5 Tactics to Support Your Employee Engagement Strategy [Part Two]

Welcome Aboard.  Sink or Swim With On-boarding.

Imagine you are marooned on an island inhabited by a tribe of friendly people but culturally vastly different to what you are used to.  All of the norms of this tribe are not threatening but far outside your patterns of behaviours.  You can imagine how difficult and intimidating this would be.  Why do you think it is any different when people join organisations as new hires?

The experience a new recruit has joining a new organisation has an enormous impact on how soon a person ramps up to effectiveness and how quickly they become engaged with the organisation and its culture.  You can refer to the previous blog for a great definition of employee engagement.

If you have ever experienced a bad hire and either had to take action to remove a new hire or they leave quickly on their own accord, the impact goes way beyond the cost, pain and frustration of having to start a recruitment process again or settle for your second or third choice.  The ripple impacts of a bad hire hit your culture widely and deeply. You can reduce or eliminate these risks by developing a solid on-boarding strategy.

Here are some ideas that I have seen work well in some of my clients’ organisations. Some of these ideas work better for some organisations and less so for others depending upon a number of factors such as industry, location, resources and culture.  You should also consider the type of position you are inducting.

You may have a different style of on-boarding processes in your sales team as opposed to your finance team.  These differences take into account the type of individual[s] you are inducting and the culture of the team they are joining.

Here are some ideas:

  • Start the induction early using your LMS or other web based platform. Start the process before they arrive for day one by offering some online videos, courses and information they can review in their own time.  Make this fun, interesting and collaborative.
  • Include a social gathering either prior to day one or shortly after.  You can make it a dinner with their new manager or a small gathering of their manager and team members.
  • Make the induction a ‘high touch’ experience.  I am always surprised how often a new hire is sitting alone in their office or workstation going through induction.  This is sending all the wrong messages to the new hire.  Include different people to interact, support and coach the new person.  Do this even if you are inducting a number of people at once and use workshops to deliver induction training.
  • Include some online learning and collaboration to deliver a ‘blended’ approach.  You do not need to use costly learning content.  You can use some home-grown videos, presentations and links to other resources.
  • Add sense of achievement when a person completes their induction.  You can have a small team social gathering over coffee, deliver a certificate of completion or another gift or token signifying the completion of the induction.  Using a certificate or token item makes a great cultural ‘tradition’ and you can award them retro-actively if you want to.
  • Include some interface between the inductee[s] and senior management.  Choose the highest senior level leader you can but choose wisely.  Do not make the mistake of choosing a senior leader who does not have the commitment to successful inductions and culture required or is not reliable to stick to appointments.  This tactic can backfire if you choose a leader who considers this a nuisance and cancels appointments or lacks the EQ to conduct a meeting with new hires effectively.
  • After the induction process is completed include a meeting schedule for a month or two after.  I suggest a coffee or informal meeting of about 10 to 15 minutes duration and conducted by human resources or another manager; not their direct manager.  The purpose of these meetings are to get some feedback, check for any barriers to work objectives and be alert for some innovation.  It is surprising how a newly hired person will identify areas for business improvement and innovation.  They are not yet fully immersed in the role and the ‘third party’ perspective is priceless.

A great induction process takes work and attention.  The induction process needs to designed and documented.  The process needs to be aligned with the organisation’s strategy and supported at all levels including specifically the CEO and other ‘c’ level executives.

If you are considering developing a new induction strategy or re-developing an existing one, we can have a discussion and share some ideas.  You can keep your focus on your objectives and we can help you develop, implement and execute an effective on-boarding/induction strategy.

5 Tactics to Support Your Employee Engagement Strategy [Part One]

Employee engagement has been at the forefront of business topics for a couple of years now at least.  I have found a number of definitions and interpretations of employee engagement and I really like this article in Forbes by Kevin Kruse, [@Kruse].  Kevin Kruse uses this definition, “Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals.”

I believe employee engagement is the most critical competitive advantage a business of any size can achieve.  It is the first point of focus when I am asked to lead a business, consult to a business or invest in a business.

I have five key tactics that contribute to building and sustaining employee engagement.  My five tactics can be further broken down into methods, processes, tools and other contributing factors to ensuring the successful execution of each tactic.  You can get in touch with me if you have some ideas, comments or questions.

Recruitment

Believe it or not this one is often the most neglected.  Many companies hire for competencies, track record, experience and education.  These are all fine but if you want to build engagement you need to consider personal behavioural and style and cultural fit.

I use an assessment tool that enables me to gain deep insight into a person’s behavioural profile.  This information enables me to understand clearly how a candidate will behave when faced with certain environment situations.  I have also developed assessments that include competencies to understand the interplay of the behavioural profile and the execution of a job role with mandatory and ideal competencies.  I can also run reports that give me a ‘helicopter’ view of the entire organisation or a specific team to see where the candidate will fit in.  Will the new person fill a gap or skew the team profile one way or other.

I hire slow.  Back in the heated days of tech skill shortages and frenzied demand for IT skills, candidates were hired based on a CV only.  I always resisted and am now benefitting from having a long tenured team of developers in one of my companies.  Consider including some social interaction with short-listed candidates to see if you feel comfortable with them.  If you feel uneasy in a social setting you are likely to feel the same way in the work environment.  You should also include a meeting at the office or a social setting for your team to meet the candidates.  This feedback is invaluable and ensures you are getting a good critical cross check to your impressions and possible biases.

Using the behavioural profiles, multiple interviews and meetings with other team-members is a win-win strategy for you and the candidates.  In my experience doing this shortens the ramp-up time to having a fully contributing team member.  It also contributes to a shared responsibility for helping a new team member to ramp up and enjoy the benefits of enculturation more quickly.

We have a range of off-shelf online courses to help build and sustain employee engagement.  Get in touch and I will send you a full catalog and give you the chance to give some of these courses a ‘test drive.’

On-boarding is mission critical

Organizations spend enormous amounts of time and resources to hire a new employee.  According to Bersin by Deliotte, 22% of new hires quit their jobs in the first 45 days of employment. Their research goes on to say a poor on-boarding process is the reason for new hires quit this quickly.  The report suggests that top notch organizations focus on “enculturation and socialisation” in their on-boarding process.

DOTS Talent Solutions has the course modules to help your organization drive new hire enculturation, socialization and engagement.

Our Vado On-boarding course bundle contains 18 manager courses called Onboarding New Employees and 7 courses called Starting a New Job. Combined, these course bundles are designed to on-board, socialize and build the relationshipbetween the new hire, manager and team.  Your organisation will achieve measurable  benefit from the On-boarding courses with increased new hire engagement, shorter time to contribution and increased new hire retention.

The On-boarding course bundle covers these topic areas:

  1. Aligning Goals and Expectations
  2. Developing Skills and Capabilities
  3. Building a Network
  4. Getting to Know Others
  5. Understanding the Role
  6. Getting Feedback

If you are interested in learning more, check this out.  Do you want to ‘test drive’ some Vado modules?  Click here and we will send you a login.

People Join Organizations and Quit Managers

We have heard this statement over and over “People join organizations and quit managers.”  But is there any truth to it?  According to two different research reports, one reason people leave organizations is due to the boss.  Kenexa research shows that 30% of turnover is due to the boss.  Forbes completed a study titled, “Why Your Top Talent is Leaving in 2014 & What It’ll Take to Retain Them” and they cite that 37% of top talent is leaving due to Boss’ Performance.

Research conducted by Gallup, Inc. supports the statistics from Kenexa and Forbes.  They go on to quantify the qualities employees want in a manager. The top four are:

  1. Managers who show care, interest and concern for their staff
  2. To know what is expected of them
  3. A role which fits their abilities
  4. Positive feedback and recognition regularly for work done well

One of the reasons employees leave is because of their boss.  So, to improve retention, we need to improve boss’ performance.  How do organizations improve management performance?  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Set clear performance expectations.  Your leaders need to know that you expect them to be good leaders and that you want them to show their employees that they care, are interested in them, provide feedback and recognition, to provide employees with a job that fits their abilities and that employees understand what is expected of them.
  2. Train your leaders. Offer your leaders management development opportunities on the qualities and capabilities you want your leaders to demonstrate.  Ensure that the courseware helps your leaders apply the training on the job. Remember – your leaders will only become good at being a leader if they practice the content in the courses they completed.
  3. Be a good role model.  Model the qualities you expect of your leaders.

Author: Cindy Pascale
Cindy Pascale is the CEO and co-founder of Vado and has 16+ years of HR, Training & Development and OD leadership experience and 12 years running talent management, development and assessment companies.  Vado is the e-learning courseware provider ‘changing the face of learning’.

Vado Defined

This is a guest post by Cindy Pascale, Director of Vado Inc.  Vado is a partner with DOTS Talent Solutions to bring the innovative Vado course modules to Australia.

Besides a beautiful city in Italy, what is Vado, and why would anyone give an e-learning courseware company such a name?

Vado means “go” in Latin, however, it has a deeper meaning for Vado’s other co-founder, Kim Egan, and me. You see, we set out to create learning content to solve the biggest issues impacting all training and development initiatives. Whether it’s e-learning courseware, instructor-led workshops, or something in between, we wanted to solve the question everyone is asking. That is, how do you get a learner to apply what they learned on the job?

Most learning and development professionals will agree with the following statements:

  • Employees and leaders want to grow, develop, and improve on the job performance.
  • The goal of training and development activities is to improve employee on the job performance, and as a result organizational performance.
  • Performance can only improve if learners apply learning content on the job.

Unfortunately, if your employees and leaders are motivated to develop and improve their performance, and if the only way they can do this is to apply what they learned on the job, then why don’t they? We think it comes down to the design of the training.

Unfortunately, it seems most learning content is not designed to help the learner apply what is learned. Instead, learners are given a quiz at the end of an e-learning course, or they are asked to write an “Action Plan” outlining what they plan to doafter a workshop. Sounds good in theory, and yet none of these methods really help the learner apply the new skill on the job.

The good news is that Vado’s unique course design helps learners “go” and apply learning on the job to develop a desired skill. With a step by step, detailed process or exercise, the learner builds his or her capabilities by doing and performing at work, where real development happens—it’s Action Defined.

With this in mind, we encourage you to ask your learning content provider how they help your learners apply their learning content on the job. It’s a question all training and development professionals should be asking.

If you would like to experience the Vado modules please get in touch with us at DOTS Talent Solutions and we will send you a full catalogue and enroll you in a Vado module in DOTS LMS.

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