Category Archives for Best Business Practices

Corporate Collective Consciousness

Can you guess the movie from these famous quotes?

“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

“May the Force be with you.”

“Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Chances are, you guessed all three. These quotes have become part of our collective consciousness. Nearly everybody recognizes them, even if they’ve never seen the original movie.

Does your company have a good corporate culture and collective consciousness, too? Everyone in your organization should share the same values, attitudes, and ideas. Everyone should be reading from the same page. But it doesn’t always work like this. What gives?

RELATED: Union Organizing Why Your Employer Brand Matters

Things Your Employees Inherently Know

There are things that every one of your employees inherently knows. They know what time they start work, what time they finish, where the vending machines are.

But do your employees know about your company mission and corporate culture? Your long-term strategic goals? Your morals, values, and beliefs?

Probably not. At least, most of them don’t. In fact, 61 percent of employees are completely unaware of their company’s mission statement. The majority of those who do (57 percent) say they feel uninspired by it.

The problem is, most employee orientation programs just aren’t good enough. They introduce employees to their new role but don’t focus on company culture and long-term development.

It’s no wonder, then, that most of your staff have no clue about your company’s values, ethics and corporate culture.

How to Improve Collective Consciousness

Want to improve your company’s collective consciousness? You need to engage with your employees, from their first interview to their final day in the office. Here’s how:

Make the Message Loud and Clear for Good Corporate Culture

If your employees are unaware of your mission statement, you probably aren’t communicating it clearly enough. List your goals and values on your website, on your social media pages, and in your employee orientation literature.

Be More Transparent

Business transparency is crucial for employee engagement. Your manager should be visible and friendly; your HR team should be approachable and willing to answer questions from your employees.

RELATED: Leading With Transparency and Empathy

Use the Latest Technology

The latest technology will help you communicate your message and improve collective consciousness. Employee orientation videos, for example, enhance the onboarding process, improve employee conduct and manage expectations. Your new hires are more likely to remember the information you’re telling them, too — 65 percent of people are visual learners.

Follow the tips on this list, and your company’s values, ethics, and goals will soon be as recognizable as all those famous movies quotes that everyone can roll off their tongue.

Discrimination Harassment Policies

Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policies

Discrimination and harassment don’t just damage workplace morale and cause you to lose valuable personnel — they can also place your company at risk for ruinous lawsuits. The average court settlement for a discrimination or harassment lawsuit comes to about $125,000; harassment trials have resulted in awards of up to $168 million. If you want to protect both your workers and your business, the logical place to start is with strong, clear anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies

What the Laws Say

It’s relatively easy to figure out what your anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies need to convey by looking at the applicable laws. Workplaces throughout the U.S. are subject to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin, and color. Title VII also prohibits any kind of harassment based on these same characteristics, considering it a form of discrimination.
Federal law isn’t the only law you may need to consider. Your state may have its own particular laws prohibiting harassment based on marital status, gender identity, or other particulars not covered by title VII. Make sure you understand the laws for the state or states in which you do business.

Creating Your Anti-Discrimination Policies

While you can create separate anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, the overlap between these two terms means you can also write a single policy encompassing both behaviors. Start by clearly and unequivocally stating your company’s “zero tolerance” for discrimination and harassment.
Name as many protected characteristics as apply to you on the federal and state level. Since small but significant additions to these laws may occur at any time, and since it’s always possible to omit something by mistake, hedge your bets by adding a blanket statement covering any other protected characteristics currently included under the law.

Education and Enforcement

Don’t assume that your employees automatically understand which actions constitute discrimination or harassment. Spelling out specific examples in your written policies can help everyone understand exactly what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Give detailed instructions on how to report any instance of discrimination or harassment experienced or witnessed by the employee. Explain the disciplinary actions that management may take, up to and including termination, as well as the available options for employees accused of discrimination or harassment. Projections’ online harassment training can serve as an invaluable reinforcement to these efforts.
Last but not least, make sure your workers have agreed to uphold your policies. Include the policies in the employee handbook every new hire receives, and require each employee to sign a statement agreeing to conform to them. You’ll rest a lot easier once you’ve set the groundwork for a discrimination-free, harassment-free workplace!
new hire orientation

The One Thing Your New Hire Orientation Is Probably Missing

72 Hours To Inspire New Hire Engagement

After a new hire signs the appropriate forms for Human Resources, does your new hire process end – or do you have a new hire orientation program? Unfortunately, many companies mistake job training for onboarding. Companies offer top talent benefits and perks, interesting work and career opportunities during the recruitment process, and then it’s sink or swim from day one. Managers and Human Resource departments wonder why the people they so carefully selected never “fit in” and leave within a few years. The average employee tenure has decreased to 4.2 years per the U.S. Department of Labor.

So what is your new hire orientation missing? Likely, it’s a focus on creating immediate employee engagement. The importance of delivering a great onboarding experience is becoming more crucial as competition for top talent increases – and establishing your company as an employer of choice grows ever-more challenging.

Fitting In From Day One

New hire orientation has become a critical strategy for helping employees become productive as soon as possible. For a new employee, knowing that they are contributing to the company’s vision and mission has a positive effect on your company’s retention rates. Communicating your company’s larger purpose is a critical strategy for helping new employees assimilate into the company. Onboarding is an employee engagement, socialization and integration process as well as an orientation process. For this reason, many companies spend much of the first 72 hours of new employee onboarding helping the new hire understand the company’s culture and philosophy.

RELATED: HOW TO BUILD A UNION PROOF CULTURE FROM DAY ONE

A successful first 72 hours of onboarding will strengthen your corporate culture. New hires learn the mission of the company and the role they play in the company’s vision for a successful future. It’s a process that helps the new hire “fit in” from day one. The first hours of a new job today are busy ones – but in a different way than traditional orientation programs assumed. Much of the time involves leaders guiding new employees as they get comfortable in the workplace using a variety of communication tools, both online and off.

Four Best Practices for A  Spectacular First 72 Hours

Your organization needs a unique onboarding program to meet the needs of your unique culture and teams. The first 72 hours should be focused towards orienting the employee to the uniqueness of the organization, rather than sitting the person down with unfinished projects other employees may have left behind. Following are some best practices that make a new hire feel welcome, included and appreciated, while also providing critical information about the company and how it operates.

  1. Give the new hire a welcome message from the CEO or other top executives and managers. Give a tour and make introductions in person or via technology like video conferencing. LinkedIn has new recruits join other new hires for icebreakers with leaders sharing information about the company culture.
  2. Provide a company overview. Address topics like the organization’s mission, structure, benefits, and training and development opportunities. Much of this information is ideally delivered via robust new employee orientation videos and websites, designed to celebrate the new employee and welcome them while providing valuable information and often delivering the company’s union-free operating philosophy.
  3. Give the new hire an in-depth presentation on company core values. Zappos presents 10 core values to new hires and the history of those core values to create a bond. This presentation can also reinforce the company’s philosophy on unions because like Zappos, core values can include things like building a positive team and developing “honest relationships with communication” (transparency).
  4. Tell the story of the company, so the culture comes becomes tangible. Videos can present the organization’s history and successes, encouraging the employee to think, “I belong here and can contribute to future success.” At this point, the new hire should be feeling a bond with the company.

Don’t Stop There

Help the new hire begin writing their own company story by connecting them with other employees. Your effective, engagement-focused onboarding process should inspire new employees by sharing success stories of other team members via video. The new hire should feel excitement at the thought of making a unique contribution to organizational success and reinforcing the work culture. Videos of employees sharing inspiring work stories and of customers praising their relationship with the company are powerful engagement tools.

Want immediate engagement and loyalty? Before the new hire even arrives on the scene, make sure the tools they need are in place. Twitter has an onboarding process called “Yes-to-Desk”. When the Twitter new hire starts work, the computer, phone, access to systems and workspace already in place.

Assign your new hires a mentor or “buddy.” Assigning a go-to person who can give feedback and guide your most receptive minds is important. Google asks, doesn’t order, managers to consider assigning a peer buddy to each new hire. A mentor should not be the supervisor because the employee needs to feel comfortable asking questions and having work-related conversations. However, the mentor should also be someone who is highly engaged in your company’s culture and will help create greater engagement.

Discuss career development, expectations and opportunities to personalize the new hire orientation. In the first 72 hours, the information should set the tone and help the employee begin to solidify how he or she will fit in and contribute to the organization. The manager can begin engaging the new hire, in which conversations are held about performance targets.  A word of caution here: expecting an employee to “hit the ground running” is not fair to the new hire and can lead to missteps that haunt the person for a long time. Use this time to engage the new hire and get insight into their vision for their own future.

Institute ways to help new hires embrace company culture, no matter where the person is working. Today, many companies have remote workers, a situation that can make engagement that much more challenging. Mobile enabled onboarding and learning enables remote workers, as well as in-house employees, access to the onboarding program 24-7. L’Oréal’s Fit Culture App is a customized mobile app developed in-house that helps employees understand and live the company culture. It includes texts, videos, employee testimonials, games, real-life missions and the company story.  Most companies can utilize custom videos, web, and eLearning solutions. It’s more cost efficient and employers get access to expertise they may not have in-house.

RELATED: CREATE ENGAGED EMPLOYEES WITH 3 THREE EASY TIPS

New hire orientation should also help the new hire feel comfortable with the company’s technology – a source of immediate collaboration and engagement. Pinterest uses the first few days to promote collaboration. On day one, new hires meet for breakfast in the San Francisco headquarters. After breakfast, they learn “knitting” which is the company’s word for collaboration and seeing the world from different points of view. On the second day, the new hires learn about the Pinterest brand and how feedback is gathered from pinners. At the end of the second day, the person starts work and begins using the internal collaboration technology #Slack.

Be sure to establish metrics that let the organization know whether the onboarding program is effective. Metrics can be quantitative and qualitative. They include measuring the new hire’s engagement level, times the person accessed self-service learning opportunities, turnover, employee satisfaction with onboarding process and performance over a period of time. Google measures results with real data from onboarding initiatives and gets feedback on what the person would change.

At the End of the Day

In order to overcome the missing element of engagement, your onboarding process needs structure. In the “old days” people started their new jobs with little guidance, and much of that guidance was geared at job-specific training.

The first few days of your new hire orientation should be a mix of interactive learning and face-to-face socialization with coworkers, supervisors and managers. When is a person fully assimilated? Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days says it depends on the job. High level employees transitioning within the company may take six months, but if coming from the outside, it may be a year. An effective onboarding program can shorten that time considerably. True engagement happens when the new hire truly believe they are a contributing part of the team and drive the desired culture.

There are many onboarding software programs available today. Self-service new hire portals can give employees access to HR forms, policies and procedures, company philosophies on things like unions and customer service, video messages from executives, explanations of benefits, online tours, virtual teams, communication systems, and more. Custom videos, web and eLearning solutions can begin and continue the new hire’s assimilation process.

Successful leaders understand that employee engagement begins on day one but continues as long as the person is working for the company. After the first 72 hours, the real work of socialization accelerates. Some companies like AdTheorent have executive breakfasts within a short time period with new employees to talk about the company’s vision in a relaxed setting. Over the early months, new hires spend time with team members and attend lunches, dinners and team cocktail events. In the final analysis, the key takeaway is that new hire orientation for an  employee in the first 72 hours can bring long-term positive results for the organization.

Grab your free New Hire Orientation Checklist here.

Ready to talk about developing your new hire strategy? Combine Projections’ video, web and eLearning solutions to create a robust and engaging program. Let’s chat now about your company’s unique plan for new hire engagement! 

projections warble human resources

Why A Little Warble May Be Your Next Big Thing

As a human resources or labor relations professional, you probably see your fair share of employee complaints. Issues that need resolution… and those that just seem like the employee is “overreacting.” How can you tell the difference? How can you address employee concerns and maintain high engagement levels?

Complaints range from an immensely irritating colleague to what seems to be an unbearable supervisor. You’ve likely heard about workplace behaviors that disregarded basic decency or courtesy or even went against rules, policies, and norms.

This is exactly what the new tool called Warble was designed to do – help companies identify and address employee concerns, before those employees turn to an outside third party.

Bad Behavior in the Workplace – and Its Impact

First, we need to understand what happens when employees don’t feel heard.

Terrible managers can cause a lot of damage to employees and the company culture. Bullying co-workers cause their share of trouble, too. These workplace villains create unnecessary tension in the workplace and affect job performance. Worse, that bad behavior can be contagious and have a negative impact long-term on company culture, leading to unionization.

This creates is what experts call a toxic work environment. Stress levels and attrition rates increase; employee well-being, productivity, and retention rates decrease; and eventually the company’s reputation becomes tarnished, making it difficult to hire the best people.

Unfortunately, fear of retribution, bullying or isolation can keep your employees from feeling like they can report such incidents. When team members feel helpless, they either leave – or look to outside, third parties (attorneys, unions, government agencies) to try to solve their problems, costing the company money and time.

Warble, the Anonymous Reporting Channel

Feelings of mistreatment often lead to employees looking to a union to solve their problems. Similarly, employees who feel they’ve been discriminated against but have no outlet to express their challenges may file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) leading to increased cost and time commitment, in order for the Company to solve the issue.

This kind of helpless feeling is what Carolyn Holliday experienced, and it is why Warble came into existence.

Holliday founded Warble Inc. to help companies detect and manage employee problems before they become  detrimental to work culture and revenue. Warble is an online tool that provides employees with a direct channel to report bad or illegal behavior.

Employees submit warbles regarding issues they may have with managers or co-workers. Similar to (but often more accessible than) an Alternative Dispute Resolution program, Warble then alerts those who are responsible for taking care of employees and addressing harassment (including bullying) or discrimination claims.

Your Response, Your Responsibility

Because they can be submitted at any time (not just during employee surveys), Warbles provide important feedback about the health of the company. But unless you respond by addressing employee concerns with additional leader training or other appropriate action, employees won’t trust the Warble system any more than any other measurement or reporting tool. Employees will feel reassured and appreciated when they see appropriate responses to their warbles.

Now more than ever, your employees are highly sensitive to harassment and discrimination.

Putting in place the tools of a UnionProof culture, such as Warble for ADR, means that you’re fostering an environment of open communication and employee engagement. That culture means that issues can be identified and addressed before they negatively impact your organization. Providing an outlet like Warble for alternative dispute resolution means creating a reputation as an employer of choice – a powerful thing in today’s tight labor market.

How to Attract and Keep Talented Employees in a Tight Labor Market

With the unemployment rate at it’s lowest point in more than a decade, many companies are finding it a challenge to attract and keep skilled employees. A thriving jobs market means that employers need to up their game if they want their fair share of the talented workforce. Today, we’re discussing what that means and how companies can become an employer of choice when there are so many choices.

Why Does It Matter When Employees Leave?

The simple answer to this question is that staff turnover is costly. According to Right Management, a talent and career management group, it costs almost three times a worker’s salary to replace them. This cost factor may come as a surprise, but when you consider the cost of severance, recruitment, and lost productivity and opportunities, the price an organization pays soon adds up.

Why Do Workers Leave Their Jobs?

Lee Branham, the author of “Keeping the People,” notes that most employees leave their jobs not because of pay, but because of other factors. Branham states that there are seven main reasons why employees leave a company:
  1. Employees feel devalued and unrecognized
  2. Employees feel the job or workplace is not what they expected
  3. Employees feel stress from being overworked
  4. A mismatch between the job and person
  5. Too little coaching and feedback
  6. Too few growth and advancement opportunities
  7. A loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders

Branham’s research shows that a negative company culture is the main reason why employees look elsewhere for work. The best way to combat this is to work toward fostering positive employee relations and a better working environment.

How Can You Attract Talented Employees?

Nowadays it is more of a challenge for firms to attract talented employees because of growth in the jobs market. During the recession, jobs were hard to come by so businesses didn’t have to try too hard to attract skilled workers, but that has all changed. Firms need to look beyond health insurance, compensation and benefits as a means of attracting the best candidates. Companies now need to offer a career package that includes a career path, opportunities to develop new skills, a comfortable company culture and a better work/life balance.
In addition, a union-free company can attract some of the best talent by promoting its company values. Celebrate the benefits of being a union-free firm. Let job candidates know that you strive for positive employee relations and work hard to promote fairness and equality so that there would be no reason for your employees to seek union representation. With the right focus and a well-thought-out strategy, your company can become an employer of choice..

Once You Attract Talented Employees, How Can You Keep Them?

Start by developing a retention plan. Consider the main factors that contribute to employees leaving and look at what you can do to prevent it from happening. Also, find out why your workers were attracted to the job in the first place, as this might well be the thing that is keeping them there and you could use this information to attract future employees.

Another factor to consider is training opportunities. The chance to develop new skills, achieve goals and acquire a solid understanding of job requirements gives workers a sense of value. So, opportunities for personal growth mustn’t be overlooked.

And while loyalty to a company has long ago become a thing of the past, many of today’s younger top performers do consider corporate social responsibility a major factor in job satisfaction. Millennials want to have pride in their employer, and not only paying attention to your reputation but promoting the company’s values can help retain these workers.

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