Welcoming New Hires the Right Way Enhances Your Culture



What is your plan for welcoming new employees?

If you don’t plan well, you risk alienating your new employees, your organization’s culture and ultimately hurting your business performance.

Recruiting, hiring and training employees is a very costly process.

ID-100162793 stockimagesTherefore, you can’t afford not to have a strategy in place.

At the very least, there needs to be a plan for when a new employee shows up for work the first day.

This isn’t rocket science. A plan doesn’t have to be complex, but it does have to be thought out.

As a result, the new employees feel more comfortable.

They will be more apt to deliver the performance for which you hired them.

Here 11 basic steps to take:

  1. Before new employees start work, send a thoughtful note for a warm welcome – not just a list of policies, procedures and parking information. For employees to start a new job, it’s a major event for them personally. You must treat the employees as though it’s a big deal to you, too.
  2. When new employees show up the first day, explain what needs to be done during the next eight hours. Don’t leave any doubts. Explain where they need to park and what human resources requires.
  3. Have the persons’ desk or work area cleaned and prepared for them. That includes removing any personal effects of the previous employee. Show the persons you care and look forward to working with them.
  4. Plan to provide whatever materials are needed for them to do their jobs. That means have ready any tools such as a computer and telephone. This also demonstrates to the persons that you’re businesslike and organized.
  5. If other employees are given company promotional items such as coffee mugs or pens, make sure your new persons get them, too. This ensures your recruits feel at home and comfortable as a colleague.
  6. For the persons’ first day at work, have a written schedule. The schedule should include lunch with the person’s managers and immediate co-workers.
  7. Make sure your new employees know immediately what’s expected of them. Depending on your business and industry, that includes their appearance, hours, and quality and quantity of work. For most people, starting a new job is an anxious time. There’s a lot for them to remember. Even if the persons were previously informed of expectations, reiterate them especially if they’re of any importance.
  8. During the persons’ first month, schedule brief meetings for them with key employees. Select the right people – strong performers who can be inspirational as role models, and who can explain and answer questions about your organization. The point is you need for your new employees to be properly acclimated. You want the persons to feel right at home in your culture.
  9. Make certain that everyone knows of your new hires. Avoid morale issues by making sure new employees are included in all written communications, such as e-mails and memos, when appropriate.
  10. Make sure your new hires receive information about your marketplace or sector – including trade magazines and Web sites. You’ll want everyone to be on the same page as much as possible.
  11. Periodically, engage your new hires without being invasive. Say hello and inquire how they’re doing or to ask what questions they might have.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related management strategies:

Optimize Talent Management with 5 Coaching-Culture Tips — When managers become coaches, you get a higher-performing workforce. You will have replaced mediocrity with strong performance. Here’s how to develop a coaching culture.

HR Trends in Talent Management Using Technology — Despite all the talk about the use of technology in talent management, the majority of human resources departments are behind the curve. Why? A study shows 72 percent of HR departments reveal they’re not using such tools.

10 Management Attributes for Effective Communication — Communication skills are critical for managers. People with enhanced abilities in communication typically have successful relationships at work and home. Good communicators typically have 10 attributes.

Management: How to Help Employees to Grow Professionally — Managers owe it to the organization to help their employees grow professionally. It’s hard, time-consuming work. But the return on investment is terrific. The organization benefits from higher employee performance and lower turnover. Strong employee retention obviously saves the employer a lot of time and money.

HR Management – 8 Best Practices in Employee Delegation — Avoid frustration in delegation. Save yourself time and develop your staff for the welfare of your organization. Delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth. Managers who are effective in delegation show leadership. They know they’ll be more effective in management and that they’ll develop their employees.

“Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.”

-Paul Hawken


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 





Photo courtesy stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Diversity: Political Correctness or the Right Thing for Your Business?



Whenever you hire a new employee, you surely want a return on your investment. You’ve invested a lot of resources – in time, energy and money – in your recruitment and hiring process.

But in affirmative action plans you face obstacles — primarily, from your culture.

Hypothetically, if you don’t have a diverse staff and you hire a highly qualified minority, you also want that person to succeed.

Unfortunately, you might face an unfortunate prospect. That would be failure of the new hire to succeed as an employee. This happens more than you think.

ID-10066199 AmbroWhy? Some of your workers might not accept the new person.

They’ll contend you hired the person for political correctness reasons. It won’t matter how qualified the person is.

The employee will sense the hostility from co-workers.

As a result, the person’s performance suffers. The new hire might even quit.

Such a supposition is supported by an academic study of more than 6,000 employees.

Results of the study were published in the Academy of Management Journal.

The research was conducted by business professors Lisa M. Leslie at New York University; David M. Mayer at the University of Michigan; and David A. Kravitz at George Mason University.

Like many academic studies, the study has a complex title, “The Stigma of Affirmative Action: A Stereotyping Based Theory and Meta-Analytic Test of the Consequences for Performance.”

Authors concluded that co-workers view the new person as less proficient and amiable. Further, co-workers believe the minority person will get special treatment – favoritism in responsibilities, salaries and promotions.

“Affirmative action plans (AAPs) are designed to facilitate workplace success for members of the groups they target (e.g., women, ethnic minorities), yet may have the ironic effect of stigmatizing AAP targets and, in turn, decreasing their performance outcomes,” the authors explained.

My sense is such organizations have cultural issues.

It’s not uncommon. As it is in the typical organization, 40 percent of men and women don’t want to work on projects with the opposite gender (an HR study revealed challenges for management in teamwork, culture and diversity).

Solutions

1. Companies that have employees, who jump to conclusions about new hires, have some work to do about the negative workplace attitudes. A cultural change is in order (scroll down to the Coach’s Corner for more information about fixing culture).

2. This also means you have to use marketing techniques to upgrade your processes in human resources: Image-building steps to attract the best workers; fine-tune your screening; conducting behavioral interviews; and hiring the right talent. You’ll increase your chances for the strongest results.

3. Internally, focus on communication for every new hire. Explain the company’s objectives and needs. Announce an opening that would be dedicated to meeting the organization’s objectives.

4, If you hire a minority or anyone else, you need to point out the person’s qualities. That includes the person’s expertise, experience and education. Explain how the person is expected to benefit the company.

Remember that workplace diversity and cross-cultural communication are necessary for good business in the 21st century.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related strategies in human resources:

A Top Marketing Goal: Enhance Your Internal Communication — Businesses have two communication sources that are expenses that conversely are sources of profit – the external marketplace – and internal, their human capital. But all your money poured into marketing doesn’t accomplish much unless you devote equal resources to employee programs and communication.

10 Management Attributes for Effective Communication — Communication skills are critical for managers. People with enhanced abilities in communication typically have successful relationships at work and home. Good communicators typically have 10 attributes.

10 Steps to Manage Conflict for High Performance – For progress, a business needs human interaction for ideas and innovation. Sometimes, argument, debate and conflict prove to be productive catalysts for high performance. But such catalysts can be obstacles to success, too. Here are the simplest ways to manage conflict.

6 Steps to Implement a Cultural Change for Profits — If your company is lacking in teamwork, morale is poor and profits are weak, chances are you need to change your organization’s culture. Be forewarned, changing a culture is a monumental chore because it will take strategic planning and super powers of persuasion.

6 Tips to Turn Your HR Department into a Profit Center — At least 50 percent of a company’s profits are contingent on employee problems. If you have challenges in one department, odds are you have HR issues in other departments. In fact, human capital is the No. 1 reason why CEOs lose sleep. Many businesses often need an objective source of information and expertise from critical thinkers. It’s true you can turn your human resources department into a profit center.

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”

– Jim Collins


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of Ambro at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Your Career: Fair Is Not an Adult Word at the Office



If you think your co-workers will be as thoughtful as your friends in your personal life, you might want to think again. And if you’re a highly productive employee but you’ve been laid off after several years of service, you’ve experienced the same phenomenon.

Research at the Stanford Graduate School Business — five studies – indicates you shouldn’t expect any favors at work. The study is entitled, “How ‘Organization’ Can Weaken the Norm of Reciprocity: The Effects of Attributions for Favors of Reciprocity and a Calculative Mindset.”

The study authored by Stanford researcher Jeffrey Pfeffer and Peter Belmer appeared in the March 2015 issue of the new journal Academy of Management Discoveries.

ID-10057558 David Castillo DominiciExamples of findings from the five studies:

— If colleagues treat people to dinner, there was no reciprocity. But people would return the favor with friends when treated to dinner.

— If respondents were handed unanticipated payment and then were requested to complete a second survey, there was more reciprocity from social friends than workers. Forty-three percent of respondents agreed to help doctoral students in a survey. Just 23 percent agreed to help a survey by professional researchers.

So don’t count on a sense of etiquette or good taste at work. That goes for management decisions, too.

Companies don’t hesitate to slash health-care benefits or lay off employees who had displayed good performances and loyalty.

“You see on a daily basis, companies violating commitments that they’ve made to their employees,” said Professor Pfeffer.

“The world is not fair, and often fools, cowards, liars and the selfish hide in high places.”

-Bryant H. McGill

“I see people going into the world of work and being hideously disappointed because they have not properly prepared themselves, protected themselves, psychologically girded themselves,” he added.

So don’t be surprised by little or no company loyalty, or if your co-workers appear to be reluctant to lend you a helping hand. A good manager would discourage the practice.

The professor said companies should work to improve their cultures for a more supportive environment. That would include highlighting their employees’ past performances, encourage co-workers to be thoughtful, and to emphasize a more sociable atmosphere – to stimulate more teamwork.

Unfortunately, brace yourself when you’re hired by a company. Be prepared for a lack of fairness or to be strategically more selfish regarding your career.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are management tips to improve your culture:

6 Steps to Implement a Cultural Change for Profits — If your company is lacking in teamwork, morale is poor and profits are weak, chances are you need to change your organization’s culture. Be forewarned, changing a culture is a monumental chore because it will take strategic planning and super powers of persuasion.

Why Executives Emphasize Communication Training for Employees — Among human resources training priorities, employee communication is often now more important than skills, say many executives. Two-thirds of executives responding to a survey say communication skills are most needed by certain employees.

How to Grow Sales (through Pricing and HR Training) — Sophistication in pricing by salespeople is an excellent driver to grow earnings rather than just looking for ways to cut costs. Instead of growing their profits with sophistication in pricing, many businesspeople miss growth opportunities when they mistakenly cut muscle – usually in human capital and branding. Here’s a better way.

Easy Ways to Boost Your Employees’ Morale — Employee morale affects performance. Study after study shows a significant percentage of worker morale is mediocre, at best. That’s often the case even for companies that are able to pay competitive wages and benefits. As you might guess, it’s a bigger quandary for business owners that don’t have enough cash flow for raises.

Here are tips for employees:

7 Steps to Convince Your Boss to Give You a Different Job — Do you feel as though you’re a round peg in a square hole? Or vice versa — a square peg in a round hole? You might think you’re in the wrong job. Perhaps you are. Is it a case of being over-qualified or under-qualified? Or do you want a promotion?

Communication – You Can Train Yourself to Stop Stressing — It’s OK to be nervous before giving a speech or when you’re entering an important round of negotiations. Feeling pressure is one thing but allowing it to morph into stress and tension is another. When you allow this to happen, in a sense, you’re giving away your personal power, which inhibits your performance.

With a Mentor, You Won’t be Alone in Making Career Decisions — You don’t have to be alone in making career decisions. No matter what you do for a living, there’s one investment on which you can count to improve your career. Plus, it won’t cost you any money. Huh? Yes, you can get a mentor.

“The world is not fair, and often fools, cowards, liars and the selfish hide in high places.”

-Bryant H. McGill

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Unhappy with Your Marketing-Sales? Assess Your Culture



If you’re dissatisfied with your revenue, it’s time for an assessment of your culture’s operation. Why? Superior cultures drive business performance.

Specifically, two key elements of culture – innovation and responsiveness – have a direct impact on your company’s sales success. You must be a top innovator to beat the competition, and your teams have to respond and execute strategic planning with cohesion.

They “have to work in tandem…to drive performance,” says George Chressanthis, a professor of healthcare management and marketing, and the lead author of a Temple University study.

argument-238529_1280He was joined by assistant professor Eric Eisenstein, PhD, and doctoral student Patrick Barbro in the study: “What is the Role of Commercial Operations Effectiveness on Improving Pharmaceutical Company Business Performance?”

True, it was aimed at the pharmaceutical sector.

But the lessons and applications are universal – the study’s authors provide the empirical documentation in the link between revenue and culture.

“We studied company self-reported data on their own commercial operations, totaling 26 biopharmaceutical firms in the U.S. for the period 2005 to 2011,” wrote the authors. “The sample of companies included large, medium, and small-sized pharmaceutical companies, and specialty and biotech companies.”

They said the “sample included companies that are headquartered in U.S., Europe, and Japan.”

Sales value

The report shows that the average company that improves its cultural innovation by just a .5 standard deviation of improvement is huge – a 17 percent increase in sales – $314,000 for each sales representative.

In a zero-sum game environment, the implication for under-performing companies is dour. Sales will go down every time a competitor achieves higher sales performance.

The study is ongoing and will take into account other variables, such as product differentiation.

“This will help us understand what, if any, changes we need to make in our analysis before submission of our work to an academic peer-reviewed journal for publication consideration,” explains Dr. Chressanthis.

For example, the study’s results have salient repercussions in the biopharma sector. In particular, he referred to companies looking for merger opportunities because they’re worried about their expiring patents.

Such companies should be investigating their target companies for evidence of a strong culture for a healthy merger ROI.

What if such a jewel is found? “What you don’t want to do is disturb that,” advises the professor.

Conclusions

“A commercially successful pharmaceutical industry is crucial to society for the future development of new drugs to address unmet medical needs,” wrote the authors.

“This research demonstrated the importance of executives being concerned not only about the level and placement of resource investments, but also in formulating a strategic vision that creates and fosters cultural organizational attributes necessary to sustain peak business performance,” they concluded.

And that’s true for any sector in business.

From the Coach’s Corner, editor’s picks for strategies to fix your culture and sales issues:

6 Steps to Implement a Cultural Change for Profits — If your company is lacking in teamwork, morale is poor and profits are weak, chances are you need to change your organization’s culture. Be forewarned, changing a culture is a monumental chore because it will take strategic planning and super powers of persuasion. Usually, it necessitates an outside participant to assess your culture and to facilitate the changes.

6 Rules to Keep Your Pipeline Full for Continuous Sales — It doesn’t matter what type of business you have. Even if your sales are great today, there will come a time when sales will crawl to a halt unless you take precautionary measures to keep your sales pipeline full. Yep, that’s right. Never take sales for granted — when it comes to sales keep on truckin’. Never stop marketing. Take good care of your customers, but make marketing your top priority — every day — to prevent a roller coaster ride of profit and loss.

6 Tips to Create New Sales with Successful Cold Calling — For most businesspeople in a lackluster economy, it’s important to create new opportunities with successful cold calling. Yes, it’s necessary to concentrate more efforts to create new sales. Attending mere networking events or depending on a high marketing budget aren’t sufficient for strong sales. OK, cold calling isn’t always easy, but you must if you want to dramatically increase sales in double-digit percentages. Develop and implement the right strategies. You’ll be in the all-important groove for a happy buying environment.

Four Tips to Motivate Employees When You’re Facing Adversity — Effective bosses have antennas to alert them over looming challenges. If they don’t have such an antenna, it’s important for them to develop one for multiple credibility reasons. Even the bosses of small companies can suffer from image problems externally and internally. Either one or both will adversely affect profits.

Overcoming Obstacles for Business Turnaround — 13 Steps — For a successful turnaround of financially troubled businesses, there are usually two obstacles to overcome. They include the ego of the business owner or CEO, and poor advice by the lawyers. It’s difficult for a business owner or CEO to accept the need for a turnaround specialist. Most often, they’re in denial about the company’s prospects or they don’t believe an outside participant can come to their rescue with restructuring services. An ethical turnaround specialist will do the right thing.

“If your culture doesn’t like geeks, you are in real trouble.”
-Bill Gates


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Why Kaizen Philosophy Works for Business and Public Sector



Lean thinking has become imperative for business and government. Budgets are strained, but pressure continues to mount for better customer service.

The bottom-line: Both the private and public sectors need to save time and money while providing exemplary service – with existing resources. This requires major changes – often culturally. 

The Kaizen philosophy is applicable for any situation. It utilizes the PDCA cycles (plan-do-check-act). That means asking the “five whys,” a question-asking technique for exploring the cause-and-effects associated with a problem.

PDCA cycles — management method used by Toyota


The Japanese word, Kaizen, means continuous improvement – a philosophy that embodies continuous improvement at work, home and social life.

It uses a collaborative, holistic approach to changes for the better involving the whole team – teamwork among management and employees.

Characteristically, it results in continuous process improvement and quality control in a timely fashion – without major capital expenditures. That’s accomplished by optimizing equipment, facilities, people and resources.

Implementing lean practices

Candidly, implementation of the Kaizen philosophy usually necessitates training in leadership and cultural change. Elements include showing managers the best techniques in coaching and mentoring.

It’s important to start at the top – by training managers first. 

Training for the rest of the staff follows. Management is then in a perfect position to reinforce lean principles for posterity.

When implemented well, you’ll see evidence of leadership that inspires synergy, changes that fit well into place, and learning principles that last.

Leaders should be a catalyst for an environment for the creation of new ideas for continuous improvement via changes – always evolving in effectiveness, productivity, and safety. This includes training to enable team members to meet goals.

This requires major changes – often culturally. 

Kaizen is a daily process – a system in which each person regularly contributes ideas for improvement. It’s nonstop. Ultimately, employees are encouraged to improve their workflows before waiting for management direction.

This optimizes the workforce. If 50 percent or more of an organization’s costs are labor and they’re talented employees, empower them.

Then, it follows that you have a powerful source for great improvement ideas. 

Example of Kaizen results

The Kaizen secret for Toyota’s success: Each employee makes 60 to 70 annual suggestions. Toyota’s production system enables all workers to participate.  The ideas aren’t ignored. None is too small to be considered. They’re documented, shared and implemented.  

If a problem is spotted on the production line, everything stops. The employee and supervisor huddle to discuss solutions.

Kaizen’s a system involving quality circles in large organizations. Circles of employees work to set standards and constantly improve the standards.

Measurement plays a major role. Organizations record where they are. Solutions are developed. Changes are implemented. Then the processes are measured again to determine the success levels.

Other characteristics of organizations that adopt lean principles: they’re proficient in adaptive reuse, repurposing existing facilities, and in recycling. Waste is eliminated.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are links to related articles:

6 Steps to Implement a Cultural Change for Profits — If your company is lacking in teamwork, morale is poor and profits are weak, chances are you need to change your organization’s culture.

Is Your Company Underperforming in Marketing / Sales? Evaluate Your Culture — If you’re dissatisfied with your revenue, it’s time for an assessment of your culture’s operation. Why? Superior cultures drive business performance.

Manage Health Costs by Improving Your Culture 3 Ways — Is your company saddled with high health costs? By improving your culture in three ways to minimize stress, your company will improve performance and long-term sustainability.

Optimize Talent Management with 5 Coaching Culture Tips — When managers become coaches, you get a higher-performing workforce. You will have replaced mediocrity with strong performance. Here’s how to develop a coaching culture.

Welcoming New Hires the Right Way Enhances Your Culture — What is your plan for welcoming new employees? If you don’t plan well, you risk alienating your new employees, your organization’s culture and ultimately hurting your business performance.

If quitters never win, and winners never quit, then who is the fool who said, “quit while you’re ahead?”


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.


Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.