Category Archives for Human Resources

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.

Why You Need a “Full-Stack” HR Professional

The role of Human Resources (HR) professionals has become more strategic due to a variety of factors, including technology and the globalization of the labor force. As such, today’s HR professional must have a range of skills. The contemporary HR professional must know how to be a strategic partner to top organizational leaders, as well as possess the ability to support a culture of engagement through continuous change.

“T-Shaped” Value Proposition

The variety of skills today’s HR professional should possess reflect the complexity of the modern workplace. The design firm IDEO is credited with applying the idea of T-shaped people in the workplace or individuals who are suited for today’s complex environment. The T-shaped person has a horizontal set of knowledge and skills that enables collaboration across disciplines, indicating breadth. The vertical bars of the “T” represent the depth of specific knowledge and skills important to creativity.

The T-shaped concept has been adapted to various professions. For example, in 2014, Brian Balfour developed the T-shaped description for a Customer Acquisition Expert. In 2017, Kevin Lee adapted the T-shaped description to a variety of marketing positions at Buffer. Over time, the various applications of the T-shaped model names general business knowledge and skills, enabling collaboratively working across disciplines, in the top horizontal bar, followed by the relevant skills foundation horizontal layer and finally the vertical expertise bars indicating an organization’s skills priorities for particular positions.

Your HR function has never been more challenged than it is today. Your HR professional is focused on responsibilities like recruiting global talent, engaging a diverse and multigenerational workforce and adhering to employment law, to name a few. The T-shaped model for identifying the breadth and depth of the HR professional’s skills assists hiring executives and senior leaders with better understanding the value proposition of investing necessary resources into training HR professionals.

Right Mix of Expertise

It is nearly impossible for a single person to develop expertise in every HR area, although professionals in very small companies must do exactly that. In larger companies, responsibilities are divided among team members. For example, one person may have expertise in employment law and in union proofing, while another may have expertise in HR data collection and analytics. Every business is unique, and that is another value the T-shaped model for HR offers. Kevin Lee at Buffer developed a unique T-shaped model for each position on the marketing team. You can do the same for each position on your HR team, ensuring you have the right mix of expertise.

T-Shaped Model for Human Resources

The following is a T-shaped model that can be used to guide the hiring of HR professionals responsible for ensuring an organization adheres to employment laws, administering and monitoring communication practices, and enhancing employee engagement to discourage unions.

Base Layer

This horizontal bar consists of the broad business knowledge an HR professional requires to successfully work with leaders. It includes general business knowledge (marketing, finance, production, etc.), as well as behavioral psychology, technology, training and development, organizational performance, business law, and general communication systems and practices, including negotiation. The knowledge found in this layer informs the skills in the next layers.

HR Foundation

This is another horizontal bar below the base layer that begins to drill down to the general skills needed to work as an HR professional in any organization. The bar includes skills like workplace performance; organizational communication systems that include technology-based systems like social media; Public Relations to reach employees, families and the press; compensation and benefits; employee hiring, recruitment and retention; employment law; HR specific analytics; and human relations and workplace behavior.

HR Expertise

These vertical bars contain the specific expertise an HR professional needs to contribute maximum value to a specific organization. These skills can be developed through a variety of channels, such as experiential learning and formal/informal training and development.

The potential expertise areas include social media and mobile communication; relationship building; utilizing people analytics for decision-making; collective bargaining and labor relations to keep union free; software applications and LMS (Learning Management System) for training and on-boarding, like Projections’ custom video, web and eLearning solutions for onboarding and ongoing employee communication. There are hundreds of LMS systems available for personalized training delivery that is job specific and offers performance reporting, like the cloud based Litmos and the Cornerstone Learning Suite platform that automates compliance management processes through continuous development.

The effectiveness of your HR professional or team ultimately depends on their ability to work in multiple areas. HR professionals responsible for discouraging unions, for instance, should be adept in communication practices, NLRA, labor relations, and employee training and development. Likewise, HR leaders responsible for knowing labor law will also need to have a deep understanding of employee engagement practices. Anyone can quote a law, but keeping your employees informed of things like your company’s perspective on unions can help you avoid charges of unfair labor practices.

Regardless of their specific expertise, the ideal HR professional will have a “full stack” of crossover skills that lets the person contribute to a variety of different areas in your business.

T-shaped HR Professional

Modeling the Breadth and Depth of Skills

Finding someone who has the breadth and depth needed for today’s organization is difficult, and especially in a tight labor market in which people with experience are sought after by multiple companies. A good strategy is to identify the people who have the base layer and some of the foundation skills, and invest the time, money, and energy to train superior HR professionals.

An important part of the process in developing the T-shaped model for HR is zeroing in on the deeper skills your particular company needs. That drives the investment in targeted development and ensures the HR professional efforts are aligned with organizational goals. For example, it’s important for companies to remain union free, but unions are getting more sophisticated as they adapt to technology and changing work designs. That’s why it’s important to invest in training that leads to UnionProof Certification. Doing so will allow the HR leader to develop an engaging culture that makes unions unnecessary.

UnionProof Certification

The deeper skills your organization may need to develop cover a wide range. HR analytics and data-driven decision-making is one area where HR is generally viewed as weak per a number of research studies, and that is potentially holding your company back from meeting productivity goals or from competing in the labor market. Other important skills include things like leadership ability, ability to design and implement strategic human capital programs, recruiting and onboarding, designing effective communication processes for engagement of a dispersed or global workforce, understanding global workforce and business trends, and change management. Deloitte described the need for HR to become skilled business consultants and provided a comprehensive list of deep skills and knowledge the typical HR team needs today.

The T-shaped model allows you to drill down to the specific skills your HR team needs. Once these have been identified, the next step is ensuring you make the appropriate investment in training and development. It is an ongoing process that can deliver outstanding results.

Gen Z Employees

They’re Here! Time to Recognize Gen Z Employees

Introducing the new workforce: Gen Z (aka iGeneration)! By the year 2020, this youngest generation of workers, Gen Z employees, will account for 20 percent of the workforce. Born during or after 1995, the eldest are 23 years old and are already working side-by-side with four other generations: millennials (Gen Y), Gen X, baby boomers and the silent generation. The oldest millennials are 38 years old, so Gen Z has multigenerational leaders, challenging your organization to develop effective and productive communication systems, leadership skills, and training and development programs.

Every generation has different perspectives about employment and careers, so it’s time for you to dive into understanding Gen Z employees in order to maintain successful HR practices that engage the whole workforce.

What Is Gen Z Thinking?

Just when you’ve finally learned how to successfully engage millennials, along comes Gen Z. As the first digital-native generation, millennials have driven significant changes in the workplace, from workplace design to embracing social responsibility. Gen Z employees are entering the workforce as employees who are even more comfortable with technology, but their perspective on and experience with technology tools are much different from earlier generations.

A Deloitte study created an informative picture of these young people. Gen Z is skilled with technology. Unlike millennials, they grew up moving rapidly across a variety of technologies — smartphones, tablets and laptops — and social media programs – Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc. They are entering their careers at higher levels as most “typical” entry-level work is now automated.

Gen Z is very concerned about their ability to communicate and forge strong interpersonal relationships. This may be due to the fact that technology has negatively impacted their cognitive skill development, and they recognize that their social skills, like critical thinking and communication, are weak.

Attract Talented Employees

Small Bites at a Time

Gen Z absorbs information in small bites and is visually oriented. This has implications for your training and communication systems. Learning programs that deliver information in easily digested, intuitive modules are attractive to Gen Z employees. Adding soft skills development, such as problem-solving and leadership skills, to training and development can close technology-created gaps in communication skills. This begins with your onboarding program, which should initiate the education process for developing cognitive and communication skills — and continue through all your training programs.

You should use mixed training media that is visually stimulating, easy to access and use, flexible and available 24/7. Providing mobile access is critical to successful Gen Z training, and enables you to deliver continuous learning opportunities. Your managers will also need to hold in-person meetings to supplement the technology-based training and encourage Gen Zers to collaborate on designing work environments that enable people to work as teams, in person or through collaborative technologies.

Gen Z employees also value diversity and are attracted to employers who have similar values and will provide learning and experiential opportunities to work with people who have diverse backgrounds, origins and preferences. In this regard, they are quite similar to younger millennials. The Ernst & Young survey of Gen Z interns found that they prefer millennial managers over Gen X or Baby Boomer managers, likely because some of their perspectives intersect. Since it’s estimated that millennials and Gen Z employees will make up approximately 75 percent of the workforce by the year 2025, this will become a fact of life anyway.

Creating a Generational Bond

Your leaders need skills that enable them to create a cohesive, collaborative workforce within the context of a culture that embraces diversity and innovation. Could anything seem more challenging from an HR perspective?

Managing and motivating a four- or even five-generation workforce that is growing younger and older at the same time requires leaders who can build respect and trust among them. With top-down support, it’s the front-line leaders who maintain a positive corporate culture and engage employees. You want to develop leaders who can identify and promote shared values across the generations, creating a bond. A good leader is accessible, helps each employee understand the importance of their role, holds people accountable, challenges employees to perform at their highest level and meets their unique needs. An effective leader understands generational differences and leverages that knowledge to engage employees.

For example, baby boomers prefer face-to-face communication and Gen Z needs to develop interpersonal communication skills. Millennials and Gen Z are deeply interested in working for organizations that are socially responsible. Millennials use social media to collaborate. Gen Z employees are natural collaborators and use social media to facilitate real world connections. Both baby boomers and Gen Z desire face-to-face meeting opportunities.

Fact of Life

Do your leaders develop mixed-age collaborative teams? Are younger and older workers given opportunities to interact with knowledge sharing from both directions? Do your managers know how to leverage the differing generational motivations to engage all employees? Do your leaders understand the importance of personalized communication skills? Do they have inclusive skills that strengthen employee engagement among all employee generations? These are the kinds of questions you should be asking about your organization’s leadership skills now to develop positive employee relations in a multigenerational workforce.

Finding common ground to bring people together based on their preferences and needs in a productive manner promotes cohesiveness and creates a foundation for leading a multigenerational team. You can develop customized employee videos, web training and eLearning programs that deliver information in a desired format and leadership training programs that address connecting with and managing a multigenerational workforce.

A multigenerational workforce will be a fact of life for decades to come. Consider this: In 16 years, the oldest of Gen Alpha, the next generation, will be 21 years old and entering the workforce. Learning how to connect with a multigenerational workforce now will prepare your organization to engage all employees well into the future.

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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