Archive Page 3

“Orientation” vs. “Onboarding”: What’s the Difference?

As a small business owner, you may not hire a new employee very often. When you do bring on someone, do you expect them just to jump in and start working? If you do, you and the new person may be in for a bumpy ride. If you put a little more thought into it, you may “orient” the person, in the manner described below. But that still is not the best approach.

Most people are familiar with corporate version of New Employee Orientation. It’s that mind-numbing, day-long lecture on policies and procedures and how wonderful it is that you’ve joined this wonderful organization. As a small business owner you probably don’t have time for the day-long lecture. So, you may decide that the best thing is to sit the new hire down with your Policies and Procedures manual and maybe have them join the rest of the staff for a pizza lunch. Both these examples can be described as Orientation – an event that the new employee sits through and from which they learn little or nothing.

In contrast, Onboarding is a process. It starts when you make an offer and the new hire accepts. It doesn’t end until the person is fully integrated into their role in the business. Usually this period is at least three months and often more, depending on the employee’s level. And it involves planning at every step. Stay tuned for a future blog with details about the onboarding process and how you can make it work for you.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity. For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440.

Help! My Employees Have a Bad Attitude!

Are your employees “lazy?”  Do they seem to just want a paycheck without doing much if any work?  If this is the case, you probably think they have a bad attitude and you’d like to just give them the boot.  That’s a natural reaction to frustration, but before you go there, answer the following questions honestly:

• Am I consistently modeling the positive behavior I want to see in others?
• Do I wait for employees to make mistakes and then jump in to tell them what they did wrong?
• When they bring an issue or need to me, is my response that they should be happy to have a job?
• Do my employees have any idea why the work they do is important to the business?

If you come to work grumpy and complaining about the poor state of the world, you can expect others to mirror that behavior.  If you constantly criticize and rarely praise, you’ll get resistance rather than cooperation.  If you view employees as a cost rather than a investment, they will not see any reason to do any more than the minimum necessary because they know they are not valued.   And remember, without the work your employees do, you would not be in business very long.

So before trying to get anyone else to improve their attitude, try improving your own.  You might be surprised by the results.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity. Sharon helps businesses create profitable, productive, and positive workplaces.  For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440.

Putting Your Best (Company) Foot Forward in the Interview

Many companies use a phone screen interview as a method of determining which candidates to bring in for an in-person interview.  While you are evaluating  the candidates, you need to be aware that they are also evaluating you.  Here are reports from two job candidates about phone interviews they had:

  • I was told to call at 9:28 so I did.  I was put on hold for several minutes.  When the manager came on the line he told me that I could not ask any questions, and that he would hang up after exactly 10 minutes.  He then proceeded to read the job description and told me I had whatever time was left to state why I was the best candidate for the job.”
  • “The HR representative read me the job description and asked if I had any questions about the job.  When I said I was interested in learning more about a particular requirement, she said she didn’t have time to discuss that, thanked me for my time, and hung up.”

Not only were these candidates unimpressed with the company, they are telling their friends about their experience. When you conduct a phone or an in-person  interview, be prepared and professional so that you can present your company in the best possible light.  Your reputation and ability to hire great people is on the line.
Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity.  For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440.

Training! We Need Training!

When I worked in corporate Learning and Development, I got many requests for training. Any time there was an issue where someone was not doing the job, the immediate “answer” was to provide training. One request I remember was to develop training on filling out a departmental form. People were not filling out the form so, of course, they needed to be trained to do that. The problem is…that really would not have fixed the problem. By asking the following questions it became clear that a different solution was needed:

• Do people know they need to fill out the form? (Yes)
• Have they filled out the form in the past? (Yes, sometimes)
• Do they have all the information at hand needed to fill out the form? (Yes)
• Is it easy to fill out the form? (No, it’s confusing…that’s why we need training!)

So what was the real issue here? Should you train people to fill out a confusing form, or should you work with them to clarify the form so that it’s easy to fill out? I suggested that before we develop training, the manager should ask a few people in the department to look at the form and suggest ways to make it easier to fill out. The result…a revised form that made it very easy to collect and record the needed information. It was beta-tested by the department and once implemented, resulted in a 100% compliance rate for completing the form.

Conclusion: training may or may not solve your performance problem. Ask questions about what is really happening before investing the time and money needed to develop and implement training. Your bottom line will thank you for it.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity. Sharon helps businesses hire, train and retain outstanding employees and create workplaces where everyone can do their best work. For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440.

Getting Your Employees to Do Their Job Right

A professional colleague of mine told the following story:

An employee in the Payroll Processing division of a large Midwestern bank was on the verge of being fired for poor performance.  His job was to ensure that the payroll information from various companies was correct before being submitted for processing, and his work was almost never accurate. As a last-ditch effort, my colleague was brought in to talk to the employee and find out why he was making so many mistakes.  She asked if he understood what impact  his  mistakes had.  He had no idea why accuracy mattered.  She explained that when he made mistakes, people just like him did not get paid.  From that day on, he never made another mistake.

Bottom line:  tell your employees why doing their job right is important.  They are much more likely to do the job right when they understand what impact it has on others.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity. Sharon helps businesses hire, train and retain outstanding employees and create workplaces where everyone can do their best work.  For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440.

The Right Employee for the Right Job

Have you ever had the experience of hiring someone who looked perfect for the job, only to have them leave soon after they started?  Or, even worse, you had to fire them?  Employee turnover costs businesses thousands of dollars in lost time and productivity.  So, how can you ensure that your next hire “sticks”?  Here are a few tips:

  • Prepare a job description that goes beyond duties and responsibilities to describe the impact the employee has on the business.  Outstanding employees don’t just “do” they help achieve results.
  • Ask the right questions in the interview.  Not just about what they have done, but how they have solved problems and contributed in the past.
  • Make sure that when the new employee starts, they have the information and resources needed to do the job they were hired for.  Nothing is more frustrating for a new hire than to sit around feeling unproductive.

Bottom line: the more intentional you are in the hiring process, the more likely you will have a happy, productive, long-term employee who will help you achieve business success.  Of course there are many more strategies that can contribute to employee success such as on-the-job training and having a clear path to advance in the company.   But it all starts with getting the right person for the right job.

Sharon Hamersley, Principal, Keys to Performance, helps businesses hire, train and retain outstanding employees and create workplaces where everyone can do their best work.  For more information, contact her at 614-395-9440 or Sharon.ktp@wowway.com.