Category Archives for Positive Employee Relations

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.

Increase Employee Engagement

Increase Employee Engagement With These 3 Easy Tips

According to a recent Gallup poll, companies with a high rate of engaged employees rates are 21 percent more productive.

So, that leads us to the idea that having employees who are happy and committed to their work is an essential part of your company’s long-term success. Working to increase employee engagement can help to decrease turnover costs while boosting efficiency and productivity.

Now that we’ve made the case for paying attention to engagement, it’s also vital to mention that a failure to focus on what your employees need will put your company in a compromised position, far more so than any competitor or shift in the market.

We’ve got some quick, actionable tips for improving employee engagement that are by no means a cure-all, but still an excellent starting place! (Read through to the end for some ideas on taking your employee engagement efforts to the next level.)

1. Increase Employee Engagement by Increasing Your Team’s Confidence in Leadership

A Darwin Survey performed a few years ago found that the most important factor in employee loyalty and engagement was confidence in leadership.

Employees want to feel like they are being managed by someone who has vision and experience. The best way to make yourself a better leader is by striving to improve your skill set and industry knowledge.

Some leaders try rest on their laurels, which can lead to big problems. Continuing your education and staying up-to-date on developments within your industry can make your company stronger and your engaged employees more productive.

Your employee engagement efforts

2. Increase Employee Engagement By Working to Improve Company Culture

In short, your company’s culture is a combination of how you interact with your employees and how they interact with each other.

Your job as a leader is to keep your finger on the pulse of your company’s culture. When you have to address interpersonal problems within your company, avoid “meddling” in the personal affairs of your employees. Being completely objective and professional can help you avoid showing favoritism when issues like this arise while you are trying to create engaged employees.

Remember that a solid culture is built on trust and consistency, and that providing your leaders – those who interact with employees daily – with ongoing training can inspire the exact kind of engagement you’re looking for.

And on that note…

3. Increase Employee Engagement By Providing Adequate Training and Equipment

One of the most common sources of employee frustration is a lack of training. This is crucial in the early days of employment, and a well-thought out onboarding process is a large part of future engagement.

If an employee feels like they have not been given the knowledge or tools needed to do their job correctly, they will start to seek other employment opportunities. In fact, the Work Institute reported that 34% of turnover occurred in the first year of employment.

Focus on providing ongoing training to create engaged employees. Vary the medium to engage today’s employees, and take advantage of online video and highly interactive eLearning. Custom solutions are often the best choice when you want to create greater employee engagement while building your company’s best culture.

Next-level engagement solutions for your company may incorporate social media, dedicated websites, shareable content and video, and even continuous feedback loop solutions such as warble and 15five.

Looking for ways to connect with your employees? The team at Projections offers custom video, websites and eLearning, specifically crafted to engage and inspire employees! For over 40 years, Projections has helped employers just like you keep their teams engaged and productive, helping companies create a UnionProof culture from day one, and a reputation as an employer of choice!

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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