DAV Professional Placment Group
DAV Professional Placment Group


Johannesburg +27 11 217 0000

Cape Town +27 21 468 7000

JOHANNESBURG +27 11 217 0000
CAPE TOWN +27 21 468 7000

November 24, 2015
9:47 am
by Joanne Meyer

Onboarding: What To Do On the First Day

Onboarding What To Do On the First Day November 2015 - Joanne Meyer








Onboarding is a process, not an event, and in my last article I looked at how you can begin the process even before your new employee’s first day of work. That first day is crucial, even if you have created a sterling initial impression during the recruitment and hiring phase. Here’s how to use their first day to best position them for success.

Before they arrive for their first day make sure they know:

  • What time work begins
  • What to bring with them (e.g. two copies of their ID)
  • Where to park
  • Who to ask for at reception

New employees are typically extremely nervous on their first day, eager to impress and easily overwhelmed. The best thing to do for them is to give them a sense of familiarity with their brand new surroundings in an easy-to-digest fashion. Perhaps assign a staff member to give them an office tour and let them know where things are (kitchens, bathrooms, cafeteria, photocopiers etc.). Find ways to make them feel welcome, e.g. send an email out to everyone in their department so they are prepared to welcome them.

Balance their day’s schedule between orientation, meetings, and less formal gatherings. Keep it relatively light, as many people will not get a good night’s sleep before their first day at a new job, and they have a lot to absorb; so give them some breathing room. If possible, arrange for the new employee to be treated to lunch by a group of staff members. Find impactful ways to impart your company culture, values, mission and vision.

Make sure you have the following ready for them:

  • A welcome note is always a good idea, perhaps even a welcome kit filled with goodies.
  • A security badge or access disc if they need one.
  • Their computer with a configured e-mail account and any other software programmes they may need.
  • Their business cards.

Show them how to use the intranet, the phone system (setting up their voicemail beforehand is a good idea) or any other system they will need, this way they don’t waste time figuring these things out for themselves.

Remember that new employees are asked to absorb a lot of information in a short amount of time, so encourage them to take notes and expect that they will have questions about these things later on. Let them know who they should talk to if they have questions. It’s a good idea to assign a co-worker or a hiring manager as a mentor to check-in with the new employee.

Schedule a meeting with the employee’s manager for the first afternoon. During this meeting, the manager should review their goals, the responsibilities of the position and give an overview of what the first 30-90 days in the position will look like. To get them excited about being part of the team, discuss current projects and goals the company is working on. This way they have an idea of how to contribute as well as how they will fit into the master plan. Have projects for them to begin work on immediately: people prefer to feel useful and valuable.

Everything you do should be aimed less at the logistics and more at making your new employee feel really excited to be there, so that they reaffirm their decision to work for you.

If we can assist in any way, please get in touch.


November 23, 2015
4:05 pm
by Maria Meiring

Why Workplace Communication is so Crucial


Why Workplace Communication is so Crucial November 2015 - Maria Meiring

Communication skills are often listed in the top 4 job skills predicting both employer and employee satisfaction (or disatisfaction). Its importance cannot be underestimated. In the workplace people of different backgrounds and personalities interact on a daily basis; the ability to effectively communicate becomes critical to the success of the department and the company.

Additional to diversity of background and personality is the fact that everyone in the workplace has his or her own style of communication and the ability to hear and understand what the other person is saying, as well as get our own point across, is what effective communication is all about.

Equally important is that we recognise communication comprises of both verbal and non-verbal ‘conversations’ (think body language or electronic communication).

The advantages of effective workplace communication include:

Increased employee productivity. Research has shown that effective lateral and work group communication leads to an improvement in overall company performance. It has also been discovered that employees who were graded as highest in production had received the most effective communication from their superiors.

Increased employee job satisfaction. When managers listen to employees and respond, employees feel seen and heard (not just a number); this leads to an increase in employee job satisfaction.

A positive effect on absenteeism and turnover rates. Studies have shown that even after retrenchments, companies that have excellent communication are able to retain the surviving employees.

Improved workplace culture. One of the many positive benefits gained from well established organisational communication is an understanding of the company culture, the company’s goals and its vision. In addition, it leads to improved relationships between colleagues as well as between managers and staff.

Improved time management. Good communication leads to an improvement of one’s own time management well as the ability to keep staff focused on deadlines.

On the flip side, the business impact of poor communication, include:

  • Increased employee turnover;
  • Increased absenteeism;
  • Poor customer service;
  • Ineffective change management;
  • Failed project delivery;
  • Higher litigation costs; as well as
  • Lower shareholder return.

Barriers to effective business communication include:

Not Listening. Whether because of a lack of involvement with the topic, distractions or differences in opinion, one of the most common barriers to communication is poor listening skills.

Making assumptions. Often assumptions are made to speed up a process or task. This is never a good idea.

Body language. Non-verbal signals (especially negative ones) have the potental to block effective communication and damage relationships in the workplace.

Ineffective questions. Make sure you use open ended questions to get the answers you seek.

Information overload. How many times have you seen the same email covering the same information but from a different sender? When employees have too much information to process they will simply start ignoring some of them (chances are these will be the ones containing critical information).

Conflicting messages. For example, when our body language contradicts what we are saying. This creates confusion for the receiver of the message which may lead to the message being ignored.

Physical barriers. Anything that physically distracts you forms part of this barrier, e.g. ringing telephones, office maintenance etc.

Perception. We all look at the world differently. Keep an open mind and remember there are other valid view points and opinions.

Cultural. Dealing with different cultures can sometimes be difficult to navigate. Many times it’s down to a difference in approach stemming from different beliefs and customs.

Language. Even when all parties share the same first language, words can be misunderstood and misconstrued. When we speak different languages, this barrier is heightened.

Workplace stress. Stress can lead to missed deadlines, decreased productivity and weakened communication.

 So how do you go about improving workplace communication?

  • Consider the situation before taking any action;
  • Gather and confirm information before making a decision;
  • Focus on problems, not personalities;
  • Try not to respond to criticism;
  • Stay focused on the current topic;
  • Listen carefully to what others say;
  • Try to see the other point of view;
  • Take ownership;
  • Look for compromise;
  • Manage individuals, not groups;
  • Meet subordinates face-to-face; and
  • Assign tasks directly and clearly.

The American Psychological Association, Centre for Organizational Excellence, recommends the following communication strategies to help make your workplace programmes successful:

  • Providing regular, ongoing opportunities for employees to provide feedback to management. Communication vehicles may include employee surveys, suggestion boxes, individual or small group meeting with managers, and an organisational culture that supports open, two-way communication.
  • Making the goals and actions of the organisation and senior leadership clear to workers by communicating key activities, issues and developments to employees and developing policies that facilitate transparency and openness.
  • Assessing the needs of employees and involving them in the development and implementation of effective workplace practices.
  • Using multiple channels (for example, print and electronic communications, orientation and trainings, staff meetings and public addresses) to communicate the importance of a psychologically healthy workplace to employees.
  • Leading by example, by encouraging key organisational leaders to regularly participate in healthy workplace activities in ways that are visible to employees.
  • Communicating information about the outcomes and success of specific healthy workplace practices to all members of the organisation.

Communication in the workplace will always be a work in progress. Remove the barriers that block the process and you will improve employee motivation.

If you have any questions or if we can help in any way, please get in touch.


November 16, 2015
3:08 pm
by Hillary Myburgh

Bring Your Talent Brand To Life

Bring Your Talent Brand To Life November 2015 - Hillary Myburgh


Separate from yet aligned with your corporate brand, your talent brand is the candidates’ perception and reputation of your overall employment offering. It’s what they feel or think about your company as a place to work. 56% of global talent leaders say it’s a top priority for their company. In a previous article I spoke of how to build your employer brand, now let’s talk about how to bring it to life.

Sunita Khatri of Oracle Human Capital Management says that the quickest way to jumpstart your talent brand is by developing a strategy to leverage ‘owned media’ – any communication channel you can control and is unique to your brand. Your corporate website, careers pages, company blog, landing pages, newsletters, Twitter handles, press releases etc. are all opportunities to deliver a smart employer brand message. In addition, anything that establishes value in your brand (such as ad buys, job postings etc.) can be considered owned and yours to re-imagine. Be creative with these channels; how and what you narrate is the “act of marketing” and how others respond determines the health of your talent brand. As marketers target prospective buyers, you will target job seekers.

Maura McElhone of Clinch recommends introducing employer branded content into those channels previously primarily associated with your corporate brand. By positioning your employer branded content in front of those who are already fans of, or at the very least, are familiar with your product/service, and assuming your employer brand is strong enough; you stand to convert a good portion of those fans into potential candidates.

The next best way to amplify your talent brand is to equip your employees to be brand ambassadors. If your corporate culture creates a desirable and motivational experience for your employees (and they understand and believe in your mission, vision and values), they will naturally want to share their experience of working for you. Empower them to do so through enabling the sharing of content, job opportunities, day-to-day experiences and more (on and offline). Make sure you develop and communicate social media guidelines and clear objectives. On a more administrative level, make sure current employees are aware of and happy with the following:

  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Opportunities for employee development and growth
  • Rewards & Recognition
  • Work/life balance

 Moving on to social media, don’t be afraid to experiment with different kinds of content on multiple different platforms to see what’s best received where. Make sure the content you create and share is authentic and reflects your company’s unique culture and values. It should inform, engage and entertain and be candidate-focused. Use created (press releases, blog posts, white papers, case studies and testimonials) or curated content, images, presentations, webinars, videos and infographics; mix it up. It’s a good idea to develop a content calendar in advance so you know what you are going to post where, and what the messaging will be. Showcase what makes your company unique, how you have fun, what matters to your company, spotlight events or feature teams working on cool stuff. It’s up to you.

As you go about bringing your talent brand to life, keep in mind these golden rules, from LinkedIn:

  1. Look in the mirror. Make sure that what you do (and don’t do) is what you’d like employees to emulate. Urge your immediate team to do the same.
  2. Inform your leadership. Use data to gain support, ease concerns, and help explain your choice of platforms. If they are skeptical, start small and build wins with individual executives.
  3. Target your messages. With attention spans so short online, you need to grab your candidates’ attention. The more relevant your message is to a particular audience, the greater its impact will be.
  4. Make your culture shine. It’s never just about jobs. Focus on your people; their stories and emotions; to create truly memorable employer brand moments.
  5. Go Viral. For amplified results, find creative ways to get more people talking about your company’s great culture. Your employees can be a great source of novel ideas.
  6. Be Visual. Dial up the ‘show’ in ‘show and tell’. Bold and colourful images, graphics, charts, and videos can really bring your brand to life.
  7. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Setting up a new page is one thing; maintaining it and being responsive to enquiries can be another. Show that your efforts are scalable and sustainable on one platform before moving on to another.

As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.


November 10, 2015
12:31 pm
by Judy Hofer

Leadership: Hiring or Developing for Culture Fit

Leadership Hiring or Developing for Culture Fit November 2015 - Judy Hofer

There’s no longer any doubt that culture fit is a strong component of productivity and success in a leadership role. It’s also essential for long-term engagement and retention. Culture fit can cover a variety of characteristics, but ultimately, the question hiring managers should be looking to answer is, does this candidate’s values align with those of the company, be they work-life balance, corporate mission or how to handle a customer phone call?

Evaluating for culture fit shouldn’t come at the expense of evaluating for competence, however. Always strive for candidates with both high culture fit and high competence, but if you do have to make a choice choose the medium competence candidate who most closely shares your vision, values and purpose. Also balance your evaluation against the need for diverse backgrounds, experiences, ideas, and working styles within your leadership team.

The truth is even the most qualified candidate may fail if he/she doesn’t fit within the corporate culture; and all to often an ill-fitting candidate can prove toxic to the culture itself. So, how do you hire or develop for something as nebulous as culture fit? Begin by making sure you have defined your culture and then screen candidates for their fit against what you have defined. Sheila Margolis recommends using the following 3 P’s to do so:

Purpose (The Why) Your Purpose is the fundamental reason why the organisation exists (beyond profit) and is central to its culture. When the purpose of the organisation is meaningful to an employee, it provides a connection to work that is not just rational: it’s also emotional. Your purpose statement should be brief but broad in scope and should address the following:

  • Is it a contribution to society – not a product or service?
  • Does it answer the question: Why is the work we do important?
  • Does it inspire and motivate?
  • Does it use powerful words?

Philosophy (The How) Your philosophy is a set of fundamental, distinguising and enduring values that directs behaviour within the company; employees use them to guide their decisions and daily actions. Identify candidates who obsess about “how” you do things at your company – this will produce a workplace where employees live the principles consistently. Spend time analysing the company’s values and determining how those values can be translated into actions. A few questions can reveal your philosophy:

  1. What value has been fundamental and distinctive to our organisation since its founding?
  2. What special attribute does our company’s founder possess that has influenced the character of the organisation?
  3. What ideals drove the organisation’s creation?
  4. What makes this organisation feel different from other companies in the same business?
  5. What is central to who we are as an organisation that should never change?

Priorities (The Strategic How) Priorities guide ‘how’ the purpose and philosophy are put into practice; think of them as strategic values. They are the ones that will allow you to compete and thrive and to reach your goals; hence you need to know your goals to be able to define them. Specific areas of a company may have additional unique strategic priorities, informed by their goals and objectives. In selecting people for culture fit, they must be aligned with both the organisation-wide strategic priorities and the area strategic priorities where they will be working. Ask the following to uncover your priorities:

  1. What should we focus on and pay attention to?
  2. To effectively achieve our goals, what values should guide everyone in how we work?
  3. What key values, if followed, will allow our organisation to compete and thrive?

To further understand your culture, The Bridgespan Group recommends asking the following questions:

Work Style

  • How do we get our work done? Collaboratively? Independently? A combination?
  • How do we make decisions? Consensus-driven? Authoritatively?
  • How do we communicate? Verbally or in written form? Directly or indirectly?
  • What are our meetings like? Serious? Lighthearted? Tightly or loosely structured?

Professional Opportunities and Advancement

  • What types of people tend to do well here? Individual contributors? Team players? People who are proactive or more responsive?
  • How are we structured? Hierarchical or flat? Centralised or decentralised authority? Clear reporting structures or matrix?
  • How do we reward people who do well?
  • What happens when people don’t perform well?

Work Hours and Commitment to Work

  • How many hours a week do we expect senior management to work on average?
  • Do we provide flexible work schedules or allow for telecommuting, or do we prefer people to work set hours?
  • How much travel do we expect of senior management?
  • Are we looking for someone who will be here for a certain number of years or as part of a succession plan for senior management?

Architecture, Aesthetics, and Atmosphere

  • How are our offices set up? Open environment? Closed-door offices?
  • How do we dress? More formally? Less formally?
  • How do we have fun?

Also ask yourself what you are looking for in your leadership beyond their job descriptions:

  • What kinds of senior management personalities and work styles currently exist in our organisation?
  • What adjectives would we use to describe the people who have been successful in our organisation?
  • What kind of decision-making style do we want this new senior leader to have? Are we looking for an approach that is similar to the executive director’s or for a different, complementary style?
  • Are we looking for someone to create more teamwork within the organisation or to establish more authority and hierarchy?
  • What kind of leadership style are we looking for in this position? Someone who will promote the status quo or someone who will shake things up within the organisation?
  • Are we looking for a senior leader with more “gravitas” or someone who will lighten up the existing team?
  • What types of personalities work well with the various stakeholders we interact with and what characteristics will this person need to have in order to be successful in these interactions?

Once you have defined your core culture make sure your recruitment, interviewing (remember to use behaviour-based interview questions), hiring and internal development processes reflect and support it.

If you have any questions or if we can help in any way, please get in touch.


  1. Hiring for Culture Fit – Sheila Margolis
  2. Should You Really Hire for Cultural Fit over Competence? – Diana Martz, Openview Labs
  3. How to Hire People Who Fit a Company’s Culture – Will Staney, Head of Global Recruiting, Glassdoor, as seen on Entrepreneur
  4. Determining a Candidate’s Culture Fit – The Bridgespan Group