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Posted June 01, 2016 by

How to implement a yearlong onboarding program

How to implement a yearlong onboarding program

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

From learning the ins-and-outs of a company’s culture to specific job tasks, joining a new organization and starting a new job can be daunting.

That’s why it’s important for employers and HR professionals to establish a strong foundation for new employees to launch a productive and meaningful career by creating a strong onboarding program, says Jennifer Shofner, Manager, Campus Talent Acquisition at Ecolab, a global leader in water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services.

While many organizations focus on how to properly onboard an employee that first day on the job, most don’t have a dedicated yearlong onboarding program to help the employee through that first year on the job.

“When combined with functional training, a yearlong onboarding program can provide new employees tools to do their jobs, but additionally, can drive engagement through demonstrating employee and business success go hand-in-hand,” says Shofner.

Below, Shofner provides five onboarding milestones and strategies that help drive new employee engagement at Ecolab:

Day 1: Provide transparency in expectations and culture
All new employees start their first day eager, excited, and hopeful. Ensuring new employees feel welcomed and informed is the first step in maintaining this attitude beyond the first day, says Shofner.  Create a program that is consistent with company expectations and demonstrates your organization’s culture. Demonstrate not only “the what” but also “the how” work gets done. “This can help drive the environment that you want every employee to feel and help create,” says Shofner.

First 30 days: Enable a community for ongoing support
If you ask any employee at Ecolab why they work there, the resounding answer will be “the people” says Shofner. Knowing that relationships are part of Ecolab’s culture and success, the organization intentionally provide a system for networking. The “Buddy” program assigns new hires a contact to answer day-to-day questions, serve as a networking agent and helps them find a community within Ecolabs large organization. “Having one or two close contacts at work can be a powerful driver of initial job satisfaction,” says Shofner.

3 Months: Focus on engagement
Host a dedicated session that demonstrates commitment to employee engagement by providing specific activities to lead and socialize. “At Ecolab, leadership reminds us that are accountable for two areas,” says Shofner. “To grow our business and to grow our talent. Investment in growing talent can significantly impact an employee’s commitment to the company, but only if they are aware of the investment.” At this session, provide specific examples including leadership development programs, employee resource groups, a defined talent planning process, and social events such as intramural sports or team celebrations of success.

6 Months: Expand their vision
Introducing functional training is a good way to help employees develop a strategic understanding of their role and take ownership of their career path. Training provides tactical skill development and visibility into the broader organizational structure. At Ecolab best practices include a field ride-along to experience a day-in-the-life of a sales employees and classroom training led by senior leadership teams. Coach leaders to incorporate their leadership journeys, to include career and personal “peaks and valleys” which validate your leadership model, says Shofner.

One year anniversary: Celebrate
An employee’s one-year anniversary is an important milestone. At Ecolab, the CEO makes it a priority to attend annual celebrations that are part of the onboarding program. “It is a demonstration of the organization’s commitment to hiring, training and supporting talent,” says Shofner. “Dedicating time to recognize this significant achievement reinforces to the employee that they are appreciated and valued.”

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Jennifer Shofner, Manager, Campus Talent Acquisition at Ecolab

Jennifer Shofner, Manager, Campus Talent Acquisition at Ecolab

Jennifer Shofner is Manager, Campus Talent Acquisition at Ecolab, a global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services. Her career in talent management has included various university and corporate roles where she is energized by helping individuals build careers they are proud of. In her spare time she enjoys volunteering for Minnesota’s talent initiative, MakeIt.MSP.org (check it out!) and supporting her alma mater’s sports teams – go Gophers!

Posted May 02, 2016 by

6 things to do before starting a new job

Welcome on board - businesswoman holding white sign with text in the office courtesy of Shutterstock.com

docstockmedia/Shutterstock.com

It’s the time of year when many college seniors begin thinking about what they will do after graduation. Most students focus on the interview process but may not have thought about what to do when they are offered full-time jobs. It can be both exciting and scary but starting a first professional job is now part of the imminent future. Although many students have worked part-time and participated in internships, starting a full-time job is a different venture. Student life is unique in many ways, so it’s important for soon-to-be graduates to make a few changes before they begin new entry-level jobs.

1) Look the part

College doesn’t have a dress code, but most jobs do. To be taken seriously, it’s a good idea for students to know what most of their colleagues will be wearing. Some offices will require a suit and tie, but most are now business casual. One of the most common mistakes new employees make is showing up to the office in attire that’s too informal.

2) Practice the importance of being prompt

Probably the most undervalued asset new employees can possess is promptness in communication. In addition to being to work on time or early, new employees should learn how important it is to stay in communication with the team. It’s fairly common for college students to forget about emailing professors or their peers because they’re mostly relying on social media to be in touch. However, new employees who don’t respond to a colleague’s or supervisor’s email or phone call will be viewed as unreliable. If something is going to take 24 hours to complete, be sure to send a quick note that communicates this information.

3) Get into a daily routine

College classes can be held at 7:30 in the morning or 10:30 at night, and most students will have significant breaks to work on self-study throughout the day. Most office jobs, however, are from eight to five (although flexible work schedules are becoming more common). It’s important to get into a routine of getting up early and dealing with the morning commute and also having enough down time later in the day to be prepared to do it all again tomorrow.

4) Gather paperwork

Once students graduate and start new jobs, they’ll be very busy adjusting to their new responsibilities. Gather any academic paperwork needed prior to the first day on the job. This can include official transcripts, letters of recommendation, references, networking contacts, or anything else that might be needed in a particular field. Many employers will ask for this paperwork, so it’s better to have it on hand and readily available.

5) Chat with your mentor

It’s a great idea to sit down with a mentor before starting a new job. A mentor will have specific and valuable insight into a particular field and perhaps even a specific company or manager. Take any advice available in order to be successful the first few months of a new career. Mentors can also help ease anxiety and build confidence that can make those first few weeks run smoothly.

6) Get organized

Graduating from college is a huge transition and can leave students feeling their lives are in disarray. Each person’s situation will be different, but it’s important to begin a new job feeling organized. Whether this means settling into a new home, moving across the country, or just getting paperwork in order, an organized lifestyle will help a person be more professional and help them focus on making a great impression in the workplace.

Want more advice for recent graduates going into the workforce? Check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Robyn Scott, guest writer

Robyn Scott, guest writer

Robyn Scott, a guest writer for College Recruiter, is a private tutor with TutorNerds LLC. She has a BA from the University of California, Irvine, and a MA from the University of Southampton, UK.