I was able to talk with Laurie Friis, the learning and development facilitator for Horizon Bank recently about her experience with Everything DiSC.
Our interview was delayed a few minutes because she needed to send a DiSC profile result to a leader about to meet with a colleague at another institution Horizon is about to acquire. Laurie has made people aware of how helpful Everything DiSC can be when working with new team members or onboarding new employees. Leaders reach out to her. How has she done it?
Choosing a product
“Almost 4 years ago our CEO approached me about looking at some different tools for helping communication and teamwork,” Laurie told me. “He knew he wanted some sort of personality testing, but not what tool he wanted to use. So that became my project: researching different tools.”
Laurie looked at various tools, including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and True Colors®. “I ended up liking DiSC because of its simplicity. I knew I had to teach this back to the company and I needed something easy to remember,” she explained. She was aware that she would never have more than an hour with staff to introduce, explain, and begin making use of concepts introduced through DiSC.
After selecting a product, Laurie presented a proposal to her CEO. Laurie told me: “He could see the big picture and the investment in it so the cost wasn’t really prohibitive. It wasn’t really a tough sale.” Her proposal included purchasing the Everything DiSC Workplace Facilitation Kit and sending Laurie for certification training in Minneapolis. She went on to say “I made it part of the stipulation that if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right.”
Rolling out DiSC
Having only 18 months to role out Everything DiSC to all staff, Laurie began by creating and testing a customized program. After testing her material with three different departments, she rolled it out team by team, and finished within her timeline.
“Now it is part of an orientation I do. Everyone goes through it during onboarding,” said Laurie. “They go through DiSC, we talk about their DiSC style and we talk about the teams they’re joining. They know—even before they start working—what to expect of their leader and their colleagues.”
Onboarding with DiSC
Laurie explains her program: “The first few pieces of my presentation talk about the cornerstone principles of DiSC. I give a high-level overview of what DiSC means, what your dot placement means, what your shading means, and then I go into each style.” She has customized slides for each of the styles and reviews those with employees, offering real life examples to help people understand the concepts. She’s able to do this in about half an hour.
The next half-hour is devoted to the individuals’ reports. Anyone who is managing someone gets Everything DiSC Management profile; everyone else gets Everything DiSC Workplace. She doesn’t hand out the personalized profiles until this portion of the program. “I give them a chance to read page 4—Your Dot Tells a Story—and talk about what they agree and disagree with. Then each person talks about themselves so they become versed at talking about what they agree and disagree with. Part of the goal of onboarding is to have them go back and talk to their leader about their style—so the leader can effectively manage them and train them.”
Keeping DiSC in mind
To maintain awareness of DiSC, Laurie uses the group map. “I have Plexiglas holders in all the departments that hold the DISC map. When a new person leaves orientation they get a map. I ask them to take it back to the leaders—talk to the leader. I ask them to use it as an ice-breaker with their team to talk about themselves.” She has also created a “get to know you” card that talks about their style and which they take back to review with their teams.
Laurie reports that she has had leaders invite her back to work with a team and go a bit deeper into DiSC and how to use it. She said, “I spend more time working in a leadership survivorship course we have that talks in more detail with leaders about managing different styles. So I do have more time with leaders during two different programs: leadership survival and our supervisor class.”
Tips from Laurie
Wondering how she administered over 100 names to send out their access codes to the profile questionnaire? She used and recommended the administrator site (EPIC) import template.
Laurie was kind enough to share her welcome email for new employees. We’ve made a few changes and offer it to all of you.
Sample Everything DiSC introduction letter. (MS Word .doc)
Editor’s note Dec. 2020
Everything DiSC on Catalyst makes onboarding even easier. New staff or volunteers can easily compare their styles with others in their organization. They’ll get tips and suggestions for working better together.
How to Set Up a Remote Employee for Success on Day One, Harvard Business Review, May 2021