Alex is starting a new job at Paste Industries. After 10 years in her previous role, Alex has made the leap to join the Paste team as their marketing manager. She is feeling incredibly nervous, the last time she started a new job she was issued with a company Blackberry and a Windows’ 2007 PC. Things have changed.
Alex has been in contact with Graham, Paste’s HR Manager, throughout the recruitment process. Graham provided a contract for Alex four weeks ago, Alex returned a signed copy and while Graham acknowledged that he did receive Alex’s contract, she hasn’t heard from him since. On her first day, Alex arrives at Paste. There is no reception area, so Alex awkwardly stands at the door, hoping someone will show her inside.
When she finally gets inside, Alex asks for Graham and then proceeds to wait another 10 minutes as people scramble around trying to track him down. Eventually, Graham makes his way out and takes Alex to a desk that had clearly been occupied the Friday prior. It is obvious that Graham is restless and in a hurry, he clears the desk and invites Alex to take a seat.
“I’ve just got to run to a meeting” Graham says as he plonks down a thin document in front of Alex. “I’ll leave you with our induction manual to have a read through and I’ll let James (the Marketing Director) know you’re here.
Just before lunch time, James appears, He also seems strapped for time, providing Alex with a vague overview of Paste’s current marketing plan before getting up to go and giving the ambiguous instruction of “Now Alex, let’s make it happen!”.
At the end of her first day, Alex is feeling incredibly overwhelmed and feels like she is just a major inconvenience for the company. She doesn’t even know where the toilet is. Alex is now seriously considering whether she has made the right decision to leave her job and join Paste Industries.
Have you ever stopped to put yourself in the shoes of your newest recruit? There’s no doubt it’s overwhelming starting a new job. It requires you to get your head around a million and one things: new faces and names, where the entries and exits are, how to use the coffee machine and where to find the toilet and that’s before the work has even started.
A structured plan will ensure that every employee that enters your organisation is not only receiving the same information, but is provided with the same knowledge and tools to enable them to put their best foot forward in a new role.
Your onboarding plan extends further than your employees first day- it should encompass: before, during and after commencement.
Before your newest recruit even steps through the door, there’s a lot of preparation to be done.
Internal set up:
How do you know that everything is ready to go for your new starter? We suggest using a standard checklist that identifies everything that needs to be done. By ticking this off as you go, you can be sure of consistency across the organisation. The following list is just a sample of things that you may want to consider when putting together your list:
Have I sent out a contract and has a signed copy been returned?
Has the employee received the necessary forms; new employee details, fair work information statement, tax file number declaration form and superannuation form?
Is their desk clean, tidy and stocked with all necessary stationery?
Is their IT equipment ready to go? Has this been checked to make sure it all works?
Have I assigned my new starter a buddy? Someone who they can ask questions of.
Has this buddy been briefed about the role and their responsibilities?
During the week before your new employee starts, it’s important to check in with them via phone or email. This is a crucial part of the process, it gives you the opportunity to provide any last minute information (for example- starting time, address and who to ask for) and it gives your employee the opportunity to ask any questions they may have.
Set the tone and spread the love:
During this exchange, make sure you set the tone for their first day! This is an easy way to ensure the employee feels excited and welcome before they even start. You may even want to spread the love by placing a goodie bag or hand-written note on their desk as a sweet surprise for their first day.
The biggest gift you can give any new starter, is your time. So that everything runs smoothly on the day, ensure you (or whoever will be looking after your new starter) has blocked out some calendar time to ensure they settle in.
Ensure there is a point of reference for later:
Given the sheer amount of information you are going to provide, it’s a great idea to provide a point of reference that your new starter can refer back to as they start to settle in. An induction manual should be comprehensive and cover; a company overview including key staff, policies and procedures, office and building facilities. It can also be a great place to introduce your company ethos and culture. Conducting an induction session is a great way to present this information and to provide an opportunity for questions and clarification.
Focus on the experience:
What would make you feel comfortable if it was your day? By focusing on the experience of your new starter you should be able to successfully convey that you’re excited to have them here. Make sure they are introduced to everyone around the office, with a particular focus on the key decision makers and managers. If you can, organising a lunch with your new employee and some other members of their team is a great way to assist with integrating them into the company.
Don’t forget the basics:
Make sure you cover off on the basics for a new starter- of course you will go over a Workplace Health & Safety briefing, but don’t forget to show where the toilets and kitchen are, how to use the photocopier and any other IT equipment. These are just a few essentials you may need to include.
Let’s not forget what we’re here to do…:
Although the induction process can be time consuming, don’t forget that you’ve hired this person to do a job. Make sure you set up some time with their team to provide an overview of the work they are currently doing, share goals and visions and to hand over work to your new employee.
Onboarding an employee doesn’t end after the first day. To ensure a long, healthy and successful working relationship with your new recruit, it is important to continue to foster the relationship between new employee and new workplace.
Check in, check in and check in again:
If an issue was to arise, it’s crucial to be able to address it as soon as possible. With this in mind, regular check ins with both your new employee and those working closely with them, can assist in determining any issues before they get out of hand. There are multiple forms in which you can conduct a check in- face to face meetings and surveys to name a few. We suggest the following sequence of check ins:
End of day one– this should be a casual catch up and once again, an opportunity for your new starter to ask any further questions
End of week one– once the dust has settled on the whirlwind of new faces and new procedures, this is a chance to get some feedback on your structured induction process.
6 week check in– By this point, the employee should really start to be settling in. Use the 6 week mark to touch base with the employee’s manager to see how they are settling in and if there is anything that needs to be addressed at this early stage.
3 months– If you’ve decided to implement a 6 month probation period, at this stage, your new employee will be half way to this milestone. Use this check in to confirm with the manager whether they wish to keep their new employee after the probation period.
6 months– If the probation period has successfully been passed, use this as an opportunity to congratulate your employee. This is also a great time to discuss goal setting and expectations for the coming 6 months.
This process is large and involved, it’s not something that can be replaced by software or done “on the fly”. The time and effort put into these processes, will reap the rewards in the longevity and ultimately the performance of your new starter.
We have provided a sample New Starter Survey which will give you an indication of the types of questions that are helpful to ask of your new starters. This form is not a “one-size-fits-all” and will need to be adapted and changed to suit your organisation. It’s also not a quick fix, for the best result with your onboarding process, a variety of techniques should be incorporated into your new starters first few weeks and months of work.
If you have any questions regarding our resource or if you require any assistance with your recruitment or onboarding processes, we welcome you to get in touch with Our HR Team on 1300 168 747.
For almost two decades the competency-based interviews testing individuals’ skills and capabilities to handle certain workplace situations have been the norm in most organisations when recruiting new talent and still to this day it remains dominant. General interest in hiring based on attitude and behaviour and teaching technical skills on the job are creating a shift in thinking. But why is attitude and behaviour arguably more beneficial than skill?
Candidate attraction is primarily based on what an individual knows or can find out about you. This means that your external message is key. Simple things like publicising your company values and mission on your internet page has massive advantages when attracting the right talent and deterring those who simply wouldn’t be right for your business.
Having worked in Human Resources for several years my primary driver to join a business is all about the values they exude. I must feel that I not only connect with those values on a personal level, but I believe in them. Without this connection I simply would not be able to do my role effectively. How could I sell the business to prospective employees if I do not connect with it myself?
When I joined Our HR Team it was an interesting journey having originally spoken to Tracey and Kylie (Directors) whilst still in the UK in April. I couldn’t start working in Brisbane until July, so what was there to keep me interested and them interested in me for that long? My draw for Our HR Team was their values around a true partnership with the businesses they support and becoming “part of the fabric”.
For me it was important to be able to build a relationship with my clients based on being a trusted advisor and Our HR Team seemed to sing from the same hymn sheet. This was only really elevated for me through consistent interactions with Kylie and Tracey whilst I was in the UK, lots of lovely little messages saying “we are super busy and can’t wait to have you on board” actually truly instilled in me that even 16,500km away I was already becoming a part of Our HR Team’s fabric and I could really see they were true to their values. One of my favourite quotes seems to fit this story so well “Big things often have little beginnings” So, what does your business say about you and your journey?
Understanding your requirement
Once you have delivered your cultural message successfully into the public domain, you then need to consider your target attitude. Whether recruiting for new positions or replacing individuals that have left your business, take some time to consider the type of personality you are looking for. Rather than looking for a like for like replacement are you actually hoping someone may come in and shake things up? Or are the team working and connecting well already and you are looking for someone that can compliment a team that already works well?
Get team members involved
Bringing team members who will work alongside this role into the interview process is always a good technique to test how well they may interact with your prospective new employee. This gives both parties the opportunity to gauge each other and see how they connect.
A previous company I worked for, following interviews with candidates used to speak to the receptionist to find out how the individual was when dealing with them, were they polite/rude, how did they react when they thought they weren’t being accessed and this would help shape whether they thought the candidate was a cultural fit.
Richard Branson; a key advocate for hiring for attitude, does a similar but more elaborate form of this known as his ‘Taxi Driver’ test. He once flew candidates to his house for an interview and had an 85-year-old taxi driver pick them up from the airport. Once arrived at his house and after unloading their bags he pulled of his mask to reveal he was the taxi driver. He admitted although an extreme example he saw the individual’s true colours when the majority of applicants had either been rude to the taxi driver or had mocked him. Needless to say, no one got the job.
Bring in Behavioural questions to interview
Behavioural interview questions are based on the assumption that past behaviour is the best indication of what future behaviour will be like. Adding some behavioural questions such as “Describe a time when……” with a focus on the key areas of attitude you require such as communication or team work will allow you to test an individual’s past experiences and how they have reacted in similar situations.
Another technique I have used in the past is a case study to test an individual’s ability to do a task but also how they do it. One aspect of the tasks tests their skill to do the job right. The second aspect tests their ability to prioritise a group of tasks and how and why they would do it in that order. Understanding an individual’s motivations to do certain tasks talks a lot about an individual’s behaviour and attitude.
New employee check ins with candidates in the first 3 months of their employment is a great source of insight not only into reputation as an organisation but also your induction process and an opportunity to gain referrals for top talent.
Attitude and cultural fit will never entirely take over the need for a skilled hire, clearly a certain level of skill is needed to accomplish the role however giving the time to understand whether that skill can be developed to instead identify the right fit based on attitude and cultural fit brings tremendous benefits. Not only can it bring an increased time to proficiency and better levels of retention, you are also getting more excited, enthused and dedicated new hires ready to grow with your business and follow you on your journey to success.
Why being open to talk about mental health in your organization helps to shape your culture.
By Kerrie Briggs (HR Advisor)
With Queensland Mental Health week now upon us, it is a time to rethink how prepared we are as a business to deal with Mental Health.
A recent survey by the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare estimate that almost half (45%) of individuals in Australia between the ages of 16-85 will experience a mental illness at some time in their life. 1 in 5 (20%) of the population have experienced a common mental illness in the previous 12 months.
Managing and supporting people’s mental health at work is a critical and a growing challenge for businesses. Most people will be affected in some way by mental health either personally of through family or friends, so mental health is a concern for every organisation in Australia.
There are positive business reasons for supporting your employee’s mental health. Workplaces are now responding to employee engagement, flexible working, resilience and talent management leading the way for competitive advantage. Positively managing mental health in your organisation reinforces these approaches and can reap rewards in terms of improved staff morale, improved productivity and quality of work, as well as being culture building and promoting loyalty. A positive, inspiring workplace results in positive mental health. Effectively managing mental health aids in avoiding high costs associated with attendance, injury & illness. With every $1 spent on managing mental health the return on investment is $2.30.
So, as we continue through Mental Health week what can you do as an organisation to encourage employee well-being?
Consider whether your Managers are equipped to have discussions with team members
One thing we often see, when working with different organisations is that there is still some hesitation in being able to discuss mental health and understanding what needs to be done. An employers job is never to fix the issue itself, but to understand it in order to provide support and make amendments to tasks and work design where possible.
Support is critical, but this can only be achieved through active listening and understanding what it is that the team member needs.
There are very effective training courses for Managers and this is something that we recommend be considered.
Proactively support Mental Health Initiatives and communicate these internally
With so many individuals impacted in some way, showing support as a business is critical. It demonstrates an employer’s awareness of Mental Health but also tells employees that there is genuine care and desire to handle these matters sensitively and respectfully.
Queensland Government have released a free Worksafe Mentally Healthy Workplace toolkit full of tips and advice applicable at different levels of your organisation-
Advertise your Employee Assistance Program
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a work-based intervention program designed to enhance the emotional, mental and general psychological wellbeing of all employees and some organisations will also include services for immediate family members.
What can you do:
Incorporate details of your EAP providers details in company inductions, advertise their details on notice boards, or in coffee areas around your business so that employees know it’s OK to talk about mental health.
Exercise is a natural endorphin & serotonin booster, two things that make you feel good! Increased endorphins and serotonin can help reduce stress and symptoms of mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.
What can you do:
Encourage exercise as part of your daily work life: have stand up meetings or walking meetings around your local area. Form a companywide walking or running group to meet after work once per week. Repurpose a meeting room one lunch time a week and offer an onsite Yoga or Meditation class, chances are you already have an employee that knows the practice and would love the opportunity to share their knowledge.
Encourage a Healthy Life Style
Diet is just as important to mental health in the same way as it is to physical health.
Healthy living means maintaining a healthy lifestyle and introducing habits that improve your health.
What can you do:
Encourage healthy eating by having a delivery of fresh fruit or healthy snacks to the office once per week. Allocate a wellness ambassador, discover if someone has a general interest in well-being and health and offer them the opportunity to roll our health-based initiatives every month, anything goes!
The key as an organisation is to incorporate positive habits that put mental health on the agenda, so start slow with small incremental changes and start with building on what you already do.
If you need assistance in implementing Mental Health initiatives in your workplace, contact Our HR Team on 1300 168 747 .
I have two- Miss Kenny for French and Miss Walter for English. Needless to say, my English is a great deal better today than my French. However, they both inspired me to learn and had a great impact on my high school days. I know we can all relate back to our favourite teacher and how they brought the best out in us and how usually we all did well in those classes. Whether they were great educators or whether it was their inspiring ways or whether they just made you feel comfortable in a world where others didn’t – you remember them.
No matter if it was five years ago or twenty-five years ago they will always be part of the fond memories of High School. Often these teachers change you or steer you on a path that helps you choose your future studies – their impact can be enormous.
So how does this relate to finding your next career move? When making decisions about your career- choose the leader or leading influence that has left the best impression with you.
Often when recruiting graduates across different sectors we have many lead up events and opportunities to meet with the future grads in different University faculties. At times they are bewildered with all the company representatives they meet as they try to determine which is the best company to work for. My advice to candidates is always the same- “Go with who inspires you! Who have you met that you want to work for? Who have you met that you think will bring out the best in you? Follow that path until there is a sensible reason not to follow it anymore.”
Seizing an opportunity with one of the “big brand” companies may be exactly what you want – but if you are not inspired then maybe that inspirational leader you met in a smaller brand company is really better for you. Think of it like that favourite teacher. If you go to work every day and surround yourself with people who lift you, motivate you and bring the best out in you – you will be better for it. It’s not a long to bow to stretch when you consider that working for a boss who actually inspires you, will probably bring the best out in you and help to advance your career in amazing ways.
“Trust is like blood pressure. It’s silent, vital to good health, and if abused it can be deadly” Frank Sonnenberg, author of Follow your Conscience.
Sarah had worked at her financial services company for three years. During that time she worked hard and fulfilled all the obligations of the role each day. However, she had not progressed further than the position that she was hired for.