Five Powerful HR Resolutions to Implement in 2017

It’s the first month of a new year, and you know what that means—time to get moving on those resolutions and goals for the new year. Setting goals in the corporate world isn’t just an individual pursuit, however. It should involve your entire team. Get everyone together to solicit input on what you as a company or department want to achieve in 2017.

Implementing yearly goals can be a daunting task, which is why it’s a good idea to set,  and take action on, monthly and quarterly goals as well. This allows you to give your team more short-term feedback and also provides you with the opportunity to make adjustments that will keep your team on track for the improvements you hope to achieve.

Here are five powerful resolutions that will propel your HR team forward in 2017.

  1. Implement a BYOD program. BYOD means “Bring Your Own Device,” and it has become a much more prevalent practice in a variety of industries. Eighty percent of employees use personal technology for business use, so it makes sense to tap into this trend. Studies show that a BYOD program enhances employee productivity and efficiency and, ultimately, corporate profits.

The BYOD strategy gives employees the freedom to buy or lease the type and brand of device they prefer. They may feel more comfortable using their own devices, knowing they can store photos, purchase apps, and text personal messages with the understanding that the phone or tablet will stay with them when they leave the company. Though the device is personal, employees are still able to access company emails, spreadsheets, contact lists, etc., with the convenience and mobility that enhances productivity.

When employees are allowed to use their own devices for work-related matters, it saves money and reduces training time because employees purchase what they feel are best suited to them and their tech abilities. A disadvantage, however, is the lack of uniformity among employees’ devices, because not all employees will be able to afford the personal expense for the same type of device. Employers can help by subsidizing purchases to ensure a minimum level of functionality.

  1. Create and implement an employee wellness program that includes a financial wellness component. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy peace of mind and freedom from the stressors of poor financial decisions that can otherwise hamper both your professional and personal life. Just as we can credit corporate wellness programs with an increase in productivity and employee engagement in the workplace, we have a growing awareness that we need to address financial well-being as well.

If you do not have an employee wellness program, build one from the ground up with a focus on physical fitness to start. If you already have such a wellness program but have yet to incorporate elements of financial fitness, add in a component that teaches employees better money management and spending habits.

  1. Survey employees to improve engagement. Most companies want to improve employee engagement, as it results in a more motivated and productive workforce. The first step is to survey employees, soliciting input as to what you’re doing right and wrong as a company, which is also a good way to gauge employee satisfaction. Based on survey results, set goals to fix areas in need of improvement. Survey again after six months or so to see if your changes have had a positive effect on employee engagement.
  2. Revamp hiring and onboarding processes. Getting off to a good start is critical to a new employee’s perception of your company and their likelihood to stay around for the long haul. Your first step is to ensure best hiring practices, where job duties are clearly defined and job applicants’ skills and expertise are matched well to your needs. Follow that up by emphasizing an effective onboarding process that engages new employees in order to communicate from the very start the value you place on their contributions to your organization.
  3. Get rid of annual performance reviews—for good. Many employees view performance evaluations as a yearly annoyance, and rightly so—rarely do they fairly measure performance. With constantly shifting goals and responsibilities, and increasingly overburdened managers, trying to evaluate a year’s worth of performance by rating employee efforts on a 1-to-5 scale is outdated. Instead, focus on mutual goal-setting between manager and staffers on a regular basis (say, quarterly), and ditch the cumbersome paperwork.

Real progress can happen for your organization when you engage your team in planning and setting goals for the new year. Talk with your team and resolve to take your business to the next level in 2017.

Photo Credit: plainmama Flickr via Compfight cc

5 Tips To Hire Right The First Time

HR lesson for 2016: Pay attention.

Interviewing and hiring is never simple. Just like loving someone for all the wrong reasons, you can hire — or not hire someone — and err in judgment. Some of it has to do with them, but a lot of it has to do with us. Bottom line: Even if you’ve got the perfect candidate, creating a positive takeaway in terms of interviewing and the hiring process is critical. The first real portal into an employer brand is the recruiting and hiring process. But there are more ways to do it wrong that right.

Here are five tips for getting it right the first time.

1. Consider the employer brand. Keep that as your north star, everything aligned in that direction, and you’re ahead of the talent game. According to a recent study, 69 percent of job seekers would not take a job with a company that has a bad reputation — even if they’re unemployed. Which means keeping not only a positive image, but also the reality of your employer brand well-scrubbed. It is critical for attracting the right talent. It also means taking a hard looking your candidate experience.

2. Sweat the small stuff, and search far and wide. Social media means everyone has access to everyone, which means there’s an incredible amount of information available for the taking and the giving. Note that 84 percent of hires would consider leaving their current job if offered a job by a company with an excellent reputation. This also confirms the old adage of leaving no stone unturned. Pay attention to the micro as well as the macro when it comes to searching for viable candidates — passive or active.

3. Calibrate your hiring to the season. If you’re a startup, get a jump on hiring with a healthy recruiting push in January — when small and hungry may be the message a potential hire looking for a better employer wants to hear. Career resolutions are big for the New Year, one reason the beginning of the year sees a spike in the traffic on LinkedIn’s Job Slots — up some 250 percent. Ditch the challenge of going up against a Goliath and trying to match them perk for perk. Instead, take advantage of the beginning of the year to show off the lean gleam of a new firm with loads of potential.

4. Max out the metrics. As was recently pointed out, we’re living in the midst of a recruitment paradox, in which what we recruit is not necessarily what we want to retain. What constitutes a perfect hire — and how you measure it — has long been the subject of debate. Now is the time to deepen the intelligence of your metrics, and see where the gaps are, such as: qualified applicants, turnover, vacancy rate, declined vs. accepted offers, and the performance of new hires based on the source that generated the lead (a great one to measure).

5. Make it easy to stay. There’s a reason why certain companies win CandE Awards for their candidate experience – and a reason to follow their lead. Bungled interviews, inappropriate questions, talent overlooked for all the wrong reasons; insufficient caretaking and lackluster onboarding is going to prompt that new hire to reconsider his or her options. Once we shift into, “I’m looking for a job” mode, it’s easy to return there; and certainly brief stints have become acceptable within the new work culture.

Make sure the roots set deep with your candidate experience. There are indeed best practices and good etiquette, and best to heed them. The Talent Board noted that only 85.3 percent of organizations sent a “thank you” correspondence to applications, down from 89.5 percent; recruiters who are required to respond dropped nearly ten percent, from 49.3 to 39.6 percent.

No matter how fancy your analytics or social media searching, there’s still one factor you can’t overlook. We are human. As writer, film-maker and perpetual job-seeker Heath Padgett found out when he quit his software sales job and traveled the country in an RV, working a different job in each state, we really are only as good as our hearts and minds. They are still what we need to improve hiring practices. And, yes, relationships are still critical.

A version of this post was first published on Forbes on 12/30/15 

Bad Hire or Bad Onboarding? 10 Tips for Successful New Hire Assimilation

Yes, there are “bad hires.” You spend a lot of time screening and interviewing and making a final decision. You get your new employee on board and there is a honeymoon period. Reality sets in, and you realize that this is not a match at all. There is lack of productivity, conflict with peers, offensive behaviors, etc. and you have the painful task of termination. And, you have lost a lot of money in the process.

When It’s Not a Bad Hire and Things Do Not Go Well

Sometimes, however, lack of “fit” of a new employee may be a matter of poor onboarding processes. Somehow that new hire never quite settles in; perhaps s/he has been placed on a team the members of which are all of different generations. If the workplace environment does not meld those generations well, new employees can be very uncomfortable. Perhaps the newbie is not sure of expectations for performance; maybe a mentor has not been assigned or a mentor was assigned who was not a good fit. The goal of onboarding is to welcome the new employee, provide him/her with solid and comprehensive orientation information, and spending time in those early months making sure that things are going well for that individual. This is how you keep good talent. Here are ten tips that can serve as a checklist of sorts during the onboarding process.

Tip 1 – Prepare your team for the new hire. Give them background information and a rundown of the skills and talents this new individual brings to the team. At the same time, continue contact with the new hire before his/her start date. Send emails with bits and pieces of information about the team; reassure him/her that everyone on the team is anxious to begin welcoming him/her aboard.

Tip 2 – Streamline the Housekeeping Stuff. Employees do not need to spend time in a room filling out paperwork for their benefits enrollment, their tax forms, etc. These should be online so that the new hire can get all of that done on his/her own time before reporting on the first day. There are many other parts of orientation that can also occur online. Identify those and develop them. Employees can then take that training at their own pace; if new hires are at satellite locations, they won’t have to travel to a central point for orientation activities.

Tip 3 – Provide your new hire with a transparent and open explanation of the organizational structure of the organization. Explain the hierarchy and why each individual is important. And take that new hire around and introduce them to those high-end stakeholders.

Tip 4 – There is also an informal hierarchy in place. That might be an administrative assistant who can manage to get almost anything done quickly and expertly. It might be one of the maintenance crew who, if feeling appreciated by you will move you to the top of his/her “to-do” list. It’s important, too, that a new hire know who may be adversaries of your team and why. You don’t have to air all of the dirty linen from decades, but it’s good to paint a realistic picture of how things stand now.

Tip 5 – Don’t ignore the small stuff. Give a full tour so that a new hire knows where everything is. Sometimes, comfort level is heightened beyond what we know when we spend time on the minor things that we take for granted.

Tip 6 – Create a dictionary. Every organization has its own “language,” jokes, jargon, and acronyms. Make sure that your new employee has a sheet or two that explain these.

Tip 7 – All employees come to a new job with big hopes. It’s important to be mindful of that at all times and to help ensure that employee that his/her hopes and dreams are doable in your organization. Talk about opportunities that your team members have and that have been provided in the past. It’s important that a new hire maintains optimism as s/he moves through the first months and year or two.

Tip 8 – Have an open one-on-one meeting with your new team member. You need to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. What is your leadership style? What are your “hot buttons?” How do you work through stress? Don’t make a new member learn all of this by experience and guessing. If you are honest, your employee will feel comfortable being honest too. Suppose, for example, that s/he has great programming skills but is really challenged in the area of writing. This gives you the opportunity to point that employee in the direction of perhaps an online business writing program to improve those skills. Give this help in the mode of a “servant leader,” and it will be well-received.

Tip 9 – Make a big deal of that first day. All team members must be welcoming, friendly, and genuinely happy to have this new member on board. A special lunch or happy hour is called for. And that is something that might be incorporated into a discussion of projects over the first few months.

Tip 10 – Make some fun. Google and Facebook have rather set the bar for a fun work environment, but they also see to it that productivity occurs. Be sure that your new hire understands that among the open-air collaborative and friendly environment, the workout room in the lower level, the lounges, etc., productivity expectations with deadlines are still in place. The right balance of fun and work must be communicated.

Getting a new team member that you have selected is exciting. There will always be a honeymoon period. To make that honeymoon move into a stable and long-term marriage, start with the right onboarding strategies.

photo credit: 10 via photopin (license)

Insights into the Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Report

The Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Report is now available. Once again, it is full of insights that really capture where organizations are landing on such an important topic: The Candidate Experience.

Not that long ago, this wasn’t such a hot subject. People applied for jobs, they landed the position or they didn’t. Recruiters on the front lines have long felt the impact in discussions with job seekers and hiring managers who experienced a “disconnect” in the hiring process. Everyone moved on. However, luckily, things have changed. We have a talent pool full of people who expect more. And the Talent Board is definitely vying for the candidates. From transparency to better communication, job seekers everywhere have a massive advocate in this organization. I’m proud to be part of the volunteer team helping to share the news about what we are doing.

Some companies and recruiting firms are on the candidate experience “bandwagon” and some simply aren’t. From my vantage point, the organizations who see the value in a positive candidate journey tend to reap many benefits.

But According to Talent Board 2015 North American Candidate Experience (CandE) Awards and Research data (U.S. and Canada), “Only 40% of recruiters are required to respond to candidates at all.”

However, the Talent Board would like to point out that, “As organizations mature in talent acquisition strategies, they must provide more opportunities to communicate with candidates and offer transparency through every stage of the candidate journey.”

The report takes a hard look at where organizations are today, but offers data and insights that can guide leaders to improve the overall candidate experience. This year’s report is divided into three core areas of talent acquisition (Attract, Recruit, and Hire) and explores why each area is critical.

Here are a few findings that I want to share with you.

“Candidates Are Becoming More Sophisticated. Candidates are taking control of their own journey. In fact, 76 percent of candidates conduct their own job search research across multiple channels prior to applying.”

Any time a statistic is nearly 80% of a population, take note. We all know the days of circling newspaper ads for jobs is passé, but anyone in a recruiting role should digest this statistic and overall message for a moment. Where are your potential employees conducting job searches where you aren’t present? What is your talent brand across these platforms? Are you losing them before you even “had” them?

Onboarding is Still a Missed Opportunity for the Candidate Experience. Once a candidate is onboard, organizations have an opportunity to find out what went right and what went wrong. Yet, only 16 percent of employers ask for feedback during the onboarding phase.”

This one is so senseless to me. It’ so simple, yet is being missed by a massive 84 percent of organizations. These people already work there; you don’t even have to track them down! Simply ask new employees about their experience during hiring. Make it a simple questionnaire. Aggregate the findings and adjust accordingly. You can do it!

“Employers Do Not Offer Enough Opportunities for Candidates to Showcase Skills, Knowledge and Experience. While over 80 percent of candidates answer general screening questions during the application process, only 50 percent are asked for job specific skills and less than one-third are asked to take assessments.”

This finding has some implications. Do half of employers not know how to screen for job specific skills? We know that’s not true. Those screenings and assessments just aren’t being utilized appropriately during the candidate journey. What an incredible wrinkle to iron out. Allow technology to help candidates express their knowledge, skills and experience and enjoy the show.

The report in its entirety is available here – take a look, digest and think critically…how is the candidate experience working at my organization?

The report in its entirety is available here.

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Onboarding Is The Holy Grail Of Employee Retention, Engagement and Productivity

How does effective onboarding relate to retention, engagement and customer satisfaction? Simply put, in every way.

Onboarding is a widely misunderstood practice. Some companies believe it’s a handshake on day one with a pile of papers for the new hire to complete. In actuality, great onboarding begins at the first touchpoint in the relationship. This means, the first time the company representative engages with a job candidate, the onboarding begins. Further, should this touchpoint result in a hire, it should carry through to the first day of employment and all the way through the employee’s tenure.

Onboarding Is Not Brain Surgery

I read many a horror story about how job candidates and employees, alike, are treated like a commodity rather than contributors. This mistreatment stems from the apathy and disregard many experience when starting a new job. Lack of communication and the feeling of being lost among a crowd of other disregarded co-workers are commonly heard remarks. Without a connection to help employees feel part of the organization, disengagement often times results in a lack of productivity because employees don’t understand how their role contributes to the company’s mission, vision and values.

According to researchers at the Abderdeen Group, 62 percent of companies that have a solidified onboarding program experience faster time-to-productivity with 54 percent claiming to have better employee engagement. After reviewing these stats, it’s clearly counter-productive for companies to forego having an onboarding program, yet there are still many brands who have chosen to forego a structured onboarding program.

We Don’t Know Where To Start

For leadership to truly appreciate the value of an onboarding program, they first need to understand what they’re missing. An analysis of relevant employment data is a good start. Tracking the following metrics is advisable for businesses of all sizes:

  • time-to-hire
  • time-to-productivity
  • client retention
  • referrals
  • contributions to problem solving
  • synergy with co-workers
  • promotability, and
  • tenure

In today’s business world, there’s no excuse to not track employee data of this type. There is no shortage of systems that enable organizations to track and review the numbers at regular intervals so there’s really no excuse not to be doing so. But here’s where the tough part comes into play. Once you have the data, how do you interpret it and what should be done?

  • First, you need to decide what you want to accomplish. Decide on what success and failure will look like; this helps steer the understanding of the data and guide your action.
  • Second, organize and formalize when you’ll review and interpret the data. Incorporate user-friendly technology that allows easy input or seamless conveyance of the metrics. If you plan to use a manual input methodology, be warned, this may lend itself to human error or worse, lack of compliance to follow through on the input.
  • Third, be consistent. Set a schedule for when you’ll review the data and stick to it.
  • Fourth, have a plan of action on how to adjust for changes. The data may not present the results you wish to see. You’ll need to be prepared for this by having a plan-of-action to achieve what goals your organization wants. For example, initiating short, informal performance reviews more often during the first year to maintain open lines of communication can make a significant difference in retention and employee engagement. Conversely, the results may come in favorably, so be prepared to capitalize on that information and take it to the next level.
  • Fifth, be patient. It takes time to gather significant data and more time to look for noteworthy trends.

So What’s Really In It For The Company?

In a word… everything. Take customer service, for example. Companies with unproductive customer representatives inevitably lose market share due to a decrease in customer loyalty and/or gain a bad reputation as a service provider. According to Gallup, when employees are engaged, they will be more productive and more likely to experience good relations with customers. This behavior can be supported by getting off on the right foot with new employees. Set the stage for how their customer involvement is pivotal to the company. Ensure all employees understand the mission, vision and values of the organization and are able to convey this sentiment to customers (by the way, customers should also be onboarded.) The same factors are in play regardless of the industry or occupation. Keep the lines of communication open and keep “recruiting” your employees to show them how they are valued and always strive to align personal goals with the company’s. Adding these simple communications and tactics can be the difference maker in both employee and customer retention and satisfaction.

Knowing that great onboarding leads to a more productive and engaged employee, which in turn creates happier and more productive workers, should be an established initiative for all companies. Unfortunately, there are still too many organizations that have not adopted this train of thought, even though the research and even common sense supports it.

It really comes down to this… everyone wants to feel valued.

Image credit: Gratisography

Why Take Onboarding Digital? 3 Benefits You Need To Know About

Traditional onboarding can be a bit depressing. Employees come in for their first day excited to make a difference and, in most cases, they sit in a windowless room signing form after form. Then, new hires are awkwardly introduced to the team, shown to their desk, and thrown in at the deep end — with the caveat that they’re free to ask questions about anything and everything.

This is the way it’s always been done. Why change what works, right?

One reason to shift from a one-day orientation-focused process to a longer, more involved onboarding process is that it’s more effective. November 2014 research by Aberdeen Group found that the shorter the onboarding process, the less likely an organization is to retain first year employees. In fact, companies with programs that last less than a month were nine percent less likely to retain their employees compared to those with programs that last a month or more.

The key is developing an onboarding program that engages employees, encourages them to seek out more information, and helps them develop the skills they’ll need to succeed. But how can organizations juggle this need for a more high-touch onboarding programs without making the employee feel disengaged and bored?

By taking onboarding digital.

Here are three ways digital onboarding can benefit your organization and get your new employees engaged from the time they receive their offer letter until they’ve reached 100 percent productivity:

  1. It’s less work.

Plain and simple, digital onboarding is less work. With the right platform, organizations can avoid the mountain of paperwork that kills a new employee’s spirit on their first day. Instead, those that go digital can distribute electronic forms that take less time and effort for both parties to prepare.

Even better, you can give new hires access to a “new hire portal” where documents can be filled out, electronically signed, and turned in before they ever step foot in the office. When put into practice, this process — called pre-boarding — makes organizations 1.6 times more likely to have a lower cost per hire, according to Aberdeen’s research.

Digital onboarding platforms allow organizations to save money on expensive paper HR packets and integrate with all of your organization’s HR platforms (payroll, HRIS, ERP, etc.) to make life easier for your team. More importantly, they make Day 1 easier — and more exciting — for your new hires.

  1. It’s more personal.

It’s rare that you see the phrases “go digital” and “it’s more personal” in the same sentence, but digital onboarding frees up more time in the process for the kind of face-to-face contact that helps new hires get up to speed faster.

On a new hire’s first day, digital onboarding helps reduce the time spent on paperwork, freeing up time for more personal discussions about company culture, workflow, work-related responsibilities, and team dynamics.

On the days to follow, digital onboarding allows both new hires and their managers to track training progress, develop productivity goals, communicate openly about expectations and, in doing so, reduces the all important time-to-productivity metric.

  1. It’s more engaging.

Would you rather sit and stare as your new organization’s HR pro goes through the company mission and values statements? Or would you rather watch an interactive, media-rich presentation that highlights that culture through examples, live video, and testimonials from the people you’ll be working with?

The first option sounds… typical. The latter is just one example of how companies can take advantage of today’s technology to create a more engaging digital onboarding strategy.

Onboarding can be fun and engaging while still being informative. By integrating things like video, interactive content maps, games, and a real-time task/goals list into your digital onboarding strategy, you can get new hires excited about developing their skills and making an impact at your organization.

The more you do to make your process more new hire-friendly and interactive, the more engaging it will become. And the more engaging your process is, the more likely you are to nurture employees who are highly satisfied, motivated, and committed to your organization.

Would you rather have a digital onboarding process as a new hire? What can organizations do to get new hires more engaged during onboarding?


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Transparency: A Red Carpet Experience for Candidates

“Your Uber driver is named Pete. Hes driving a white Prius and will arrive in 3 minutes.” 

People aren’t happy about having to slog through poorly designed experiences anymore. Companies like Uber and Lyft are driving demand for white-glove services and full transparency, transforming the age-old experience of hailing a cab into a less anxiety-inducing and more human experience. In the past year, the bar was raised on how people expect to experience many everyday services, and they’re now demanding a more “Uber-fied” experience everywhere. These expectations have even made their way into the employment process, where the war on talent is won by employers and technology providers working together to deliver an experience that meets the candidate’s expectations.

Your Hiring Process is Like Hailing a Cab

From the candidate’s perspective, the experience of finding and starting a new job is like the old way of hailing a cab — awkwardly standing on a street corner waving one’s hand in the air with no idea if or when a taxi would arrive. A resume is seemingly submitted into a black hole, and a similar waiting game begins that continues all the way through the hiring process.

If the candidate is one of the lucky ones who actually receives and accepts a job offer, they don’t often hear anything again until they show up for work on the first day. This waiting game creates anxiety and uncertainty, with candidates worried about the status of everything and wondering what to expect next.

Employers can’t afford for the process to be this way anymore.

Just as Uber disrupted transportation, HR technology vendors are now making a better candidate and new-hire experience possible with processes that are rapid, easy, and transparent.

Transparency = A Red Carpet Experience

Transparency is the key to reducing candidate anxiety and making a great first impression. So what does it actually mean to build transparency into the hiring process? Let’s look at what it means to be transparent along the four main steps of the hiring process:

  • Recruiting: Websites like Glassdoor are now making it very easy for candidates to provide feedback about their recruiting and interviewing experience, whether they are hired or not. Feedback is the new currency in our online world, and putting your best foot forward in this early stage of the process is more important than it’s ever been. Keeping your applicant informed of the status of their application, interviews and prospects will go a long way toward creating and maintaining your brand’s reputation as an employer.
  • Hiring: Hiring is all about momentum and the stakes are even higher in this stage of the process. If your process takes too long or causes anxiety you might lose the candidate you’ve now expended so much time and money recruiting. The Talent Wars rage on and you need to keep your candidate feeling good about their decision so they don’t choose another job. The way to do that is by setting expectations about all that will happen during this part of the process. Tell them what you’re going to do, tell them when you’re doing it, and tell them when each step is complete.
  • Screening: There’s no way to get around the fact that background checks and drug screenings are intrusive. If you doubt that, just take a look at the verbiage in a standard Disclosure for Background Check notification:
    “The report may contain information bearing on your character, general reputation, personal characteristics, mode of living and/or credit standing.”
    This is one time in the process when a human touch can really make a difference. You owe it your candidate to be transparent through the process, not just because regulators are requiring you to do so, but also because you care about creating a good experience for them.Regulators are driving more transparency in the screening process. In five different states, employers are now required to give candidates the opportunity to request a report with the results of their background checks and this trend will likely continue. Go over and above what you’re required to do by letting them know exactly what to expect, keeping them informed of the status of their screenings, and giving them a person and phone number to call with questions.
  • Onboarding: This is your area to really shine with your new hire. A good onboarding process will make them feel great about their decision to join your organization and help them to feel prepared to start on day one. Let them know exactly what paperwork they’ll need to complete and give them the opportunity to do so online before they show up to work on the first day. This is also a prime time for you to lean forward in helping them to get to know your culture and brand. Get information in front of them that helps them get to know the company; like corporate videos, your employee handbook, social media links, and other training materials. 

Transparency gives candidates control of the process, replacing anxiety and uncertainty with trust and confidence. Lead your candidates through the process with an online portal, like TalentWise, that provides real-time updates and notifications, outlines all tasks to be completed, and enables candidates to complete those tasks on their own time, in the comfort of their own home. Create a transparent hiring process where everyone wins.

photo credit: Passage to history via photopin (license)


TalentWise is a client of TalentCulture and sponsored this post.

Where Compliance Matters the Most

Let’s keep it clear from the get-go – I’m not a lawyer, I’m only a layman. A layman who’s been filling out these forms for myself for decades. A layman who’s also hired new employees and have had them fill out these very same forms.

When I had new employees fill one of these Form I-9’s, they couldn’t start employment until they completed it and signed it and provided one of six pieces of identification that establish both identity and employment authorization including a U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card.

And if they didn’t have one of those, then they had to have:

  1. A driver’s license or ID card issued by a State or outlying possession of the United States provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address (or something else from a list of 12 total items)
  2. And a Social Security Account Number card (or something else from a list of eight total items)

The above is taken directly from the instructions of the I-9 form. When I completed them they usually included the latter, the driver’s license and/or state ID card and SSN card, and I’d photo copy them and submit them with the completed and signed I-9, W-4 and other pertinent new employee paperwork.

All of this was done manually because the volume of hires was nominal compared to larger companies processing thousands of new hires per year. But again, if they didn’t have the right forms of identification, they didn’t start work.

Period. End of sentence.

So that’s why I just don’t understand how companies time and time again keep making the same errors, get audited and then fined. For example, Hartmann Studios was ordered recently to pay one of largest fines ever for Form I-9 paperwork violations. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fined the company over $600K for more than 800 violations of I-9 forms. When you start digging, you find example after example of companies screwing up on this one.

The Form I-9, or Employment Eligibility Verification form, has been required since 1986 as part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act. It was revised in 2013 and that’s when the U.S. government and ICE cranked up the volume even more on ensuring I-9 compliance.

But even when you read the instructions to fill out an I-9 form and your eyes glaze over a little, it’s still one of the easiest required pieces of compliance paperwork U.S. employers can and should be able to complete properly each and every time. Todd Owens, CEO of TalentWise, concurred on this point on the TalentCulture #TChat Show. He made it clear that, while he is also not a lawyer, his technology company does offer onboarding software and his team works with many organizations ensuring they remain compliant when it comes to hiring and new employee paperwork.

The bottom line is this – most companies want and need to scale over time to be successful. They need to sustain that growth and they’ll need the right talent to do it. That means the ideal goal for HR in any organization is building the best performing teams and finding the greatest talent. But that doesn’t come easy – HR can’t focus on talent acquisition and management unless compliance is addressed.

Compliance is a necessity that HR cannot ignore, but it’s increasingly complex, both in our own country and even more so as you enter the global market and have to deal with regulations from other parts of the world. But the I-9 form? C’mon.

But even with mastering the I-9 form, HR technology providers that offer onboarding software need to be scaling partners to their scaling customers so they stay compliant locally and globally. They can and should reduce their risk and so they can focus on what matters the most – growing the business and generating revenue. That’s where compliance matters the most.

Imagine Employer Branded Emotional Workplace Raincoats

“C’mon you little fighter
No need to get uptighter
C’mon you little fighter
And get back up again…”

—Supertramp, It’s Raining Again

Facebook messenger popped up: Did you hear the news?

The person messaging me was a new co-worker. I just stared at the words, a sick feeling of knowing something I didn’t want to know roiled in my stomach. The blinking cursor taunted me.

I wrote back: What news?

The cursor blinked a steady robotic wink.

That your boss was fired today.

Two weeks on the new job, alone at a conference 3,000 miles away from home, and no where near the office I was onboarded and trained.

Your boss was fired today. This being the person who recruited and wooed me, and, I thought, brought me in to be part of the A-team.

Fear bubbled up like bile in my throat. I knew something was wrong all day when I hadn’t heard back from the multiple messages I had left. Frantic second guessing seized me – the offer, my acceptance, my excitement – the opportunity I had been looking for.

Another message popped up: Kevin, you there? You all right?

No, I’m not all right. Not even close, I thought.

I had no idea what to do. I thought of my wife and my two daughters. I thought of the lean times and risk-taking and the rock bottom perspective before this point. Although I didn’t know for sure if this was the end of a very short beginning, it definitely felt like a long walk off a short pier somewhere in the dead of frozen winter.

Until it wasn’t. Until I discovered it had nothing to do with me and the winter freeze thawed quickly and all was as well as could be. It was then I found myself parachuted into a hot jungle thicket of unpredictable monsoons that was thankfully alive with the work I loved to do and with people I loved doing it with.

I thought I had done my due diligence. I thought I had asked all the right questions from others besides my boss who had recruited me. I read about them online via Glassdoor and LinkedIn and various other press releases and Internet smack – and was okay with all of it.

Ready to go to work! Onward! Let’s do this!

Sound familiar to some of you? We don’t know what we don’t know until we’re truly in it, right? When we talked about the Amazon work experience with Kidpower Founder and Executive Director Irene van der Zande on the TalentCulture #TChat Show, Irene made a valid point. She said that people who decide to work for difficult even harsh workplace cultures go in with eyes wide open, and they either adapt and make it work, or they leave.

But we all know the world of work can be volatile for any one of us at any time. How we respond to tough workplaces is up to us and she shared some examples of how Kidpower has prepared hundreds of thousands of teens and adults worldwide to take charge of their emotional and physical safety when others (and your environment) are acting in unkind, hurtful, unsafe ways – one of which is by wearing an emotional raincoat.

Cry me a river, right? Work is work, so suck it up and deal and be happy with a bright and shiny new job. The problem is that, although more and more companies are forced to be more transparent during the recruiting process and have improved it throughout, we’re just not getting a clear enough picture of what it’s like when we get to the suitor’s front door and go inside.

The Talent Board’s Candidate Experience Awards research data – now in it’s fifth year with 130,000 completed surveys from North America, 100,000 from Europe and 20,000 from Australia and New Zealand – tell us that companies have showed no maturity in strengthening the new hire onboarding experience year after year.

Also from the data – less than half of new hires received a phone call from their hiring manager during the onboarding process, and less than a fifth engaged in any social connection with their future team members. Of course, a deeper comparative analysis across job types (hourly, salaried and executive) may uncover onboarding practice differentials, but the fact remains beyond the employers supplying information and completing required paperwork, muggy thunderstorms may loom.

Interestingly, the 2014 CandE data shows low investment priority (45.1 percent or 79 out of 175 participants) in onboarding technology, in comparison to other recruiting technologies like applicant tracking systems (83.4 percent or 146 out of 175 participants). However, per the survey, onboarding as a service is the number 2 priority being considered for 2014-2015.

That’s good news. Take it from me and what I’ve learned from Kidpower – if storm clouds are brewing on your just-hired horizon, put on your waterproof emotional raincoat and weather it like the champ you are, especially for the the work you love to do and get compensated for. It will pass and you’ll be fine. Most of the time. And in the end you’ll stay or leave accordingly.

In fact, just imagine employer branded emotional workplace raincoats. Hey, there’s a new hire tchotchke for us all.

Come see the must-see keynotes and the 2015 CandE Winners at the 2nd Annual Candidate Experience Symposium September 30 – October 2 in Fort Worth, TX.  Connect with me to learn more.

Photo: Samantha Borges

Why Online Onboarding Is Better For Your Employees

Let’s assume it is Monday morning where you work. Is it fairly safe to assume that you have a group of new employees sitting in a classroom being oriented to your organization?  Is your organization still running classroom-based orientation sessions?

I’m not saying you should immediately abandon all classroom-based orientation sessions. However, it’s time to consider whether or not you’re in a rut of doing orientation the same way.  For sure, you need to get new employees to sign forms, but even that can be done online before or on their first day.

The challenge with classroom-based orientation is that new employees need to wait until the next in-person session. That session may be weeks from their start date. Also, if they don’t work at your head office, then they are out of luck.  No meet and greet over coffee and donuts for them.

Then there’s the challenge of booking the speakers (senior executives) to do their half hour presentations about their areas of responsibility.  Once booked they dutifully show up to go through their slides.  That’s quite an investment of senior leadership time.

Why not make it easier on everyone by offering your new employees an online orientation and onboarding experience.

Here are 5 reasons why online orientation and onboarding is better than classroom-based:

Reason #1.  Online orientation meets the needs of your geographically dispersed new hires

First of all, you already know that it is way too expensive to fly regionally or globally dispersed employees to the ‘corporate’ in-person orientation session.  However, you also think they deserve the same great orientation as other new employees at head office.

Online orientation and onboarding solves that problem. Every new employee is treated the same, no matter the location. They participate in a great orientation and onboarding process when they need it.

Reason #2:  Online orientation ensures even your less than effective managers will be well prepared for their new employees

Really effective managers will automatically support and deliver well planned orientation and onboarding. What about the other managers who do a poor job of orienting and onboarding your organization’s new employees?

An online orientation and onboarding process solves that problem.  All managers are given online notifications of when their new employees are going to start as well as a personalized preparation checklist. Your Human Resources team can monitor, through online reporting, the readiness of the managers for their new hires. Then it’s an automated process for new hires to start their online learning path on their first day. All it takes is a computer and an access code.

Reason #3:  Online orientation helps you curate much need content for new hires

It’s mega-information overload for new employees. There’s an abundance of information they could potentially access and browse once they join your organization. In the same way that internet content is curated, you need to curate the organizational content (knowledge) for your new hires.

An online orientation system helps you to effectively organize and point to the most important tools, resources and online materials your new employees should browse during their first weeks and months on the job.

Reason #4:  Online orientation makes it easy to update content so it’s ever green

Nothing stays the same. The value of online resources is that they can be and are usually updated regularly by their resource owners. So, all you need to do is point the new hires to the most important areas of your organization’s internet and intranet sites. They get instant access to the most relevant materials, tools and resources. No more running around making copies of materials to hand out to new hires.

Reason #5:  Online orientation gives you better tracking and reporting of new hire orientation completion

Compliance is important when it comes to orientation and onboarding. Is safety a big issue for your organization?  Or maybe, it is risk and/or security.  Whatever the compliance challenge, an online orientation and onboarding process will provide you with the reporting you need to ensure your new employees are getting the training they need.

Online Orientation Software

Orientation and onboarding software already exists to help you customize your organization’s new hire process. So, what are you waiting for?  Handing out orientation binders full of soon to be outdated materials is so old school. It’s time to bring your orientation and onboarding process into the computer age.

Why Onboarding And Orientation Matter

I have worked at places where onboarding is little more than filling out a stack of paperwork. New hire training and orientation are a matter of being thrown in the midst of things and trying to figure out what to do. Such a welcome to a new job can leave an employee feeling like their new employer cares little for their success. Regardless of the size of your company, creating a plan for onboarding and new employee orientation is important to employee retention.

Use Orientation To Review Policies And Company Culture

Onboarding includes everything from new hire paperwork to orientation and training. Orientation is more than simply having a new employee read your handbook. It should include a thorough review of important policies, benefits, expectations and company culture. Do not just read policies to new employees. Include examples of how those policies apply to the workplace, and make it interactive to keep people interested. I like to include a quiz with prizes at the end as a fun way to review important points.

Large companies typically have enough new hires to justify weekly orientation or even a monthly orientation that employees attend within their first few weeks. Small businesses can take a different approach. Consider a one-on-one meeting where a manager or another employee sits down with the new hire to go over important policies and to answer questions. This can be followed up by a quarterly orientation for everyone hired within the span of a few months.

Have A Plan For An Employee’s First Few Weeks

Start with the first day. Have all new hire paperwork ready to go when the new employee shows up. Designate the manager or someone else to give the employee a tour of the workspace and introduce them to their new coworkers. Plan lunch with the new employee and several people from their department as a way to welcome them to the team.

Develop a plan for an employee’s first few weeks on the job. Create a training checklist that shows what the employee should learn, and determine who will be responsible for training the employee. Use the training checklist as a way to measure progress and to determine what areas the employee may need additional training on.

We shortchange our new employees when we do not provide the training necessary to do their jobs. Set clear goals and communicate those to employees. Make time to check in regularly with your new employee to ensure that they are comfortable in their new job.

Lay The Foundation For A Good Employee

Taking the time to plan out the first few days of employment lays the foundation for a good relationship with an employee. It is not enough to throw a new hire into the deep end and expect that they will learn to swim through the corporate sea without training that has been well thought out. Good communication is the key to a successful relationship with an employee, and the onboarding process is an excellent way to create that from the beginning.



Onboarding: First Impressions Count

Let’s start with the assumption that your organization wants to attract and keep top talent.

Did you know that orientation and onboarding actually starts from the first contact you have with your potential new employees? They start learning about your organization when they first read the job advertisement, browse your organization’s website, and talk to whoever conducts the screening calls and sets up the interviews.

You’ve already made a positive or negative impression on the potential recruit. They’ve gathered critical information about your organization’s branding, organizational structure, products and services, position in the marketplace, and key executives.

First Impressions – Setting The Stage

Once they show up for their interview, they continue to gather first impressions.

They can tell a lot about your organization while sitting in the lobby waiting to be interviewed. I personally look and listen for what I call the ‘laugh factor’. How much laughter do I hear? Are existing employees carrying on lively and interesting conversations with each other? Or, do the employees have their heads down as they walk down the hall? Are they are walking fast and ignoring others around them? The ‘laugh factor’ is typically not present in organizations that are not customer-focused and employee-centric. Or, it may be missing because the organization is not performing well and there are severe cost-cutting and/or downsizing measures taking place. This certainly kills the ‘laugh factor’.

Of course, you shouldn’t pipe laughter into your lobby’s sound system or hire smiling actors to walk the hallways, but you can select an interview location that best represents your organization. Real estate agents know the importance of staging a home environment to increase sales, why not stage your recruitment environment to start the orientation and onboarding process off to a great start.

Here are some orientation and onboarding ‘staging’ ideas:

  • Hang pictures or other informative signage about your organization (i.e., vision, mission and values, pictures of satisfied customers, and/or employees’ social events and/or fundraising activities).
  • Set up a television monitor with video (automated looping) of your organization’s key branding messages for new recruits to watch while waiting for their interview.
  • Put promotional materials about your organization on display for potential new hires to leaf through while waiting for the interview. Offer copies to take home.
  • If possible, provide or at least show samples of your products to try out while waiting or to take home (e.g., if you make consumer products like chocolates, candy, beverages, etc. offer them to potential new recruits).

First Impressions – Pre-Hire Candidates Reactions

As soon as prospective employees leave their interview you can very safely assume they will quickly send out tweets, emails, text messages and/or make phone calls to family and friends to tell them about their interview experience. For sure, friends and family are waiting to hear about your new employees impressions of you, the job, and your organization. What would you like to hear these potential recruits say?  What can you do to influence these ‘public relations’ messages about your organization?

First Impressions – Pre-Hire Information Sharing

Yes, your organization’s recruiters and managers need to conduct effective interviews. They also have the opportunity to ensure potential employees learn key information (beyond what’s publicly available on your web site and press releases) that gives them new and exciting knowledge about your organization. For sure, the interview needs to be about information gathering but your recruiters and managers can also act as ambassadors for your organization, fairly representing its best features.

What potential new employees see and hear during the pre-recruitment phase is actually the foundation of their orientation and onboarding process once hired. Knowing this, how would you treat these recruits differently?  What would you say to them about your organization?

Be prepared to share at least some of the following information:

  • Upcoming, exciting employee events
  • Employee success stories that helped your customers, organization, and/or community
  • Key ways your organization contributes to the community
  • Top three reasons existing employees give about why your organization is a great place to work
  • Little known facts about your organization that are designed to impress
  • Personal benefits you’ve gained from working for your organization
  • Importance of employee development and continuous learning at your organization

First Impressions – Continued

Of course, your new employees will continue to gain first impressions once they start the job and begin the more formal part of their orientation and onboarding process. All of these ‘firsts’ need to be managed well so your new employees, after joining your organization, can say with confidence, “I made the right decision!’.

Photo Credit: Big Stock Images

Time To Proficiency: Orientation And Onboarding

How long does it take your new employees to become proficient at their jobs? How proficient do you need them to be? By when?
Even if you hire top talent who you think have the necessary job knowledge and skills, they will still experience a learning curve because of the unique requirements of their new job and your organization. There’s a learning process all new employees need to go through to achieve the required level of job proficiency.

What Is Proficiency?

Proficiency is the quality of having great facility and competence. Every job requires that certain job competencies be demonstrated to a certain level of proficiency. Competencies are a set of observable behaviors that provide a structured guide to help identify, evaluate and develop key knowledge, skills and attitudes to perform the job effectively. Some of these competencies could include communication, problem-solving, and customer service.

So, how long should it take your new employees to become competent and demonstrate the required level of job proficiency? What new knowledge and skills do they need to learn?

Identifying The Proficiency Gap

Your new employees need to take in and process a lot of information during the initial months on the job. Knowing how to accelerate the acquisition of job knowledge and skills from point ‘A’ to a higher point ‘B’ level, requires identifying your new employees’ current knowledge and skills and comparing them to their expected job performance knowledge and skills. The difference between the ‘current’ and ‘required’ knowledge and skills is called the personal job proficiency ‘gap’, i.e., what they need to be learn to become proficient in their job.

New employee job proficiency gaps can be identified by:

  1. Asking new employees to complete one or more self-assessments to assess their own job competence / proficiency level
  2. Conducting tests / quizzes to assess key knowledge and skills levels
  3. Observing (job shadowing) new employees as they perform their jobs, given specific work assignments
  4. Checking off descriptions (checklist) of what job competencies you see them demonstrate
  5. Asking your new employees specific performance assessment questions

Information Processing For Proficiency

From the first day of employment, your new employees begin comparing what is similar to or different from their previous jobs. For example, almost every job requires the use of computer systems and applications. When the computer system and applications are the same or very similar to what your new employees have used in the past, then their time to competence, or proficiency, is very fast.

Today’s software tools, of course, are better than ever at helping to measure and motive new employees and guide the onboarding process faster. Some new employees, who have limited computer expertise, may require in-depth training, reinforcement and coaching to achieve the required proficiency level. Fortunately, the top SaaS tools are pretty simple to pick up so there’s really no excuse anymore to leave the old paper based approaches to onboarding.

Organizational Language Proficiency – Terms And Acronyms

Have you ever listened to a group of your employees talk about a business challenge while standing in the hallways or during meetings? It often sounds like they are from a different planet. They are using terms that only someone from that area of your business or profession could understand.

Business-speak happens in every organization. Being oriented to a new organization means learning the organization’s language. Don’t underestimate the negative impact on your new employees’ performance when they can’t quite understand what people are saying, especially in meetings.

One of the fastest ways to achieve proficient performance is to be upfront with your new employees about the language (terms and acronyms) used in your organization. Give them access to a well-designed glossary that also includes the meaning of acronyms. Spend time explaining key terms / terminology, with examples and analogies, so they understand the key concepts used within your business or industry. The sooner they can really understand what is being said and speak the language, the faster they will demonstrate competent performance.

Time To Proficiency Advantage

Helping your new employees become proficient faster will make them more valuable to your organization. The key to achieving this result is a well-designed online orientation and onboarding process that accelerates your new employees’ time to proficiency.

Photo Credit: Big Stock Images

Getting New Employees Up To Speed

How fast is fast? How important is that your organization’s new employees become competent as quickly as possible?

A client once asked me to figure out how long it would take for a group of new employees, recently hired for a call centre, to become competent. My first question was, ‘How competent do you want them to be?”  My second question was, “By when?” Is it even realistic to expect 100% competence within a very limited amount of time?

For example, your existing employees are probably operating at a 70% competence level when it comes to computer software. They don’t know what they don’t know.  When learning new computer applications, most users learn the basics but miss out on a lot of features and functionality.  They learn what they need to know to survive. They may never learn what features and functionality could be really useful to them. They achieve a certain competence threshold and accept that threshold as normal and adequate.

Onboarding: What Is An Acceptable Level Of Competence And How Long Should It Take To Get New Hires To Optimized Productivity? 

So, when it comes to new employees, it’s really important to identify what’s an acceptable level of competence and by when.

To figure this out, you need to answer a few additional questions:

  • What is your new employees’ current competence level?
  • What are your new employee’s knowledge and skills ‘gaps’, i.e., the difference between the new employees’ expected performance and their current performance?
  • How much time and effort will it take to raise the new employees’ competence level?

For most new employees, the average time to basic competence is three to six months (unless, of course, they were hired fully competent from a competitor that uses the same systems, policies and procedures). It takes time to learn different computer systems, new performance requirements based on specific policies and procedures, and how to use organization-specific tools and resources. Some jobs may take even longer due to their level of complexity.  Is six months a reasonable amount of time?  What if it takes twelve months to become even 80% competent?

A possible solution? An orientation and onboarding process that focuses not only on WHAT needs to be learned but on HOW WELL and BY WHEN.

Training costs time and money, but the cost of re-training costs even more. Without the proper orientation and onboarding process your new employees could be making mistakes that negatively impact customer service and/or jeopardize your customer accounts. Money that should or could have been spent on orientation and onboarding is now spent cleaning up costly mistakes due to lack of new employee knowledge and skills. Either way your organization is paying for training.

So, why not put more time and energy into bringing your new employees up the learning curve to perform at the needed job performance level from the very first day on the job. Don’t wait until your new employees are not performing as needed to start training. Re-recruiting costs even more than an effective orientation and onboarding process.

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The Hopes And Dreams Of New Employees

High Hopes – Is Your Organization Delivering?

Every new employee has high hopes and dreams for their new job, otherwise they wouldn’t have accepted your organization’s employment offer. As an employer, your organization is offering certain things that employees’ value like good compensation, a stable work environment, an employee-centric culture, and future career growth and opportunities. The employee is offering their current and future knowledge and skills gained through education and employment experiences to further the goals and objectives of your organization.

Before the beginning of the first hour of the first day of their new job, your new employees are saying to themselves:

  • I hope I like it here.
  • I hope my new manager is good.
  • I hope I get along well with the other employees.
  • I hope I can do a good job.
  • I hope there’s a future here.
  • I hope I’ve made a good decision!!!

They’re often gambling big time about their future health, wealth and happiness when joining your organization. It’s not quite like getting married, but it is a very significant decision in their lives that can last as long as a happy marriage.

They have certain hopes and dreams about what this career transition means to them and their families. It’s also not like a purchase from a store that can be taken back the next day if they have buyer’s remorse. Your new employees are typically leaving a very well-known situation (current job/career) for a somewhat uncertain new future (new job/career) that carries a certain amount of risk.

For some of your new employees, the risks involved in changing jobs and organizations are very significant. They may need to relocate their home and family to a different city or even country for a job in a new or different industry. They may be asking themselves if it’s going to be worth the commute to a new job in an industry that can be impacted by an uncertain economy. Was it wise to accept a position working for your organization at this time in their lives? So, after making sometimes difficult job/career decisions, your new employees have high hopes in their new manager, their new job and your organization.

Hope Dashers

Unfortunately, that hope may soon be weakened or destroyed by the actions you or others take during the orientation and onboarding process. Within hours of starting the new job they may start to lose hope, especially if they:

  • Are ignored and left on their own to fend for themselves.
  • Find out that their manager is too busy or they feel like they are bothering him or her.
  • Are given work that’s not meaningful / doesn’t match what they expected based on the interviewing process.
  • Receive inadequate training and coaching support.

When someone doesn’t feel hopeful about a situation, what do they do? They start looking for ways out. They look for other options to reduce their feelings of hopelessness. New employees may start looking for another job immediately or within a couple months. Even if they stick it out, you’ve got a less motivated employee whose employment expectations have not been met.

Hope Fulfillment

Managers are the primary hope fulfillers and even hope enhancers for their new employees. They are the key to reducing new hire turnover. Their words and actions impact the ‘hope’ levels of their new employees, for better or worse.

Some of the new employee hope fulfillment activities managers can do is to:

  • Talk to their new employees. Managers need to make it a high priority to chat with their new employees about their new job expectations and experiences at the beginning and end of their first day, first week, second week, third week and first month.
  • Help them make friends. The more connected their new employees are with others in your organization, the less likely they are to feel alone.
  • Give them a well-planned orientation and onboarding process to follow. Each well thought-out learning activity is a hope fulfiller and/or enhancer.

New employees are making a significant commitment to your organization. It’s time to keep their employment hopes and dreams alive and well.

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Optimize The Onboarding Process With HR Technology

Trending perceptions of how tech will impact HR have a spooky and a bountiful side, a bit like fall’s two major holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving.) On the spooky side is what I call the Body Snatcher Fear, that HR tech is poised to replace humans completely, turning people management into a faceless enterprise. Then there’s the bounty side: the Cornucopia Fallacy, that HR tech is an infinite cornucopia of ready-made solutions already laid out on the table, just waiting for us to come and eat; buy the latest HR software management system and just let it run, for instance.

I’ve talked about talent acquisition, where organizations need to optimize tech’s power to first attract the largest and best possible pool of potential hires, and then winnow through for ideal candidates and manage the many phases of recruitment. Data and software functions are a fine matchmaker there. But the higher you climb up the recruitment pyramid from candidate to hire, the more human input and dynamic flexibility come into play. Add the necessary social and mobile aspects, and you’d best make sure they’ve got a human (as opposed to spammy) face.

In talent management, the challenges of retention and its impact on ROI are as old as the very act of hiring. It’s estimated that 35 percent of new hires leave their new job within six months.

While there are myriad possible reasons, less than stellar onboarding is clearly a factor. And tech offers new solutions. Done right, onboarding (often driven by software) dovetails your new hire in terms of organizational culture, as well as function. In all aspects, first impressions are key: even the process of setting up a new IT password can have a big impact. In practical terms, onboarding more quickly facilitates function and productivity. In more nuanced ways, it:

If your onboarding process is not truly aligned with your organization’s culture and values, the disconnect can be damaging. A recent study of new science teachers, a strata not traditionally known for poor retention rates, is telling. After a training phase that emphasized innovation and creativity, these new hires marched off to work ready to innovate, and got an organizational cold shower. Their onboarding experience included close work with mentors, who stressed the importance of “fitting in,” and conforming to the status quo. Now teachers had to employ the best practices they had absorbed during training on the sly, and the situation was stressful at the very least. Many opted to find new jobs instead.

Here, tech could have been invaluable at comparing the different agendas of training and workplace culture. Had data been gathered on the true nature of the work environment versus the thrust of the training process, the disconnect would have been immediately apparent — data doesn’t lie. Data is a two-way street, and such findings could also have provided a neutral mode in which to point out a problem of workplace values. Here, a stifling status quo trickled down to the onboarding process. But without the data, the training process was unaware of it. And in turn, the best practices stressed during the training phase could not make it back up to the workplace culture: it took an exodus to reveal the problem — after the fact

On the other hand, there’s Google, of all places, an organization so enormous it’s hard to imagine how it can humanize HR. But the company continues to identify and solve workplace challenges on all levels. One result is a more effective onboarding process that optimizes productivity; another is a much-improved retention rate among women, after serious research drove comprehensive improvements on every level. Way to go, gigantic tech behemoth! Why? Humans.

Tech is a tool. To leverage tech’s potential requires human leadership, human innovation and creativity, and human management. Studies like this from Towers Watson show that, despite shrinking budgets in other areas, spending on HR delivery service and technology is actually rising. The more we understand how it can drive HR in all phases, the better the results are going to be.

To learn more about how to empower your new hires on day one, download TalentWise’s latest whitepaper.

TalentWise, is a technology company that’s transforming the way HR manages job offers, screens, and onboards new hires. TalentWise has built a single, online platform that streamlines the hiring process end-to-end with compliance built-in. To find out more about how your organization can onboard better, check out their blog by clicking here.

photo credit: Izzard via photopin cc

For HR to Empower Up

“Wilderness of mirrors
World of polished steel
Gears and iron chains
Turn the grinding wheel
I run between the shadows
Some are phantoms, some are real…”

– Neil Peart, “Double Agent”

Welcome to your new job!

Now, put on these chains and fill out this form…

And then fill out this one…

And then fill out this one…

And then fill out this one…

Darkness descends…

…and excitement slowly seeps away…

We’re talking old school. Not quite the workplace dungeons of the industrial revolution, but definitely of the pre-internet realm. Instead of empowering new employees from before day one, some companies demagnetize their enthusiasm with a day filled with barely legible photocopied paperwork, horribly dry employee handbooks, and outdated training manuals that haven’t been updated since 1999.

All that anticipation and highly engaged first-day energy completely wiped out by the onboarding electronic magnetic pulse, and then we’re left for dead in a paperwork wilderness. As I’ve mentioned many times in the past, I’ve played Human Resources on TV, but I have actually done the blocking and tackling associated with sourcing, screening, hiring and onboarding. I know first hand, at least in smaller companies, that we’ve been quite guilty of a paper-intensive onboarding experience.

The unfortunate reality is that new employees decide their tenure with a company within their first six months on the job. That’s not a lot of time – but it sure adds up to a lot of recruitment and ramping costs.

Last week the 2014 Candidate Experience Awards were announced. What was obvious is that more and more companies have extensive programs in place to improve their overall candidate experience and ensure they provide a positive, rewarding experience as jobseekers. But many of the award winners admitted that they don’t have a very good “internal candidate experience” and many neglect to focus on the bridge between the two when those final candidates transition to new employees.

Of course what doesn’t happen next can and does have a long-lasting effect on their engagement, productivity and tenure. Therefore, it cannot be underscored enough why employers must improve their onboarding processes, where new employees (regardless of classification) are immediately immersed in the company and its culture, rather than hiding them in paperwork shadows on day one.

I’m proud to have just finished HCI’s Human Capital Strategist (HCS) Certification, and part of the coursework included the following Onboarding Essentials:

  • The time it takes for people to become proficient in their new jobs is critical.
  • The “Breakeven Point” according to Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days, is a huge productivity factor that is overlooked by many organizations.
  • Focus on the first 30-60-90 days to get employees off to a fast start.
  • Different breakeven points for jobs, depending on complexity and the applicability of the talent supply pool.
  • Engagement levels are high when joining a new job, but then can quickly decline.
  • Onboarding should be viewed not as an administrative duty but an engagement and developmental experience.
  • The research is clear: a careful and planned onboarding program leads to higher engagement and productivity, and reduces turnover.

Yes, that second to the last one: onboarding should be viewed not as an administrative duty but an engagement and developmental experience.

Unfortunately due to increasing corporate complexity and a constantly changing regulatory environment (not to mention a tightening corporate budget), HR has had little choice but to spend its limited time administering process first, and engaging people second.

To get the engagement, automating as much of the administrative onboarding process as possible is imperative. Otherwise, there’s no way HR (or anyone playing HR on TV) will get to the empowering that Todd Owens, CEO of TalentWise, told us about on the TalentCulture #TChat Show:

HR technologies today are supposed to free HR from routine administration, while helping them keep their organization compliant. Ultimately, it’s about empowering them to deliver a more productive and engaged workforce.

Indeed. However, not all of us in the HR software industry feel that way, or at least develop that way, but I know my mothership PeopleFluent does, along with a few others like TalentWise (in full disclosure, we’re partners). We both certainly know and acknowledge that HR carries the talent torch for us every day. It’s responsible for recruiting, hiring, training and engaging their organization’s most important asset – the people.

That’s why, for HR to empower up, they need to be:

  1. Better Automated. Streamlining the hiring process with the right technology platform enables HR and new employees to focus on the work at hand and immediately immerse into workplace culture. Allowing your new hires to quickly and painlessly move from their offer letter, through whatever “checks” your organization has in place (background and drug screening for example), to onboarding completely gets them ready to go on day one.
  2. And Empowered (as well). Empowering HR from day one is the ultimate outcome, which in turn creates a productive and engaging day one for new hires and co-workers alike. The hundreds of hours of administrative labor saved each year when the paper-process is “turned off” empowers HR to be strategic and to create a sustaining, high-performing, competitive organization today. That’s the business partner the executive team wants in their powerhouse.

Rebooting the human interaction in human resources is what talent engagement is all about and what will ultimately drive the business outcomes that make the top-down and the bottom-up alight with smiles.

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8 Onboarding Best Practices That Promote Staying Power

A smooth onboarding process can be the difference between retaining top level talent and pushing them away after just a few months at your company.

Onboarding also helps your customers; a study by Dr. Robert J. Vance conducted for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows multiple instances of customer satisfaction increasing as organizations made strides to improve their employee engagement. Small and medium-sized businesses in particular face some unique onboarding challenges.

Follow these eight onboarding best practices for new employees that promote staying power – make sure your onboarding process is an asset, not a liability.

1. Don’t Bombard New Hires with Paperwork

This is one of the most common mistakes when it comes to onboarding new employees for SMB’s. Paperwork is necessary for smooth onboarding, but it should be spaced out so that employees do not get overwhelmed by all of the forms they need to fill out and sign.

2. Ask Questions and Answer Them

With so many companies focused on getting new employees up to speed with the company and getting through the process of orientation, it can be easy to forget about the concerns and feelings of the actual employee. Make sure to take time to ask them if they have any questions and answer them as thoroughly as possible.

3. Take Advantage of Technology

It is much easier to type information into forms for an hour than it is to handwrite this information with a pen or pencil. Your business probably already has computers; use them for onboarding to make it easier for your new employees.

4. Call Your Approved Candidates

Instead of sending emails or acceptance letters, pick up the phone to let your interview candidates know they have been hired. This provides a personal touch and makes your candidates feel more connected to your organization.

5. Comply with All Pertinent Hiring Regulations

This is especially important when it comes to onboarding new employees for SMB’s that are in the public sector, such as federal government agencies. Make sure that everyone on the hiring team is aware of regulations about hiring and understands how to follow them.

6. Create a Comprehensive Plan for Error Checking

Ideally, you will be able to put your employee forms through several individuals and departments that can scan the forms for errors and quickly get them corrected, which will save time and hassle down the road.

7. Secure Personal Data

The hiring process usually involves the exchange of a large amount of personal data at once. Keeping this information secure is paramount to ensure that you and your employees do not suffer the consequences of data theft.

8. Streamline the Hiring Process with a Single System

One of the best ways to make onboarding new employees for SMB’s less daunting of a task is to use a dashboard-style system that contains portals to access paperwork, manuals, and other important onboarding materials from a single place. Using these kinds of systems can exponentially lessen the amount of work required by both new employees and the company HR department.

Follow these eight best practices and you have an excellent chance of making your onboarding process one that works to help you retain quality team members and manage the work required from departments involved in hiring.


To learn more about how to create a transformative onboarding experience, download our latest white paper today.

This post is sponsored by TalentWise, a technology company that’s transforming the way HR manages job offers, screens, and onboards new hires. TalentWise has built a single, online platform that streamlines the hiring process end-to-end with compliance built-in. To find out more about how your organization can onboard better, check out our blog by clicking here.

8 Onboarding Best Practices For Making Enterprise Hiring Easier

Onboarding new employees is one of the biggest challenges faced by bigger companies today. Large enterprises are usually segmented, which can lead to difficulty when new employees are brought on board in one department but still need to be supervised by or interact with other areas of the organization.

Follow these eight best practices for onboarding new employees to make hiring a much less difficult process for your enterprise.

1. Establish a Logical Chain of Recruiting Management

At a large enterprise, most operations have several layers of management; hiring is no exception. Make sure that all of the managers involved in your hiring process have open lines of communication with each other and understand what their respective roles are.

2. Strive to Facilitate Personal Interaction

In larger companies especially, there is a tendency to rely on emails and phone calls instead of personal interaction. Whenever possible, make sure that your new hires can get introduced to their colleagues and supervisors face to face, which will help them better connect to the organization.

3. Create a Dynamic Hiring Process

One of the traditional weak points of larger enterprises is their lack of agility compared to smaller companies. For this reason, it is especially important for larger companies to give themselves some room to change their onboarding process when necessary.

4. Make Information Easy to Share

Another of the issues faced by larger companies when it comes to hiring new team members is communication. There are probably several different people within the organization who need to be involved in the hiring process; steps need to be taken to make sure that everyone is on the same page, including the new hire.

5. Keep Adequate Records

For bigger enterprises, record keeping is one of the most critical best practices for onboarding new employees simply because these organizations have a larger volume of employees that have to be brought on board. A smart system for record keeping that is easily accessible will make everyone’s life easier when it comes to onboarding.

6. Focus Your Recruiters

Are the people at your organization who are tasked with finding new talent getting bogged down by administrative busywork? This is a common big enterprise problem. Make sure that your recruiters are spending time identifying top talent and getting them acquainted with the organization, which will make onboarding easier in the long run.

7. Consolidate Forms

Think about the paperwork that you have your employees complete; most likely, there are some forms that can be combined to save time for the hiring managers as well as the new hire. Onboarding time is especially important in large organizations, since they hire a larger number of employees.

8. Streamline Your Onboarding into a Single System

For larger enterprises, using a single portal from which the entire onboarding process can be completed is among the best practices for onboarding new employees. This can make it less difficult to complete paperwork, facilitate better communication, and make new hires happier about a quicker onboarding process.

Large enterprises have to make onboarding a smooth and productive process since they do so much more of it than small companies. With these eight best practices in mind, bigger companies will get much more out of their onboarding process and cultivate deeper relationships with new hires.


To learn more about how to create a transformative onboarding experience, download our latest white paper today.

This post is sponsored by TalentWise, a technology company that’s transforming the way HR manages job offers, screens, and onboards new hires. TalentWise has built a single, online platform that streamlines the hiring process end-to-end with compliance built-in. To find out more about onboarding (and how it relates to beer!) check out our blog.


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Is the Engagement Spark Gone in Your Workforce?

Have you noticed that the passion you once saw in your workers is fading, or completely burned out? The blame game isn’t fun, but let’s just say that most of the time, it isn’t their fault. Organizations will go to great lengths to source and attract great talent, but then their efforts to impress will often come to a halt before the ink on the I-9 is even dry. Leaders are quickly realizing that retention efforts are just as important, if not more, than attraction.

So how can employers fan the flame and keep their workers as passionate about the brand and vision of the company as they once were?

Onboarding is a Must

Onboarding is a very often-overlooked piece of the engagement puzzle. This is the opportunity for leaders to set the bar high and establish great expectations, but it’s also an opportunity to immediately devalue and demotivate the newest members of the team.

Leadership expert and NY Times contributor Bryan Burkhart makes a few suggestions about successful onboarding in, “Getting New Employees Off to a Good Start”:

  • Thoughtfully craft a welcoming office environment that the new member will be walking into.
  • Offer an employee handbook that employees will actually want to read. Be informative, but use language that makes the content interesting. You can also try offering the handbook in digital form.
  • Start the onboarding process before their first day by sending a welcome packet that supplies them with all the necessary information that they will need when they come into the office, and throw in some goodies and swag.
  • Have a mentor or guide assigned to the new employee on their first day.
  • It helps to have new employees start together.
  • Give them some social time to get to know their new team.


Firstly, feedback from the onboarding process is vital. So be sure to have a standard onboarding survey that all new employees can take after their onboarding is complete. Remember though that soliciting and giving feedback must be a continuous and tailored process in order to be effective.

If employees who have lost their spark end up sticking around, which will very often happen, you can bet their spark isn’t the only thing that has faded; motivation and productivity will usually take a nose-dive. Research shows that the average worker works at only about 50% of their capacity. When we consider that only 13% of the population globally is engaged at work, that’s really not surprising.

The two-way dialogue that genuine and continuous feedback creates not only shows employees that they and their opinions are valued, it grants leaders the opportunity to correct issues and praise successes in real-time, when it matters most and can be most effective in fostering engagement and motivation.

Genuine and Respectful Communication

All the surveys, feedback and suggestions boxes in the world won’t replace a caring leader. Have you ever gone to a manager or HR professional with an issue, or even just a discussion and were promptly told to send it in an email or to address it with someone else? Passing the buck and showing disinterest will demotivate an employee faster than you can say “Farmville”.  People can smell disingenuousness a mile away.

“In today’s culture, where so much emphasis is placed on the superficial, people crave authenticity. Employees today are hungry for real what-you-see-is-what-you-get leadership.  The most inspiring and influential leaders therefore don’t lead because of what they do (though they do plenty), but because of who they are. Too often leaders and those who aspire to be, forget that.” – Workplace Leadership Expert, Margie Warrell


Recognition is one of the strongest and easiest ways to motivate and engage employees. Even if the fireworks fizzled long ago, recognition, rewards and proof of value can light a fire under employees. Employees who work in an environment with strong recognition report feeling a 46% stronger connection to the organization than their counterparts who work in weak employee recognition environments. They also experience 45% higher drive and determination.

The average worker won’t sustain their own motivation and connection with the organization, unless guided and encouraged. Leaders must set up the right processes, open the lines of communication and work at genuine leadership in order to keep the flame lit.

(About the Author: A life, career and business coach with over a decade of leadership experience. Melissa Dawn Photiades has led teams in companies ranging from travel to fundraising to small business apps.  One of Melissa’s clients is Herd Wisdom, a company that has developed an app that helps incorporate employee engagement as part of a corporate culture.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 7-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

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Screening And Onboarding: The “Yin and Yang” Of Hiring

I’m frequently asked why TalentWise offers two seemingly different services—screening and onboarding —as one. What do they have to do with one another? My answer: Everything. They are the two primary components of hiring, the process of moving a candidate from job offer to day one, and must be considered collectively when creating this mission-critical process and making associated technology decisions. Doing so will reduce inefficiency for Human Resources, the hiring manager, and most importantly, the new hire.

The Yin

Pre-employment screening is a high touch service. It involves online and offline research, personal contact, and significant manual processing. Increasingly, the industry is finding new and better ways to automate, but it’s still very reliant upon people and the service they deliver. Organizations will typically select a screening provider based on the combination of service, turnaround time, accuracy, and cost. Screening is often perceived as a necessary evil, a hurdle to overcome as quickly as possible, with very little thought going into the overarching hiring process and how it should be structured to administer screening in a more efficient and consistent way.

The Yang

Onboarding, on the other hand, is entirely a software-driven experience, where process design, employment branding, forms automation and socialization come into play. It’s all about ease of use, workflow compliance, and the new hire’s time to productivity. It is where HR understandably spends more of their time, as they work diligently to bring on top talent quickly and efficiently. HR needs to set up new employees for success, and hopefully, a long and productive career with their organization. Technology shines here, solving workflow and compliance complexities.

The Yin and Yang of Hiring

When considering the relationship between screening and onboarding, it is easier to explore from the perspective of the candidate. Screening and onboarding interactions are his or her first contact with the new employer. These interactions are, in effect, the first real experience with the corporate culture. Where recruiting is quite often a sales and marketing exercise, with a primary focus on attracting and closing top talent, the hiring process at most companies (job offer to day one) is where reality sets in. It is very complex, administrative in nature, and can either be cobbled together through an array of point solutions or optimized under a single technology and service platform. With a single platform comes workflows that are considerate of the entire process—from offer letter approval and issuance, to background screening authorizations and disputes, to employment eligibility verification (yes, E-Verify as well). A single platform brings a single candidate experience, a process without any paper or fax, with zero redundant data entry, a single support team, and total focus on the desired outcome of minimal hassle and faster time to engagement and productivity.

Take a look at the first step in the hiring process—the offer letter. Most companies issue an offer contingent upon a successful background screen and/or drug test. Background screening requires an FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) disclosure, a signed authorization, and often some personal information that may not have been collected during the recruiting process (date of birth, SSN, etc). This critical step, the process of extending a job offer, is quite complex. A smart hiring process is considerate of this complexity, uniting these tasks behind a single, secure, mobile-friendly login. It should be a convenient offer process that increases the likelihood that the offer is accepted, followed immediately by the electronic disclosure and authorizations necessary to begin the background screening process. Fast and easy—good!  Slow and disconnected—not good! What may feel like a check-in-the-box for HR when the screening report is returned can be far more onerous for the candidate, and filled with administration, logistics (think drug testing), phone calls, faxes, emails and multiple logins.

Once the offer is signed and screening is complete, the company is presumably ready to move forward with the onboarding process involving new hire forms, workspace and IT requisitions, employment eligibility verification and more. Once again, more complex than it may seem. A smart hiring process is considerate of this, uniting these tasks seamlessly behind a single, secure, mobile-friendly login. A candidate should expect to sign the I-9 form in the same system and at the same time as the W4, state tax forms, and the rest of the company new hire forms. Yet because there is a tendency to manage the hiring process in a piecemeal fashion, companies procure and cobble together point solutions, taking a checklist approach to digitizing and automating the steps of a process without thinking about the process as a whole and the outcomes desired. While there are endless HR technology solutions for discrete pieces of the hiring process, each marking a box on a checklist, a comprehensive approach to process design and technology selection is needed to create a positive and differentiated hiring experience.

A Closer Look…

Take a close look at your organization’s hiring process from the perspective of your new hire. Count the number of interactions you require of him or her. How many separate logins, emails and notifications are there, from the minute you send the offer letter until the new hire is fully productive and enrolled in benefits, payroll and your other corporate systems? It’s probably more than you think. Look for bottlenecks where the hiring process comes to a screeching halt while you wait for the candidate, an employee, or a point solution vendor to respond. Then imagine what a smart hiring process could bring, reducing the number of interactions, the amount of data entry and the bottlenecks, while allowing the process to flow seamlessly and in accordance with your pre-defined corporate policies.

Screening and onboarding go together, because for the candidate, they are linked. HR needs a hiring process that is the perfect marriage of service and technology, of stellar human interactions and flawless technology experiences, to differentiate themselves as an employer. Disrupt the traditional hiring checklist. Transform your process. Create a superior experience for your new hires and set them up for a short road to productivity and a long road with your organization.

(About the Author: Todd Owens is the President and Chief Operating Officer at TalentWise and has been with the company since 2006. Todd previously held senior Product Management and Business Development roles at both Wind River Systems and Siebel Systems. Early in his career, Todd was a United States Navy submarine officer serving aboard the USS Pogy (SSN 647) and on the Third Fleet staff.  He has twice been recognized as a “Superstar for outsourcing innovation in support of HR organizations” by HRO Today magazine.  Todd holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy and a Masters in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.) 

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#TChat Recap: The Power Of Workforce Culture And Continuous Mobility

The Power Of Workforce Culture And Continuous Mobility

Time and time again, employers and organizations find their talent on the move. And why is that? What drives employees to leave? Instead of finding ourselves asking this question, we should be asking, “What drives employees to stay?” Sometimes before you can go forward, you have to go backwards. Meaning, we have to retrace our steps and find ourselves at the early stages of onboarding to discover the secrets of retaining employees. This week, #TChat was joined by Tracey Arnish, Senior Vice President of Talent at SAP, who understands what managing and retaining talent is all about.

Getting new employees onboard early plays a vital role in the outcome of each employee in your organization. Tracey provides us with a glance of the short and long-term effects of new hire onboarding:

It’s through this glance that employers can visualize a roadmap to their employees’ engagement and development. From here, employers and new hires can build a career path together and:

Because at the end of the day, all employees are valuable assets, that provide your organization with the brain power and muscle to innovate and achieve success. But if you want your talent to stick around, then you have to develop it. You can do this if you:

Employees need to know that their career growth matters to you, as much as it matters to them. Why? Simply put, your employees’ engagement, productivity, and happiness is what’s at stake here. This all factors into the kind of short and long-term success your organization will have. And don’t forget, it shapes the kind of workplace culture you’ll have.

Want To See The #TChat Replay?

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to our guest Tracey ArnishClick here to see the preview and related reading.

#TChat Events: The Power Of Workforce Culture And Continuous Mobility


#TChat Radio — Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time?

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to The Power Of Workforce Culture And Continuous Mobility.

Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on culture?

We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

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Save The Date: Wednesday, June 18!

Next week’s #TChat Topic: Authenticity Is An Inside Job That Starts With Self.

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our new Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!

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#TChat Preview: The Power Of Workforce Culture And Continuous Talent Mobility

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, June 11, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT).

Last week we talked about how to have a transformative onboarding experience for new hires, and this week we’re talking about the power of unique cultural immersion and continuous talent mobility.

According to 2013 SuccessFactors WFA Benchmarking Data, normal voluntary turnover is 8.9% annually compared with 18.8% voluntary turnover for hires with their first year of employment. That’s more than double.

It’s no wonder companies struggle to retain top talent from the moment the ink is dry on the new hire paperwork. This is why progressive companies are doing everything they can to create fun and engaging onboarding processes and technology platforms that are unique and configurable to the individual, not the same old tired one-size-fits-all approach.

This includes assigning buddies and peer-to-peer networks seamlessly before day one even starts, so the new employees feel welcome and have support, regardless of role, classification or location (in the office or remote). Incremental and attainable individual and group goals can also be set up with their first 3-6 months to ensure complete workplace and cultural immersion as well as shortening their initial time to contribution.

And it doesn’t stop there. Through the onboarding and networking process, every single person from full-time to part-time employees to temp and contingent employees is a perpetual candidate which is a growth opportunity for the company at large. In turn, providing a continuous mobility experience to your workforce that includes the flexibility to dial up and down their level of contribution, while ensuring they’re career paths are personalized growth opportunities, are the keys to retaining knowledge and your competitive edge. Why look outside first when you already have an internal talent community and referral network?

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn about the power of workforce culture and continuous talent mobility with this week’s guest: Tracey Arnish, Senior Vice President of Talent at SAP.

Related Reading:

Tracey Arnish: Close Skills Gap By Attracting The Best And Brightest Talent Everywhere

John Zappe: Time For Job Offers To Be As Exciting As College Admissions

Meghan M. Biro: How To Succeed At Real-Time Talent Alignment 

Val Matta: New Year, New Hires: How To Up Your Hiring Game In 2014

George Bradt: Want Your New Employees’ Personal Commitment? Take Their Onboarding Seriously

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guests and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: The Power of Workforce Culture and Continuous Talent Mobility

TChatRadio_logo_020813 #TChat Radio — Wed, June 11 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with our guest Tracey Arnish.

Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, June 11 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What are the short & long-term effects of new hire onboarding? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: What activities can immerse and engage new employees quickly & effectively? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: Describe how internal mobility increases talent retention for companies #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q4: What are recommended practices for promoting talent communities & referral networks? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q5: What talent management technologies improve onboarding & internal mobility? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday.

To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!
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Transformative Conversations And Enculturation

“How many times
Do we chaff against the repetition
Straining against the faith
Measured out in coffee breaks…”
—Neil Peart

His smile ricocheted off the booth and hit the back of my head. I couldn’t help but smile right back.

“Bingo, bango!”

He’d just won a $50 gift card after spinning our fabulous PeopleFluent prize wheel at the recent IHRIM Conference. In fact, anyone who came to our booth to hear about how to drive higher levels of contribution and deeper engagement through better “people management” experiences and platforms spun the wheel and walked away with a prize.

Everyone’s a winner; everyone smiles.

Bingo, bango. Like the feeling you get when you land a great job after an exhaustive search. I remember the recruiting and the hiring process, a little over a year ago, excited for day one, ready to get on with it and get to work. The yummy branded cookies sent to my house the week before I started were a nice touch as well, bringing smiles to my little girls (and sugar to their lips). Plus, my new manager had already been mentoring me and working with me prior to day one.

Get to work I did. Sure there was the physical and online paperwork, the administrative subterfuge, but mercy me was it exciting. Then on to week one immediately immersed with colleagues and culture and the work you’ll do.

Thirty days. Sixty days. Ninety days. Six months go by…

That’s when you have to remember the smiles, when you’re “straining against the faith,” because over time the world of work leaves marks no one else can see, no matter how sweet the sugar is; no matter how many coffee breaks we take. Priorities change, responsibilities change, co-workers change, leaders change – you feel like you’re the one spinning on the prize wheel, each and every slot a whitewashed blank.

Bingo, bango. It’s all worth it when you get to do what moves you though, because that’s what moves the business. These moves generate huge payoffs in employee retention, satisfaction, and overall business performance, even with the ups and downs.

Everyone’s a winner; everyone smiles. Like the feeling we get when we’re immersed in a new job, doing things we love, and colleagues and a culture we’re really jazzed about. Like having a repetitive positive onboarding experience every single day.

This is what a high-engagement workplace culture provides – an environment where employees love what they do and with whom they do it.  When all employees are emotionally and intellectually invested, and leadership is just as committed (if not more so), then extraordinary effort and positive financial results follow.

If the recruitment process brings on momentum, then onboarding is the tipping point, the winning spin, one you want to replicate again and again.

The 2013 Candidate Experience Awards survey results revealed that onboarding practices are relatively consistent among participating employers:

  • 65.4 percent of those new hires surveyed had completed paperwork online, versus 69.4 percent for the winning organizations.
  • 42.3 percent of new hires received a call from HR, versus 49.2 percent for winning organizations.
  • 35.5 percent of new hires received a call from the hiring manager, versus 39.7 percent for winning organizations.

Despite less-than-perfect practices by both overall and award-winning firms, these candidates – now new hires who most certainly consider themselves winners in the competition for a job – are nearly universally positive about their onboarding experience:

  • Overall, 79.5 percent of the hired candidates were positive about their onboarding experience, versus 87.2 percent of the candidates of award-winning firms.

Onboarding should be a people-centered process requiring quality, consistency and an ample investment of time. Technology helps to facilitate it all, but not completely replace it. With this understanding in place, companies will always benefit from a successful onboarding process that engages employees from the get-go.

Bingo, bango.

In fact, the best better approach would be to use the time between when the candidate accepts the offer and before they start to actively immerse them in the company culture empowering transformative:

  • Conversations. Having the new hire participate in a webinar or other type of interactive training session, facilitating conversations between the employee and the hiring manager and enabling them to go onsite to see the workplace and meet key colleagues before the actual start date.
  • And Enculturation. Rather than spending most of the onboarding process filling out paperwork, employers will benefit from helping the new hire become acclimated to their new office and co-workers, maybe even assigning them a “work buddy,” thereby improving engagement and making a strong impression at the start of their tenure.

Just as Todd Owens, the President and COO at TalentWise, recently told us – Culture comes from every breath and every step, from before day one and beyond it…

And every single spin of the prize wheel thereafter. Everyone’s a winner; everyone smiles.

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#TChat Recap: Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

There are millions of disengaged workers out there. Working day-to-day in what they feel is a never-ending cycle of the same old routine. But does it have to be this way?

Organizations are now starting to see the “big picture” when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. The process doesn’t just end when employees are hired. To retain employees long-term companies have to build an onboarding process that transforms and innovates the way new employees are engaged and managed.

This week’s guests, Todd Owens, President & COO at TalentWise; & Wendy Matyjevich, SPHR, HR Executive at Entia Ventures & BlackRain Partners, LLC, explain how providing a thoughtful onboarding experience not only keeps new employees around, but it makes them more productive. It builds a culture that can sustain itself.

Todd Owens mentioned:

You keep the candidate in mind during your onboarding process and think big because:

Hiring costs money. Yes, employee turnover is a costly process that ties into how productive and engaged your workforce is, which ultimately, transforms how clients are treated and maintained. It’s vital organizations don’t forget that:

Employees anticipate the same amount of time, attention, and energy from leadership that is expected of them when it comes to how they are treated. It’s a two-way street. If employees don’t receive what they want and demand for, then they may walk and your organization will suffer. Leadership has to remember that:


It has to mean so much more, or else employees will feel disengaged and eventually they will walk. Onboarding is about managing new employees and their transition into your community and culture. By providing them guidance and support along the way, leadership will see the results it expects and meet the demands that employees expect. 

Want To See The #TChat Replay? 

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to our guests Todd Owens and Wendy MatyjevichClick here to see the preview and related reading.

#TChat Events: Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires


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