HUMAN RESOURCES ROLE AS CHANGE AGENT AND STRATEGIC PARTNER Presented by Kevin Sheridan, CEO, HR Solutions

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1 HUMAN RESOURCES ROLE AS CHANGE AGENT AND STRATEGIC PARTNER Presented by Kevin Sheridan, CEO, HR Solutions ASHHRA S 44th Annual Conference & Exposition Austin, TX October 13, :45 pm - 3:00 pm

2 // feature article // Onboarding NEW Employees Everything Matters By Judith Enns, Ph.D. Executive Vice President, HR Solutions Search and Staffing Papers to sign, more papers, policies, rules, and an HR assistant rapid-fire reading PowerPoint slides before hastily dismissing new employees to their work areas, where computers and phones are not quite ready, and the new manager cannot be found. Sound familiar? The new employee s first day experience is a nightmare, and she goes home at the end of a frustrating day questioning her decision to take the job, the company s commitment to employees, her manager s credibility and whether or not to show up for Day Two. One in 25 employees leaves a job after a disastrous first day. At a minimum, where are the business cards, all the equipment and supplies needed to get to work, and a welcome lunch with new colleagues? Where is the inspiration that assures new employees they have made the right company and job choice? Whatever name given to the process onboarding, orientation, transition, assimilation, integration everything matters to ensure new employees are successfully aligned with their new jobs, the company culture, their new teams and, most importantly, their new managers. Employee engagement starts well before Day One, and is powerfully impacted by employee perceptions and experiences when they start new jobs. A recent Watson Wyatt survey of more than 12,000 US employees across all job levels and industry sectors, found that companies with highly engaged workers spend an average of 35 weeks integrating new employees, compared to only 15 weeks at employers with low engagement indicators. Companies have discovered the ROI for onboarding makeovers. At Corning Glass, employees who attended a structured orientation program were 69% more likely to remain with the company after three years than those who did not go through the same program. At Texas Instruments employees who were carefully given orientation reached full productivity two months earlier than those with a more casual orientation process. Hunter Douglas found that by enhancing their onboarding, turnover was reduced from 70% at six months to 16%. Designer Blinds in Omaha implemented onboarding upgrades which reduced turnover from 200% annually to under 8%, and cut their recruiting budget from $30,000 to $2,000. With clear evidence that structured, comprehensive, and wellexecuted onboarding processes impact employee retention, engagement and productivity, what actions can companies take to immediately, and with minimal cost upgrade their new employee programs? Alison Caplan, Director of Staffing for CB Richard Ellis, believes that successful onboarding begins with helpful recruiting staff, managers who go out of their way to personally greet and spend time with new hires, and welcome days which are well-planned, interesting and productive. Commongood Careers, an organization of nonprofit professionals, offers simple, easy to implement suggestions for either Human Resources or hiring managers to ensure a successful first few days: Develop an agenda for the first full week on the job. Assign a department employee to greet a new employee and give a site tour. Schedule times for new hires to meet with key company employees and alert them to welcome the new hire. Give staff members a copy of the new employee s resume and the job description. Ask them to describe their own positions and how they see the two interacting in the future. Assign a willing and knowledgeable employee coach to be an immediate single source for questions, introductions, resources, company culture, and basics like where to eat, park, get supplies, make copies, etc. Set up all supplies, equipment, and voice mail access, phone directory, and leave the employee handbook on the desk. 3 HR Solutions, Inc. 25 East Washington Street, Suite 600 Chicago, IL

3 Prepare all forms to be completed on Day One. Mitigate the dullness of this task with a plant or flowers on the new hire s desk. Give a gift bag with logo T-shirt, hat, mug and other fun items to create a warm welcome. In the afternoon, managers should meet with new employees to forecast projects, responsibilities, and tasks for the first days. Be sure to realistically set expectations for a new hire s training. Balance the activities of the first day with orientation, staff meetings, and time to informally get acquainted with the new team over lunch. Beyond the first day, ensure new employees meet staff members outside their team, especially clients of the new hire s work. As appropriate, ensure meetings with partners, founders, board members, and other key stakeholders for the new hire s success. Getting new employees engaged out of the gate is critical to their success and the organization s. - Kevin Sheridan A structured onboarding program proactively solicits feedback from new hires to further ensure their success. The Eastridge Group of Staffing Companies, whose corporate office is in San Diego, has implemented a personal, direct, and effective way of gathering data about new employee experiences. Senior management noted signs of employee dissatisfaction and some undesired turnover particularly among service staff early in their tenure. The organization contracted with a trusted human resources consultant to speak with all new hires by telephone at 30, 60, 90, 120 and 360 day intervals, inquiring about satisfaction with their training, communication with managers and co-workers, resources to do their jobs, benefits, and compensation. Early warning signs of problems are communicated to managers and at times, their managers, so that they can take remedial action to fully engage or re-engage a valued employee. Kevin Sheridan, CEO of HR Solutions, Inc. a Human Capital Management Consulting firm, comments on onboarding programs. It is a well known fact that getting new employees engaged out of the gate is critical to their success and the organization s. Comprehensive and well thought out onboarding programs which achieve this goal allow organizations to stay ahead of the curve and definitely set themselves apart from their competition as they seek to recruit and retain high performers. A recent survey by an international executive search firm revealed only 30% of global executives surveyed were satisfied with their employers onboarding process for new hires. Studies suggest that 40% to 45% of senior executives leave their positions within 18 months of their start dates, costing companies in recruiter s fees, lost business opportunities, and replacement costs, between 150% and 250% of annual salary. Bristol-Myers began an ambitious, laser-like focus on the first 30 to 60 days of executive employment, clarifying roles, setting up meetings with stakeholders, reinforcing cultural norms and holding follow-up meetings throughout the first year to check progress and resolve integration problems. One organization should assign a development coach to work with new executives to identify key success factors and an action plan. Regular communication with the new hire, along with developmental feedback, will guide his or her success. 4

4 Employee Survey Best Practices Tool Kit

5 Employee Survey Best Practices Tool Kit 1. What tactics can be implemented to achieve high rankings? Provide daily communication to the team members. Ensure that relationships are strong and personal. Be thorough with education and training needs. Use diligence in follow-through and require follow-up from others. Utilize a team approach. Empower to make own decisions. Respect and value other team member s opinions. Take action so team can see immediate, visible improvements. Managers must convey enthusiasm to promote strong work ethic in a fun environment. Provide consistent behavior throughout year. Good listening skills show genuine interest in team members. Discuss whether goals are achievable or not. Open door policy emphasizes the importance of feedback. Set clear expectations and promote team member participation in solutions. Lead by example and portray a sense of urgency and pride. Be proactive versus reactive. Offer guidance and delegate ownership. 2. What are some effective communication methods? Be consistent on a weekly and structured basis. Hold group meetings to decide what is right and follow-up individually. Have meetings with team members without management to ensure changes are being communicated. Share both mistakes and best practices. Provide information with field managers. Have a positive tone and provide good feedback. Share the plan with all employees and get buy in by discussing openly. Allow question and answer session. Use interim management tool. Tack on credible time frames. Have focus and be specific. Provide realistic yes/no answers. Senior Management should communicate directly to the line staff.

6 3. How should the action plan be developed? Input and participation from direct reports. Have full management involvement. Breakdown highlights and opportunities. Address non-survey issues. Team member involvement group, one-on-one, and line-level. Handle low hanging fruit first for immediate results. Clarify the most important items. Listen well to team member input and questions. Redefine what needs to be accomplished and modify action plan as needed. Create visual communication tools. 4. What are some possible challenges? It may not be a quick fix. Some employees may be resistant to change. Staying on track with the plan. The message may get diluted through the ranks. Creating training material. Staffing levels and turnover. Coordinating multiple shift meetings. Orienting new employees about the Employee Survey culture. Justifying plan and communicating in a timely manner. Some ideas may fail. 5. How to improve? Tighten up the feedback sessions and offer more. Timing of survey and feedback schedule should be closer together. Increase communication on global issues to illustrate progression. Provide department reminders, communicate honestly, and get advanced feedback. Share information with direct reports. Employee Survey page on the Intranet.

7 HR Solutions International, Inc. 25 E. Washington Street, Suite 600 Chicago, IL

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