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:
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:
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.
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:
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?
The American Psychological Association, Centre for Organizational Excellence, recommends the following communication strategies to help make your workplace programmes successful:
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.
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:
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:
As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.
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:
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:
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:
To further understand your culture, The Bridgespan Group recommends asking the following questions:
Professional Opportunities and Advancement
Work Hours and Commitment to Work
Architecture, Aesthetics, and Atmosphere
Also ask yourself what you are looking for in your leadership beyond their job descriptions:
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.