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4 onboarding strategies to help you create a positive work environment

Posted on Thu, Aug 16, 2012 @ 09:08 AM

Onboarding_Success_Road_SignAccording to recent data, more that 25 percent of the U.S. population changes careers every year—yet the same study suggests that half of all hourly workers leave their new job within the first four months, and half of senior outside hires “fail” within 18 months.

These are rather daunting—not to mention costly—figures, aren’t they? So what’s the seemingly ubiquitous problem with companies all across the U.S.?

If you’re losing new hires, or disappointed with their performance, make sure you are developing sound onboarding strategies and avoiding these four common blunders:

1. Using the “firehose approach”
This is a phrase succession consultant Doris Sims uses to describe dumping information on new employees and seeing if they “sink or swim” under its weight.

2. Providing only “tactical information”
In other words, are you only providing micro or hyper-focused information that lacks context to the employee? Does the employee have a larger sense of purpose and understand why s/he is doing what s/he is doing?

3. Failing to have the team member’s work space prepared
Does the new employee have a desk, phone, computer, printer? Do all of them work properly? Does she have to spend the first week spinning around in her chair, waiting for the IT person to show up?

4. Having a blase attitude towards orientation
Telling the employee that the orientation “might not be very helpful to you,”—or worse, not even having a new employee onboarding program is a surefire way to begin on the wrong foot.

If your employee onboarding strategy could use a facelift, here are a few questions you might ask yourself:

  • Why do we celebrate when employees leave the company and not when they join it?

How many of us will happily take a valued colleague out to lunch or meet at a pub after work to celebrate her promotion or retirement? This is certainly a fine gesture, but why don’t we introduce new employees to the company in the same way we say “farewell” to our veterans?

  • You’ve made the written rules clear—how about the unwritten ones?

The day the new employee signs the contract, he is given a three-ring binder containing a 100-page handbook. It explains the company’s policy on diversity, the open-door policy and counseling, safety procedures, the company’s mission statement, and all the other perfunctory (but no less necessary) details.

But what about the unique and unwritten nuances each company has like, say, the company’s confusing chain of command? Is the employee aware of the “normal” hours of operation? Does she know that she can take two 15-minute breaks or skip them and leave early? What sort of “fun” is socially acceptable in the office? Should the new hire take risks and assert herself? Through intuition, your new employee will learn to read these unwritten codes—or not. But why not identify these codes from the get-go and give her a head start?

  • Are you giving your new employees a head start?

Successful onboarding strategies begin before the new hire’s first day of work. It’s universal: The first day of any new job is intimidating for anyone. Try quelling those initial fears by giving the employee any initial paperwork before she shows up on the first day.

Here’s another idea: give the employee a phone call the day before they start and tell her where to park, who she will be meeting with and what the day’s agenda will look like? And while you’re at it, why not assign the new employee to a specific colleague who can act as a resource?

Are you interested in enhancing your knowledge in the fields of business and human resource solutions? If you're looking for affordable human resource masters programs, learn more about Marygrove College's online Master of Arts degree in Human Resource Management (HRM).

You might also be interested in knowing that we have reduced tuition by 19 percent for the 2012 academic year! 

Download our Human Resource  Management Factsheet

*This list has been adapted from Doris Sims’ book, Creative Onboarding Programs: Tools for Energizing Your Orientation Program.

Topics: Certificate in HR Management, Graduate Programs for Human Resources, Human Resource Management, Human Resources Master Programs, Engaging Employees, Office Etiquette, Positive Work Environment, management speak

“Per Our Conversation”: Let’s Talk About Management Speak

Posted on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 @ 16:06 PM

Office Space: The BobsRemember this morning: You walked into your office, turned on your computer, sipped demurely on your 31-oz Trenti Starbucks latte and logged into your email where you were greeted with an email that began with “per our conversation” and was followed with something like this:

We provide operational support and strategic direction; we do this by providing high quality, comprehensive training resources, direct hands-on assistance via our main office, 24-hour direct phone support [Feel free to skip to the next paragraph] via our anonymous call-center; we also provide business process analysis and innovative problem solving by leveraging experienced and technical resources available in the main office…(53 words)

On a good day, Mark Twain would have called this “fluff and flowers and verbosity.” Had he lived to see 2012, surely he would have called it “management speak” or “corporate jargon,” or something much less genteel. Call management phrases what you want, but you stopped reading after the second line, didn’t you? 

Were we to humble, to strip the fatty tissue from the above “sentence,” it would probably say something like this:

Our staff is available 24-hours a day to support the diverse needs and schedules of our employees. (17 words)

If you said, “Yeah, but the first paragraph just sounds so much better,” remember how you felt when you opened a similar email or heard your colleagues say, “per our conversation,” or talk about “tabling” a meeting or “touching base” with some “idea showers” as they “hit the ground running.” Once you’ve done that, go back and reread the first paragraph.

Why Do We Use It Then?
Google “office speak”; you’ll find no shortage of tongue-in-cheek articles, “management speak” translators and compilations of “The Top 10 Management Phrases You Love to Hate.” But let’s get serious for a minute, people. Why do we use it? Here are a few of our guesses, but feel free to chime in and offer your own.

  1. Let’s face it, we all use one form of discourse (way of speaking) when we speak to our boss and another when we speak to our friends. Like other discourses, office speak is a legitimate and meaningful form of communication; it just has to be used in the appropriate context and with people who speak the language.
  2. It fills space and allows us to hide behind buzzword-laden language and makes us sound like we’ve got everything under control.
  3. Saying what we mean can make us feel vulnerable, our ideas disheveled and silly. Office speak = office armor.  
  4. Being direct means that we’ve committed, that we have to get behind what we say and will follow through.
     

Are you interested in enhancing your knowledge in the fields of business, organization behavior, and human resources? Do you want to become a human resources expert—a leader capable of transforming a business, government, or not-for-profit organization? If so, learn more about Marygrove College’s Master of Arts degree in Human Resource Management (HRM) program!

You should also know that as of March 26, Marygrove College has reduced tuition rates for several online graduate programs by 19 percent! This is one step—amongst a few others—the college is taking to ensure that a Marygrove education is an achievable, financially-sustainable investment.

Download our Human Resource  Management Factsheet

Topics: Certificate in HR Management, Graduate Programs for Human Resources, Human Resource Management, Human Resources Master Programs, Online Courses for Human Resources Management, Engaging Employees, career success, Office Etiquette, Positive Work Environment, management speak

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