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Humor Could Be the Secret Ingredient to On-Boarding

February 1, 2012
Related Topics: Strategy and Management
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Are you funny? It could help you successfully on-board into a new job -- or, at least help you fit in as part of a company's culture.

According to a new survey from specialized staffing firm Accountemps, nearly 80 percent of chief financial officers said employee sense of humor is important for fitting into a company's culture.

The survey, which polled more than 1,400 CFOs from a "stratified" sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees, asked how important, if at all, a person's sense of humor was to them fitting in with corporate culture.

Twenty-two percent said sense of humor was "very important"; 57 percent agreed it was "somewhat important"; and 20 percent said it was "not at all important."

A few weeks back, I wrote here about the importance of company culture to the process of on-boarding a new hire. Teaching culture, the post said, helps new hires get comfortable and acclimated more quickly to the job. It also forces the organization to define and study its culture, which helps talent managers in other areas as well, such as recruitment.

In a release announcing the survey results, Accountemps Chairman Max Messmer said "sometimes, a little levity goes a long way toward building rapport among colleagues and diffusing workplace tension." He also said "job candidates should let their personality shine when meeting prospective employers."

He does add this caution: "The interview is no place for a stand-up comedy routine, but it is the right time to show hiring managers you are approachable and will be easy to work with."

I would have to agree: leave the stand-up comedy to the experts. I do think letting people see glimpses of your personality, especially during the interview process, is beneficial. I also agree that, when on-boarding into a new role, it's safe and comforting for both the new hire and the hiring manager to maintain that levity Messmer hinted at.

What's your take? Does this vary by company and culture? Or is a sense of humor welcome everywhere? Please email me at fkalman@talentmgt.com or tweet us at @Talentmgt.

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