Want a Great Onboarding Experience? Understand Your Audience

April 11th, 2017 Comments off
onboarding experience

The world is full of HR buzzwords. Onboarding is one of them.

The fact that onboarding is a buzzword in HR doesn’t mean it’s without importance or merit. It simply means that it’s hard to do, but we understand the importance. That means that a lot of people talk about it, but few do it well.

To get a real game plan together related to onboarding, you need to understand multiple angles – including the difference between transactional and transformative onboarding, generational differences related to onboarding expectations and how to use your ongoing employee onboarding process to your advantage in recruiting.

Tired of your onboarding feeling like a buzzword? Great – let’s map out how to make your onboarding experience relevant to your company without having to hire another full-time employee to handle it.

Transactional vs. Transformative Onboarding

See what I did there? I added some more buzzwords! Transformative is a big word when it comes to onboarding, but it simply means that you’re doing more than handling transactions when getting new talent started with your company.

Most companies sit employees down, cover policy, benefits, payroll and get 109 forms signed in three hours and call it onboarding. This transactional side is important, but if that’s all you do you’ll never realize the full potential of onboarding.

The goal of any new hire onboarding process should be to minimize the amount of time spent on boring topics and doing paperwork. Get as efficient as you can with those items (use technology) and then move to things that can strengthen the bond new employees feel with your company.

Examples of transformative onboarding include the following:

  • Bringing in focused guest speakers to talk about your culture.
  • Linking new employees with guides/sherpas/mentors that will meet with them consistently in their first 90 days to provide encouragement/support.
  • Starting the goal-setting process of what each new hire wants to accomplish in their first 90/180 days with your company. Including the new hire’s manager in this is a great way to link onboarding with your broader talent strategy.


You’ve got your own examples for what “transformative” onboarding looks like. As long as you’re doing something besides popping a phone-book size of paperwork down in front of the new employee, you’re probably on the right track.

Generational Differences in Onboarding Expectations

As with anything talent-related, generational differences should be considered as you are building your onboarding platform at your company. Here’s what you need to know about generations as it relates to onboarding:

  • BoomersScared of their vulnerability based on their age. Sure, they may be easier to please because they’re happy to have found a job, and unless you truly run them off, they’re probably going to stick. But that’s not the path to engage this group. For best onboarding and subsequent engagement results, make sure boomers see role models their age doing interesting work and being valued as a part of your onboarding sessions (think guest speakers), and consider optional follow-up sessions on understanding benefits (because health care is top of mind for this group).
  • Millennials/ZHopeful that you don’t absolutely suck as an employer, but actively scanning for signs that you do suck. This group is most likely to make a quick change if their BS meter goes off and their needs aren’t met. For best results, you need to automate the transactional (signing paperwork) part of your onboarding process (they won’t respect you if you’re analog) and consider having follow up sessions that are delivered on demand. Those two things will go a long way with this segment (as will goal setting and mentoring programs), but you won’t maximize your street cred with this group without talking about corporate social responsibility. Knowing your company cares about something other than itself is huge toward this group sticking with you when the path becomes rough at work.
  • Gen X This group has no rights, and thus, no expectations. I kid – this is the group I’m part of. Managing to the tastes of Boomers and Millennials/Z will effectively paint the corners of what’s important to this group. Gen X has uploaded a lot of the tech habits of Millennials/Z, but is just old enough to feel some Boomer pain/fear as well. Do what you do to cater to the other generations, throw in a few clips from “Seinfeld” and you’ll manage the needs of Gen X effectively.


Cater to expectations of generations in this way, and you’ll automatically arrive at the 90th percentile of all onboarding programs.

Using Onboarding Programs as a Recruiting Advantage

Remember the Circle of Life in “The Lion King”? Of course you do. While I’d love to talk about Simba and company, I reference the song to make a simple point. If you ramp up your onboarding game, you’ve got to think like a marketer and play back what you’re doing to get new employees up to speed as part of your recruitment marketing efforts – think career site, social channels and more.

Think about the onboarding experience as a marketer, and you’ll realize the benefits are circular (thus my Lion King reference). Promoting what’s going on in onboarding shows future candidates you’re better than most, and there’s a vanity retention play for new employees – it feels great to them to be featured. It’s a big circle – of benefits to your brand.

Whatever you do, the first step is the most important. Make your onboarding more than transactions. Once you do that, you’ll see that you can provide tremendous value in your onboarding programs that impacts engagement, performance and retention – the reason you’re thinking about onboarding in the first place.

How to Use Technology During the Onboarding Process

Kris Dunn is the CHRO at Kinetix and founder of HR Capitalist and Fistful of Talent.
Who am I? That’s an easy question – I’m a VP of HR type who has led HR practices in Fortune 500s and venture capital-held startups. I work for a living, and believe that the key to great business results is to get great people, then do cool stuff to maximize their motivation, performance and effectiveness once you have them in the door. As it turns out, that’s my simple definition of talent management. I believe that all forms of HR administration should be squeezed down to the smallest amount of time possible, giving you more time to do stuff that matters. I’m also among the most transparent HR pros you can find, and here’s why. I care so much about the art of HR that I’ve started two blogs (www.hrcapitalist.com and www.fistfuloftalent.com) with the goal of building a community I could learn from. I’ve been putting my thoughts down every business day for over 7 years. 

The Ideal State for Great Employee Onboarding

April 6th, 2017 Comments off
ideal onboarding process

I don’t have an exact number, but I think I’ve probably onboarded close to 10,000 employees in my HR and talent acquisition career. Now, I didn’t always own the entire onboarding process but I played a role in all of those hires!

So, I like to think of myself as an onboarding expert. It’s a big responsibility, as onboarding is such a critical aspect of successful employee tenure. A horrible onboarding experience may drive new employees to look for another job by lunch time, but an awesome onboarding experience will make those same employees want to get out and recruit your next great hire!

It seems like most organizations are constantly tinkering with their onboarding processes, most likely because we feel like we can always make the orientation process for new hires better. I think for me there is never a “perfect” onboarding process, but I definitely think there is an ideal state for which you to strive to achieve in onboarding.

  1. Onboarding has to start before the first day of work. If your new employee shows up for their first day and no onboarding has taken place, you’ve failed that new employee.
  2. Administrative work for the new employee is absent on day one. That means you need to get all that administrative work out of the way before day one. There are a few ways to accomplish this but the best way is to utilize technology and have at least a portion of your onboarding completed online.
  3. Your new employees should know exactly what will be expected of them before they show up to work on day one, and hopefully much longer than that. When I went to work in HR at Applebee’s I was delivered a 90-day calendar completely filled in on what I would be working on and where I would be at each day. Of course, this is exceptional, but it’s not too much to ask that we deliver each new employee at least day one and probably week one.
  4. Give them a “wow” moment. A wow moment is not something that is the same for each employee, so this takes a bit of work. For one employee maybe it’s just taking them to lunch, for another maybe it’s sending flowers to their spouse and thanking them for allowing your team to “borrow” them each day. Maybe it’s decorating their office in their favorite team’s colors and banners. A wow moment on day one is really awesome!
  5. Onboarding can’t end after day one, or even week one. What’s the ideal length? I don’t know, that depends on your organization and the position someone was hired for. What I do know is that if you have a position with higher new hire turnover, you need to increase your onboarding time for those positions!


Onboarding is really hard to do well if you’re only using manual processes. Employee onboarding software allows you to do most of the administrative and scheduling of onboarding, which will then give you and your team the capacity to do all the extra things that make onboarding special for new employees.

Onboarding might be the most overlooked aspect of new hire turnover, and it’s something we in HR and talent acquisition completely control! By planning ahead, creating a good new hire experience and using technology to streamline processes, you can get closer to that ideal state of onboarding.

Find out more benefits of using technology in your onboarding process.

Tim Sackett, SPHR is the President of HRU Technical Resources a leading IT and Engineering Staffing firm headquartered in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of combined Executive HR and Talent Acquisition experience, working for Fortune 500 companies in healthcare, retail, dining and technology. Tim is a highly sought after national speaker on leadership, talent acquisition and HR execution. He also is a prolific writer in the HR and Talent space, writing for Fistful of Talent and his blog The Tim Sackett Project. Tim is married to a hall of fame wife. They have three sons and one dog. He is a lifelong workplace advocate for Diet Mt. Dew fountain machines and hugs.

8 Questions and Complaints You Hear When Onboarding a New Hire

April 5th, 2017 Comments off
new hire onboarding

You know the importance of having a good onboarding experience. A structured, technology-driven onboarding process can not only make your job easier, but it can have a big impact on the perception a new hire has of your company.

Having said all that, you may have the best onboarding process in the biz, but that doesn’t mean you might not occasionally get some, er, interesting questions and complaints from new hires.

Here are eight gifs to describe what you wish you could say – or do – in response to those questions you may get when onboarding a new hire:

1. My office is so small, what’s the process for getting a new one?


2. OMG there’s so much free food, I may never have to bring in a lunch!

share food

3. I thought my first paycheck would be bigger.


4. Oops, I forgot I was supposed to fill out my paperwork before I started.


5. Are there good restaurants around here?


6. Where can I pick up my personal packages?


7. Oh you were serious about me bringing in my IDs?


8. I didn’t know I only have 31 days to complete my benefits.


Learn How to Use Technology During the Onboarding Process

9 Steps to Creating an Amazing First Week for Your New Hire

February 20th, 2017 Comments off
create a great first week for your new hire

You’ve found someone with the talent and passion to truly make an impact on your small business. Now, do everything you can to help your new hire feel welcome and important. Use these nine tips to create an effective, unforgettable first week that will set the tone for a prosperous tenure at your small business.

No. 1: Get bureaucracy out of the way. The most memorable thing about the first day shouldn’t be an endless stream of forms. Send whatever paperwork you can ahead of time to fill out at home. (Your new hire will appreciate not being put on the spot for an emergency contact.) Include an employee handbook, too.

No. 2: Send welcome emails. Provide your small business team with background on their newest colleague and the person’s start date. Then, encourage them to send individual introductory messages. Knowing something about others before stepping foot in the office will up the newbie’s comfort level and provide icebreaking material.

No. 3: Check in. Call the day or so before the start date to express excitement and answer any last-minute questions. Providing info on parking, building security, ID to bring and exactly where to go can ease those first-morning jitters. And let your new hires know they needn’t brown bag that first day; you’ll be providing lunch for the office in celebration of their arrival.

No. 4: Prepare a space. Don’t leave your enthusiastic new team members feeling like an uninvited guest. A ready-to-go station with working tech, passwords set up, and ample supplies shows you’re anticipating all the contributions they will make to your small business. For a nice touch, add company swag and a gift card to the neighboring coffee shop.

No. 5: Give the grand tour. Besides learning practical things like the location of the copier, walking around the facilities provides a taste of all the activities going on at your busy small business. To build a sense of purpose, emphasize how your new hire’s role fits into this larger picture.

No. 6: Assign a mentor. Joining a close-knit staff can be a bit intimidating at first. Appointing a friendly team member to act as a “buddy” may ease some of those feelings of being the outsider. This person also serves as a resource to answer those “dumb” (but oftentimes important) questions news hires hesitate to ask the boss.

No. 7: Start training. Don’t let willing hands sit idle when your small business has so many things to do. Patient, detailed instruction and manageable assignments from the get-go allow new hires to get their feet wet and build confidence.

No. 8: Lay out an agenda. Keep your new hire from wondering when you’ll get to the “good” stuff discussed during the interviews by constructing a framework during the first week. Not only will this build anticipation for upcoming assignments and learning opportunities, it shows that you have long-term plans for this person to make a difference to the small business.

No. 9: Review the week. Finally, a one-on-one after a few days gives you and your new employee the opportunity to give timely feedback. Knowing his or her concerns and answering questions demonstrates that you care and want the individual to succeed. Likewise, praising great things you noticed encourages the behavior to continue, and identifying potential problems stops bad habits from forming. Considerate communication early on sets the tone that your small business is built on honesty and trust, not mindreading.

Ready to go further? Check out 5 Ways to Set Your Small Business Employees Up for Success

How to Use Technology to Drive Employee Engagement

February 7th, 2017 Comments off
employee engagement

It’s hard to find someone who will argue against the importance of employee engagement. An engaged employee feels a strong sense of connection with their work. And, when we feel that connection as an employee, we do better work. Anyone who’s worked at a job for longer than a couple months knows this to be true.

As a result, most leaders are working to crack the code on employee engagement as a way to increase performance. This conversation about engagement typically focuses on the dynamics of manager effectiveness, teamwork and trust in leadership. These relationships are critical to employee engagement.

But in our focus of the interpersonal dynamics that impact engagement, we sometimes overlook how the smart use of technology tools can also have a profound impact on an employee’s feeling of engagement.

In my study of Best Places to Work, one factor stood out as a distinct differentiator between the best workplaces and the rest: communication. The best places to work are relentless about communication as a means to create clarity and reduce uncertainty for their employees.

Technology has provided us with tremendous tools for communication throughout the employee experience. One area that is of particular importance is the new hire onboarding process. The experience for employees in the few weeks prior to and after joining your organization sets the tone for them. It’s a time of both great anticipation but also great uncertainty for employees. This makes communication critical.

Here are some ways you can use technology to ensure your employees start their career feeling connected and engaged.

  1. Use video to help employees understand how to get started successfully. Video is a wildly underutilized tool by employers. It’s become cheap and easy to create – most people have a decent video camera in their phones. Here are some ways you might consider using video before an employee starts:
  2. Eliminate as much paperwork as possible. We all know there will be some paperwork when we start a new job. But, there are few worse ways to make a first impression during onboarding than with a giant stack of paperwork. Use technology to give employees the flexibility and instruction to complete their paperwork when it works best for them. And, if you can eliminate or automate the form, do it. This way you can focus on more exciting things during the employee’s first day.
    • Send welcome messages from the new hire’s team introducing themselves and sharing interesting facts about themselves.
    • Create videos of employees sharing tips for new hires. You could prompt employees by asking them to share what they wish they’d been told as a new hire.
    • Record welcome messages from the CEO or other senior leaders that explain the organization’s values and history, core expectations of all employees, and other information that would help the employee feel connected to the bigger picture.
  1. Empower the employee to manage their own onboarding experience. Create checklists and task lists for employees that include expected completion dates. This both clarifies expectations for the employee as to what their first few weeks or months will involve and empowers them by allowing them some control over how these tasks get completed.


Using technology tools to supplement the onboarding process is a powerful way to get your new employees off on the right foot by removing as much uncertainty from the process as possible.

Jason Lauritsen is a keynote speaker, author and advisor. He is an employee engagement and workplace culture expert who will challenge you to think differently. A former corporate Human Resources executive, Jason has dedicated his career to helping leaders build organizations that are good for both people and profits. Most recently, he led the research team for Quantum Workplace’s Best Places to Work program where he has studied the employee experience at thousands of companies to understand what the best workplaces in the world do differently than the rest. Jason is the co-author of the book, Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships. Connect with Jason at www.JasonLauritsen.com

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5 Onboarding Tips For Remote Employees

January 13th, 2017 Comments off
5 Tips to Onboard Remote Employees Successfully

Onboarding employees is one of the most crucial tasks you can undertake as an employer. The first 90 days are crucial to increasing retention rates. Now that you’ve hired the best candidate, it’s time to not only get them set up logistically, but also to make them feel like an integral part of your organization. That’s a challenge — and perhaps even more so for employees who will be working remotely.

Equip yourself with these five tips to ensure that you’re setting your new employee up for long-term success.

1. Make sure paperwork and technology is ready to go before the start date. Oftentimes, the majority of a new employee’s first day is consumed with trivial technology roadblocks—obtaining a laptop, getting it set up, getting various programs installed, etc. Do yourself a favor and get them set up with IT and any other paperwork they need to dive right in on the first day. By preparing ahead of time, you can mitigate the time spent on administrative and logistical setup so you can focus on what really matters.

2. Communicate expectations. For instance, if you expect them to be online and available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., make sure you communicate that up front. It will help employees working remotely to better plan out their days, especially if they need to invest in a work station at home or a co-working space or find a quiet café where they can work from. If you aren’t a stickler for set hours and just care about the end result, then it doesn’t matter what hours they work as long as they have a deadline to turn in their work. Either way, expectations should be set at the outset to avoid assumptions and miscommunication. Keep the lines of communication open at all times.

3. Set clear and concise goals. There’s nothing worse than an employee logging in on Day 1 and not having an idea of what to do or what the big picture of the role is. To prevent this from happening, consider providing them with a written list of objectives, responsibilities and specific goals so they have a clear picture of how you will judge their performance and measure success. Setting goals, milestones and/or benchmarks can go a long way toward helping new employees understand what’s expected of them from a performance perspective.

4. Find ways to make them feel part of the team. Encouraging teamwork and collaboration can be more challenging with remote employees, but do what you can to make new employees feel like they fit in and build (virtual) relationships with the rest of the team. See if they can come into the office — even if it’s just for a day or two during the onboarding process — to meet the rest of the team. The occasional team outing can also boost team spirit and help build camaraderie. Additionally, make sure the new employee knows who to reach out to if questions arise or they need additional help.

5. Offer training and development. Employees entering your organization will need to be ramped up fairly quickly so they can hit the ground running. For remote employees who are not able to make it into the office during onboarding, make sure you have in place virtual training and/or workshops to get them up to speed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Whether it’s looping them in on HR protocols or ramping them up on the tools/technology your organization uses, having it readily available and on-demand is crucial.

Do you manage remote workers? What is your biggest challenge? Do you have a tip for other employers? Tweet your response and tag @CBforEmployers.

Empower 2015 Recap: ‘The State of the Health Care Workforce’

September 25th, 2015 Comments off
State of the HC Workforce

HR professionals in the health care industry recently joined Inavero’s Founder and CEO Eric Gregg at Empower 2015 for a breakout session about the findings from CareerBuilder’s 2015 Health Care Workforce Study.

The goal of the session was to uncover the truth about what’s happening in health care recruitment today, provide best practices to apply to talent acquisition and retention strategies and demonstrate how to create a better candidate and employee experience.

If you missed the session, never fear. Here are five key takeaways you can start using today:

No. 1: Find Candidates Who Love What You Offer

Gregg started off by sharing a visual example of Girl Scouts selling cookies in front of a marijuana dispensary. His point? Just like these smart, savvy girls did, you have to identify who are the most likely candidates to love what you offer and find a way to get to them.

And considering the complexity of the job search today, targeting them can prove to be a challenge. The typical health care candidate utilizes between three to four different types of resources during their job search, according to the study. So if you want to recruit top talent, you need to reach them with consistent messages of differentiation and employment branding across multiple platforms.

No. 2: Put More Emphasis on Mobile

Eighty-six percent of the health care workforce has a smartphone, and they’re using it in their job search. They’re researching companies, searching for jobs and communicating with employers. So not only should your organization’s career site be mobile-optimized, you need to consider whether your emails are mobile-friendly as well.

Health care workers have an expectation that your communication channels will be mobile-optimized. In fact, when coming across a health care provider’s website that is not, half of employees believe your organization is behind the times. As Gregg pointed out, this leaves a bad taste in their mouth if they try to visit your site or engage with your email in a mobile environment and it doesn’t work. And the last thing you want to do is give potential employees a bad impression.

No. 3: Understand the Candidate’s Mindset

As Gregg reminded the audience, when people are job hunting, they are at one of the most stressful points of their lives. Gregg referenced a study conducted a few years back that asked respondents what life events they considered to be more stressful than their current job search. Fifty-seven percent said they think that a family sickness or illness is less stressful than their search. That just goes to show what state of mind a candidate is in when they’re looking for a new opportunity.

So, when a candidate is interacting with an employer, the employer can either make things less or more stressful. And people always remember the things that lead to more stress. That creates a huge responsibility – and opportunity – for employers, because they’re laying the foundation as an employer of choice. If you provide candidates with a positive hiring experience, and show them you have what they want, you’ll become that employer of choice.

No. 4: Invest in Training for New and Seasoned Employees

The study showed just how big of an impact training has on employee satisfaction and engagement. When it comes to both onboarding and ongoing training, the more extensive the training, the more likely the employee is to recommend the organization as an exceptional place to work.

Professional development – typically delivered through some type of formal training – is a critical driver of overall loyalty to an organization. So, while it may take some investment upfront, it will pay off in more satisfied employees and a strong employer reputation.

No. 5: Reinforce the ‘Why’

When asked what the most rewarding aspects of their job are, “helping people” was far and away the top answer (36 percent; the next highest on the list was “growing your skills/learning” at 12 percent).

It’s so easy to get into the minutia of the job that employees forget the big picture, or why they got into health care in the first place. As an employer, you should reinforce this “Why” to your staff. Do this by telling stories of how a department or individual impacted someone’s lives. By reminding them about their role in helping others, it will ultimately help with retention.

In Conclusion: A Marathon, Not a Sprint

Gregg’s parting thought was that making changes to processes takes time and experimentation – some things will work, and others won’t. Progress isn’t always going to be pretty, but there will be big lessons in both your successes and failures that you can apply the next time around. He also stressed that employers have a huge responsibility because they’re involved in hiring/the job search, which is one of the most personally defining parts of a candidate’s life. So as an employer, you owe it to candidates to improve the process.

Want even more insights from the 2015 Health Care Workforce Study? 

Best Practices for Rehiring Former Employees

September 4th, 2015 Comments off

“Grey’s Anatomy” has been on air for 11 seasons, and it’s had its share of cast shakeups. (Yes, “Grey’s Anatomy” is still on TV, and yes, I still watch it – deal with it, haters.) Perhaps the most notable (well, after McDreamy’s tragic exit, of course) was when Isaiah Washington departed the show after using an anti-gay slur toward another cast member. Seven years after that incident, he was rehired by the show for a guest appearance. The show’s producer, Shonda Rhimes, spoke about his return, saying, “…I feel very strongly and fully believe in people’s ability to grow and change and learn from their mistakes and when they know better, to do better.”

The takeaway here is that rehiring former employees can be a sticky and sensitive situation (although hopefully not to the extreme of what happened on the best show on TV “Grey’s Anatomy.”) Even if the circumstances around why the employee left were vanilla, there still are considerations that need to be made before saying, “You’re hired…again.”

Here are some best practices to follow when rehiring a former employee:

Understand Why They Left in the First Place

If the employee’s departure was by choice, it’s important to determine why he left, and whether he’ll still have the same grievances once he returns. Tom Gimbel, founder and CEO of recruiting and staffing firm LaSalle Network, suggests reviewing their exit interview for clues. “If there was an exit interview, look at those notes to understand why they left, and address those reasons during the interview,” he says. “Ask if they have the same hesitations, or if the reasons listed on the exit interview still hold true.”

Follow Standard Hiring Procedures

When considering a former employee for a new position, it might be tempting to speed up the hiring process (because if there’s a way to cut corners and save time, why wouldn’t you?) Yet, it’s important to practice due diligence and treat the employee like it’s her first rodeo.

“During the hiring process, be selective, thorough—and make sure that bringing back a former employee is in fact the best course of action,” says Michael Lan, senior resume consultant at Resume Writer Direct. “Go through the same procedure as you would for a brand new candidate in terms of the interview, asking for and checking references, and doing all the necessary research on their background and work history.”

Consider Other Employees’ Reactions

“Hiring managers need to think about the effect hiring a former employee may have on current employees,” Gimbel notes. “Were there any issues between that person and their team members before? Be sure to evaluate the impact rehiring a former employee will have on the morale and motivation of current employees.”

Gimbel also suggests being as upfront as possible with employees once decisions have been made. “As soon as the decision is made to rehire a former employee, communicate it with current staff, and meet separately with the team they will be joining. Allow them to voice opinions and concerns.” He says while it’s important to be firm about the decision, you should still outline the reasons for bringing the employee back on board.

Rehiring Means Retraining

Even if the employee has been gone a short time, chances are that certain procedures and ways of doing business have changed at your organization. Also, consider that the employee has likely changed as well, and there may be more of a learning curve for him than you might expect. “Past performance is not always an indication of the future, and just because they were a top producer previously doesn’t guarantee they will be again,” Gimbel says. “They should still go through the full onboarding and training process that every new hire does.”

Monitor Their Progress

“Since boomerang employees are more likely to have a better understanding of what needs to be done to get the job done, they probably won’t need to ask for advice or guidance as much as brand new employees,” Lan says. “Either that, or they might think asking questions demonstrates an inadequacy in their ability to do their job well. With that in mind, make sure that you keep a close eye on their progress in terms of job performance as well as their transition back into the organization.”

One way to encourage former employees to come back? Through a corporate alumni program.





3 Ways You Can Improve the New Hire Experience

August 12th, 2015 Comments off
3 ways you can improve the new hire experience

I grew up in rural Ohio. I remember countless stories from my dad about how much he worked — even as an infant! I knew he was exaggerating, but his stories reflect what happens in most workplaces today: You just show up and work.

The concept that new hires should automatically know what to do when they enter the workforce is one of the worst obstacles that exists in organizations today.

It is an incredible assumption that people come fully equipped and are automatically ready to perform. As talent advisors, we even lure people into our organizations with the promise of an easy transition into our culture and environment. There is no doubt new hires have the requisite technical ability to do a job. They may have to learn how your particular company does things, but they come with the basics and education to get started.

HR professionals treat new hires like a parachute. We get ready to jump, pull the cord and let them float throughout their days as we move on to the next area that captures our attention and requires us to focus. It is not a good practice and something that needs to change — now. Employees deserve a better new hire transition period so they can not just exist, but thrive.

Talent advisors have the ability to fill in the gaps for new hires in three intangible areas.

Assumed Culture

Every company has norms that people practice but rarely communicate. Not knowing the hidden behaviors in an organization can be very frustrating. Employees who have been in the business for any substantial amount of time may spend time gossiping about how the newbie doesn’t “get it” — and they may soon be labeled as not fitting in. Talent advisors need to teach “assumed culture” to new hires in the onboarding process and show new employees the ropes. ALL OF THE ROPES.

Being savvy

Knowing how to work effectively with people at all levels of an organization is not a skill that all people have when joining your company. Being able to maneuver and interact with co-workers above you and below you may have to be learned. It is often overlooked and becomes another area of frustration for people. It results in either poor relationships with people or employees working around key players. Talent advisors can take steps to close this gap by pairing new employees with experienced employees who know how the existing staff works. It will help new hires easily integrate into your workforce.


When you ask people about the one thing they would fix in their company, the answer is always better communication. The problem is that we say communication is a problem, but then we expect people to learn how to communicate more efficiently through osmosis. Communication gaps can stifle and kill the energy and eagerness a new hire brings to his or her new opportunity. It is a great time for talent advisors to be intentional and be a connecting link for new hires to show them how to communicate clearly in all the systems your company uses.

Teaching the intangibles of your company to your new hires will differentiate you as a talent advisor. It has the potential to increase retention, integrate your staff across departments and add value to your organization as a whole. Don’t pull the cord on your people. Take the ride with them!

Throughout the month of August, our resident talent advisors will be discussing issues around the biggest recruiting issues right now and getting you ready for CareerBuilder’s Empower 2015. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions, and find out more about Empower 2015 here.

Abysmal Onboarding Experience? 5 Ways to Turn It Around

June 26th, 2015 Comments off
Your candidates deserve a better onboarding experience

Onboarding should be better. It should be easier. Human resources leaders across the world purchased enterprise HR technology solutions that promised better hiring practices, streamlined onboarding… and cupcakes and tacos.

Instead, onboarding is still a compliance-driven function that requires new hires to sit in a cubicle on their first day of work and stare blankly at a screen while they fill out computerized paperwork.

That is pretty awful.

So here are five things every company needs to do to improve its onboarding practices:

1. make sure Onboarding happens before the first day.

Who said you have to wait until the first day of work to share benefits information? Who said you can’t talk about your company and culture until your new employee has a name badge? If your new hire orientation program isn’t automated, use the power of the post office and clear as much paperwork as you can before day one. Make the first day less about the process and more about employee engagement.

2. allow the first day to start later.

What’s the rush? You have the rest of your career to show up at 8:00 in the morning. Slow down, get some coffee, and ask your new hires to come into work at 10:00 instead.

3. Roll out the red carpet. Literally.

There is no reason your new hires shouldn’t be treated like rockstars on their first day of work. Companies like Zappos and HireVue are known for treating their new employees like royalty. NPR celebrates the arrival and departure of interns on Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter. None of this costs any money. Ask your existing employees to grab their iPhones, channel their inner paparazzi, and have some fun sharing the fresh new faces in your office.

4. Don’t be a Debbie Downer.

New hire orientation often starts with lectures and ends with consequences. I am guilty of being the HR coordinator who told the new employees that sexual harassment was wrong, and that suspected drug use would result in an immediate suspension. What I learned, later in my career, is that the employee handbook is not going anywhere. Don’t be in a rush to tell people all the ways in which they can get fired. Believe me, they already know.

5. Start with what’s important to your new hire.

You just spent 30 to 45 days interviewing your new employee. You know her strengths and weaknesses. On the first day, don’t ask her to dive into compliance-driven LMS modules. Think about what’s important to her, and devise an interesting learning strategy that aligns with her passions.

One More Piece of Advice!

Great talent advisors know that onboarding isn’t the singular responsibility of the local HR department. Want to ensure your new employee has a fabulous first day at work? Ask her manager and colleagues to plan that entire day, and step in only when asked.

You’ll be surprised by how the team will rally around its new employee and give her a friendly first day to remember!

This month, our talent advisors have been dishing out their best advice on effectively managing your talent and helping them thrive. Catch up on the articles you’ve already missed. New to Talent Advisor? Sign up here to get new articles delivered to your email inbox.

Up Your Onboarding Game with Technology

January 16th, 2015 Comments off
Keep new employees happy using technology in new ways in your onboarding

The happiest people at your company are the people who start tomorrow.” TWEET THIS

I just saw a friend on Facebook post the following about her new job:

Giddy with excitement for tomorrow. Feels like the excitement you have for the first day of school.”

Onboarding matters.

As a talent advisor, your primary goal should be to maintain that level of happiness after their first day of work. It costs anywhere from $3,000 to $18,000 to replace someone who quits a job during the first 90 days. In my experience, the dollar cost is minimal compared to the emotional drain on morale. Good technology for your onboarding program can help ease the transition for new hires and reduce the amount of time it takes to get them to full productivity.

Here are five ways to use technology to up your onboarding game this year:

1. Create a purpose for your onboarding program.

As a VP of human resources for Hirevue, I know that strong social ties and effective training are what people want when they start a new job. At my company, we help our new hires form those ties and offer self-paced training as part of our overall strategy.

(Oh, and we and make sure they get a computer and a paycheck, too!)


Video can teach as well as expose employees to all aspects of your company. Create a new hire playbook and pack it full of videos from various leaders and experts who talk about your company, products and market. Make the playbook interactive with relevant and interesting content. Give homework and assessments too.

At HireVue, all new hires are sent a welcome message via video from our CEO. He then invites each new hire to create their welcome video message. Once they complete it, they have access to everyone’s welcome video. We call it an IntroVue and it aids in developing social ties. Simple and easy to use. You can do this fairly easily at your company, too, using webcams and YouTube.

3. Get social.

Another good way to interact with people is to show people that you, as a talent advisor, are social. It’s part of my mission as a VP of human resources to connect with people at all aspects of the employment lifecycle. I use Twitter and hashtags to promote my personal brand and my organization’s employer brand.

4. don’t forget about books.

Use technology to make books easier to read. A product like getabstract will summarize almost any book into a no-fluff 5-page book summary. The summaries are available via audio and mobile-friendly. You can get the key ideas of the book in about 10 minutes.

Speed. Wins.

5. evaluate Technology and Culture!

When people think of technology and onboarding, they always go to things like I-9s, direct deposit, or electronic signatures. That’s good, but the real reason behind technology is so that you can spend more quality time with people and develop cultural values.

Each person you hire comes with their set of values and they are yearning to belong to a place that reinforces their values. They want to find people who work like them. Several technology products exist to evaluate behaviors. Those products will assess someone’s values and show them how they match with others or the overall company itself before they even start on the job.

One last word

The combination of technology and onboarding is powerful. If you are thoughtful and operate strategically, you can open up the technology channels for people to use as they join your organization. Remember, it’s always about them. Relentlessly focus on reducing the amount of time it takes employees to reach full productivity. You will make a difference!


Don't make your new employee's first day their only happy day.

Want to learn more about using technology to move your HR initiatives forward this year? Don’t miss Tim Sackett’s webinar on Jan. 22 at 12 Noon Central, “Recruiting Silver Bullets for 2015.” Register now — and find out more about it here.