Tips for Effective Employee Onboarding

November 22nd, 2010

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

When you hear this saying, you may envision a nervous job seeker, compulsively straightening his suit and repeating his 30-second “personal sales pitch” before an interview.  But quite honestly, the saying is just as relevant for the hiring company.  Why?

When you mainstream and orient a new hire, you set the tone for his work experience with your organization.  The more positive that initial experience, the more welcome and prepared the individual will feel in his new position.  This will, in turn, give him the confidence and resources to quickly begin making a positive impact within your company (which is why you hired this person in the first place, right?).

So make a commitment to create a great first impression on your new hire by implementing a thorough and effective onboarding process.  Use these tips to make him feel welcomed, valued and prepared to hit the ground running:

  • Welcome a new employee with a letter.  Before the individual’s first day, send a friendly and informative letter to welcome him and review his first day’s schedule, helpful tips for parking, to whom he should report, etc.  Alternately, you can post new employee schedules, materials, benefits forms and a FAQ on your company Intranet, and make it accessible from a link in a welcome e-mail.
  • Prepare a corporate “family tree.”  Familiarize new hires with your company’s “who’s who.”  You can make photos, names and job titles available on your company’s Intranet, or maintain a simple bulletin board with the same info to facilitate the getting-to-know-you process.
  • Pre-orient existing staff members.  Provide employees with your new employee’s résumé and job description before he starts.  Advise each team member to conduct a meeting with the new hire in which he shares a description of his own position, reviews the ways their roles interact and covers how they might work together in the future.
  • Approach the process from the employee’s point of view.  The onboarding process can be complex and overwhelming for your new hire.  To keep your new team member feeling valued, try to create orientation procedures that make the process fun, interesting and as painless as possible.
  • Provide and review a written plan of employee objectives and responsibilities.  This step will eliminate confusion about job functions and will open the floor to discuss concerns or new opportunities.
  • Give the new employee your undivided attention.  Be careful not to let e-mails, phone calls, or other employees distract you during orientation sessions, because this sends the unintended message that the new hire is not worth your time – a real morale-killer.
  • Make day one personal.  Prioritize interpersonal relationships with key colleagues as soon as your new employee starts.  Make sure you welcome the whole person – not just a set of job functions – from the outset, and you’ll be sure to make a great first impression.

ABR Employment Services works to make new employee transitions as successful and simple as possible.  Our stringent screening process ensures that the candidates we refer (whether on-time or direct) have the skills, experience and traits necessary to integrate seamlessly with your existing workforce.  Contact us today to learn more about our staffing solutions for Wisconsin employers.

Succession Planning – Identifying New Leaders for Your Organization

November 15th, 2010

The boomers are retiring.

This is not news, of course, but their mass exodus from the workforce does create a potential problem for many organizations – namely, identifying new leaders to fill the boomers’ shoes.  In addition to closing the talent gap this generation will leave, other reasons to proactively develop new leaders include:

  • Keeping pace with constantly changing business strategies
  • Quickly filling new roles created by organizational growth, as we emerge from the recession
  • Adapting to job realignments caused by mergers and acquisitions
  • Heading-off potential skill shortages
  • Increasing employee engagement and productivity

Does your company’s succession plan address all these issues?  The truth is, many organizations are too busy managing the daily pressures created by a lengthy recession to look that far down the road.  But to win the talent war, you need to start assessing, planning and developing leaders now.  Here are a few strategies to make your succession planning more effective:

  • Create a plan before talent needs become talent crises.  Remove some of the stress caused by finding the right person for a job by planning for future needs now.  Careful planning will minimize workforce disruption, increase knowledge transfer and increase employee engagement / loyalty by providing clear career paths.
  • Let your best employees know about your plans for them.  Tell your key talent that your company has high expectations for them.  Prepare them and increase their buy-in by letting them know that you will be investing in their futures and will be facilitating moves to enhance their professional development.
  • Define criteria and profiles against which to measure employees’ potential.  Logically, you want to develop employees with the greatest potential – but potential for what?  Work together with key executives to map out the future requirements for success in key positions (i.e., what will tomorrow’s leaders have to be able to do to succeed in these roles?).  Use these criteria as a measuring stick for evaluating each individual’s potential.
  • Assess current employees’ skills and competencies.  Once success criteria have been defined, you must invest the time and money to objectively and validly assess what your internal talent can do.  While each company must decide which tools best fit its individual needs, popular ones include:  assessments from the candidate’s circle of influence; career achievement summaries to capture work experiences; psychometric tools; behavioral interviews to probe against established criteria for success.
  • Create plans to close the gap.  Once you understand where current employees are and where they need to be, you can customize talent development plans to close the gap.  As potential leaders progress in their growth, keep them updated on hiring decisions.  Monitor their interest and involve them in the development process as much as possible, to keep them invested for the long-term.  Most importantly, make sure their career aspirations are aligned with your succession plans, to keep you both working toward the same goal.

After assessing employees, some businesses find a lack of internal talent with the potential for leadership.  That’s where ABR Employment Services can help.  We can recruit, screen and identify individuals who have the skills, competencies and behavior traits to become future leaders within your organization.  Call us to find out more about our direct hire staffing solutions for Wisconsin employers.