855-447-4111 glenna@glennahecht.com

How do you develop a high-performance team? It is not always what you think? Groups in organizations or departments can be similar to high school, with the popular crowd and the other crowd, fondly called the “out crowd.”

I was a theater and music geek and by virtue of my lilting voice and “twinkle toes”, I was in the out crowd!

A woman raised her hand and mentioned that a new method for tagging the out crowd is called “lonely lunch” . The group had never heard of this and wanted more details. The woman’s six-year-old daughter exhibited “bad” behavior and her punishment from the teacher was to eat lunch by herself in full view of her classmates. This public ridicule was intended to change behavior, the message was, don’t be bad or you will eat by yourself. The participants in my class were astonished that this practice was allowed, really??!

Recent engagement research has stated that approximately 65% of dissatisfied employees leave because they do not feel valued. Employers that help employees go from the “out crowd” to a valued team member have a greater chance of retaining them for the long term.

The first day of work can be a throwback to high school and “lonely lunch”. New employees may feel like the “out crowd” as they watch the “in crowd” gather while they go through orientation. The first day alone in the company lunchroom or a restaurant can evoke memories. In fact, that one experience can impact a new hire’s long-term perceptions of the company. New employees need a social atmosphere, and even one day without inclusion in a group can make them feel disconnected.

A first day organized lunch or “welcome to the team” break with the manager and coworkers starts the engagement process on day one. New employees learn about the culture of the company, their peers, and have the people resources to answer their questions. Remember, an occasional, potluck or breakfast bagel builds camaraderie, reduces stress, and eliminates the throwback feeling of the out crowd and “lonely lunch”.