Posts Tagged workplace safety

New recruit blues

Recruit circleThe good people on the twentieth floor in the HR Dept decided to place a new recruit in your department. Sweet! you need an extra hand, you know the person has been through the induction program on the fifth floor and is “ready to make a solid impression”.

After a short while you find things ending up in the wrong place, time is lost searching for those ‘things’ and training the ‘newbie’ in the job specific details they need to get going, is taking its toll on the work you need to get done.

You knew it might happen, the new person has to find their feet,and in time you get the impression they will be a solid contributor to your team. So what to do to make their start positive, get to a productive point fast and not lose the ‘things’ that everyone needs?

Firstly, know as much about the person as possible in advance… Hopefully you don’t find out about the new person at 5pm Friday with them starting at 9am Monday! If you have been part of the hiring process you might know them very well, if not chat with HR about what’s in their resume, how they handled the interview etc, then check out social media for more details on likes and dislikes.

Secondly, be nice… If  you are a grumpy pain the the butt type of person and are not willing to change long term, see what you can do in the short term. Make the person feel at home, be polite, show them around, introduce them to the other team members. Show them their workspace and where the important things are… toilets, lunch room etc.

Thirdly, give them a buddy… A person who can relate to the ‘newbie’ pass on all sorts of vital information, how things work and has a good grasp of “who’s who in the zoo” this person can do most of the training part with you as a go to sidekick.

Finally, meet chat and listen… The new person can settle in fast, so find time to sit with them and have a chat about how things are going, any specific challenges they might face and ways they might overcome them.

Oh sure there are about a hundred other things you can do to add to this list, like checking their productivity at relevant stages every so oftem against Key Performance Criteria, and even asking them for suggestions on ways to improve things (remember to listen…) and the list goes on.

Make the person feel part of the team fast, then you can sense the notion of having set someone on the right path with the right support.


Steve Gray Free Business Tips

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The Open Plan Office Failure

Open plan offices offer a lot if your team communicates openly with each other share conversations with customers and offering information or advice between a small group of staff. The challenge comes when you expect the team to work without distractions (planning – on the phone with customers etc.)

Ok so what was the big deal with going for open plan in the first place? Cost? Having the chance to break down barriers? More open communication? Other…

Let’s go the other way, what’s the deal with a ‘closed’ office? Greater privacy – Easier to concentrate – Cut down on noise – More wall space (for planning charts and so on…) – Your computer can be oriented so only you see what’s on the screen (ok not the best reason but surely quiet important!)

Perhaps the best way is to go halfway (is that possible?) creating spaces which offer users the ability to have privacy, a sense of security, still have some degree of communication openness, not have the cost of a full office, and provide the user with that sense of ownership or personalisation without having everyone look at your personal items etc

Maybe we could go for the cocoon, or pod, I seem to recollect back in the 70’s the Illustrator Roger Dean (Did lots of futuristic and fantasy album covers) created a whole bunch of futuristic spacey spaces and one of them included a ‘Learning Pod’ and individual cocoon shaped like a giant seed pod. Is that a way to go…

I believe the answer probably lies in clearly looking at what the business, your business, is all about and exploring the ideal way to make what needs to happen, happen, in the most effective way possible.

If your team really work as a team, then maybe a team space is required with separate areas to compile info for the team.

If your team are working directly with customers, then perhaps they just need a space where they can do that with minimal fuss.

If your team are a bunch of slackers and serve no real purpose to your amazingly big conglomerate then perhaps a bunch of hotel rooms with Wi Fi connectivity might be the go…

I guess what I am really saying is to ‘go deep’ and look at the specific reasons your team need the space they need and how they will interact (or not). I guess I am also thinking make the space adaptable so things can be altered when the need arises.

Oh and let’s not forget the concept of status, where the ‘boss’ gets the ‘closed office and privacy’ and the others get ‘open space and prying eyes’ surely we can think beyond that and come up with spaces which cause people to believe they are highly valued contributors without any loss of status.

Perhaps open plan failure is just a starting point to creating office space success.

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What do You Need to be Doing in your Business?

What do you need to be doing in your business? It’s still early enough in the year to be thinking about planning and implementing.

Image courtesy of Kromkathog

Image courtesy of Kromkathog

I often think about what I would WANT to be doing in my business, yet the need to’s cut through the wants and nag me to pieces… Often it’s the wants which cause us to go off on inappropriate tangents.

Should you be…

  • Getting more new prospects.
  • Streamlining systems.
  • Finding ways to make things more profitable.
  • Developing cash-flow projections.
  • Looking after existing customers better.
  • Checking OHS issues and risks factors.
  • Implementing a staff happiness program.
  • Developing a marketing plan.
  • Implementing the marketing plan with your friendly branding expert.
  • Tweaking your business plan.
  • Developing your customer service strategies.

You know there are a whole lot more options you need to be doing, so what stops you?

  • Hate to do things which are forced on you?
  • Figure it will go away somehow?
  • You want to hire some one someday who can look after these things for you.
  • Don’t know where to start because the list becomes overwhelming?
  • You refuse to delegate?
  • You like to chat to suppliers rather than face the reality your business might slowly be going down the “gurgler”?

Looking for excuses will not help, you should take control and get the team together and make a list of what needs to be done and hand over as much of it as possible, then get on with doing your part of it.

In the end your business is just that, your business, so it requires you to take on the responsibility which comes with the territory.

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What’s next, the fourth instalment

In this final part of the new recruit guidelines I wanted to focus on the probation period guidelines. it’s a very important part of the whole process but one which is often dismally left out of the process. Here is what I said in the initial article in this series.

Probation period guidelines – Start and in three months we will assess how  you have gone. Assess what and how? Is anyone in your organisation clearly responsible for figuring out what and how to assess, are they qualified to do so to some regulatory standard?

Many organisations have a three month probation period while others have six months and others none at all. If you want to build in cooling off period where either party can part ways, it is wise to ensure you and they fully understand the process and the criteria they will be assessed on.

These days there are plenty of people with workplace assessment qualifications who should be able to map out the criteria for measurement and the ways to assess the recruit against those criteria.

Depending on the role will depend on the specifics of operational effectiveness they will have to attain, the skills they will have to demonstrate and the level of cultural fit they will attain.

At a minimum level the OHS standards will be addressed and I would like to think a solid appreciation of the values and beliefs of the organisation as well as practical job skills and abilities would be very wise.

The aim being to ensure the person being assessed has clear criteria to work to, as well as a full appreciation of how they will be assessed and the evidence or types of evidence which will be sued to do all this.

May I suggest a clearly set out set of criteria in a bunch of areas, OHS, job skills, Cultural fit, Communication skills, Technical skills (IT etc). and then build the assessable parts within each section. Perhaps they will have to show an understanding of the terminology or intention of the parts of each section as well as demonstrate with clear evidence they have achieved that level of skill.

Whatever the end product make sure it is clear to all parties and people assessing the person have the ability to do it based on great evidence and clear guidelines for all.

Now you have a new recruit with correct training, who has met the criteria for assessment, feels welcome in the organisation and is settling in to the role with ease and a degree of comfort. You on the other hand have the peace of mind in knowing you did all you could to make the process as easy as possible to ensure the new recruit is a brilliant fit and are assured of their ongoing success… Let’s hope so!

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What’s next, the third instalment

Last time we looked at the training area in the new recruits process, now lets check out the expectations put on them, and how to deal with that, in the initial article I said…

High Expectations – The HR dept say this person is a great fit for the organisation on SO MANY levels, yet no one in the dept they are going into knows anything about them except some here-say rumor… Truth is the person is a bit average in the start up phase and people in the dept are “non plussed” with the new recruit, some people just need time to shine and figure out where everything is and how things happen. How were the skills the person had in a  previous position “Mapped” across to this new role. What if they had used a much older piece of software in the past and the version or type you have is VERY different to what they are used to…

Your new recruit starts and the place is a buzz with excitement, people want to meet them, people want to avoid them, people need to help them or not. It’s all about people and the fit to the organisation, yet on so many levels there are issues with how things come together and the expectations some in the team may have about the new recruit.

In the initial phase the new person might struggle to get up to speed, despite reassurances from many in the organisation, yet the person may well be highly trained and have a resume bristling with qualifications. In the initial phase then it should be vital to ensure they have the support they need without prejudice or hassle, this way they can grow into the role at their pace. For some that will be fast and for others painfully slow perhaps,  you role is to make sure it happens in the best way possible.

Others in your team will need to know about the new person and why they were chosen so they can make fair assessments and not base a person on day one performance and here-say from others in the team, rumours are rarely objective.

You will have talked to the team about how they have certain skills and how these can be traced across or mapped, to suit their new role. You will assure them this person meets a range of positive criteria and proved at interview they should be well and truly capable of fitting in, and doing an effective job in the new role.

You will also outline any training or other support they need to allow them to make the best of the probation period and explore the role and the organisation fully.

Now every one knows about the new recruit a welcome party will ensure they are able to fit in and be supported in positive and solid ways by all the team.

In our next part in this series lets look at the guidelines for their probation period and ensuring they are clearly assessed to meet the criteria.

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What’s next, the second instalment

This is the second part of the four part series on dealing with new recruits, this time we focus on training. Here’s what I said in the initial article.

Lousy training – Tough, though I know your training people are possibly doing what they can, given tough challenges or are just not that suited to training new employees, they might have a stronger focus on I.T. or a some Leadership program, they can be spread thin. After all did anyone tell the Training area to prepare something for the new recruit?

When it comes to training some are of the opinion “If you picked a new recruit, pick one already trained…” nice thought but there are things  your organisation will do differently to others so they might need to know how your team look after OHS issues, and about the versions of software you use. as well as looking at the values and beliefs in the organisation.

I can only hope your organisation has a great training program in place for all sorts of things and not a lousy one as I hinted at in the opening section. So that being the case your training team will have this area all handled for you when  you let them know the new recruit is about to start.

  • The training team won’t tell you “Oh the OHS (or other) training doesn’t run for another 3 weeks.” They will have a positive stop gap measure like an online training option, or at the very least a handout on OHS expectations and guidelines to give the recruit early in the process (before they start perhaps.)
  • The training team will have put together something for the new recruit on the values and beliefs of the organisation, knowing full well the value of a great cultural fit and how this can happen using foundation organisational philosophies.
  • The training team will have mapped out a schedule of what training is happening and what the recruit needs to do to ensure their training needs are met and especially in the area of the induction program and it’s time frame. They will be well and truly focussed on the recruits success in the organisation and not just for the recruitment phase either.

The new recruit, even by this early stage, will be suitably impressed with how things are going, they feel included and are valued in the organisation and are trained to succeed.

In the next phase your Leadership and communication skills come to the fore as you make sure all the team know about the recruit and a bit about how they will fit in. Join me then as weexplore the expectations of the new recruit.

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What next, the first instalment

Following on from my previous article outlining four areas to work on when employing a new recruit. Today lets focus on the Induction Program.

Previously I said…

Induction program – How do people learn about the nitty gritty’s in your organisation, the policies, procedures, OHS, who’s who and what about the culture of the organisation? Has anyone looked at the existing “program.” for a while? Is it relevant, suitable, useful…

So the recruit has been offered a position, you set the start date, it’s 3 – 4 weeks away due to their other commitments, all is well.  You set the wheels in motion to get things sorted, a spot in an office, supervisor is informed, HR are organising their part and so on… but when was the last time it was looked at and how effective is  all that? and why does it have to take so long to seemingly get them started?

Here are some thoughts on what might be a more ideal way to go.

  • Send them info on the organisation the minute they say yes – Things like an operations manual, who they will be working with and the structure of that area – an outline of how the probation period will be assessed – an outline of the OHS guidelines for the organisation – a company video – a signup form for HR legal requirements like superannuation etc.
  • Their workspace – Is it suitable, is it sorted, do they have all they need to do the job, does it meet OHS standards.
  • Their supervisor – Who is it and what do they need to know about the new recruit, will they need some training or coaching on how to work with a new team member?
  • The HR teams role – What do HR do to make the recruit fit in? Do they control all of these points? Do they look after all the details or… Find out sooner rather than later.
  • Team mates – They will probably know within an instant of a new person being recruited, such is the power of the grapevine. But what do they really know about the person, how will they respond, how do they act, what part do they play in welcoming the new person. the list could go on.
  • Buddy system – Some like a buddy system approach others don’t, but if the new recruit has a buddy make sure the buddy knows the expectations and is allocated time to assist the recruit with all that’s necessary.

There, now you have wrestled a few things into place you induction program is starting to take shape. Here’s hoping the new person loves the approach the organisation is taking and wants to stay and be a vital part of your team.

Next time lets go a step further in the process so the recruits journey is a smooth one.

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