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Best Practices for Your Onboarding Program

March 8th, 2013

You have taken the time and devoted the efforts to finding and hiring the right candidates.  Now, you need to retain them.  One way to increase your employee retention is to establish an onboarding program.  A few reasons to put effort into this program:

  1.  New hires will immediately feel that they are a part of something bigger, and that they are important.
  2. They will get a good sense and understanding of your company culture.
  3. Newbies can become hooked into your social and professional networks more quickly.
  4. The training time required to get new employees up to full productivity is reduced.

When establishing your onboarding program, you should consider the following:

  1. Establish an official time frame for your program, probably 3 to 6 months or more, depending on the position.  There will be a few days of intensive immersion at the start, and then a schedule for the remaining weeks.  You may want to set up a “shadow” rotation so the new employee gets to spend some time in each department following another employee through their day to day tasks.  Also, schedule periodic check- ins with supervisors or managers to make sure the new hire is feeling settled and learning from the experience.
  2. Make sure that your new employee has all the necessary resources available at their fingertips.  This means everything from training manuals, videos and office equipment, to a peer mentor.  Make sure they know where the break room is and what is available to them for their use such as a microwave, refrigerator, etc.   It may seem overly simplistic, but you need to make sure they know how to use the telephone and have a phone list handy.  Make sure they get a crash course in how the copier works.  These are small items that can really take away some new-job stress for a person beginning with your company.  And, it will allow them to be able to focus on becoming productive right away.
  3. Help them assimilate.  So much employee turn-over is actually because a new employee never really feels that they fit in with the rest of your staff, or that no one is paying attention.  Make sure that you have a supervisor or a mentor directly responsible for insuring that your newest staff members get included in all team meetings or functions.  The manager should help the new hire to set goals, and then help them create a plan to meet and exceed those goals.   Further, the manager should monitor the employee’s progress and give them feedback all along the way.

Once you find the right applicant for your open positions, you really want them to stay long-term.  The time and energy you put into establishing your onboarding program will be paid back to you with increased employee retention.

ERG Staffing Services will find you qualified applicants for your light industrial jobs, and even prequalify and hire them for you.  This saves you time and energy so you can focus on all the other aspects of your business.  Contact our trained experts today to learn exactly how we can help you, and we can get started right away.

Turn a Performance Review into Employee Development

December 21st, 2012

As HR professionals, we have many functions.  One that we strive to constantly improve, and unfortunately sometimes do not look forward to, is the employee performance review.  We always work toward making the process more valuable and meaningful because it is such an important function for us as managers and for our employees as well.  Some of us, both management and employees alike dread it because it feels stilted, uncomfortable and lacking any real relevance outside of a salary increase for the employee.  In fact, in a survey conducted by Leadership IQ of 48,000 CEO’s, managers and employees, only 13% of managers and employees and 6 % of CEOs thought their year-end reviews were effective

The basic components of the traditional performance review are goal setting and measurement criteria, assessment of goal achievement, rating and salary review.  All reviews incorporate most or all of these elements.  Here are some ways to make these meetings a more useful, productive and valued tool for employee engagement and development.

Talk money first.  This conversation always comes at the end of the meeting after all the results of the analysis have been brought to light.  Unfortunately, many times the employee doesn’t really hear what you are saying because they are merely listening for clues to answer their burning questions “What am I getting?”  So bury the lead, and tell them at the outset of the meeting.  This way you can have a meaningful conversation in which you can both fully participate.  Next cover performance evaluations, and finally move along to future goal setting.

Get a self-assessment.  To keep the focus on the employee’s performance in a productive direction, ask for their own assessment.  What does she feel were her greatest accomplishments of the quarter?  What struggles did she overcome?  Where does she wish she could have had more success?  Allow your discussion to be guided by these answers.  Struggles open up discussion for training and mentoring.  Successes can be celebrated and built upon.  The greatest benefit about this tactic is that it is purely employee focused and employee specific.

Keep it that way – Specific.  One chief complaint of employees is that your feedback can sound canned, as if it could apply to half the department.  Keep all your written evaluations very employee specific.  This may be a challenge, especially in the beginning.  We all tend to have a bag of phrases we draw from to describe employees, like “team player” or “self-motivated”.   It is ok to use these when appropriate, (they are catch phrases for a reason, after all) but make sure you make more specific notes of examples of when, where and why you rate them this way.  If your employee feels that your feedback is actually relevant to her, she will be much more receptive to coaching and improvement plans you set up.

Start with the easiest reviews first.  This is nice for you as well, because you get to begin the process with positive results!  This serves an important function for the rest of the department, too.  By meeting with your top performers first, you avoid negative grumblings of low performers, who are not thrilled with their assessment, permeating the attitudes of other employees and setting up a negative environment for the rest of the reviews.

Improving this function of your job is going to drive productivity upward and impart a greater sense of satisfaction for both your employees and for you, too.   At ERG Staffing Services, our staff is expert in providing you with qualified employees for your clerical and light industrial staffing needs.  Beginning with the right people sets you up for future success and satisfaction as well.  Contact us today to find out all we have to offer.