Getting New Employees Off to a Great Start

New Hire nametag on a green shirt worn by a new employee or fres
Even at companies with great products and technologies, employees are invaluable. After all, someone needs to develop those new innovations and maintain your technology. It’s no secret that a company is only as strong as its weakest link.  But even though employers know workers are a business’s most valuable asset, most employees don’t feel particularly valued in the workplace.

Take a look at this article, from the Harvard Business Review. Kevin Ryan, CEO of Gilt Groupe, argues that businesses succeed not because of ideas, but because of people. Mr. Ryan is of the opinion that CEOs should spend most of their time recruiting and managing people.

No argument there, but I would also argue that most companies have a fundamental hiring and training flaw.  This lack of post-hiring skill is especially problematic for small businesses. In larger businesses, a few employees not operating at peak performance is not a major issue. At a small business, it is imperative for every employee to be top notch.

What does the first week – and the first month – look like for an employee in your business? Most businesses provide a good cultural introduction on the first few days. The job responsibilities of the employee are explained, and maybe the new employee someone who will closely supervise them for the first couple weeks. My experience in small businesses is that shortly after a new employee is hired, they are on the front line, doing the job they were hired to do.

This can be done better. How? My experience is that hiring managers do a great job focusing on the WHAT. But they do a poor job focusing on the WHY and the HOW.

In time, a new employee will learn the WHY from doing their job and interacting managers and with their peers. But, they would do a better job initially if they learned the WHY right from day one.

Explaining the HOW is what I see as the truly missed opportunity in new employee training. In fact, my experience is that hiring managers are reluctant to teach the HOW because they are afraid of offending the employee. They picked the new hire because of their experience, right? If the employee has been working on a helpdesk for the last 3 years, they should know how to do it; and could be legitimately offended if their hiring manager gets too basic.

I understand this concern, but there’s a workaround. Establish an upfront agreement with the new employee. This agreement would be done on the new worker’s first day, and would go something like this:

Ann, I’m so happy that you are finally part of the team. You are going to be a great asset to our organisation, and I am hopeful that you will have a long and successful career here. 

We will undertake a comprehensive training program over the next two weeks. The goal of this program is for you to be fully prepared to be as successful as possible.

I’ve hired you because of your significant experience in this area, but we also have some best practices that we’ve developed.  I want to be sure you are fully prepared to execute our company developed practices. 

During this training period, I’m asking your permission to explain things to you very carefully; these explanations will probably include many things that you already know. I’m also asking your permission to accept feedback from me on each task as we go through them. 

Again, the goal is to prepare you to be as successful as possible in your new role. I also expect to learn many things through this training period, and will commit to be open minded regarding your feedback.

In my experience, all employees want to do a great job. Moreover, most employees think that they are doing a good job – even if their managers do not. Yet, without being introduced to the WHY and the HOW from day 1 – they are not fully meeting the owner’s expectations.

By establishing an upfront contract like that outlined above, you will have permission to cover the WHY, WHAT & HOW of the new position; and at the end of the training period, you will have an employee fully ready to be a rock star for your business.

Tips for training new employees?

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5 Tips for Effective Digital Recruiting

Overhead View Of Two Businessmen Having Meeting In Office Lobby

In the increasingly cut-throat world of employee recruiting, businesses that fail to devise effective digital recruitment strategies face the threat of getting left behind in the dust. That’s because, as the vast majority of prospective job candidates are soon to come from the millennial generation, digital technology is the best way to “speak their language” and draw the interest of this highly sought-after talent pool.

Here are five tips for crafting a digital hiring strategy that yields better results than more traditional recruitment efforts:

1. Focus on creating a memorable first impression.

Before undertaking any other efforts, it’s critically important that your business website—and particularly, your “Careers” page—impress job seekers from the instant they land on your site. The look and feel should be engaging, upbeat and informative (and of course, easy to navigate). A cluttered or amateurish site instantly conveys the notion that a business doesn’t have its act together—and can discourage candidates from looking any further.

Think of your site as a “company storefront” where visitors are treated to a display of your culture and products. Such a storefront must “deliver a cohesive brand image that reflects the company mission, vision and values,” notes HR expert Amber Hyatt. The brand experience, combined with in-depth job descriptions and online applications, “engages job seekers and helps them determine proactively if they are a cultural fit for the organisation, and whether to apply.”

2. Showcase your brand on multiple platforms.

Remember, prospective candidates, come to your business from a wide array of online sources. Putting together a noteworthy company profile on LinkedIn is a necessary first step—with special attention paid to highlighting your company culture—but no business can afford to stop there. Your brand must have a significant presence, and following, on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram as well.

Maintaining a consistent message across various platforms is key. Since it’s your brand that “gives you the ultimate credibility,” be sure to “use the same banners, icons and style across the platforms and continue this theme into your website.” This way, your brand and messaging are familiar wherever job seekers encounter them.

3. Focus on providing content that engages and informs.

Both on your business and career sites, and in your social media outreach efforts, pay close attention to the kind of content you offer to followers. Tweets, posts, articles, etc., should reflect your company’s upbeat, employee-friendly culture. In order to reach the widest possible audience, mix things up with a blend of images, short videos, surveys, and so on that engage job candidates and keep them coming back for more.

4. Make the online job application process quick and easy to complete.

If you successfully grab the interest of a prospective candidate, don’t make the mistake of putting obstacles in the way of completing your online job applications. A variety of technology options should be considered, from dedicated candidate job portals to employee referral networks—anything that leverages integrated platforms to ease the application process. (Additionally, this will impress job seekers looking for companies proficient in digital technology.)

5. Incorporate big data in your recruiting efforts.

The same “big data” technology used to attract new customers can be applied to your recruiting efforts. Look into high-quality recruitment analytics programs that gather key data such as:

  • Typical applicant online behaviour
  • Job website visits
  • Job description searches
  • Favorite social media platforms
  • Profile updates on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

“In the near future, most HR departments (many large companies already do) will have access to considerable pools of data that can tell a recruiter more about candidates than they know about themselves,” writes marketing specialist Aleah Radovich.

Adding a “digital dimension” to your recruiting strategies will broaden the range and scope of potential candidates, including the right type of talented individuals you want in your business.


Can You Hear Me Now?

David Adams

If you are interviewing people for a phone support position, make sure you include an initial telephone interview to listen for how the individual comes across over the line. Pay attention to their listening skills, vocal habits and observe closely how that person handles themselves.

If you’re serious about quality for the role, you might opt to call the candidate on an unplanned basis to see how they react and respond.


Hone Your Hiring

Kim Christie

Before hiring a person for an internal marketing role, take some time to figure out your marketing plan—goals, customer profiles, tactics. Then determine the volume of tasks and expertise that each item will require. If the volume of hours needed per month is low but high skill level is required, consider contracting out. If the volume of time is high and/or the skill set requirement is low, you may choose to keep the role in-house.

As an example, writing or strategising a marketing plan should be done by an expert who has experience in writing at least 50 plans prior to tackling yours. Creating a marketing concept or design can be done once by an expert. An internal project manager can execute your marketing plan and concepts by coordinating and distributing changes. If content and social media figure into your strategy, you can hire or contract a social media professional.



Rick Maher

If a prospect or client asks you to send them a resource, before leaping into action to send them too many materials, say this:

” Before I send it, why don’t you tell me about the problem you are trying to solve so I can ensure you get exactly what you need?”

By taking a moment to ask a defining question, you can save yourself time and effort while saving your contact from potential frustration.