Sunday, October 31, 2010

10 Quick Tips on Onboarding New Employees

I recently spoke at a conference about using New Hires Perspectives in your Onboarding Process. For the sake of learning, I choose 10  tips from my 90 minute presentation to share here (and on twitter)for quick things you can implement ASAP to improve your onboarding process.  Remember that onboarding goes beyond initial training/orientation as it includes the first 90 days of a new hire's employment as candidates are most likely to leave a new employer during this period.  Get engaged hires faster by checking out the below 10 onboarding tips:

 Tip #1 - Recruiting promises + onboarding = engaged or disengaged new hires!? We promise the world in recruiting; ensure your onboarding program delivers! So often recruiting & onboarding are run by different departments or individuals; ensure that these owners of these aspects work together so you deliver on recruiting promises in the first 90 days of a new hires employment.

Tip #2 - Do not have a uniform onboarding program. The demographics of your new hire + their role will impact HOW you should onboard them! Would you really onboard a new executive and a millennial in their first job in the same way? NO!  Don’t make the same mistake in assuming that Gen X or boomers (with lots of work experience) don’t need onboarding as they have experience. Onboarding is about educating an employee about your company’s culture and setting them up for success in their new role

Tip #3 - Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, baby boomers, executives all have different values for onboarding. Great article here by Madeline Laurano on what you should include in each generation’s onboarding: Key takeaways: ensure that you use mediums that make sense to the age groups. Social media is key as part of your onboarding strategy for millennials & Gen Y.

Tip #4 - Poll your new hires/ search social media sites (via a listening strategy) to gain insights on where your onboarding delivered/needs improvement. Do regular check-ins with your new hires – day 5, day 30, 60 and 90.

Tip #5 - Action feedback from new hires to improve onboarding processes & let them know the actions you have taken! Though they may not have felt engaged about a part of the process, you will re-engage them by letting them know you heard them and have changed the process.

Tip #6 - Onboarding goes beyond orientation. Orientation= first 1-5 training days; onboarding = first 90 days of employment! Don't forget about a new hire after the first week - ensure you have regular check-ins and support for them ongoing.

Tip #7 - Effective onboarding programming = in-person orientations/buddies + technological solutions

Tip #8 - 40% of newly promoted managers fail within 18 months of starting new jobs. Know potential pitfalls & build plans to combat them. Great article from John G. Agno here about Executive onboarding:

Tip #9- Onboarding is about connecting your new hires to the company culture; create a community ON & OFFline

Tip #10 - Remember onboarding is all worth it as you will ALL be successful with an engaged + productive team!

Please let me know which of these tips spoke to you the most & the results of implementing it into your onboarding program!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Campus Recruiting Strategy

Creating a campus recruiting strategy is a daunting task! I’ve been recruiting on campus for over 6 years and have a few tips that might help you plan and execute a successful campus recruiting strategy:

-          Do not have a blanket approach. Choose your schools & sourcing $$ wisely.
-          Identify your target market and choose schools that have strong programs in that discipline
o   Example: Are engineers your focus? Focus on strong engineering programs. Use ranking guides like MacLean’s to help you understand school’s strengths
-          Once you have identified your schools, set up appointments to speak with, or better yet, meet your career center contacts in person. Each school operates slightly differently with processes, events, and ability to target students. Come prepared with a list of questions to help you understand how to best work with them!

Key campus events can include:
o   Participating in job fairs
§  These are good for building your employment brand; however, unless it is a targeted job fair, do not expect to directly secure a lot of hires from this avenue
o   Hosting an Information Session on campus
§  These are events where you book a room on campus, have a PowerPoint presentation and usually host a mix and mingle event afterwards that is catered
§  These can be very successful IF you have attendees. If you don’t do the right marketing ahead of time, you are wasting your money.
§  Work with the career center to see if they can send out a targeted email & see my new point about using new hires/alumni to drive attendance
o   Using interns or new hires that are alumni of that school/program to market opportunities with your company/company events
§  They can help connect you to influential groups on campus
§  Students want to hear the REAL story, not the PR version so give them what they want! Feature them on your website, have them make videos to post on YouTube, have them speak at events on campus about what working for your company is really like!
o   Case Studies or connect with Influential Professors
§  Professors are rated in the top 3 influencers on students just coming in after parents and friends
§  Business Programs are typically looking for real life case studies that can be used to support their curriculum. Speak to your career center contact about working this angle!
o   Sponsoring relevant groups on campus
§  Ensure you are both benefiting from the sponsorship: In return for sponsoring relevant groups, you may get a speaking opportunity to the club members or email opportunities with your target market
§  Perhaps offering an internship opportunity within this group can create a great new hire & WOM within the group/campus?
o   All of these campus recruiting efforts should be supported by social media efforts. Having a Twitter handle (like @companynamejobs) will allow you to tweet relevant industry information and broadcast news about campus events or job opportunities. I also recommend having a company LinkedIn Page as well as a Facebook page to promote campus events.
§  New Grads are great people to support your social media efforts!

My recommendation on campus is focus on quality versus quantity. Focus on your target market, create a strong strategy and then work your plan. Start small, build it out and use your new grads that are alumni from those campuses to help you understand how to best target the right groups & gain hires from your efforts on that campus! Ensure you measure ROI on spends versus hires as this will help justify your spending and, hopefully, expand your campus budget next year!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Same Company, Different Enviroment: Culture Shock?

Most of my career, to date I should add, has been spent as a remote employee. This is my fourth week officially working in my company’s headquarters in Toronto. Though I have worked for the same company for 10 years, it is amazing the culture shock that comes with moving from a home office to a head office. Just getting up in the morning, getting dressed, hair done, packing a lunch, commuting into the office, working with people walking by your desk, the sheer volume of meetings … and the list goes on. I am very lucky that I have friends at work who have gone through the same thing and can provide a sounding board on how to adjust.

Here’s what I have learned moving from a home office to headquarters:

Learning #1: My time is more stretched now in head office due to more in person meetings. While working remotely I was better able to multitask while on conference calls to accomplish more things on my plate. Was this good or bad? Jury’s still out on this one.

Learning #2: Due to time differences, I used to end my day with 2 full hours without emails/meetings/phone calls. This was a great way to wrap up my day making check marks on my ‘to do’ list. Now I am working on the same time zone as the majority of my colleagues. How am I adjusting?  I am working on better delegating and distributing workloads within my team. I am blocking time in my calendar for getting projects done. I am also being more critical of my attendance in meetings to ensure that I absolutely need to be there or determine if someone else could attend.

Learning #3: Building relationships is much better in person than on the phone. Those little drop by’s about a project or an update allow me to be a stronger manager in knowing the little wins & challenges my team face on a daily basis. I love this part of my changing environment! When working remotely, I tried to meet a colleague for a coffee/lunch every few weeks to stay in touch with the team, get out of the office & get some “water cooler time” – it was something I actually had to schedule in. I love that this happens now as a part of my daily routine without even trying.

Only a few weeks in, so these are just a few of my learnings… more to come about onboarding an employee moving office locations and creating engagement with remote employees. 

I would love to get your thoughts: has anyone else made this change or gone from a headquarters to a remote home office? What were your learnings, challenges, frustrating, wins & tips?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Personal Social Media Policy

You have heard me talk about how using social media to build a brand – be it a product, employment brand or personal brand - is important. I often speak at conferences that companies are absolutely behind the times if they don’t have a social media policy as they current have no control over what’s happening online and believe me, it is happening!  As an active social media user, I wanted to take the time to review my vision & what my goals are online. I Googled social media policies and used a whole bunch of template to create one that is just all me. I’m not going to give all of my secrets away but will give you a sneak peek!

VISION: My Vision is to use social media to learn online & build my professional expertise through the following values:
-          Knowledge – educational and well thought out information sharing and learning
-          Passion – sharing my personal passion for marketing, talent acquisition, onboarding and employment branding with others
-          Consistency – have a consistent message throughout social mediums
-          Transparency – be transparent and open about my message and my goals
-          Relevant – posting relevant information that others in my space will find interesting
-          Timely – time is relevant to building my following and I need to provide posts that are timely and relevant
-          Integrity – be true to myself through the use of social media & my posts

In my Social Media Policy, I then go on to outline what are my goals, target audience, boundaries & use of each forum (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc).

Do you have a personal policy? Do you make it up on the fly or do you actually have it written down? If you don’t have one, I recommend taking 30 minutes to at least review the social mediums you are using and decide what are your personal boundaries and uses on each.  Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

Monday, October 11, 2010

To Mentor or Not? Developing & Participating in Mentorship Programs

Mentorship is a tricky subject as it relies on absolute buy-in from the mentee and the mentor. The best organizations out there have formalized mentorship programs as part of onboarding, talent management and employee engagement best practices. My advice is that not everyone is a natural mentor so some formalized training & a program kick off will likely set your program up for success!

Here are some of my thoughts on mentorship:

-         Planning out a program including your vision, training & assigning mentors is key. Plan your program versus just jumping in without a clear plan and vision
-         If someone doesn't want to participate in a mentorship program, forcing them is not going to inspire them to take advantage of this great opportunity. Focus on making the opportunities available, educating your employees on the benefits and then leaving it to be a personal choice if they would like to partake
-         Assigning the right mentee to mentor is very important. Ensure that mentees have a say in their mentor. Have parameters like level differences, geographical location & work focus in assigning mentors & mentees. Find out what’s important to your employees
-         Training your mentors on how to be a mentor is important. Not everyone is a natural coach!
-         Confidentiality is key. Mentorship programs are not to glean who is unhappy in an organization but is about providing confidential coaching and being a safe sounding board to have happier employees
-         Mentors need to prompt their mentees to come to the meeting with a list of topics or a situation they want to discuss. Mentors should actively listen & ask lots of probing questions. Don’t just tell your mentees what they ‘should’ have done but work through the situation together
-         Mentoring needs to be a priority for those involved in the program. It is very easy to cancel a mentor meeting in the face of a client deadline, but what kind of message is this to your mentee about the importance of their development? Time management and prioritization is key if you are involved in a mentorship relationship

I’m a big believe in being & having mentors. Providing guidance to others builds my management and coaching skills & I honestly learn from them just as, I hope, they learn from me!   I personally have a work mentor but I also have a couple of people in my life who are my informal mentors. When I meet someone who inspires me, I talk to them about potentially playing a mentorship role in my life. I like having different points of view, different sounding boards and choose people I respect, admire and have traits/skills I hope to learn from them.  In terms of your own mentorship, grab the bull by the horns as no one is going to drive your own development but YOU!

Do you have a fabulous mentor in your life? What makes them great? Please comment below to get the dialogue on this topic started!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Job Boards: Evolving in today’s Market or Quickly Becoming Extinct?

I recently attended the Recruitment Innovation Summit in Toronto where CareerBuilder, Monster & Workopolis representatives sat on a panel to discuss the relevance of job boards in today’s ever changing social media driven field of employment branding and recruiting.

The job boards argued that they are evolving based on today’s job marketplace by expanding their talent service solutions to keep up with today’s job seekers and social media technologies. Workopolis argued that passive seekers are the candidates you want and they “use 1 job board while unemployed seekers likely use multiple sites & aggregators.” CareerBuilder said that they are offering new services (though never expanded on what these were!?) and ¼ of their revenue comes from behavioral data on their job applicants that they sell to companies. Monster spoke well in the panel but failed to sell me on their new features even though they have recently rebranded themselves as: the “New Monster: Aim Higher. Reach Farther. Dream Bigger.”
The purpose of the panel was to take questions from the audience on job boards’ relevance, ROI, targeted resume mining, and costs. My frustration with the panel was the job boards were so busy trying to sell their services and outdo each other that they weren’t listening to the audience and hearing our concerns. They missed their mark on enforcing their relevance as I left without understanding the features of their evolution. Personally, I see job boards useful for certain target markets; however, for sourcing millennials (born 1997-2001), I believe they are a thing of the past. Recruiting millennials in today’s social media driven world is revolutionary and if job boards are just evolutionary, they just aren’t going to cut it!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tips & Tricks to Become a Networking Guru!

Your personal and professional networks are some of your most important assets and drivers in building, changing, and developing your career. I am a big fan of networking and thought I would put some tips together for others that have worked for me in building & working my networking:

1.   Put yourself into environments where you can make more professional connections be it through attending conferences, professional events or getting out and volunteering!
2.   Don’t be shy. Walk up to people, introduce yourself and get to know them. You never know when a random meeting could turn into a meaningful personal or professional connection.
3.   Use the 60-40 rule – don’t spend all of the time talking about you. Ask open ended questions and listen so that your new connection is speaking 60% of the time! Actively listen and comment on their work, interests etc.
4.   Use every opportunity to build a genuine and authentic relationship. I knew someone who chose volunteering organizations by checking out the backgrounds of fellow volunteers to see if they might be of help to their career. People can sniff out this insincerity! You can have reasons for joining a cause but ensure you also want to give back to the community and believe in the cause versus taking advantage of connections you might make.   
5.   Ensure that you are building on an in-person connections by virtually connecting that evening or within 24 hours via email, Linked In, twitter etc
6.   Talk to your network. I have built some absolutely fantastic relationships with people I have spoken at conferences at by continuing to build our dialogue on LinkedIn, over coffee and at lunch meetings.
7.   If you want your network to hook up great opportunities for you, make sure you are building connections for your network. After I spoke at a conference, I had mentioned to a fellow speaker that I am trying to build my speaking experience. She took note & let a conference organizer know about me at a conference she was asked to speak at a few months later. I’m trying to the same by hooking up my connections if I know their goals and have an opportunity to support them.

Networking should be mutually benefiting for both individuals; just like the best friendships. Don’t be a user but be a connection that can help others as you genuinely want others to succeed as you believe that by helping others, your personal & professional goals will be driven forward!