Intentional Onboarding

Intentional Onboarding

By Staci Hegarty, M.Ed., COO

Starting a new job brings a range of emotions, from joy to apprehension to anxiety. The first day of a new job sets the tone for what an employee can expect from the organization. Many times, the onboarding process has been in place for years, with additions being made as needed. During the early days of the pandemic in 2020, companies were forced to quickly change the way they worked, including how new employees were brought in. Technology can be very useful as a support tool for onboarding, but it should not be the main character in the onboarding process. Even remote employees need some human interaction, especially during the onboarding process. 

Onboarding begins where hiring ends. The offer letter is the first step in the onboarding experience. It should be provided in a timely fashion and include all the relevant information, such as start date, salary, work location, and Next Steps. Most people will not resign from their current job until they have the offer letter, any delay not only causes a delay in starting the new role, but it may also cause stress for the new employee before they have even started!

When possible, have the new employee complete most paperwork before the first day. Even if it is not 100% complete, it will allow everyone to focus on connecting with each other instead of filling out forms. Your company may have protocols for badges, logins, keys, and parking passes that are contingent upon new hire paperwork. Doing this early will mean that the new employee has everything they need on Day One. This is especially helpful if you are onboarding multiple people on the same day.

Provide an agenda for the first day, or first few days. Some things never really change, the first day of school was stressful for most of us as children. The first day of a new job is stressful for the same reasons. Will I get lost? Will I know enough? Will I be alone at lunch? An agenda that introduces the new employee to their new boss, new colleagues, other departments, and organizational leaders will help alleviate some nervousness. Conduct a tour of the facility early the first day to help employees build a mental picture of what their environment will be like. The sooner a new employee has the basics, the sooner they can start focusing on the role-based tasks.

Onboarding does not end after the first few days of employment. It takes time for people to learn their role, how they fit in with the big picture, and what the culture of the organization demands from people. Keeping new employees close for the initial 90 days will help build confidence, help managers to assess training needs, and allows new employees to fail in a way that will not be catastrophic. Even people with experience in the role need to time to adapt and adjust to a new company, with different systems and different expectations. 

For some people, asking questions and speaking up comes easily. For others, it can be difficult to seek answers without feeling exposed or insecure. A thorough onboarding process that continues beyond the first week will allow new employees, regardless of confidence or disposition, the opportunity to learn while also becoming integrated into the culture of the organization. When surveyed, 94% of respondents indicated that a feeling of belonging is critical to their opinion of their employer. Don’t make new employees work too hard to belong, build a process that fosters belonging and inclusion from the beginning.

Contact Envision RISE for more information about how we can assist in building and maintaining efficient and ethical hiring practices and processes.

Our evolutionary platform helps companies create a powerful integration and understanding of the relationship between the organization and the workforce. Envision RISE empowers your people to drive continual change and innovation through effective strategy and transformation.


Ethical Hiring Practices

Ethical Hiring Practices: Building a Robust Workforce in the Modern Employment Era

By Staci Hegarty, M.Ed., COO

The job vacancy rate in the US is currently 5.4%, higher than the average of 3.55%. Unemployment is at a nearly 50 year low, at 3.7%, By 2030, all Baby Boomers will have reached the traditional retirement age of 65, leaving more job vacancies. Organizations are struggling to fill existing vacancies, especially in healthcare and technology https://www.bls.gov/ooh/most-new-jobs.htm. To fill critical roles, it may be tempting to rush through the hiring process or even cut corners to ensure adequate staffing levels.

Ethical hiring practices not only lead to increased job performance, but also to greater employee satisfaction and retention. Every company wants to believe that they are honest and transparent when hiring and onboarding a new employee, yet some employees feel that they were not provided with all the information they needed to make a good decision about accepting an offer.

Transparency

It starts with transparency. Over time, job descriptions and the actual job function may become very different. It is necessary to update job descriptions regularly, with a thorough evaluation prior to posting the job vacancy. If the role has been filled by a long-term employee, it is entirely possible that the former employee was doing a lot of tasks that are not outlined in the job description. Sometimes companies may determine that the role should now be split into two separate jobs, rather than trying to find someone new with a broader skill set. Letting a potential applicant know all the expectations will save time and frustration for everyone. Resist the urge to let the sentence “Miscellaneous duties as assigned” do too much heavy lifting in your job descriptions.

Recognize who is “missing from the table.” There is a lot of discussion now about “hiring quotas for diversity.” This is not the same thing as mindful hiring. Recognizing that certain voices are missing from your organization should not result in a quota mindset, but it may encourage your company to expand or change current recruiting practices to increase the diversity of the candidate pool.

Candidate Sourcing

Be proactive in your sourcing of candidates. It is tempting to let technology do the initial screening, and many organizations assume that AI will filter out any human biases. Research shows that because AI uses human input, those biases can remain. Decide at what point in the process humans will be involved in reviewing resumes. If you are looking for greater diversity, it may take a more hands-on effort that requires humans to be involved from the beginning.

Determine the urgency of each hire. Some roles play a more integral part in the day-to-day operations than others. Replacing a salesperson on a team of 50 may not have the same urgency as replacing a staff account on a team of three. This will help your talent acquisition department know where to focus their energies or even bring in an outside recruiting agency.

The Interview Process

Formalize your interview process. Use a standard set of questions for every candidate. Consider forming an interview panel that consists of people from different departments and roles. Make the panel as diverse as possible, not just in race, gender, and age, but also in time with company. Each person will bring their own lived experience to the interview, which will lead to greater insights for both the company and the candidate.

Share your timeline and keep the candidate updated on their status. Whether you are looking to hire in the next month or the next three months, it’s important to let the candidate know what to expect. Even if your projected start date is a few months out, that does not necessarily mean you will lose the candidate if you keep them updated on their status. If you tell the candidate you will be making a decision quickly, give them a date to expect a decision. Do not “ghost” a candidate if you do not plan to proceed with them! Most people would prefer an honest answer so that they can move on with other options. Honesty says a lot about your organization, even if the candidate is disappointed in the outcome of the interview.

Your company’s reputation is more than your marketing campaign. Your hiring process tells potential future employees, and possibly future customers, a lot about your organization. Honesty, transparency, and consistent communication are markers of integrity. A candidate may not get the job, but they will still tell people about the good experience they had during the process. Word of mouth can go a long way in building a reputation outside of your branding.

Contact Envision RISE for more information about how we can assist in building and maintaining efficient and ethical hiring practices and processes.

Our evolutionary platform helps companies create a powerful integration and understanding of the relationship between the organization and the workforce. Envision RISE empowers your people to drive continual change and innovation through effective strategy and transformation.


The Blueprint for Successful Mentorship Programs

The Blueprint for Successful Mentorship Programs in the Workplace

By Staci Hegarty, M.Ed.

Mentorship has long been touted as one of the most effective ways to not only improve employee retention and engagement, but also to create a diverse and expansive pool of internal candidates for future roles. Yet many organizations abandon their efforts at mentorship programs due to a perceived lack of positive outcomes. Giving up on mentorship tells employees that the company is either not invested in their growth and development or does not have the expertise to nurture employee development. In short, it tells employees they would rather hire someone from the outside than work to upskill their existing workforce. Here we outline a blueprint for mentorship to help guide the way.

Creating and executing a mentorship program requires planning and hands-on project management.

Too often it is assumed that the program can “run itself” because mentors are already proficient at their jobs and mentees have already shown high potential. Excelling at a specific job does not always translate into excelling at being part of a mentoring pair. That is like expecting the top salesperson to become a stellar sales manager without training.

It is critical that the desired outcomes and expectations for the mentorship program are clearly established from the beginning. These goals and aims should not come from one person or department, but from a cross-section of departments and roles across the organization. Once the desired outcomes are established, ensure that there are adequate resources available to achieve those goals. This is not just financial resources, but time and talent resources to start, monitor, and maintain the program. If no one is available to lead the program, consider obtaining assistance from a third party. Organizations such as Envision RISE have experts who can take on this responsibility instead of delegating the work internally.

Mindful Pairing: Building Successful Mentor-Mentee Relationships

Be mindful in how you pair mentors and mentees. Avoid pairing people who already have a reporting relationship, otherwise mentorship will devolve into mere training on departmental tasks. Mentorship is about providing professional growth, not remediation or creating an informal management role within a particular department. Leadership succession planning may include the idea of future promotion within the department and may be included as a specific learning opportunity for the mentee within the larger scope of the mentoring program.

Equipping Leaders for Effective Guidance

Train your mentors. Do not assume that someone knows how to be a mentor, even if they are already in a leadership role. Clearly delineate the scope of the program, expectations for time invested each week, and provide a roadmap for topics and deliverables.

Set expectations with the mentees. They need to be an active participant in the mentoring relationship. This may mean they need assistance in learning to clearly communicate their needs, accepting feedback, and building their skill set.

Consistent Progress Monitoring: The Key to Successful Mentorship Programs

Monitor progress frequently. Mentoring programs are not “set and forget”. It requires consistent monitoring and feedback. For example, it may become clear early on that a particular pairing is not working as intended. With open communication, this will be caught early and adjustments can be made to the pairing so that both the mentor and mentee have a good experience.

Stick to your timeline. The program should begin and end on specific dates. Allowing the formal mentoring relationship to drag on will result in complacency for both parties. Extensions to the program can be made if there are good reasons, such as one of the pair being out on extended leave.

Undertaking Mentorship Programs with Care

Continue to follow the mentee cohort throughout their tenure with the organization. When the formal mentoring ends, informal mentoring and sponsorship should take its place. Not every mentee will become a sponsee/protégé, which does not mean they are not an asset to the company. Tracking their career progression will provide data to help assess the effectiveness of the program.

Mentorship programs should not be undertaken lightly. When done well, these programs encourage growth and innovation, and may be a source of previously unrecognized potential. Envision RISE can help craft a mentorship program that fits the needs of your organization. For more information, contact Staci Hegarty at staci@envisionrise.com.


Going Beyond the Survey: Creating Holistic Change from Survey Results

Going Beyond the Survey: Creating Holistic Change from Survey Results

Envision RISE

Employee surveys continue to be an invaluable source to organizations. They provide numerous benefits, including measuring employee engagement, assessing employee satisfaction, and collecting feedback. But not all organizations are harnessing the benefits of employee survey data. Many organizations collect survey data but are unsure what steps to take next.

So, you administered an employee-wide survey and collected data on the health of your organization. Now what? If your organization has been sitting on survey results for months, with little to no action, you are not alone. Surveys are undertaken with good intentions, with the hope of understanding the needs and concerns of the workforce. Once the results are in, it can be overwhelming to analyze the data and then prioritize and act on the results. Oftentimes the results are compiled without a plan for action. Without a clear action plan, implementation will either not happen at all, or it will be counterproductive, leaving things worse than they were.

When an outside source administers an employee survey, they should provide you with results as well as insights into the data that may not be obvious from the results alone. Were there themes in the answers from a particular demographic or department? Are all of your employees having a similar experience, or are certain groups having vastly different experiences? An effective organizational consultant turns survey data into real-life narratives about the experiences of its employees.

Effective consultants also convert employee survey results into actionable plans. They provide you with a summary of risks and recommendations. If a third party consultant doesn’t offer strategic planning as part of their expertise, your organization will need to be diligent in ensuring that needs are highlighted, prioritized, and included in budgeting and long-term planning. (Pro tip: think twice before hiring a company that does not provide insights, recommendations, and assistance in developing a roadmap for transformation!)

Whether your survey is done internally or through a third-party, your plan before, during and after implementation should include the following:

A Messaging Plan

Don’t just send out a link to the employee survey and hope people will participate. Motivate your workforce to participate by communicating to them about WHY their input is important and what will be done with the information.

Once the survey is complete, decide how you will share the results. Sending detailed data results to the entire workforce is often ineffective. We recommend promoting workforce engagement by providing employees with a summary of the results, along with a plan for action. Your messaging should outline the next steps and inform your workforce the actions that will be taken.

Expert Advice Following the Employee Survey

The results of your employee survey may illuminate a need for services or training that are not currently part of your existing expertise. Consider bringing in experts to transform your survey data into effective organizational change. If your budget currently does not allow for third party training, it may be time to reconsider how your organization views workforce training. Training your workforce has countless benefits and should be seen as an investment, rather than a cost. Many experts can work within a limited budget, so it helps to be transparent about what your company can afford.

Collect Qualitative Data from Stakeholders

Collecting post-survey qualitative data can be a great way to provide context to survey results. Consider holding focus groups to gain a deeper understanding of employee experiences. Individual interviews can also provide insights into organizational culture and employee resistance to change. It is unusual for everyone to share the same enthusiasm or dedication to particular initiatives. Qualitative data collection can be a way to understand what may contribute to employee resistance to change and what steps might be taken to motivate employees to be engaged in the change process.

Executive Alignment Following the Employee Survey

Successful organizational change begins at the top. Change happens when leaders work collaboratively to attain organizational goals. With the survey results, risk, and recommendations in hand, bring the executive leadership team together to forge an actionable plan. Leaders should collaborate to create a shared vision, success criteria, and an ongoing training and monitoring plan.

Progress Measurements and Adaptive Monitoring

How will your organization know when it is making progress? What does success look like? Do not wait until the next annual survey to find out if your plan is having the impact you intended! Effective action plans include a method for measuring progress. Be sure to include quantitative metrics whenever possible. If any action items are more difficult to quantify, determine how progress will be measured. Then, collect and assess data regularly throughout the change process to measure progress and revise action plans if necessary.

Organizational transformation requires work. It does not happen through good intentions and hope alone. Envision RISE can assist with setting a course for your transformation journey, beginning right where you are at this moment. From baseline assessments to executive alignment to strategic planning to training, we have the expertise to help you plan and execute an effective organizational transformation.

 

References

https://www.driveresearch.com/market-research-company-blog/10-benefits-of-employee-surveys/

https://www.surveymonkey.com/curiosity/storytelling-with-data/

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/alignment-leadership-successful-change-management-nikita-shah/


Workforce Training: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

Workforce Training: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

Sara Skidmore, Envision RISE

Change and growth are a part of every organization. That is especially true today, where young employees are changing jobs more than their predecessors ever did and workforces are becoming increasingly more diverse. So how do organizations adapt to these changes and maintain a competitive advantage? The answer lies in well-designed and ongoing workforce training.

The Benefits of Workforce Training

There are numerous benefits of making workforce training an ongoing part of your organizational strategy. Below are just a few.

Talent Acquisition

Self-improvement is an important part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle. We all need to feel that we are being challenged and reaching our potential. For most people, personal and professional development are distinct but intertwined experiences. When we are given opportunities for professional development, we usually grow personally as well.

Today’s employees are seeking opportunities for personal and professional growth. Acquiring new skills gives employees a sense of accomplishment and makes them feel confident in their roles. This, in turn, increases job satisfaction. Offering well-designed and ongoing training opportunities makes organizations attractive to job-seekers, giving them a distinct competitive advantage when it comes to talent acquisition.

Enhance Team Productivity and Collaboration

Among recent changes in workforce dynamics is an increased use of teams. The vast majority of employees today work in teams. Working in teams comes with numerous benefits, but it is not always easy. Team members must learn to communicate effectively, work with people who differ drastically from themselves, provide and receive feedback, and collaborate with one another to bolster creativity and innovation. Consistent workforce training can help.

Training benefits teams in several ways. It helps employees be on the same page when it comes to organizational policies, procedures, and strategic goals. If done correctly, training can improve workplace culture and climate and help build employee relationships. As a result, teams are able to communicate more effectively and resolve conflict. They become more engaged and collaborative. In other words, well-trained teams are effective teams.

Succession Planning

Organizations that don’t plan ahead suffer. An important part of strategic planning is identifying strategic goals and the roles that are needed to accomplish those goals. Effective succession planning ensures those roles will always be filled by competent employees. Preparing employees to have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to fill leadership roles should be an ongoing process in every organization. Workforce development and training programs equip current employees with knowledge and skills needed for successful leadership.

Sustained Organizational Change

Organizational change doesn’t happen overnight. A structured and consistent approach to change is more likely to have lasting results.

Workforce training is a way to get everyone – employees, teams, and managers – involved in the change process. It educates employees about the importance of the change, their role in making the change happen, and it helps them understand the organization’s vision. When employees understand these things, they become more engaged in the change process. An engaged workforce is more likely to bring about lasting change.

Implementing Ongoing Training in Your Organization

Organizational problems are inevitable. Don’t assume your workforce is already equipped with the knowledge needed to manage these problems. Get ahead of the problem. Prepare your workforce to face problems head-on by implementing a well-designed and ongoing training program.

Hiring workforce development professionals is a good place to start. Workforce development professionals work with organizations to develop organizational goals and objectives and come up with tailored training plans to help accomplish those goals. They can help prepare workforces to grow professionally, work effectively on teams, manage problems, and acquire leadership potential. Contact Envision RISE for more information on how to help your organization implement training programs that result in lasting change. Visit our Training page to learn about the RISE Academy, which makes learning accessible and impactful by bringing together exclusive industry certifications and accredited courseware under one innovative platform with self-assessments, self-reflection exercises, course workbooks, and training progress report cards.

 

References:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/workplace-diversity-retention-recruitment-race-ethnicity-age/

https://emeritus.org/blog/benefits-of-team-training-in-the-workplace/

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/change-management-training


Beyond Awareness: Harnessing the Benefits of a Neurodiverse Workforce

Beyond Awareness: Harnessing the Benefits of a Neurodiverse Workforce

Sara Skidmore, Envision RISE

American organizations are facing unprecedented changes in employee demographics. Within these demographic changes is an increase in employees with neurodivergent conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, social anxiety, and others. Given that 15-20% of individuals have neurodivergent conditions, it should come as no surprise that organizations are becoming increasingly more neurodiverse.

Benefits of Neurodiversity

There are numerous organizational benefits of a neurodiverse workforce. One benefit is that it drives innovation. From Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to Emma Watson and Tim Burton, some of the world’s best innovators have neurodivergent conditions. Having a workforce with diverse ways of processing information reduces groupthink and drives innovation, giving neurodiverse organizations a competitive advantage over their competitors.

Another benefit is that neurodiverse-inclusive policies and practices can boost company culture. In a Microsoft study of 31,000 employees in 31 countries, employees rated having a “positive culture” as one of the most important factors they look for in a job. Organizations that want to attract and retain top talent must foster cultures of inclusivity for all employees, including those in the neurodivergent community.

Promoting Neurodiverse Inclusiveness

So, how can you promote inclusiveness in your workplace so that you can harness the benefits of a neurodiverse workforce? Below are a few ways to ensure neurodiversity initiatives are a key part of your organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.

  • Begin with examining current neurodiverse inclusivity practices. Understanding your current baseline can guide neurodiversity objectives and goals.
  • Consider nontraditional selection practices. For example, non-conventional interview settings and specific (as opposed to general) cognitive ability tests can help organizations identify qualified candidates with neurodiverse conditions.
  • Incorporate accommodations for neurodiverse individuals. These can include flexible work hours, breaks between meetings, and areas with reduced noise and lighting.
  • Hold training sessions that help managers and employees understand their role in promoting inclusivity.

Today’s workforce is more diverse than ever. Understanding how to harness the benefits of a diverse workforce is a necessary component of thriving organizations. Prioritizing neurodiversity is just one way organizations can harness those benefits and gain a competitive advantage. Contact Envision RISE for information on how to make neurodiversity initiatives a key part of your DEI practices.


The Workforce Beyond Boomers

The Workforce Beyond Baby Boomers

Staci Hegarty, M.Ed, VP of Equity and Inclusion

2030 is the year all Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) will be at or above the traditional retirement age of 65. Although many Boomers work well past that age, there will be more open roles within organizations that cannot be filled by the next generation of workers. Combine this with the Great Resignation, employers are finding themselves in the difficult position of not being able to find enough qualified workers.

What Does the Future of the Workforce Look Like?

Organizations are not only losing the employee, they are also losing historical knowledge and the skillsets that come with time spent on the job. On average, Boomers are most likely to spend more years with the same employer than the other generations. The average Boomer has a workplace tenure of over eight years, with several studies indicating that nearly 40% have been with their employer for 20+ years. Gen X (born 1965-1979) averages about 5 years, while Millenials (born 1980-1994) and Gen Z (born 1995-2012) both average less than three years.

The younger generations are quick to leave an organization that does not value their time, talents, and insights, and with so many open roles, they are able to find new opportunities relatively quickly. Employee attrition can destroy a company by derailing the strategic plan, stifling innovation, and driving up costs related to human resources and recruiting. We are already in a hiring crisis and employers must take tangible and impactful action to retain and promote the workers they already have.

How Do We Support the Next Generations?

The old mindset of employee retention no longer works. A fair salary is an obvious requirement to attract a retain employees, but that alone will not be enough to prevent an employee from leaving. The culture of the company is the most important thing to workers. Job security, work/life balance, connections with coworkers and flexibility – in not only work schedule but in workplace (home versus in-office) – are the top four drivers of employee satisfaction. Organizational Change Management (OCM) in partnership with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) work will allow companies to transform the existing workplace culture from “good enough for now” to dynamic, empowered, and innovative.

Envision RISE offers a comprehensive approach to help companies build a dynamic and empowered workplace culture that is prepared and adaptable. Through surveys, focus groups, executive alignment, and policy review, Envision RISE can help companies understand their employees’ sentiment, identify areas of improvement, and develop a roadmap for continual improvement. This approach is crucial for creating a workplace culture that not only retains employees but also drives innovation and growth. 

Contact us to get started. Listen in to the most recent Envision RISE Podcast featuring Martine Kalaw, founder of Martine Kalaw Enterprises and author of “ABCs of Diversity,” as we discuss the generational changes actively happening and how they are reshaping the future of the workforce.

Staci Hegarty (she/her), M.Ed.

Envision RISE, Vice President of Equity & Inclusion


Unlocking Employee Retention: Strategies for the Challenging Labor Market

Unlocking Employee Retention: Strategies for the Challenging Labor Market

Staci Hegarty, M.Ed, VP of Equity and Inclusion

In the United States, a common complaint is that “no one wants to work,” even though we are currently experiencing a period of the lowest unemployment in the past 50 years. This, coupled with the fact that all Baby Boomers are rapidly reaching traditional retirement age by the year 2030, means we are in a difficult position of having more open roles than we have available workers.

In this environment, employee retention has become a top priority for companies, particularly amid “The Great Resignation.” Envision RISE course RISE-08 “Transparent Development and Retention Practices” states, “Healthy, high-performing organizations have the policies and procedures in place to uncover problems before it costs them high-potential employees. Once employees start resigning, the reputation of the company is at risk.”

Retaining Current Talent

Rather than competing for qualified candidates, organizations are taking steps to retain the ones they already have. The days of a steady paycheck being enough are long gone. Employees now seek fair and equitable pay, benefits that meet their needs, and a workplace culture that values what each person brings to the job, as well as inclusion and a sense of belonging.

Unfortunately, many employers dismiss these desires as passing fads or entitlement. However, research indicates that employees who feel a greater sense of belonging and inclusion at work report a significantly higher Employer Net Promoter Score (eNPS), which measures the likelihood that a current employee would recommend a company as a great place to work. This metric can provide insights into company culture, predict turnover, and gauge overall employee engagement.

How to Measure Inclusion and Belonging

Here are a few ways to start measuring inclusion and belonging at your organization:

  • Start by examining who is in your workforce.  Who gets hired and who stays?
  • Provide thoughtful exit interviews. What do they tell you?
  • Consider using “Stay Interviews.” Stay Interviews identify trends that could be contributing to employee turnover. By prioritizing employee retention and cultivating an inclusive workplace culture, companies can thrive in this challenging labor market.

Overall, companies must invest in employee retention if they want to remain competitive and profitable. A steady paycheck may have been enough in the past, but today’s employees seek much more than that. Fair pay, appropriate benefits, and inclusive workplace culture are essential components to successful employee retention. Ultimately, it’s up to employers to earn the loyalty of their current employees by creating a work environment that meets employee expectations and shares in the companies’ successes. Ensuring that all employees feel valued, respected, and part of a greater whole will help any organization stay competitive. For guidance on how best to meet these goals, contact Envision RISE for employee retention services and strategies tailored to your needs.