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On Boarding

via Business News Daily : What Does Poor Onboarding Really Do to Your Team?

Getting your new hires started off on the right foot requires more than just offering them a quick tour of the office and sending them on their way. Giving employees the best chance at future success requires a successful and thorough onboarding program, according to new research from CareerBuilder.

Unfortunately, a number of employers aren’t taking those steps. The study found that 36 percent of organizations do not have a structured onboarding process in place.

Not having any process in place can cause a number of negative consequences for both the employee and employer. Specifically, 16 percent of HR managers said it lowers their company’s productivity, 14 percent said it brings on greater inefficiencies and 12 percent said it leads to higher employee turnover.

Lower employee morale, lower levels of employee engagement, lower confidence among employees, a lack of trust within the organization and missed revenue targets are among the other negative impacts of not having a thorough onboarding program.

Onboarding Process

“While onboarding is a critical component of setting new employees up for success from day one, this study shows some companies are neglecting fundamentals in the onboarding process – and running into serious consequences that can impact the bottom line,” Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, said in a statement.

The study discovered employers use varying strategies when it comes to their onboarding process. Nearly half of those surveyed provide an overview of their process and how things work; 45 percent offer individual, ongoing training; 43 percent introduce new hires to key employees; and 42 percent provide an introduction to the company culture.

Additionally, more than 30 percent have a team welcome, ensure the new employee’s workspace and technology is ready before they arrive, and have goals and expectations for the employee’s role with defined milestones and success metrics. Some employers also provide detailed information on the company and growth opportunities and assign a mentor to the new hire.

The research revealed that HR employees would benefit from including more automation and technology into their onboarding systems. More than 40 percent of the HR managers surveyed who don’t capture onboarding information electronically spend three hours or more per employee manually collecting and processing the data, while 16 percent spend five or more hours. 

Onboarding Process

Those who collect all the information manually say they suffer from heavier workloads and higher stress levels. In addition, it leads to missing information, delayed start dates and candidates who end up walking away from the job because the process took too long.

“Employers need to establish a comprehensive checklist for every new employee and incorporate more automation to provide a better, more efficient experiences for employees, their managers and HR,” Haefner said.

Overall, one-quarter of employers have an onboarding process that lasts just a day, or less, with 26 percent having programs that last about a week. Twenty-one percent have an onboarding process that lasts one month, with 11 percent extending it over the course of at least three months.

The study was based on surveys of 2,300 hiring managers and human resource professionals across a variety of industries and company sizes in the private sector.

via SHRMNew hires skip out when the role doesn’t meet expectations

An employer is most likely to lose newly recruited employees when their job is not what they anticipated, according to a new survey.

Nearly all (90 percent) of the 1,817 executives polled in a recent survey by the Futurestep division of HR consulting, executive search and recruitment firm Korn Ferry said that new-hire retention is an issue for their organization. Over half (52 percent) said that 10 percent to 25 percent of newly hired workers leave within the first six months. Twelve percent of respondents reported their turnover figure for new hires during the first six months as between 26 percent and 50 percent.

“With low unemployment rates and increased need for specialized talent, keeping new hires is a critical issue,” said Bill Gilbert, president, North America, Korn Ferry Futurestep. “It’s incumbent upon recruiters and hiring managers to paint a clear picture of what will be expected of the candidate in his or her new role and to make sure promises of resources, job structure and reporting relationships are fulfilled.”

Nearly one-fifth (19 percent) of respondents said new hires leave because they don’t like the company’s culture. Fifteen percent said new employees didn’t see a path for advancement, and another 15 percent said new employees didn’t like their boss.

“I found that the majority of organizations are not providing candidates with insights into their organizational culture in a meaningful way,” said Nora Burns, a Denver-based hiring consultant and founder of HR-Undercover, an advisory practice for which she has “mystery shopped” employers’ hiring and onboarding processes.
“One of the biggest surprises I faced while working undercover was reporting to work for my first day and discovering that the team I’d be working with was completely unaware that a new employee was starting, and the manager was completely unprepared for my arrival,” she said. “Employers set the tone of culture from the very beginning of the employment relationship, and having to dig out of a deficit that was created on Day 1 can be nearly impossible.”

Burns urged HR to move beyond just providing “the PDF identifying cultural values and/or mission and vision” and to work on better articulating how those elements may impact the new employee on the job from day to day. “There is a lot of sugar-coating, particularly with front-line and mid-level jobs along the lines of promoting how ‘fun it is to work here.’ Hiring managers may be too quick to move into sales mode and away from providing a realistic job preview in terms of both tasks and team dynamics.”

Honest job previews are key to keeping new employees, Burns said. “That includes not only the tasks, responsibilities and physical demands, but also insights into the level of collaboration, expectations of performance feedback and consistency versus change in the role.”

Burns also recommended actively involving existing team members in both hiring and onboarding to help reduce early departures. “It’s harder to walk away from a manager and from a team that you like, and it’s more difficult to dislike people who help you and clearly want you to succeed.”

Onboarding Should Go Beyond the Basics

Nearly all the respondents to the Futurestep survey (98 percent) said onboarding programs are a key factor in retention efforts, and 69 percent said they have formal onboarding programs for all new hires. Another 10 percent limit programs to entry-level employees.

However, 23 percent of those programs last only one day, and 30 percent last only a week. Nineteen percent of respondents run new-hire onboarding programs that last one month, and 3 percent have yearlong programs.

“Onboarding must be about more than just the basic administrative processes such as entering time, submitting paperwork and logging onto the intranet,” Gilbert said. “It should also help new hires understand available development opportunities to help them succeed in the organization.”

Nearly all (98 percent) of respondents agreed that mentorship programs for new hires would increase retention, but only 23 percent have a mentorship program for all employees. Another 20 percent have a program for entry-level hires.

“Mentorship programs are not only beneficial for new hires to learn about an organization, [but] they also benefit existing employees by helping them understand the viewpoints and experiences of those new to the company,” Gilbert said. “This allows them to have different insights and encourages them to become more agile as they go about their jobs.”

Using Data to Onboard

Nearly half (42 percent) of respondents say they use data collected during the recruiting process, such as candidate assessments, to help with onboarding once a candidate is hired.

Assessments that examine competencies, traits, drivers and experiences can provide valuable insights about candidates that can be customized into development and onboarding plans for new hires.

“Ignore prehire skills assessments during the onboarding at your own peril,” Burns said. “These instruments, and their results, provide guidance regarding what the candidate already knows and what areas require development.”

Candidate information can also be a great source when auditing the organization’s recruiting process.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they survey new hires about their candidate experience. Of those who conduct surveys, 52 percent routinely examine results to adjust hiring practices. Eighteen percent of respondents said they don’t do anything with the data, even though they collect it.

“Checking in with new hires about their candidate experience is critical to enhancing your hiring process,” Burns said. “It’s best done by someone who wasn’t directly involved in the new hire’s process, or through a well-written and truly anonymous survey in order to obtain fully candid and truthful information. Make it safe to provide constructive feedback on the process without fear that word will get out that ‘Betty complained about how long it took Bob to call her back between interviews.’ “

Of course, if the organization is unwilling to change what is being asked about, don’t ask it in the first place, she added.

Via LinkedIn : Work-life balance. Flexible work hours. Corporate mission. What is the point of focusing on these non-traditional hiring topics? Two letters – X and Y. Generation X (born between 1963 and 1980) and Generation Y (born after 1980) are establishing a more prominent position within the employment landscape as the Baby Boomers prepare to exit the workforce. The shift to these younger generations is prompting a new focus in hiring tactics.

The Baby Boomer generation was cut from the cloth of work first and foremost, climb the corporate ladder and retire with a healthy pension plan. Those days are all but gone. Today, younger workers are creating a paradigm shift in employee hiring based on their priorities. We have observed this accelerating transition firsthand over the past 2 years.

We work with companies in many market spaces, industries and geographic locations. The hiring landscape has already changed and companies that do not frequently hire may be unaware of the new focus. Certain patterns exist today that are universally consistent when hiring Gen X and Gen Y employees.

Perhaps there is no more profound shift in values than this topic. Gen X, and even more so Gen Y, is focused on a position’s time requirements. This isn’t to say the younger generations are not hard workers. On the contrary, they put tremendous effort into their work, but they also place a high value on their personal time away from the office. This balanced approach has been mistakenly interpreted by the Baby Boomers as a “slacker mentality.”

The younger generations search for opportunities where they can grow their skill set without having to sacrifice every other area of their life. As an employer, it is imperative to understand this desired balance. Positions that lack the needed support, tools or technology often will be a red flag to the Gen X or Y candidate. The reward for accepting such a position clearly has to outweigh the perceived imbalance it may cause in their life.

Most people are familiar with the term “career path.” The Baby Boomer generation experienced a marketplace where preordained opportunities existed to climb the corporate ladder within the same company. Today’s younger generations generally do not have such consistent opportunities before them. More importantly, many of the younger generation do not subscribe to the same loyalty as the Baby Boomers.

Gen X and Y candidates are looking for a “skills path.” They desire to understand what skills are needed to be successful in the position today. The long-term incentive is to understand what skills they will personally develop or acquire within the company. They prefer a horizontal management structure and respond to personal skill development. Titles are out. Responsibilities are in. It is imperative to share with the candidates the responsibilities they will inherit as their skills become more advanced over their tenure with the company.

As mentioned, the younger generations have a fairly horizontal view of the org chart – whether accurate or not. We have seen this approach wreak havoc in an office dominated by Baby Boomers. The Baby Boomers expect an almost military-style chain of command while the younger generations have a more fluid approach to positions of authority.

Gen X and Y highly value the manager-employee relationship. They view their manager as a guide – an experienced Sherpa to make sure they are on the right path. In debriefing Gen X and Y employees after they are hired, the vast majority consistently mention the impression of their manager as having the most influence on their decision to join the company. The hiring manager needs to connect with the Gen X and Y candidate on a personal level during the interview process. Clearly the manager-employee relationship is a two-way street so this approach affords the hiring manager a beneficial insight into the candidate also.

These generations are plugged-in to technology from Bluetooth to Blackberries. They have spent much of their working careers, even entire lives for some, having Internet information available to them at a moment’s notice. This fact can work against employers in that these younger candidates are savvy about Internet job boards and have a tendency to always have an eye out for new opportunities.

However, the upside of this technological ability is far greater. A subtle item we have observed among Gen X and Y candidates is their strategic thinking. Their youthful age belies the fact that they have sharp minds for understanding macro markets. We have seen these younger candidates ask amazingly insightful questions that make the hiring managers pause during the interview. We have also seen strong candidates pass on opportunities because they were skeptical of the hiring company’s shallow business plans.

The Gen X workforce will be ascending into prominent management positions at a brisk pace over the next 5 years. The next wave of change will occur in the management ranks as they shift the hiring process away from the Baby Boomer approach. The aforementioned topics will move to the forefront of the hiring process as the newly crowned Gen X managers hire the Gen Y employees. Until that happens, progressive companies will perceive these current shifts and adjust their hiring tactics in advance.

Via Recruiting Webinars : Employer Branding takes center stage as Jason Seiden interviews J.T. O’Donnell, founder and CEO of CareerHMO, as they discuss the new sophisticated job seeker and the role of employer branding. We define ourselves by how we spend the bulk of our days at the office. When a stranger asks who are you at a party, 90% of the time the next question out of their mouth is, “and what do you do?” We all do it. And we all make quick snap judgments based on the responses that often times fit our preconceived notions of what we already thought of that job, that industry, or that company.

The Friday Night Problem

Maybe you have experienced the Friday Night Problem. Jason explains it:

If you can’t be as interesting in the 15 seconds when somebody asks you what do you do; that you imagine yourself to be when you’re looking in the mirror and getting ready for the day, it creates a problem

J.T. in her role at CareerHMO has been finding ways to help coach this Career Identity crisis on the candidate side of the recruitment process. We all know about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and it’s J.T.’s observation that there are very few of us at the top of the pyramid and a whole lot of us at the bottom looking for ways to get organized and work up way up that pyramid. “Career is identity. How many times when you meet strangers do you get asked what do you do?…We know are being evaluated and want to be able to answer that question in a way that earns respect that we are proud of, that we feel comfortable. We are so wrapped up with our careers and our identities that it affects how we feel. You have a bad day at work; you have a bad day in life… We haven’t been coached to seek resources.” J.T. acknowledges that this is all changing with the arrival of the Millennials, a generation who have been coached their entire lives.

25 Different People Who Want 25 Different Things

We have a group that recognizes that they like(need) to be coached and we have a working world where coaching at that level and capacity isn’t in the SOP. Not to mention the fact that when you begin to give highly individualized coaching you soon discover that 25 different people want 25 different things to motivate their work. So what’s a manager to do? According to J.T., “Outsource the coaching.”

That could make sense for some companies.

50% of Millennial workers are looking for a new job within 6 months of their hire

Candidates today want to work with companies not for them. We’re finding out it’s the relationship that you have to protect and manage, and recruiters are the ones in the most pain right now as they are caught between conflicting demands of the candidates desires and the needs of the business. J.T. advocates for a larger chunk of the budget to go to the recruiting department who is acting as the de facto gatekeepers managing the employer brand; a task that apparently 16% HR professionals don’t feel they are qualified to do. “Employers need to be more open to the fact that hey I might not be able to keep you for 10 years, and the employee says well yeah I might only be able to go on my journey here for two and maybe come back to you in five. That’s our new world.”

Your Source of Hire Metric is Bogus

What do a LinkedIn Company page, a Glassdoor page and a dedicated career page on your company’s website have in common? They are the bare minimum of what the new job seeker expects to see before they would even consider applying to your organization. In addition, sophisticated job seekers will follow and monitor you company before they even think about applying. Jason shares highlights from a conversation he had with our own, Bill Boorman. Candidates are lurking for months before the actual application process begins. Which channel a candidate lists as the source of hire isn’t really as important what was going on with your company during the months leading up to when they pulled the trigger on applying. Candidates know that the ATS is likely to toss out their application and will work to connect directly on the same level with recruiters or personnel from the company.

A Blog (Podcast sic.) Is a Good Start, but Is Insufficient to Solve this Problem…

Jason and J.T wrap up the conversation acknowledging that we will need a lot more to resolve these issues, more than CareerHMO, and more than our inaugural Resonate podcast. Firms need to think about the recruitment process of the future and what that entails. I don’t think I could do a better job summing up J.T. so in her own words, “Employees no longer work for you, they work with you. They are your business partners. In order to get the best possible business partners, you need to have an incredible employer brand. And the good news is that employer brand will also sell more of your products and services. And instead of creating havoc on your management team and trying to get them to coach these individuals, really do the right thing and outsource that process and use top coaching services to do that for you. Why create it in-house when you can get it done much faster and much cheaper by outsourcing?”

Jason Seiden, CEO & Cofounder, Brand Amper
Jason’s a storyteller. He launched Brand Amper, a brand management platform for recruiting, based on 20 years experience solving leadership and communications challenges for Fortune 500 executives and their employees.

J.T. O’Donnell, CEO & Founder, CAREEREALISM and CareerHMO
J.T. is a career strategist who helps American workers of all ages find greater professional satisfaction. Unlike other advisers, O’Donnell works with both individual clients and corporations, giving her access to emerging workforce trends.

Via Bloomberg : The college degree is becoming a more common employee perk

Two years ago, Starann Freitas had no college degree. “I’d always wanted one, but life responsibilities got in the way,” says Freitas, 52. She worked as an administrative assistant for health insurer Anthem, answering phone calls and scheduling meetings.

Eight months later, that had changed. Freitas enrolled in an online associate’s degree program at Southern New Hampshire University’s College for America in May 2013 and graduated the following spring. With her degree, she was promoted to corporate communications specialist. “My supervisor sat me down,” Freitas says, “and said it was time for me to move on and use my skills in a better position.” The cost of her degree: nothing. Anthem picked up the tab.

This week, Anthem, one of the largest health insurance companies in the U.S., announced it would expand the pilot program through which Freitas got her degree. The company will pay for all employees who work at least 20 hours a week and have at least six months at the company to get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from Southern New Hampshire University, which runs an online program called College for America. Anthem becomes the third large U.S. company to announce a similar investment in their employees’ educations: Starbucks, which has teamed with the Arizona State University’s online program, said in April that it would cover four years of tuition for its employees, an expansion of a two-year free tuition program it announced in June 2014. Last month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said it would roll out its own college tuition program for dealership employees through Strayer University, a for-profit institution that offers courses online.

In theory, such programs offer a win for both employer and employee. Companies end up with a better-skilled workforce and more promising employees that can be promoted—cheaper than recruiting and training new hires—while workers gain credentials that might help them move up. “Our goal is to keep enhancing the skills of our associates so we can help them grow and develop their careers,” says Jose Tomas, executive vice president and chief human resources officer of Anthem.

More than half of Anthem’s 55,000 employees lack college degrees, says company spokeswoman Gene Rodriguez. Anthem hopes that as more employees take advantage of the free tuition, the company will have a broader pool of internal talent to tap into when it looks to fill positions.

Tuition reimbursement programs have been hailed as a sort of stepping stone to the American dream for the front-line workers they target. “Our typical student is 40 years old, slightly more likely to be a woman, slightly more likely to be a minority, and most likely didn’t have parents who attended college,” says Colin Van Ostern, chief marketing officer of College for America. On its website, Starbucks offers vignettes of many such workers earning their degrees—such as Tammie Lopez, a barista who left college after her father lost his job during the recession, and Michael Bojorquez, the son of Mexican immigrants. With data suggesting that growth in job opportunities for college-educated workers is outpacing that for low-skill workers, some experts suggest that a bachelor’s degree is the route to a middle-class life.

Climbing up a company’s ranks, however, is rarely as simple a matter as earning a degree (which presents its own challenges). While companies can promise free tuition, they can’t guarantee promotion or a higher salary after graduation. Companies also can’t be sure that newly graduated employees won’t leave, diploma in hand, for other jobs. (Starbucks, for instance, says it doesn’t require workers to commit to staying at the company after graduating.)

Tony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, says that companies offering tuition reimbursement programs are probably aware of the risk. “This is one way for Starbucks and other companies that compete for a large pool of front-facing workers to go above and beyond and to attract the cream of the crop,” Carnevale says.

Companies also take on a further risk—one endemic to online education: That workers will drop out before they finish. Although it’s too early to measure meaningful retention rates for Starbucks, Chrysler, and Anthem, online education programs have long struggled to boost completion rates.

Even so, Julian Alssid, chief workplace strategist at College for America, thinks demand for companies financing workers’ degrees is likely to grow. With the unemployment rate dropping, employers are finding that “the labor market is tightening, and it’s getting harder to attract and retain qualified workers,” he says.

“Companies are really stepping up and treating advancing their employees’ education as a key corporate undertaking—not just something to do to be nice.”