Zach Thomas By Zach Thomas

We can learn a lot from this simple (now complicated by the press) gesture. In my mind, President Obama was offering a personal gift that, if loaded with the right content, could emote policy, good will, and intentions unavailable due to the limited time he, she, and the rest of the world leaders are afforded.

Obama and queenThis might be a stretch, but I think Obama was onboarding — at a much higher level of course.

So boil this down to your organization. We all know that the most important part of onboarding is socialization — basically building relationships, finding a mentor, figuring out corporate culture, and understanding corporate goals.

What if every new employee in your organization was given an iPod loaded with company lore/history, testimonials from employees, visionary wisdom from leadership, success stories, etc.?

Remember the last time you took a new job? You were psyched or at least curious. And I bet you would have listened to the iPod on the drive/train/bus/walk home after your first day of work.

And that’s the key to successful HR initiatives — engagement.

An added bonus: your company could load it with tons of valuable training content (and if you are smarter than me you could figure out how to make new hires view/listen to this info prior to full iPod functionality).

Plus new hires have a new iPod — see good will above.