Does your firm provide fertile soil in which your newly hired talent can flourish? I recently read an article in which the author and researcher raised the question of whether top talent is “portable”, and the individual would succeed in any environment. Interestingly, even top performers in seemingly individual roles (i.e., financial broker) were often not as successful after a move to a new firm if that new firm did not have a process providing support during the transition and a support structure that encouraged success long-term. It may sound cliché, but we should ask ourselves, “What can we do today to improve our onboarding process for new hires supporting our employees, allowing them to reach their highest possible level of performance?”
Dare we let our best assets, top talent, wilt on the vine?
Below are some easy tips to help support your newly hired talent start off with success!
- Details matter. Do your best to have the workspace ready (computer, phone, pens, note paper) and business cards ordered prior to the start date. It can take some time for a new employee to feel at home, but an employer who makes a place for someone sends the message that they care.
- Communication! Share any information on paperwork they will need to bring their first day, an agenda of what they can expect that day, any parking information, and a quick summary of the company’s dress code so they don’t feel out of place.
- Let your current employees know! Email your team letting them know the name of who is starting, what their title is, their work experience/education, and your hopes for what this new person will bring to the company!
- Give them a warm welcome!It doesn’t take much to make a new employee feel welcome. A quick coffee social or donuts in the breakroom goes a long way. You can also have someone from the company take them out to lunch the first day. This allows them to start feeling like they know someone a little better at the company.
- Give a tour of the office. Share information such as locations of bathrooms, kitchen/breakrooms, conference rooms, etc. Explain different departments, where HR is located, and any other essentials.
- Be wise in choosing the trainer.Like most small businesses, if you don’t have a formal training program, be cautious not to assume that the employee with the most expertise is also the best trainer. Often, you will want to involve multiple people in the process so that the newly hired employee understands how their role fits into the organization. For example, sales professionals should spend time with customer service or technical support professionals so that they understand the customer. Also, be aware that people have different learning styles—some need to “do” rather than just hear or see.
- Set clear expectations.This is your chance to start with a clean slate. Review the new employee’s job description letting them know what is expected of them and how they will be measured. Let them know how often you will meet with them and how to have questions answered.
- Ask what their expectations are. It’s just as important to make sure you are meeting their expectations too. For example, the new employee might be used to meeting monthly vs. quarterly. Adjusting to monthly could help them perform better and feel more valued by your company. This would also be the time to communicate any discrepancies if their expectations don’t meet yours. It’s better to try and resolve any issues now versus 6 months from now.
- Schedule software trainings and any other necessary formal trainings as soon as possible. It’s important to make sure your new employee knows all software, processes and best practices as soon as possible.
- Schedule social outings. The more time your new employee can hangout with your team, the better. Whether they’re going to sing karaoke, play some good ole fashion bingo, or hit some balls at Top Golf, they will get to know each other in a more relaxed setting and make them feel more comfortable.
- Put their success in the hands of the entire team.When the team feels it is in their best interest for a newly hired employee to be successful, they are more likely to support them and give the newly hired employee the best possible chance for success.
Do you have any other tips for starting new employees off with success?
Written by: Julie Godshall Brown and Shawn Kinard
We have all heard the phrase, “past performance predicts future performance” and I feel the easiest way to gauge future performance is from relying heavily on reference feedback. Whether you are a recruiter, HR professional, hiring manager or simply conducting interviews for your organization, checking references on potential employees is a must. Below are some tips, pulled greatly from past experience, on how to get the most out of checking references:
- If a candidate cannot provide a readily available list of references, this may be a red flag. Most understandably, candidates that are currently working are not going to list their current employer and shouldn’t be expected to. However, if someone is actively job seeking and interviewing, they should have a prepared list of contacts to provide you to ensure someone can vouch for their work ethic throughout the pre-hire process.
- A thorough reference list will include a great amount of diversity in the contacts listed. For example, being able to provide more than one contact from past jobs, contacts from all past jobs, and different levels of employees they worked with in those jobs, including both former co-workers and supervisors, is hugely helpful. It is also important that the candidate has made these contacts aware they are listed as a reference on their behalf. Nothing is worse than catching someone completely unaware of the reason for your call!
- Keep it professional–nothing personal and stick with facts.
- Remember to start by verifying the information provided by the candidate and then move into questions related to their specific performance in the role and with the company (some examples below). Additionally, when interviewing a candidate for a specific role, be sure to dig a little deeper into how their past performance will relate to what they may eventually do within your organization.
o Are the company names, dates of employment, and titles correct?
o How was their overall performance in the specific role? (Does title listed and job duties provided mirror feedback coming from the reference?)
o How did they treat both fellow employees and external customers?
o Were they prompt and reliable with work product and in regards to meeting deadlines?
o Did they adhere to office culture and standards: attendance, dress code, etc.?
o Are there any concerns? (Concerns are not always negative and may be helpful in determining how to train and ensure immediate success in the new role.)
o Are they eligible for rehire? (Or sometimes can be phrased as, “would you hire or work with them again?” depending on the relationship of the candidate to the contact).
- If you do uncover negative feedback in a reference, it may not be a “deal breaker,” but not worth ignoring. In this case, ask the candidate for more reference contacts as it is worth researching further to see if the feedback has validity and is consistently received.
Candidates that have done the necessary due diligence in providing prompt, thorough, and detailed reference information will undoubtedly be heavily considered for any job!
Written by: Rebecca Faulk
If you are reading this before you have already graduated, we need to back up a little bit and look at what you should be doing to better your chances while going to college. One of the best ways to help you determine what you want to do post-graduation and help you land a job is to get an internship or co-op with a company or organization in your field of study during your college years. This will help confirm or deter you from what you want to do, while giving you valuable work experience to start building your resume.
Next, you want to utilize your school’s career center. Not only can they help you network with companies, they can get you in touch with alumni and even get you involved with mock interviews for practice. They can also help you build your resume and format it (keep it to one page). Almost all colleges and universities today have career fairs (fall semester and spring semester). GO TO ALL OF THEM! You will network with HR and hiring managers of companies, learn about companies, and sharpen your skills when speaking with decision makers. You may get opportunities to move onto an interview with one or more companies and potentially have an offer in hand prior to graduation. A lot of the companies also look for candidates for their internship programs so just another way to get your foot in the door.
If you don’t have a job offer after graduation and don’t want to live in your parent’s basement, you have to go get a job! Create your resume and build your LinkedIn profile. Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are very professional and mirror each other without discrepancies (we have tips on this blog on how to create both). Another very important rule is to make sure you “Google” your name and see what comes up on the internet. Trust me that this is the first thing most hiring managers do now. Also, clean up and delete any pictures or posts on your Facebook / social media accounts that are inappropriate. As a recruiter, I have seen numerous times where candidates who were more than qualified for an opportunity were turned down because of what showed up their social media pages. It’s time to grow up and get ready for the professional world.
While you apply to jobs on job boards or directly on company websites, do not forget that your network of professionals is just as good, if not a better way to land your new job. Building your network and meeting decision makers in your field is still one of the best ways to land your next opportunity. I have seen where candidates have found an opportunity with a company due to their network who had never “officially” posted a role, but rather “created” a position for someone they just could not pass up.
Now a company gets in touch with you to move you on to the interview stage: what’s next? Make sure you invest in professional interviewing attire to dress the part. Also, I cannot stress enough: GO TO ALL INTERVIEWS! Even if you don’t think it may be the best opportunity or your dream job, there are a few reasons you want to take the interview. Interviewing is a skill all on its own and the more you do it, the better and more confident you will get at it. You may have thought you would not be interested in the role and then after learning more about the opportunity, it may actually be a great one. Also, you have just met some new decision makers to add to your network. Don’t forget to get contact information from them so you can send them a thank you note.
To sum it all up for getting that first job out of college:
- Get an internship or co-op during college relative to your field of study
- Go to all job fairs and utilize career services at your university or college
- Update your LinkedIn profile and resume
- Review, update, and edit all social media sites to make them professional
- Utilize and build your network
- Go to all interviews with companies and dress the part for the opportunity
Written by: Zandr Tesolowski
You’ve put an incredible amount of effort into hiring the right match for your position, your offer was accepted, and now you’re anxious to see the results. Your work is done, right? Not quite! A few easy tips for helping your newly hired employee get off to the right start:
- Give them a warm welcome! Whether or not you provide a formal orientation, introduce them around so that coworkers will know who they are and where they are working. Allow some time for interaction via the water cooler or a personal introduction. Give them information about customs that may be unique to your firm. Have someone invite them to lunch the first day if possible.
- Make sure the newly hired employee feels you are ready for them. Are business cards in? Is the computer set up? Do they have office supplies? Little things matter.
- Be wise in choosing the trainer. Like most small businesses, if you don’t have a formal training program, be cautious not to assume that the employee with the most expertise is also the best trainer. Often, you will want to involve multiple people in the process so that the newly hired employee understands how their role fits into the organization. For example, sales professionals should spend time with customer service or technical support professionals so that they understand the customer. Also, be aware that people have different learning styles—some need to “do” rather than just hear or see.
- Set clear expectations. This is your chance to start with a clean slate. Let the new hire know what is expected of them and how they will be measured. Let them know how often you will meet with them and how to have questions answered.
- Put their success in the hands of the entire team. When the team feels it is in their best interest for a newly hired employee to be successful, they are more likely to support them and give the newly hired employee the best possible chance for success.
Written by: Julie Godshall Brown
Julie is the president and owner of Godshall Professional Recruiting and Staffing. She has been with her family business full time since 1995 and remained as president and owner when her parents retired in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Clemson University and a Master of Personnel and Employee Relations from the University of South Carolina. In addition to leading her firm and several industry related organizations, she is a very active community volunteer who has made an impact on the future of the Upstate.