For our Guest Blog this week we are delighted to welcome back Karen Wenborn, Customer Experience Evangelist and a real advocate for Employee Engagement. Karen’s previous Guest Blog was one of the most read and searched Douglas Jackson articles in 2012 and in addition to many career and award successes, Karen has also been named as one of LinkedIn Top 10 Influencers worldwide! Over to Karen:
Employee Engagement – Episode 2 –the prequel
Hands up, I admit it! I should have started the first blog at the very beginning of the engagement process. Which of course is pre-employment, aka the application process.
In my defence and to quote a famous management guru:-
“First things first, but not necessarily in that order”. Dr. Who
So let’s think about beginnings:
There are few, more impactful decisions we make than those that involve major change.
High on the list of life changing decisions are those that involve careers. A leap into the (relative) dark for both candidate and employer. Even with a great deal of research and a number of interviews, moving to a new company is a major event.
And for the employer; You have invested time, money and effort into choosing your new team member. You should be confident you have picked the candidate with the perfect skill set who will be a great asset to the team. You have sent out the offer letter, received an acceptance back and that’s it! Job done, or is it……
I’m assuming that you’ve delivered a first class experience throughout the recruitment process (because that is where engagement truly starts). Any question marks in this area, it might be worth a quick check:
- Have you tried to apply for a vacancy with your company?
- Is the process simple and straightforward?
- Does the tone of voice in all communications match your brand tone and culture?
- Do you update the candidate at every stage with next steps and timings? Are those timings adhered to?
- Are interviewees made welcome by everyone from reception onwards?
- Are you always on time for interviews?
Assuming everything is in place then, great! Now your new hire is convinced that your company is the place for them.
But with almost every hire there is a cold spot…..
The gap between accepting the offer and turning up at the door on day one.
We have already established that you think your candidate is great, which probably means their current employer may do too and are currently making counter offers to retain their services. Other interviews they have previously attended may also result in additional offers and the gap between accepting your offer to starting with you could be anything from a week to three months. Plenty of time for your new hire to reconsider their options.
Engagement can and should accelerate the day the candidate accepts your offer and here are some examples of how that can happen:
- Sending your new colleague a welcome pack, with key facts, Q&A’s, a copy of the Job Description, organisation chart and background information on the company, especially around vision and values.
- The last few months’ copies of newsletters will provide a flavour and insight in to your business and brand.
- Communicating what will happen in the first week, or two and letting them know about transport, parking and on site facilities.
- Include pre-work projects, such as researching your market, or reviewing your website and making recommendations, so they can feel involved immediately and begin to understand your business goals and challenges.
- The new line manager should give them a call every week or so to see if they have any questions or need help (with relocation for example). Is there a team meeting happening in the near future that they could attend?
- If you have work social events going on, invite them along. They can get to know their team and colleagues in an informal environment –taking the pressure off day one.
One company I know sent a personalised welcome card from the team the week before the start date. Sound cheesy? Maybe it does, but the gesture was always welcomed by the new starters.
So day 1 has finally arrived and your latest recruit(s) are waiting in reception.
Slightly nervous perhaps, but hopefully excited about the new role, (because your pre-employment engagement has been spectacular) and ready to learn.
Let’s talk ‘induction’ (not a warm term) or ‘onbaording’ (possibly worse). Having said that, I’ve not managed to come up with a better term. Yet.
A quick question before we start. Who will meet and greet on day one? Someone from corporate HR, or a team member? I know which I would prefer.
Some do’s and don’t’s for those crucial first days:.
- The admin is taken care of.. Make sure all administrative forms are ready to be completed on day one so you don’t have to waste time dealing with it later, and so that your employee can start getting these important matters taken care of right away.
- An empty workstation magnifies the feeling of ‘newness’. Before your new colleague arrives on day one, stock his or her workstation with everything from paper and pens to keys and, if relevant, business cards. Make sure the phone and pc, complete with voicemail and e-mail accounts, are set up. Leave a copy of an organizational chart, staff list, and phone directory ready on the desk.
- To avoid future confusion (or embarrassment), provide the employee with company information, policies – including dress code and late policies etc. – and benefits. If your organisation has a new employee handbook, leave that on the desk as well. If all of this information is online, spend time showing them how and where to access relevant information. And give them time to do it.
- The first day is always tough. Vary the schedule by including less formal gatherings between meetings. Arrange for a group of team members to take your new colleague to lunch on the first day, to provide a little non-meeting relief and an opportunity to get to know each other. Appoint a mentor or ‘go to person’. Not the line manager. Then the new employee can ask ANY question without feeling foolish.
- Give them your full attention. Letting email, phone calls or interruptions distract you during those first sessions sends the message, “you aren’t important’. Prepare a checklist of subjects to discuss, set aside the appropriate amount of time to do it, and let others know that you are not to be interrupted .Give the message that they are the most important item on your agenda. Provide team members with a brief note outlining their new colleagues background and job role and ask them to follow a meeting format that includes sharing a description of their own position, ways in which their roles interact with their new colleague, and how they might expect to work together in the future.
Finally, schedule in regular review meetings across the coming weeks and months.
Now we can get back to the first blog which covers what happens next…… Employee Engagement – Are your Employees Engaged?
What do you think about the Employee Engagement you have experienced as either an employee, or, an employer and how do you think the recruitment process has worked for you, your business, or as a candidate? Please do post your comments here, we would like to hear from you:
Some other articles which may be of interest to you around creating an engaged workforce, recruiting great people and the candidate experience can be found by following these links: