Onboarding – It’s more than an employee orientation!

Hiring an employee without a clear job description or set of expectations, and then expecting them to quickly come up to speed and become a productive member of the team, is the equivalent of a pop quiz over a subject that was never covered in class. Some employees may sail through, but for the majority, it sets them up for failure as a first experience at your company. Furthermore, it sends a solid message to the employee that your company is a “sink or swim” environment, and they shouldn’t expect a lot of support.

Onboarding CycleEmployee Engagement and Onboarding have both become topics of interest to companies in recent years, but the link between them is not always apparent. In the last decade, though, many studies have shown that proper onboarding processes have a direct and positive impact on the employee’s level of engagement, and the employer’s turnover rates. Yet, I have read estimates that as few as one in five organizations use a consistent, formal onboarding process for new employees. With less than a third of U.S. employees reporting that they are engaged at work, the correlation is worth consideration.

To back up for just a moment, let’s first define the term. Onboarding is a formal process by which companies manage the orientation process for new employees. In addition to clarity on job duties and paperwork, though, a good onboarding process includes focused measures to make the new employee feel welcome, integrate socially with their coworkers, and ensure that they have the resources and training necessary to succeed. The goals of an onboarding process are to bring employees to the stage where they are engaged and productive members of the team as quickly as possible.

Characteristics of a good onboarding process include:

  • Creates a welcoming environment for the new employee
  • Defines clear expectations and path for success
  • Includes opportunities for learning, training, and skill development
  • Is used consistently throughout all levels of the organization
  • Encourages employee questions and feedback
  • Proactively engages new employee in company’s unique culture
  • Conveys company’s commitment to employees’ success

So why don’t the other 80% of companies pay more attention to onboarding practices? There are likely a variety of reasons, including:

  • Lack of time on the part of managers and other teammates – you’re hiring new employees because resources are stretched thin and you need help yesterday!
  • Lack of processes – it may seem daunting, or too time consuming to sit down and define a specific process for hiring and onboarding new employees. Your company is growing fast, and everyone else here has managed to figure this stuff out!

  • Assumption that the new employee already knows what to do – I mean, that’s why you hired them, right? While this may be accurate, it overlooks the piece of onboarding that is dedicated to social integration, and the role clarity that is critical to productivity. The first week or two at a new company builds the foundation for (hopefully) years to come. Why not take a little extra time to make sure they feel welcomed and know where the bathroom is without having to ask?

At Hireix, the Accurate Hiring System™ includes not only pre-hire resources, but also a tailored onboarding program for use with each of your new employees to ensure that the end result is an engaged and productive employee who will propel your business forward. Contact Us for more information.


Don’t Miss An Opportunity To Build Your Brand With Job Applicants

We’ve all been there… submitting a resume for that perfect job, and then waiting for a response… and waiting. We send a second follow-up inquiry, or make a call, but we never hear back. Stop for a moment and think about what kind of impression this left on you about that business. Would you apply again for a different position? Would you give them your business? For most people, the answers to both questions are “probably not”. So why do companies operate this way? Is it so hard to shoot out an email response that says, “Hey, thanks so much for applying, but we’ve gone with another candidate.”?

No, it’s not hard, it just takes a little time, and often in the fast pace at which the hiring process moves, communication with rejected candidates isn’t seen as a priority. I hope that this article will make managers think twice about the value of this communication, though.

Waiting for callFrom the candidate’s perspective, nothing is worse than being stuck in the limbo of waiting for the phone to ring. Invariably, they would rather hear that they have not been selected than to keep wondering. This phase, particularly if it is extended, can leave a candidate with a sour taste in their mouth regarding the position, the hiring manager, and the company. The impression that the company leaves applicants with may range from disorganized, to uncaring and apathetic toward applicants. People want to work for, and patronize, companies that value them as individuals.

So how can companies stand out in their hiring process and convert applicants into brand loyalists? It boils down to communication and organization. The hiring process should be mapped out before it is begun, and at each decision point, there should be communication with all applicants, whether they are selected to move forward in the process or not. This communication should convey:

  • Respect & appreciation for the time that the applicant took to apply for the position
  • Timeline for the next decision point, and when to expect the next communication
  • Invitation for the applicant to engage with the company on social media, and even if not accepted for this position, to apply again for future openings

These communications can be in the form of a “canned” email that is sent to all applicants (personalize the name!) in the early stages, but once the applicant pool is narrowed to less than ten, a personal email is in order. Less than five? Make the phone call.

Companies who pay close attention to their communication with applicants have a much easier time attracting top candidates, and capitalize on the opportunity to convert rejected applicants into advocates for their brand.


Stepping Into Thin Air – What we can learn from the people around us

This morning I watched my 17-year-old son OverTheEdgerappel off the roof of a 24-story building in downtown Portland, Oregon, to raise money for his local Boy Scout Council. While my heart rate quickens and my palms get sweaty just thinking about it, he touched down with a huge smile and complained that the automatic braking mechanism slowed him down. I’ve tried to explain to him that “normal people” have an instinctual aversion to stepping off the roof, whether they’re 12 or 300 feet in the air, but he shrugs it off with his logical, thrill-seeking brain, and explains that there are plenty of safety measures in place. Fearlessness is a characteristic that he’s always had, and is something that I’ve always admired about him.

This got me thinking about the wired-in traits that we all have, and how the mix of people around us can push us to step out of our comfort zones and develop new skills. Too often, when it comes to hiring, we gravitate toward someone that we get along with, who looks at things the same way we do. Building a homogenous team may sound like a great idea – no one is butting heads, and everyone works well together. However, too often it also results in a lack of innovation, and can leave a business owner wondering why the company is experiencing stagnation.

Neale Donald Walsch said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” The same could be said of innovation. Any entrepreneur will tell you that starting a new business feels a lot like standing on a bridge with a bungee tied to your ankles, and making the conscious decision to jump.  Even those who jump time after time have areas of the business that make them uncomfortable, though. One might feel that the monotony of running the “business” part of the venture sucks the very essence out of their soul, and another might want to focus on creating the product and be petrified at the idea of networking events. Successful entrepreneurs learn to honestly evaluate their own areas of weakness, and surround themselves with others who compliment, rather than duplicate their skill sets, and who will push them to the edges of their comfort zones, which is where true innovation is possible.

For managers, pushing your own boundaries can take several forms. These might include setting unrealistic “stretch” goals, challenging yourself to focus a certain part of each day on areas of the business in which you’re not comfortable, or working with people who are comfortable in those areas of the business to develop your skills. Find people who really excel in the areas that you struggle with, and recruit them. Enlisting a good cheerleader who will also hold you accountable is a great start. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received from one of my many career cheerleaders on expanding my comfort zone, was “Just fake it… OK, you’re going to have to fake it better than that”.

And in case you’re wondering, no, I’m not going to rappel off the building with my son next year. That’s just nuts.


How Can Managers Increase Employee Engagement?

A recent Gallup poll placed employee engagement in US companies at about 30%. That’s right, less than a third of employees throughout the country feel engaged in their jobs. So how did we get here? What’s missing? These are questions that employers all over the country are asking themselves, and it turns out that the answers aren’t that complicated.

Employee Engagement

People want to be appreciated, they want to feel like their voice is heard by management, and they want to know that their work matters. Below are some tips for increasing the level of employee engagement in your enterprise:

    • Communication – This means honest, bi-directional, frequent exchange of ideas and information. Talk to people, and listen to their answers. Get to know them. Ask for feedback, ask for their ideas, and pay attention to the responses. This fosters a climate of trust and respect, which creates loyalty.
    • Passion – Passion is contagious and inspiring. Passionate leaders are more engaged in their businesses, and tend to lead from the trenches, which inspires others to follow.
    • Integrity – Remember that actions speak louder than words. If you want to instill these values in your corporate culture, you have to live them every day, as do your other managers.
    • Respect – Don’t waste employees’ time and then wonder why they’re not getting their jobs done. Keep meetings running on schedule, simplify organizational structures, and eliminate needless red tape. Respect employees’ knowledge and expertise, and trust them to ask for help if they need it.
    • Recognition – Ranging from a simple “thank you” to cash bonuses and promotions, merit-based recognition is a valuable tool. When companies are struggling, recognition often ceases, as large financial incentives are no longer possible. Don’t be afraid to get creative when the budget is tight, though. A gift certificate for a lavish dinner out or a weekend away may not take the place of a quarterly bonus, but it will leave the employee with the certainty that their efforts are valued and appreciated. Likewise, regular public recognition for excellence will keep employees engaged and motivated, and costs the employer nothing.
    • Transparency – Make sure employees understand the results of their contributions to the company, and that they have a clear path to advancement. When both manager and employee agree on how the employee’s performance will be objectively measured, the employee is much more likely to excel. They know what is expected, and what is required to make advancements in their career. Conduct performance reviews on a regular schedule, and reward employees who achieve their goals.
    • Accountability – Hold yourself, your managers, and your employees to high standards. Take action when an employee is not performing, and figure out why. Nothing is more de-motivating to the rest of the team than feeling that they’re carrying the weight of co-workers who aren’t doing their job.
For more information on measuring employee engagement, I would encourage you to read Ryan Fuller’s article in Harvard Business Review, A Primer on Measuring Employee Engagement.


Curious about how Hireix helps companies hire and retain engaged employees? Email Amy Bloom for more information on the Accurate Hiring System™

V2A Announces Spin-Out of Hireix

Press Release: June 11, 2015

V2A Solutions Today Announced the Spin-Out of Hireix, Inc., in order to grow and commercialize the Accurate Hiring SystemTM developed by Larry Briggs, Founder and President of both Hireix and V2A Solutions. This move will allow the new company to focus its energies on turning Briggs’ proprietary methods into a scalable software solution. V2A Solutions will retain its focus on executive leadership coaching, team building, and business improvement seminars and trainings.Amy headshotBW

This move has already attracted the attention of several investors, who have contributed seed funding in order to cover Hireix’s initial operating costs. This venture will be spearheaded by Portland startup veteran, Amy Bloom, who has taken on the role of Vice President at Hireix. With two high-tech startup acquisitions under her belt and over a decade of experience in Portland’s startup ecosystem, Bloom is excited to have the opportunity to bring her depth of experience to the task of building a company from the ground up, “I’ve been very impressed with everything that Larry has built. I think the recruiting market is ripe for an innovative solution that brings costs for employers down while increasing employee engagement, and from what I’ve seen thus far, the Accurate Hiring System delivers on all fronts.”

Choosing employees graphicWhile the company’s initial product offering is comprised of consulting services in the hiring solutions market, Briggs hinted at what the future holds for Hireix, “Amy has quickly grasped the unique elements of the Accurate Hiring System and shares my vision for unique and helpful tools to dramatically increase both business productivity and profits for our clients.” With the system developed by Briggs, employers are able to find, hire, and on-board the right employee for each position, with greater ease and certainty, and at less expense than with the use of recruiters.

Headquartered in Tigard, Oregon, Hireix is already bringing its unique approach to clients in the Portland area, and is exploring partnerships with other organizations.

V2A logo

About V2A Solutions: Twenty-five years ago Larry Briggs launched a consulting and coachinglb5 (3) firm with the mission of making leadership simple, effective, and doable for entrepreneurs building their businesses. Having completed his first business turnaround in his mid-twenties, he saw the challenges those leading small to medium sized companies face as they scale their businesses. In the years Briggs has been coaching and training leaders he has developed innovative products and approaches to common problems entrepreneurs face, and delivers his services through workshops and individual coaching sessions with V2A clients.



A Lesson in Hiring Top Executives: The 4 Key Attributes

Moving People to Action

The Most Important Decision

‘We choose our spouses. We choose our bosses. We choose our friends. We choose the people who work with us. We choose our nannies. We choose our lawyers. We choose our doctors. It is definitely worthwhile investing in learning, because this is not rocket science, but it requires discipline.’  Claudio Fernández-Aráoz

Claudio Fernández-Aráoz has spend his entire adult life in the business of identifying talent.  He has interviewed over 20,000 executives.  What has he learnt about seeing talent in people?

Jim Rohn says we will become the average of the 5 people that we spend most time with.  A successful life depends greatly on attracting and identifying those people.  How much time have you dedicated to crafting your ability to identify talent?

His First Lesson: People Lie

We lie.  It is not malicious, it is natural.  Some people lie more, some people lie less; but we…

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