You might have seen this recently, a sixteen-year-old girl from California, Natalie Hampton, developed an App called, “Sit With Us”. The App basically lets kids know who in the lunch room would be open to sitting with them. She came up with it as a way to help stop bullying:
“At my old school, I was completely ostracized by all of my classmates, and so I had to eat lunch alone every day. When you walk into the lunchroom and you see all the tables of everyone sitting there and you know that going up to them would only end in rejection, you feel extremely alone and extremely isolated, and your stomach drops. And you are searching for a place to eat, but you know that if you sit by yourself, there’ll be so much embarrassment that comes with it because people will know and they’ll see you as the girl who has nowhere to sit.”
Through circumstance, she gets to go to a new school and has a different experience. She is now accepted, she has people to eat lunch with, but she remembers how having no one made her feel, and comes up with this idea for the App.
She’s awesome. The world needs more Natalie’s!
This idea has got me thinking about how this could have an impact at our workplaces as well. We already know that having a best friend at work increases tenure and happiness at work. Having someone to go to lunch with is usually the first step in making a new friend!
The tech is simple which is why it makes so much sense. We go through so much effort and resources to get people hired. We provide great orientations and onboarding. Then we kind of leave it up to them to figure the rest out. We all probably think the same thing, “Well, we’re all adults, go make friends!” or “Their boss, and the team, will make them feel welcome.”
Then, we hear from their boss that they put in their notice and we’re shocked.
A workplace version of “Sit With Us” could really help individuals in organizations quickly feel like part of the team. Like they have a place. Like they found ‘their’ place at your organization. The best hires are the ones we never have to make.
I see tons of technology in HR and TA and I’ve even seen a few employee communication technologies that could probably be used in this capacity but weren’t designed to just do this. (If you know of one, please share it in the comments so everyone can check it out!)