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May 11, 2015

Is Lack of Employee Engagement Costing You?

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: , 9:24 am



by Emily Sternberg, HR Consultant

At a recent conference, the keynote speaker stated that employees are NOT an employer’s greatest asset. Imagine, a room full of human resources professionals who suddenly set down their iPhones, sit up a little straighter and pay attention to this statement! Imagine, a conference for HR professionals by HR professionals, and the keynote speaker states that employees are not a company’s greatest asset! This is HR interrupted!

A recent Gallup surveys show that employee engagement hovers at around 30%. With this staggering statistic, it begs the question: What’s happening with the other 70% of the workforce? According to the study, 20% are actively disengaged and the other 50% are indifferent or simply unengaged toward their work. This means that they are present, but not making innovative contributions and may not be working to their full potential. The Gallup study also shows that engaged employees are the ones that are most likely to drive innovation, growth and revenue for their companies, so it is in the best interest of companies to increase the level of employee engagement in their organization.

Where to Start?

Employee engagement is the topic at the forefront of many organizational leaders and HR professionals. What can HR do to impact employee engagement? It starts with the talent acquisition process and continues through the employee lifecycle. In the talent acquisition process, it is critical to hire not only for skill set, but also for good cultural fit. This doesn’t mean that a hiring manager should hire someone just like them, but they should consciously vet the candidate for competencies like teamwork and communication and other core values that are critical for organizational success.

The next step is the onboarding and orientation process. How is the employee introduced to the organization? Are they shown to their desk and provided a pile of paperwork to complete or is the first day engaging where the new employee is introduced to her team and maybe even taken to lunch? Ensure that the new employee has all the resources available to him or her to get the job done. Is there anything that will create a negative first impression other than being the new guy who can’t find a stapler or is seated at a desk full of their predecessor’s 5-year-old take out menus? HR and the management team have no better opportunity to create engagement than in the first year of an employee’s tenure with an organization.

What Next?

The next phase, career development or career planning, is the most critical time to ensure that employees remain engaged. During this phase of the employee life cycle, it’s easy to get sidetracked by routine and fail to recognize that employees are slowly becoming disengaged. During this time, management must consciously engage employees by soliciting new ideas, providing meaningful work and above all, continuing to coach and mentor their staff. Ensure that employees are appropriately rewarded for a job well done. Managers must work hard to seek to understand how their employees are best rewarded and ensure communication in a way that is meaningful to the employee.

By creating an engaged staff, managers will find that employees are their greatest asset. Without engagement, companies simply have a team of apathetic workers and, at worst, a team of people who may be costing the organization money.




February 27, 2013

Successful Onboarding

Filed under: Hiring & Jobs — Tags: 11:29 am

How do you know if you are successful at onboarding your new employees?  Look around you.  Do you see happy, confident workers?  Do you see employees that are comfortable with their job responsibilities and understand what they need to do to be successful?  If you do, then you need to analyze the key factors that demonstrate how your workforce got where it is today and keep doing it!

Knowledge is power, I’ve heard, and I believe it also brings responsibility.  I remember a new employee that was hired for a bank I used to work for.  She was a very pleasant, talented, and capable individual possessing a background that included extensive work with mortgage loans.  She was hired to assist a senior loan officer with various administrative duties, some of which were quite detailed.  There were several administrative employees on staff all of whom performed the same duties.  However, a disconnect occurred and no one bothered to train her on the processes and procedures to be able to perform the duties of her job effectively.  No one organized her training, and no one followed up with her.  The other admins were far too busy to train her, so the story was.  I wondered if they were just too competitive to share their knowledge, or if they didn”t realize that a front-end investment of time would save them time in the long run and add a valuable team member to the bank.  Needless to say, her tenure there was very short-lived, about two months.  They were probably the longest two months of her life because she was unintentionally set up to fail, but really the bank failed her by not onboarding her properly.

Onboarding is a long-term process of bringing new employees into the company, making sure they know what is expected of them and how to add value.  This process of onboarding can take from six months to a year and a half to achieve the desired result of having employees on board who truly feel comfortable with and valued by the company and their coworkers.  This is a period of time during which employees transition from being considered the “new person” to being a member of the team.

Please share with us your onboarding process and how you have been successful retaining good employees.


February 13, 2012

Effective Onboarding – Is it the Key to Employee Retention?

Throughout my career in human resources, I have had the fortunate experience of working for different organizations.  Some big, some small, some privately owned, some publicly traded, some in white collar settings, and others in blue collar industries.  I guess you could say I have a “diverse” background.

Just as diverse in these experiences was the method of onboarding, or lack thereof.  As we continue to explore the topic of turnover, I have been researching the subject of onboarding and the link it has to retention.  Statistics from the Aberdeen Group indicate that 90% of employees make the decision to stay at a firm within six months of joining, making the onboarding process a key to retaining talent.   That is certainly a percentage that caught my attention and made me wonder:  what happens in the first six months for an employee to form an opinion of whether to stay or jump ship?

Onboarding is defined as the long-term process of bringing new employees into the company, making sure they know what is expected of them and how to add value.   As organizations, I believe we do a great job in defining the items that are used to attract employees such as compensation, benefits, and work-life balance.   But once we get them in the door, we seem to fall short in the long-term processes.

Based on my experiences, the effectiveness of onboarding has nothing to do with the size of the company, the type of company, or how many people are in their human resources department.  It has more to do with the relationship that is established from the very beginning.  I’ll be expanding on this in next week’s blog.  But in the meantime, I’d love to hear some of your experiences in onboarding or what your company does to make it effective.