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Why Onboarding Could Be the Most Important Process for the Success of Your Organization

6 May

Before employers can even begin to think about putting a new hire to work, it’s essential that they run an onboarding program to help newbies get acclimated to their work environment.

However, it’s crucial that businesses don’t equate onboarding with mere orientation training. While the latter provides new hires with the most basic of details on their new surroundings and job requirements, a true onboarding program accomplishes much more with an eye turned toward the long term.

An effective and refined onboarding strategy may prove to be one of the most integral factors that go into securing company success, generating a positive return on employee investment, and ensuring the workforce is knowledgeable and motivated.

The key to implementing a beneficial onboarding program lies in understanding the needs of new employees and balancing that with what the company wants to achieve through greater employee engagement and talent management. While it may seem like a banal chore to employers, with consideration of the talent gap in mind, advanced onboarding strategies have never been more important.

Components to a Successful Onboarding Program
Even though onboarding programs have evolved to become a more valuable employee engagement tool, recently, the basis for such initiatives is still drawn from fundamental introductory steps that employers have taken for ages.

These include simple actions like familiarizing new employees with coworkers and colleagues they’ll interact with on a daily basis, ensuring they have completed vital HR and employment verification documents, and raising awareness about company benefits. Creating a drop-in schedule to check in on progress during the hire’s first days, week, and month with the organization can also help.

But these are common steps to take that HR can do in its sleep; while they constitute the basic workings of an onboarding program, they do not represent the crux of a successful one. That added value lies in the strategic elements employers incorporate into their existing onboarding regimen.

For example, two guiding principles to a tactful onboarding program are folding the new employee into the corporate culture in order to foster talent development and utilizing the transition as a means to generating a return on employee investment that benefits both employee and employer in the long term.

There are several different ways in which that objective can be accomplished, like introducing the employee to the brand in an informal and educational manner. In order for employees to strengthen their brand through work, they must first know it like the back of their hand. By simply discussing brand image, integrity, profile, vision, and mission, employers can engage new hires and sufficiently immerse them in the brand and prepare them for meaningful work in the field.

New Tech Strategies Boost Onboarding Effectiveness
HR software solutions that automate payroll and other functions aren’t the only technological advancements that have spurred innovation in onboarding; increasingly, employers have turned to social media in order to welcome new hires and familiarize them with the company, its people, and its culture.

Especially considering the influx of millennial generation talent into the workforce, social media has become a primary channel for onboarding at forward-thinking organizations.

The benefits of social media-integrated onboarding structures are many. Employers and employees are afforded an interactive, personable, and casual environment in which to interact and build relationships with one another. Social media use also helps streamline processes and communications and makes new hires feel welcome and appreciated, which primes them to deliver to their fullest.

“If you want to enable those new hires to make a difference as soon as possible and fit into the culture of the company, go social: Give them the kinds of communication tools they are already using outside work,” Karie Willyerd wrote for a recent Harvard Business Review article on social and onboarding.

Onboarding Still Needs to Approach Greater Company Goals
Even though the onboarding process may be dismissed as a routine training program or taken lightly because of the honeymoonesque feel to it, in order for onboarding to be successful, it must reflect the goals and aspirations of the company.

This new and improved onboarding has become a major strength to employers, which have seen results when aligning onboarding with organizational objectives.

A recent investigation into the process of advanced onboarding published in the MIT Sloan Management Review outlined some of the ways companies can engage employees through onboarding while still focusing on the company as a whole.

For instance, connecting with employees and discussing their own identity and strengths and skills as people can benefit both employer and employee. The latter is happy because he or she feels valued as a talent asset and not a mere cog in a machine, while the former benefits from gleaning greater insight into the employee’s abilities and motivation, which can be applied in future initiatives.

Research, experience, and just about every sign there is point to a new age of onboarding wherein employers and employees are holistically more supportive and interactive. Better onboarding leads to better recruiting, retention, and return on employee investment. Advanced onboarding strategies are proven tactics, ones increasingly important to the overall success and well-being of the business and the employee.

Introducing Sage Source

20 Feb

Sage Source - Improve Your Work Life SuccessFor almost a year now I have been talking about Return on Employee Investment because I believe every organization should look at their decisions with this idea in mind. Employees are the single most important asset of a company and numerous studies have shown that customer satisfaction is directly related to employee satisfaction. 

For small businesses, hiring and retaining the best employees are some of the most difficult tasks because of competition for the best talent. Larger organizations have an advantage because they can use their size to offer employees a plethora of benefits and access to technology at a reduced cost.

Today, I am extremely excited because a new idea is being introduced into the market to help solve this problem and aid in the competition for the best talent. I’m proud to announce that we’re launching a forward-thinking new cloud services platform named Sage Source

Sage Source is an easy to use employer and employee portal that allows employers to offer services to their employees that they only dreamed of and all with minimal administration.  It also provides value in savings to small and mid-sized companies by giving them access to business related services at enterprise savings levels. The initial release provides immediate value to companies in several areas and the savings and value will continue to grow as we continue to add more business and employee services to the platform. 

I can honestly say that this is the most exciting thing I have seen to help small businesses engage their employees in a long time. Sage HRMS customers on a current Sage Business Care plan will have immediate access to the new offering and I invite you to learn more now by visiting the Sage Source website.


Six Rules For Wise Recruiting

29 Jul

Human Resources Recruiting a New Employee

I originally posted this article on and I thought I’d post it here on the Employer Solutions Blog to make sure everyone got a chance to take a look. 

Here are my six rules for wise recruiting:

1. Look Back to Go Forward –take a look at your past procedures and practices as they relate to recruiting.  Know what worked and what didn’t – understanding why.  If you can’t fix a process throw it out.  Develop a strategy based on tried and true techniques as well as using those that are new but helpful (like social networking) is the best approach.

2. Hire for attitude – train for skills – A resume will give you information on a person’s experiences and background so you can learn what skills they have.  Companies have the ability to train for certain skills and do all the time.  Software changes, protocols change but you can’t change a person’s attitude about life and approach to work.  Hire people whose attitude fits your company culture; If need be, you can train them to acquire the skills your company needs.  New hires should have the ability to learn but the willingness to do so is crucial.

3. Past Performance Does Predict Future Behavior – when interviewing and doing background checks – knowing how someone performed or behaved in the past is a strong indicator of what they are likely to do in the future so questions should be based on behaviors.  Unclear answers from former employers should not be accepted. Ask more questions until you are comfortable you know how the potential employee is likely to act in a given situation.  Develop a recruiting strategy based on finding out who people are, not just what they can do.

4. Become the employer of choice – this is the #1 recruiting strategy.  If an employer is the employer of choice, everyone wants to work for them and no one wants to leave.  You can control your recruiting budget because word of mouth is your best advertising.  Resumes come to you rather than you having to pay to get them from ads, on-line search engines, etc.

5. Put them in the book – it’s important to keep a reference guide.  A reference guide is a recruiter’s best tool.  It has information about everyone in your organization including people who work for you, people who don’t but you wish they did.  An employee’s, likes, dislikes.  What a current employee wants in their next job.  Who’s moving up, out – who is leaving and have they found a new home?  Who took a job where, why.  A good reference guide is a record of what’s happening inside your company and your competitors.  It is a little black book to give the recruiter an edge on their competitors.

6. “Hire Hard, Manage Easy” This is a quote from Alan Davis and this quote says it all.  If you spend your time and energy on recruiting, interviewing and hiring the best- then managing them is a breeze.

What are your thoughts on my six rules, did I leave any big ideas out?

ROEI – Have You Heard?

11 Apr

ROEI - Return on Employee InvestmentI often receive questions from HR professionals and human resource management teams about how companies consistently stay relevant and succeed.  They’re often in the form like these, “why are some companies thriving while others struggle to stay in business” and “what is the distinctive difference between a good company and a truly great company?”

The answers to these questions can only be found when looking at what defines the company: its people. The people that make up a company are that organization’s unique and biggest asset. For most businesses, the workforce is also its largest expense, or better put, its largest investment.

I believe that employees are the most important component in the quest to improve business results. It makes sense to treat employee related expenses as an investment in the workforce. Like any other investment, this critical company investment must yield a healthy return. We call that the Return on Employee Investment or ROEI. 

Stay tuned to our blog for more on ROEI.  We’ve got some great stuff cooking.

Teams: How to Guide Them to Success

31 Jan

Team Working Towards SuccessEmpowered teams, self-managed work teams, project teams … the list could go on forever.  Over the years the trend in teamwork theories seems to have changed as often as the seasons.  No matter the gimmick, successful teams have two major characteristics – a common goal and management commitment. Success in teams that have these attributes can easily be measured in their productivity increases.

Team creation presents a challenge for leadership because there are so many ways to segment a group into teams.  While some would say it is useful to focus only on products, job titles, or work shifts, most have found this does very little for increasing productivity.   Consider varying the experience and knowledge levels of the individuals and focusing the team on one common goal. This will produce exciting team dynamics  and allow participants to focus  on the goal,  not on just their specific knowledge base.    When you measure the difference between individual and team success,  teams are always overwhelmingly more productive.  The key is selecting members that complement each other in personality, skill, experience, and others. 

Once teams are formed and productivity is on the rise a structure must be employed to promote this behavior.  A common mistake made by managers and human resource management professionals is to implement a team structure yet continue to use their current individual performance system.  If you want team performance you must reward as a team not as individuals.   It is necessary that a consistent message in structure and rewards be created.  Members of the team should understand that rewards are given to them based on success of the team rather than individuals. The team must be a component to an already existing incentive program and must be integrated with all other metrics and goals.  A common method is  cascading; department goals relate to  organizational goals, team goals relate to department goals, and  individual goals relate to team goals.  With this method the individual  sees how their contributions can impact the organization in both positive and negative ways.

Now that the structure is in place, it is time to sit back and watch the team work.  This is probably the most difficult time for a manager as one lets go and lets the team make the decisions whether right or wrong. Many first time team managers tend to step in and interfere prematurely.  The dynamics of well-organized teams may take time to develop but the confrontations and issues are  learning experiences and part of a growing period.   Not allowing the team to work out their own issues creates an environment where the team will not succeed because the message is clear that the manager is still in control of the decisions.

In a recent process re-engineering project here at Sage Employer Solutions team development was the key to success; management saw increases in overall productivity and improvement in the work relationships between individuals.  Our human resource manager said, “Not only did our overall processes improve, but I began dealing with less employee conflicts.  The number of people in my office with questions or issues has been substantially reduced.  Also, the slight competition amongst the teams and the peer pressure it created has drastically improved individual employee performance.”

Developing a team strategy is challenging, but it will return your investment quickly.  Effective teams not only increase performance but can also make the manager’s job a little easier.  Remember, the key ingredients to successful teams are a common goal and commitment from management.

Do you have an interesting story about how a team succeeded at your organization?  If so, let us know about it by sharing a comment below.

Ask an Expert: HRIS Selection

10 Nov

Recently, I was featured on the Daily HR Solutions blog in an Expert Q&A post. I had the opportunity to answer a few questions about HRIS tool selection and about what makes Sage Abra HRMS an effective Human Resources software tool.

Here is an excerpt from the interview:

1. What are the most important factors for HR professionals to consider when choosing an HRIS?

Depending on the company, there are many factors to consider. Ease of use has been and always will be on the forefront in the decision-making process (a comment made by more than 60% of our customer base). Other criteria include: price, windows-based, SQL, reporting capabilities, employee self-service, integrated HR and payroll, attendance tracking, training management, job and pay history, interfaces to GL.

Since technology plays a large role in the HR function, HR professionals should seek an intuitive HRIS system with the business intelligence for exceptional reporting. It also helps the strategic component of the HR role and the ability to maximize the return on employee investment (R.O.E.I.)

You can read my full Q&A session by visiting the Daily HR Solutions Blog and if you have any questions about HRIS selection, let me know by posting a comment below.

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