiar Captain:

Rethinking the Employee Manual

Valve Software is a pioneer in gaming. Not only developing titles, but also creating Steam. Steam is the pioneering game platform that distributes and manages thousands of games directly to a community of more than 50 million players around the world.

Founded in a suburb of Seattle in 1996, Valve has a unique and interesting culture. One of the ways they help new employees onboard is through their employee handbook. Not just your boring 3 ring binder filled with endless tabs. A fun custom printed handbook filled with illustrations and straight up gospel on the company. Have a look on Slideshare:

Valve has some pretty progressive policies. Especially as it relates to the Green Goldfish of Empowerment. Let’s look at five ways that Valve enables its staff in order to create a great place to work:

Screen-Shot-2012-04-23-at-5.20.49-PM-470x5091. Desks with Wheels – a symbolic reminder of the need to go where you are most valuable in the company

2. Flatland – similar to WL Gore, Valve has a completely flat structure. There are no bosses. This helps remove barriers between employees and customers.

3. Vote with your Feet – Forget 20% time, all of your time at Valve is self directed. You choose the most important work to do.

4. Stack Ranking – Your compensation is driven by peer assessment in four key categories: Skill / Ability, Productivity / Output, Group Contribution and Product Contribution.

5. Hire Well – Valve views hiring as the most important thing in the universe.

Goldfish Takeaway: Everything you do is an expression of culture. Make even the boring stuff come to life, even if its a safety video or an employee manual.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Mashable pipes in with a one-minute video on the Handbook:

Even Valve has hires that don’t fit. One minute MBA shows you how to fire and employee the Valve way:

Created by OnlineMBA.com

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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