Posts Tagged ‘new employee’

Don’t Lose Your New Star on the First Day

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

The first day on a new job – Excitement, anticipation, fear, for the new employee AND their family. An employee’s first day can make the difference between them staying and leaving, between them being motivated and engaged or just riding out their time until something better comes along.  I’m going to illustrate my point by tracking the first day experiences of two new star employees: Jane Regret and Tom Happy. Think about which story sounds like your company.

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Jane’s first day starts with her husband wishing her luck.   She arrives early, beaming with excitement.  Jane becomes concerned as she learns the receptionist wasn’t expecting her and didn’t know if her boss Joe Smith was even in.  After ten minutes of calls and pages the receptionist finally reaches Joe, who apparently forgot she was starting that day.  Jane is asked to go to HR to fill out paperwork and told that Joe will meet her later.   Jane spends the next two hours in HR signing forms, hearing about benefits, and watching an old company video.   HR takes Jane to her desk, which really isn’t her desk because they haven’t figured out yet where Jane will sit.    HR gives Jane the policy manual to read and sign now, a catalog to order supplies and is told her computer should arrive in a few days.  Joe Smith finally pops in between meetings for a quick hello, telling Jane he’ll see her at Fred’s going away party this afternoon.   After going out to lunch by herself Jane attends the party for Fred, who is moving on after only 5 years.  Joe actually missed the party so Jane will try to find him on Tuesday.  Jane gets home and tells her husband that she may have made a big mistake.

Tom Happy’s wife Linda was surprised to find a rather large package from Tom’s new employer on the porch, especially since he hadn’t even started working there yet.  As Linda opens the box she calls to Tom, “Wow, it’s all kinds of company merchandise, shirts, hats, sweatshirts, etc.  There is also a copy of the company handbook for you to read.  And look there are tickets to the local baseball game – how did they know we love baseball?  And a note from your boss Jack Smith – Welcome aboard, can’t wait to start hitting home runs together.  See you in a month!”

happyTom leaves home on day one and Linda kisses him goodbye and wishes him well.  He arrives early and as he approaches the receptionist he sees his picture on the large TV in the lobby that reads “Today is Tom Happy day! Welcome Tom.”  The receptionist tells Tom they are glad to see him and that Jack will be right here.    Jack greets Tom, “I am so glad you are here, look we need you to sign some paperwork but first, let’s meet your teammates.”  As they approach Tom’s work area he sees streamers, balloons, and a gathering of people.

Tom’s teammates have gathered for coffee and bagels to welcome him.  They talk baseball, kids, share funny stories, etc. When Tom enters his office everything is there – supplies, computer, business cards, etc. After a quick visit to HR, Tom and Jack meet for several hours to review Tom’s 90 day plan and success factors. Several co-workers take Tom to lunch and share company history, why they came here, how important Tom’s role is to the team, and answer his questions about what it is really like to work here. Tom arrives home beaming and tells Linda how she won’t believe the day he had. Replies Linda, “I have an idea – look what Jack sent us – a bottle of wine with this note – Welcome aboard Tom and Linda, let’s raise a toast to a great new relationship.   We’re so glad you two have joined our family.”

These stories, while extreme, do teach us some valuable lessons about how we start our new employees. Think about Tom and Jane.  Which one is more motivated?  Which one is already questioning their decision?  Which one is susceptible to being recruited away? What will each person tell their family, their friends?  What might they post on Facebook or glassdoor.com?

Now, think about which story most resembles your company.  Most organizations I’m afraid resemble Jane’s experience.  Everyone’s doing more with less so few have time to go that extra mile for new employees.  At other companies “only the strong survive,” so they intentionally do not pamper newbies.

Feeling unwelcome, having a boss that doesn’t have time, an unclear job plan all increase the odds that you’ll lose that new star.  And once word gets out about your culture you’ll have a harder time attracting new stars.   You’ll also lose the training costs you’ve sunk into new employees as they leave. Depending on the level of position it can take anywhere from 8 to 28 weeks for a new employee to reach full productivity.

With this backdrop, here are some components of the best on-boarding plans.  Notice that these activities don’t require a large budget, just time and attention.

  • Activities that make a new employee feel welcome.  First impressions that people form about your company are extremely hard to overcome. Instead of just throwing parties for people who are leaving, celebrate your new stars.
  • One-on-one time with supervisor and other leadership. Don’t rush someone onto the payroll if you don’t have time to spend with them. Consider having new employee start on a day other than Monday if that’s your busiest.
  • Introduction into the formal and informal culture. Consider activities such as CEO meetings with newhires, “skip level” lunches, lunch-n-learns, and a buddy system to help new employees understand expected behaviors.
  • A carefully chosen mentor or buddy to help them navigate through your culture, processes and operation. A safe place to learn how things really operate.
  • Just-in-time resources that provide answers for the new employee.  Company acronym dictionaries, process diagrams, auto-enrolled into appropriate listserves and forums, phone lists, community information for relocations, etc.
  • Feedback and guidance on job performance.  Make sure your new hires are working a clear 90 day plan versus walking around aimlessly, with regrets.

A successful on-boarding process should cover the entire first year for the new hire and include all activities through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective.  When done right, on-boarding can lead to higher job satisfaction, better job performance, greater organizational commitment, and reduction in stress and intent to quit.

So start them off right and watch them soar.  Or, start them off wrong and watch them fly away.  Your choice.

p.s.  And when you lose a long term star from your team, odds are they’ll find themselves in a bad first day questioning their move.  Call them that first day and just tell them you’re thinking about them and hoping they are having a great first day!

Learn more about how our Advice & Resolution team can help you design a great onboarding program for your organization.

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Doug Blizzard, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP serves as CAI’s Vice President of Membership, and has been with CAI for more than 15 years. Doug is well-versed in the world of HR from compliance issues to workforce management to aligning business objectives with HR. He strives to constantly improve the member experience and provide employers with the confidence needed to turn fears and opportunities into practical actions and results. If your HR team could benefit from some guidance, you’ll want to learn more about CAI.

 

Four Tips for Onboarding Success

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Starting a new job is overwhelming. Trying to perform your best and learn a load of information can be stressful. Help your new hires make a great start by preparing them with a strong onboarding process. Plan a schedule of action items  that will  get them familiar with your organization. Sharing company policies and resources available to all will help your new employee adjust well to their new position.

In addition to a thoroughly planned onboarding schedule, several personalized actions will show your new employee that you’re glad they joined your team. Implement some of the practices below when your new hire starts:

Start on Tuesday

Starting your new employee on your busiest work day will not allow you to spend the proper amount of time getting him acquainted with the organization. If your busiest day is Monday, start your employee on Tuesday or another day with a lighter work load. You can answer his questions, show him where supplies are and take some time to get to know him when you start your new hire on a less busy day.

Break Out the Welcome Wagon

Help your new employee settle into their new position by making them feel welcomed and part of the team. Stock their workspace with pens, notepads, a handbook and other materials that will ensure a successful start with the company. Let them know it’s okay to ask questions or to be confused. When a week goes by, check in with them to see how their first week went. If you can help them out with anything, make sure they know it.

Give Introductions

Trying to get things done without knowing who people are or where their office is can be frustrating for a new employee trying to give a good impression. Help her out by introducing her to members of your organization that she’ll be in direct contact with. Make sure she knows where different departments are and who she needs to reach out to for various tasks around the office.

Take Them Out

Show them you’re excited for them to be on your team. Take them out for lunch and ask the other members of your department to join. This is a great time to get to know one another. Ask your new employee how their first day is going. Also encourage them tell more about themselves, like what they like to do in their free time or what their favorite sports are.

For more tips for a great onboarding process, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7786.

Photo Source: Victor1558

Choose Wisely to Avoid the Cost of a Bad Hire

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

There are several costs associated with hiring a new employee. Money is spent hiring a recruiter, advertising the new position, reimbursing travel expenses and training the new staff member. Not only are financial resources used, but employers spend an ample amount of time with job candidates and new hires. Time is spent interviewing, onboarding and educating the new team member. When considering all the effort invested in one employee, uncovering that she’s a bad hire can be devastating.

CareerBuilder’s recent survey on costs related to bad hires indicates that 65 percent of the participating US hiring managers said that their bad hiring decision cost their company $25,000 to $50,000. Financial losses are easy to spot, but bad hires can also lower productivity and impact their coworkers negatively. Although you can’t prevent a bad hire 100 percent of the time, you can take several steps to ensure a candidate is a good fit for your job opening. Use the tips below to avoid a poor hiring decision:

Know the Job

Do you know why you have a vacancy at your company, and why it hasn’t been filled yet? If your opening isn’t new, take some time to thoroughly understand the requirements and skills needed to fill the position. Review what made past employees successful in the position and what made them ultimately leave. If there wasn’t much success, evaluate what you can do to help reduce turnover.

Nail the Interview

Evaluate your company’s role and responsibility during the interview process. Do you have good interviewers that are excellent time keepers and make job candidates feel welcomed? Do you utilize interview questions that will paint a picture of what the candidate did at his previous job? Do you incorporate questions that will give the candidate different scenarios of what he can expect from his new job? Planning for well-thought-out behavioral interview questions is a must.

Check and then Double Check

Before setting a start date for your new employee, make sure all of your company’s pre-requisites for new hires are completed. Perform a background check to verify his employment and criminal history, call his references to confirm his past work performance and experience, and have him complete an assessment to further demonstrate job fit.

Following the three tips above should help you identify high-performing talent and avoid making a costly hiring mistake. CAI offers services to help you increase your chances of selecting a great hire. Contact Molly Hegeman at 919-878-9222 or http://j.mp/cai-a for more information about recruiting and assessments.  Contact Kevin von der Lippe at 336-668-7746 or www.capital.org/vea for questions regarding background checking and reference services.

Photo Source: hawken king