Feb 24, 2011, 12:34 AM
Ah, spring. It’s in the air. Everywhere you look, you can see signs that winter is in full retreat. Down coats and scarves are being packed up in boxes all across the country. Vibrant yellow and blue flowers have begun to dot the once barren flower beds of the Orgwide office. Why, just yesterday, I swear a wobbly-legged baby deer, newborn skunk, and freshly-hatched bluebird assembled in my front yard for an impromptu vocal jam session as other woodland critters gathered ‘round to watch. Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but you get the point I’m trying to make. The season of rebirth is upon us! And this whole “rebirth” concept doesn’t just apply to Mother Nature. All indications are that in addition to the budding cherry blossoms and increased pollen count JOB HIRING is right around the corner too! That is great news for the many who have endured the “jobless recovery” thus far. But, for those of you responsible for hiring and/or training new team members – are you ready? With the extended period of down-sizing and hiring freezes, what does your new hire training and orientation look like? What date is on the materials? Does it reflect the latest thinking for your business? Are there references to “old school” thinking? Does it make a good first impression on your new team members? “Why the rush?” you may be wondering. You need to be prepared to make a good first impression from the moment a new hire accepts a position with your organization. The first few weeks in a new hire’s career are absolutely critical to their success. During this period, new hires are not unlike the aforementioned wobbly-legged deer. You must be prepared to guide them towards success immediately (allowing them to do their own stumbling from time to time, of course). The importance of these first few weeks cannot be overstated. In addition to the obvious goal of equipping your new hires with the skills to successfully carry out their daily tasks, this is also the time that you can truly “engage” them. “Engaged” employees, as defined by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), are “mentally and emotionally invested in their work and in contributing to their employer’s success.” ASTD found the idea of employee engagement so important that they conducted a formal study entitled The ASTD-Dale Carnegie Training-i4cp Learning and Employment Engagement Study (the study). Among the many insights revealed by the study, perhaps the most salient to the topic at hand goes a little something like this: “General learning practices that were found to have a positive effect on engagement included fostering a learning culture, improving onboarding and orientation practices, designing learning with engagement in mind, and linking learning and performance management.” When is an employee’s willingness to learn and become engaged at its highest? When they’re first hired, of course! The term “zeal of a convert” comes to mind. Perhaps “zeal of a new hire” could be just as appropriate. New hires are a clean slate. They’re sponges, eager to soak up all of the information thrown their way. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to capitalize on this valuable stage of a new hire’s development and provide stale, ineffective orientation and training. What a pity! So, hiring managers and trainers, this is your time to shine! “How?” you ask. You can start by dusting off your existing training materials. Are your current learning and development practices as effective as they possibly can be? Training that is fortified with scientifically-proven instructional design principles ensures that you minimize the unproductive time your new team members experience during their early days and starts them out with a strong, positive, and connected experience as they acclimate to their new job and your company. Do a little spring cleaning of your current training. Whether you decide to simply spice up your existing training manuals and binders with solid instructional design principles and then digitize them for easy access, or perform an entire training overhaul, Orgwide is here to help—just give us a call or drop us an email! Until next time, remember to take care of the customer, take care of each other, and take care of yourself! To read more about ASTD’s Employee Engagement Study, click here: http://www.astd.org/NR/rdonlyres/AD2B2677-CC9D-4762-8683-C455826925AD/0/Engagement_ExecSumm.pdf
Feb 24, 2011, 12:33 AM
Want to Improve Your Leadership Effectiveness? Here Are Nine Things You Can Work On. While we’re pondering the big issues of the day, i.e., What’s up with Egypt? Wisconsin? Joan Rivers?, etc., many of…
Feb 11, 2011, 12:32 AM
Valentine’s Day.  Love is in the air.  The holiday of amour brings the opportunity to both send and receive special treats. A few weeks ago, we were doing some cleaning at the Orgwide offices when one…
Jan 12, 2011, 12:31 AM
Coaching skills, for some, are innate. There are leaders out there who simply seem to know exactly what to do or say in order to bring out the best in others. However, the majority of us could benefit…
Dec 8, 2010, 12:31 AM
To state the obvious, managing any team is a demanding task. It’s a balancing act—completing your own responsibilities while remaining available to support your employees. It’s something every manager…
Nov 24, 2010, 12:30 AM
Ah, the noble pilgrims.  As you gather ‘round the table with family and friends this Thursday to give thanks, think for a moment about the difficult tests faced by the Pilgrims leading up to that very…
Nov 3, 2010, 12:28 AM
Employee Selection and my pet Venus Fly Trap: what could these two things possibly have in common?  As I watched a fly cruise through my living room a few days ago, it occurred to me that they have…
Oct 27, 2010, 12:27 AM
I have always been a big advocate of the saying: “The right tool for the right job.”  I enjoy the various derivatives of this colloquialism as well, like, “When all you have is a hammer, everything…
Oct 19, 2010, 1:14 PM
Imagine, for a moment, that your neighbor has let his yard slip into an embarrassing state of disrepair.  Algae have overtaken his koi pond.  His bamboo shoots have begun to creep over the fence onto…
Oct 13, 2010, 12:25 AM
I’m about to celebrate an anniversary: this month, 32 years ago, I officially earned my license to practice management.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I shook my boss’s hand and thanked…

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