Clubbin’ with HR

Clubbin with HR

Imagine you’re standing in the rope line, waiting for a while but still excited about the prospects of getting in to a club so exclusive that few of your friends and classmates have ever been able to get in. Then the moment arrives. The bouncer points his finger at you. “Come with me,” he says, plucking you out of the line, escorting you past a bunch of other people and into the club.

The music is thumping. A few heads turn to look at you. One or two even say “hello”. Most ignore you. Should you go to the bar and order a drink? Hit the dance floor? Find a table? Decisions, decisions.

At the bar you try your smoothest move to get the bar tender’s attention, but he ignores you. The patrons around you laugh. “You’re not doing it right,” says another club goer, then walks away.

Maybe the dance floor will be a better place to start.

You quickly realize that the type of dancing – while it seems to be working for the folks on the dance floor – is like no dance you’ve ever seen. You give it a whirl, but your moves turn out more like Elaine’s spazz dance from Seinfeld. Being out of sync with everyone else means you’re stepping on toes and knocking people’s drinks out of their hands all night.

It’s not fun. But you come back the next night. And every night for months.

Eventually you start to get the hang of it, though it would have been nice if someone had taught you the secret to ordering drinks on that first night. It would have been much less embarrassing and much more fun for everyone if someone had practiced a few of this club’s proprietary dance steps with you from the beginning.

This scenario plays out every day in companies across the country and around the world. Your organization is a bit like an exclusive club. You carefully craft your recruitment and hiring process. You spend countless hours interviewing and meeting to decide which candidate to pull out of the “rope line” and invite into your club.

And then what?

The big questions that too many organizations don’t answer adequately are:

  • How do we effectively orient new employees to the organization during the first days and weeks?
  • How do we effectively integrate new employees into their roles and the organization’s culture over their first weeks and months?

Seriously, click the link below and download this book

Michelle Baker of Phase(Two)Learning helps HR professionals and hiring managers answer these questions with a new ebook entitled: Onboarding Tools for Hiring Managers: Tips, Tools & Rules to Set Your New Employees Up for Success. If you’re a hiring manager or responsible for the onboarding of new staff, I strongly recommend taking a look at this short book for two reasons:

  1. It helps answer the above questions in a short, succinct and easy-to-digest format, and
  2. It provides space for you to reflect on key points and to identify where your orientation and onboarding processes may have holes.

Onboarding Tools for Hiring Managers: Tips, Tools & Rules to Set Your New Employees Up for Success is part book, part workbook and (for the time being) completely free. So there’s nothing to lose.

If you want to squeeze every last bit of value out of your employees, then you need to begin on Day 1 with high quality, engaging and meaningful orientation and onboarding processes.

Have you found an orientation or onboarding strategy that’s particularly meaningful? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Know someone responsible for orientation or onboarding? Pass this link along!

A new employee can never be “just one more thing”

Before you read further, you should consider checking out the two part case study about revitalizing new hire orientations: An New Employee Orientation Overhaul and The Exciting Conclusion: What Happens When A New Hire Orientation Becomes a Game.

You’re busy. Deadlines are coming up. Your Outlook calendar is packed. Reports are due. And yet one more thing is coming up next week: you have a new employee starting.

Except, a new employee isn’t “just one more thing.”

Even though you’ve walked the halls of your office for years, and even though you’ve seen plenty of employees come and go during your tenure, it’ll be the first time your new employee will have experienced your office. When that new employee begins next week, his life will have changed. He stopped doing something else – whether he left a job or he just graduated college – in order to begin working for you. He prepared for a series of interviews. He stayed up nights wondering if he was going to get the offer. He’s talked with his wife and children about the excitement he’s feeling for a new beginning. His excitement for the new challenge and new co-workers and new health plan and new boss will keep him up late the night before he begins.

His orientation may seem like a hassle to you, but it’s a big deal for him.

While the onboarding of a new employee is a process that can span weeks and months, the new hire orientation featuring an introduction to the organization and some HR stuff and forms and policies and procedures should be an experience worthy of all the excitement and anticipation and life-changing expectations that your new hire is expecting.

Earlier I wrote about the idea of giving a new employee a Professional Development Plan (PDP) from day 1 of employment. Perhaps that idea won’t fly in every organization. Following is a link to another idea you may find helpful:

Click here to download a sample new hire orientation note-taking packet.

The intent behind this sample document is to give your new hire a clue as to what he (or she) should be paying attention to during his meetings with people across the organization.

What are you doing to make sure the life-changing first day of a new hire with your organization is a welcoming and productive experience?

Two Things Every New Hire Orientation Must Have

Do you remember the night before starting a new job?  What was going through your mind? Do any of these comments (ripped straight from actual Tweets) resonate with you?

Excited1

Excited2

Excited3

Then do you remember how you felt sitting through new hire orientation, listening to someone talk (or perhaps watching videos or even completing a series of elearning segments) about all the mandatory HR requirements (employee handbook, sexual harassment, OSHA, etc.)?  Do any of these comments (again, from actual Tweets) resonate with you?

New Hire Orientation 1

New Hire Orientation 2

New Hire Orientation 3

New Hire Orientation 4

New Hire Orientation 5

The importance of bringing new employees up to speed as quickly as possible on things such as organizational culture, company policies and their actual role cannot be understated. In The Lean Startup – a book about operating an organization as efficiently as possible – entrepreneur Eric Ries writes: “Without a [training] program, new employees will make mistakes while in their learning curve that will require assistance and intervention from other team members, slowing everyone down.”

You should also check out the two part case study about revitalizing a new hire orientations: An New Employee Orientation Overhaul and The Exciting Conclusion: What Happens When A New Hire Orientation Becomes a Game.

What kind of content should go into new hire orientation? That will depend on your organization’s goals and objectives when it comes to new hire orientation. If you’re looking for suggestions, the MindTickle blog has phenomenal new hire orientation tips and strategies.

New hire orientation that doesn’t snuff out the excitement and enthusiasm that new hires feel on the night before they start their new jobs really boils down to two questions:

  1. Two months from now, will the new hire remember most of what was presented (and know where to go to find other information they may have forgotten)?
  2. Did the person designing the orientation respect the new hires enough to ensure they will be engaged throughout every topic that will be covered (ie: they will not be sitting as people or videos or computers bestow tons of forgettable information upon them)?

When your new hires begin tweeting something two hours into their first day, what do you think their 140 characters will say about your orientation program?

Elearning: What’s Possible vs. What Customers Want

I expect that every learning experience – in person or online – should be amazing. I don’t think I’m alone with this expectation. How “amazing” is defined is a different story.

When I think of amazing learning experiences, I expect good, engaging content that will help me do a job better or differently. And if it’s going to help me do something better or differently, I think amazing also includes allowing me to practice in a safe environment. I expect a variety of media… and if there’s going to be video I expect that there will be specific things I should be looking for in the video. I expect interactive case studies with branching scenarios so that I can try out new skills or different ways of doing things. I expect to be able to remember the learning experience days, weeks, even months after I complete it.

Last week, I asked several friends and colleagues what they expect when it comes to elearning.  Here’s what they had to say:

“Clarity in finding resources and functions and overall simplicity in design. If [there is] a function or resource that needs to be used frequently as part of the course design, but you have to click through seven menu options or screens to find it, or if they list three different ways to access it, then you’ve got a frustrated learner on hand.”

– Grad Student in Human Resources Development

“My expectations are that the information is practical, accessible through a variety of formats (desktop, tablet, mobile phone, etc), evidence based, non-biased and up to date.”

– Doctor and Director of Telemedicine for a university hospital system

“One thing I would expect is that there is some level of self-navigation and that at each concept or learning point there is a link to further resources that the learner can use if they are finding that particular concept difficult.”

– Regional Director for a large Global Health organization

Granted, this was a very small sample size and certainly wasn’t a very scientific study, but nonetheless not a single person expected a variety of media. Not a single person mentioned case studies or branching or gamification or other features that are trendy in the instructional design community. Not a single person used the word “engaging” in their expectations.

What they did expect included things such as ease of use, intuitive interface, relevant content, simplicity.

Just listening to what people expect, I wonder if those of us who develop elearning sometimes go too far in trying to make something creative and memorable and engaging. Of course, not a single person I surveyed said they expect their elearning experiences to be boring, either.

If you’ve made it this far through this article, I’d like to hear from you in the comments section below. What do you expect out of an elearning experience?

Looking for ways to make elearning design more interesting for the learner? You may enjoy these previous posts (written as case studies) that feature feedback from a variety of experts:

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.

Identifying Holes in your Onboarding Process

A colleague of mine asked our team’s most recent hire to put together a presentation summarizing what he’s learned in his first two weeks on the job and how his onboarding process will impact his work. This assignment served two important purposes:

1)    Accountability: Knowing about this assignment ensured our new hire would be paying attention and taking detailed notes during his orientation sessions.

2)    Quality Control: Listening to the presentation, my colleague was able to identify onboarding components that were either missing or were not strong enough to make an impression on this new hire.

In a world in which the time-to-competence of new hires can provide a very important competitive advantage, what are you doing to ensure your new hire orientation and onboarding process is meaningful and targeted to include only the information most relevant for the new employee?

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.

Making New Hire Orientation Mean Something

Congratulations!  You beat out 128 other applicants for this position and today is your first day on the new job.   Right away you realize it’s not going to be a snoozer of a new hire orientation.  Your manager and someone from HR greet you with a document as soon as you walk through the door.  You’ve been on the job 38 seconds and you realize you’ve already been given a professional development plan (PDP).

What would happen if all new hires began day #1 of their employment with a PDP, a development plan containing specific goals for which they’d be held accountable over their first month of work?  It sure would be memorable for the employee.  And it should serve to help a manager better target specifically what should be covered (and what should be eliminated) during new hire orientation.

I’ve sat through many new hire orientations, and I can’t really remember much about any of them – other than the fact I’ve spent the day filling out forms and sitting through a number of (forgettable) presentations.  I’ve also presented at a number of new hire orientations, sharing a brief overview of my department to new colleagues who have been drinking from an information-laden fire hose all day.  Is this the best use of a new hire’s time?  Is this the best use of the various presenters’ time?

Recently I’ve had a number of conversations with colleagues and several clients who were all looking to speed the time to competence for new hires.  Losing a day (or in some cases a week) to presentations for new employees is not a way to speed time to competence.  From a new employee’s standpoint, he often doesn’t know which parts of these presentations are important or will impact his job.  And too often the presenters use the same canned presentation for a new employee regardless of the employee’s responsibilities.

Training – including new hire orientation – just won’t stick unless a manager holds an employee accountable for using (or remembering) what he’s learned. Giving a new employee a PDP from day 1 could be just the tool that a manager and a new employee need to have a meaningful new hire experience and speed time to competency.

You should also check out the two part case study about revitalizing a new hire orientations: An New Employee Orientation Overhaul and The Exciting Conclusion: What Happens When A New Hire Orientation Becomes a Game.