Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tactics for Welcoming New Employees, Increasing Productivity and Developing Effective Leaders

Please welcome Ron Thomas to my blog. Ron is a Principal at StrategyFocusedHR, a strategic human resources consultancy based in New York City, and he previously served in senior-level HR roles with Martha Stewart Living and IBM. He was recently named to the “Top 25 HR Influencers for 2011” by HR Examiner, and his work has been featured in Inc. Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Workforce Management, Chief Learning Officer Magazine, and Crain's New York Business. He is also a contributing author for a new book entitled, Creative Onboarding Program by Doris Sims. Ron serves on the Expert Advisory Panel on Talent Management Strategy at the Human Capital Institute, is a member of McKinsey's Quarterly Online Executive Panel, and was named to the HR Hall of Fame by HR Network of New York. Ron and I recently discussed a variety of personnel and leadership topics, and I would like to share some of Ron’s insights. For more about Ron, visit his blog
and follow him on Twitter.

What are the best onboarding (organizational socialization) strategies to welcome new employees?

RON THOMAS: Here are my strategies:

  • Make a connection from the first contact with the prospective employee – and maintain it throughout the entire recruiting process, and once the employee is hired, use the onboarding session to talk about your culture, standards, mission, and values.
  • Use the onboarding session as an opportunity to convey to the employee that he/she made the right decision in joining your company.
  • Train all hiring managers so that they pick up the baton following the orientation/onboarding session and welcome the new employee into their department.
  • Include employees who recently completed the onboarding process to stop by.
  • Schedule a special lunch for the new employee on his/her first day.
  • Make sure that everything is ready for the new employee including a desk, computer, phone, supplies, employee contact list, etc.
  • Provide an introduction to all team members.
  • Set up a mentor within the department to make the transition smooth.
  • Arrange a department lunch for sometime during the first week or two.
  • A timeline should be built into the first year of the employee’s tenure to periodically check the pulse of his/her work progress.
  • Describe the company’s outings and community involvement opportunities.
  • Describe the company’s corporate social responsibilities (CSR) initiatives.

Should management tailor its tactics to fit the personalities of its employees or the other way around?

RON THOMAS: Management should tailor its efforts around engaging the employee base. Managers should recognize that they are in the business of growing people toward their potential. If a leader truly believes that people are an organization’s greatest asset, then he/she is on the way toward creating an engaged workforce.

What are your five tips for increasing workplace productivity?

RON THOMAS: Here are my top five tips:

  • Develop good listening habits.
  • Create an open environment and connect with employees.
  • Develop a transparent approach to one’s leadership style and keep employees fully in the loop at all times.
  • Develop an atmosphere that is collaborative.
  • Create a “we are all in this together” atmosphere.
How have mobile tablets and smartphones changed the business landscape and helped or hampered productivity?

RON THOMAS: Mobile phones/tablets have changed the dynamic of certain functions within organizations. Doctors and medical personnel can use a tablet not only for demonstration, but patient history, prescriptions, and authorizations. Salespeople can flip through entire product catalogs and showcase demonstration videos at their fingertips. Training departments can become mobile with YouTube demonstrations and mobile webinars. Thanks to social media, those who cannot attend events (workshops, seminars, tradeshow keynote presentations) in person can “attend” on Twitter and watch the constant stream of Tweets – and also comment.

What are the five most important qualities of a good leader?

RON THOMAS: Here are my top five:

  • Be authentic.
  • Be self-aware.
  • Strive for transparency.
  • Be collaborative.
  • Believe that people are an asset to your organization – and demonstrate that belief by your actions.

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