In recent years, big structural changes have presented new pressures and requirements for People Operations leaders.Shorter employee tenures, distributed workforces, increasing competitive advantages of people investment and more, the challenges and new opportunities have never been more evident. In response to a lot of these changes, we work with Program Leads to help them build the case for strategic employee onboarding programs. As we get underway, they are often asked by their executive teams - “what is strategic employee onboarding and how is it placed to take advantage of these changes?” We’ll get to that soon, but first - let’s dig a little deeper to what’s happening in the talent markets. Big Changes creating Strategic HR The significant shift in the relationship between employees and employers are motivating both sides to rethink the employee experience. Companies are often frustrated with high employee demands and a competitive talent market, and employees are also frustrated with the lack of career path and personal development. But what’s behind these factors?Declining Tenures: Employee tenures continue to decline and new hires take roughly 8 months to fully ramp. With recruitment investment relatively fixed as well as the cost of the hiring initiatives, employee lifetime value is being increasingly impacted. There’s a greater need to decrease time to ramp and increase tenure and retention, and business leaders are looking to their People Ops leaders to make this happen.Increasing Distribution: Multiple locations and a distributed workforce are quickly becoming status quo, even for small to medium-sized businesses. According to a study conducted by Intuit, more than 40% of the US workforce will be so-called contingent workers by 2020. This new way of work requires even more robust HR technology to serve as the operational and strategic backbone of organizations.Growing focus on employee success: The Employee Lifetime Value (ELTV) framework was first mentioned by Bersin in 2013, and is gaining momentum in the People Operations industry with recent publications providing even more focus on the importance of people investment in corporate success.These structural changes are shifting the role of HR from administration and compliance to front office talent development and employee success.Subsequently, the technology and associated budget allocated to the foundation of employee success - onboarding - is rapidly accelerating. But Does Onboarding Really Matter? Historically, onboarding has been one of the most neglected parts of the employee lifecycle and, in turn, has received the smallest budget.Today shows a vastly different landscape: business leaders and People Ops professionals are actively searching for concrete solutions to the new demands and changes listed above. Research has found that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Companies with weak onboarding programs can often lose the confidence of their candidates and are more likely to lose these individuals in the first year. What the best companies have in common is onboarding programs that focus heavily on the higher levels of the Hierarchy of New Hire Needs, we call this Strategic Onboarding. Administrative vs Strategic Onboarding Strategic onboarding solutions embody a philosophy and approach to onboarding that takes care of the paperwork and administration, and supports the maximum return on investment of new-hires by accelerating time to peak performance. What are the big differentiators of strategic onboarding?Pre-boarding Assimilation: Provides validation on new hire decision with assimilation into your company’s history, team and culture.Cross department Workflows: With growing team distribution, onboarding workflows impact more than just the hire and manager. Strategic onboarding mobilizes your organization to achieve onboarding success.Developmental Focus: In periods of transition, small inputs can have a disproportionate impact on results. By equipping hiring managers and buddies with best practice playbooks and technology (i.e. bench strength) to create their employee onboarding plans, they can deploy the right resources to provide new hires with a path to success.Most importantly, these differentiators need to be managed with consistency, visibility and data.When we work with companies to develop, launch, and manage a strategic onboarding program, having these data feeds coming back to the Program Lead is critical to any initiative’s success. Want to learn more about how you can use employee onboarding to amplify Employee Engagement and Performance? Download Sapling’s Essential Guide To Employee Onboarding Success or sign up for a product demo below.
It's been a long 6 week stretch, but you’ve finally found the right person for that role in Marketing. The offer has been signed and now we need to get them plugged-in to the organization.For companies scaling quickly with lots of new hires, employee onboarding can quickly become a never-ending time sink. Overwhelmed with new hire checklists, it's inevitable that some simple tasks slip through the cracks. That welcome email, those industry background slides, or ensuring they have the login credentials they need. Over time, these cracks in the new employee onboarding process start to grow and limit the ramp-up time for those new employees.With these simple omissions, it’s no surprise that according to Harvard Business Review, 33% of new hires (and even more if they’re Millennials) are already sending out job applications within the first six months on the job.Soon enough, a new employee that you invested all that time in, leaves - which with employee turnover, costing 21% of their salary. It's safe to say that you’re not alone. Managers in companies of all sizes can struggle to create the right early Employee Experience in their onboarding plans that give new employees the resources they need to succeed. Importantly, making sure you're not falling into several employee onboarding pitfalls can go a long way to help create a smoother, more efficient system for nurturing new employees into rock stars. 1. John is Good, Be Like John With limited time and resources, a lot of companies often default to an over reliance on employee shadowing. After a short new hire orientation of letting staff members know where the fire escape is, the rest of the employee onboarding process is simply “shadowing” another team member for a set number of days or weeks. Unfortunately, the “John is good. Be like John.” approach is not a particularly effective strategy if used in isolation. Job shadowing certainly has its place, but this lacks a sustainable structure that can be scaled over the long term. Furthermore, the employee that the new hire shadows (John, in our example) will only be able to teach them about the systems and experience they see - and will quickly grow tired of answering the same questions. It’s important to recognize that for new hires to understand the larger picture of what is happening in other departments, and how the various groups work together, can make a massive difference to their competence levels at the new company. It's no secret that informed employees are usually high performing employees. Instead of employee shadowing, what's needed is a more in-depth, integrated system - spearheaded by the managers and VPs that works in tandem with the right resources, oversight, and peers across various departments. This includes sharing curated information and instituting effective checks on how their onboarding experience is going. By incorporating the different elements of the organization into employee onboarding, HR leaders can take a proactive role in ensuring that new hires successfully transition into great team members. 2. Google Anything You Don't Understand Orientation is only the first step of employee onboarding, and assuming new employees can figure it all out on their own can lead to new-hire anxiety and a lack of confidence in their new role. Employee onboarding shouldn't be a hands-off, do-it-yourself affair from public resources. Expecting them to figure out their roles and train themselves is a recipe for disaster. For your new hires to succeed, we need to provide them with the underlying “how” and “why” the organization does things the way it does. Don't surprise them later down the road with something that they “should’ve learned”. A better practice is to go for education and transparency from the get-go, providing them with access to the right employee resources. Let your new hire know what the trajectory of their role is and that of the company. While there are motivations to hold back some financial numbers, we believe the best practice is to be transparent with them as much as possible, and as Google taught us - Default to Open. By doing so, you can build a relationship of trust. Establishing trust is the most critical element towards promoting sustainable, long-term Employee Experience success. 3. Read these Powerpoints and Word Documents If new hires are presented with a thick package of long-form documents or Powerpoint materials, adjacent to a laundry list of job responsibilities and objectives - you’re doing employee onboarding wrong. With today’s largely millennial workforce, information presented in this format doesn't lead to the level of employee engagement that it used to. With the constant distractions of 21st century living, it's important to adapt the learning process of today. A modern employee training strategy consisting of shorter, laser-focused segments will allow the new employee to better absorb and retain the information. Also, try changing the medium that the material is presented in. Video training offers a great advantage to written manuals and can help the new hire digest and retain more information in the employee onboarding process. 4. Finding the Onboarding Materials in the Server RoomNew employees can't be expected to learn all the ropes in the first week. Truth be told, a more realistic timeline would be in the first 6 months to a year. Which means that the employee onboarding content you provide can quickly lose value if it's only presented in isolation - as the employee's learning process won't ever be that fast. The two keys to effective learning are repetition and application, and a strong employee onboarding program will include ongoing activities that encourage the employee to return to the material on a consistent basis.So, the best employee onboarding content is searchable and aligned with the business’s long-term goals of employee engagement and development. HR and team managers should keep active track of the hire to ensure they’re progressing as expected, and be ready to make adjustments to the training program if problems arise. Ultimately, everything the company can do to ensure that the new employee continues interacting and applying the content they learned will contribute to the greatest employee onboarding results. 5. Do You Think it's Working? What gets measured, gets improved - so if you can't measure your employee onboarding program ROI , how will you know if it’s heading in the right direction? Like the products or services that your company provides for customers, you need to gather feedback and data points, and constantly seek to improve your company’s employee onboarding process. While onboarding ties back to so many different aspects of the company that it can be hard to measure, there are several metrics you can use to improve the process over time, such as:Adherence to company values; Knowing how to use the basic systems and applications; Understanding the 'bigger picture'; Common mistakes in the first three months; and Often-occurring gaps in product knowledge.All of these data points can provide human resource leaders with strong signals to the level of employee onboarding success, and will enable you to improve the ROI of your employee onboarding program. Like most things, you need accountability to make sure the onboarding process is as solid as it can be. Even if you're doing it right, there are always aspects that could be improved. Forward thinking leaders will continue to analyze the information to find out where the weak spots are, and take the necessary steps towards the ultimate goal - improvement. Using Employee Onboarding to Amplify Employee Experience SuccessIf your company is scaling quickly and onboarding lots of new hires, your employee onboarding process should be a top organizational priority. To be done effectively, human resource managers should invest in a simple, effective, and scalable framework that ensures new hires are effectively onboarded into the company in a way that maximizes their chances of success. Employee Experience Management can go a long way towards growing ROI on your employee onboarding programs and company culture. Want to learn more about how Employee Onboarding can enhance engagement and performance in your teams? Schedule a demo below: Sapling is the all-in-one HR platform built specifically for fast growing organizations using G-Suite. Start streamlining all your HR processes, provide consistent employee experience, and make data driven decisions by connecting the tools you are already using everyday in one place with Sapling.
Over the past few years, the corporate world has seen an emergence of Employee Experience management, with managers and leaders increasing their focus on the success of their employees.Whilst traditional Human Resources management had been largely focused on building and maintaining company policies and procedures, it’s clear that the Future of Work will build on the paradigm shift in recent years.The purpose of this transition has been to attract and retain employees that are proving the differential for businesses in the new knowledge economy. Gone are the days when a focus on customer satisfaction at the front-end was enough. How is the World Changing? Several strong themes have emerged in the workplace that have brought a new focus on the employee experience. In ‘The Future of Work’, Jacob Morgan uses the following thematic:The impact of these changes has been rapid, and the pace of change is only accelerating. So how can HR teams best position themselves? Traditional HR rarely extends beyond expenses policy, training, and timesheets, so what about all the other areas that make up employee experience? That’s exactly why several companies have made brand new departments.The hosting giant has done away with its HR department and created a dedicated team to “drive the company’s health and happiness”.The new Employee Experience department brings workplace culture more to the fore alongside traditional functions like recruitment and talent and covers a far wider range of activities and responsibilities than its HR predecessor. From food to internal communications via innovations in the workplace environment, Airbnb is aiming to enhance the global sense of community on which it’s founded by extending that to within its own premises.One change is the massive increase in flexibility in work spaces – offices and cubicles have been joined by ‘open’ tables and spaces to promote the collaborative work culture desired by 88% of Millennials.The PDF software firm announced that it “turned old-school HR on its head and instead created Employee Experience (EX)” in 2014. Its new global function focuses on 3 Fs: The Fundamentals, The Fringe and The Fun.This allows it to simultaneously ensure fundamental needs like compensation, leave, healthcare and a strong vision are in place, as well as the fringe aspects such as continuous learning and volunteering while adding scope for fun with office bars, trivia and movie nights.Adobe established a team called Customer and Employee Experience that “combines our customer experience organization – the people who are on the front lines of helping our customers utilize our products – with our human resources”. It works on the basis that all people want the same 3 fundamentals:1. To be treated with respect; 2. To find the information they need; and 3. To feel invested in a long-term relationship with the company as an employer or a brand.Adobe is an interesting exception to the rule that customer satisfaction is the established focus and employee happiness is lagging.Instead, it’s always strived to be a great place to work and, as they originally sold their products through partners, it’s the customer service side of the business that is now being brought up to scratch. What Can We Learn? Obviously, improving employee experience should be a key aim for any business, and these changes provide an interesting new approach to the problem.If you’re considering changes in your organization, be sure to listen to your employees about what they want, work to align attitudes within the business, and communicate the changes as early as possible. Employee Onboarding is the foundation of employee experience success. Download the The Essential Guide To Employee Onboarding Success or sign up for a demo of Sapling to learn more.
Every organization wants to give new hires a great onboarding experience, but will investing in an employee onboarding solution really improve the bottom line?We’ve compiled the facts and data to help HR leaders understand the ROI components of an onboarding solution, and how it translates into financial impacts on their business. Understanding The Big Factors Presenting an ROI driven cost/ benefit analysis to the CFO can be a complex undertaking, but it’s essential that HR leaders build a strong business case. The biggest obstacle many teams face is an unclear framework of how to assess ROI. Not only can onboarding ROI be incredibly subjective, but it’s also time consuming when you’re already stretched. While some things are easy to measure in recruitment and ongoing employee costs (i.e. job postings, salaries, employee benefits), other things are more difficult to track. Specifically, it’s often difficult to attribute the time invested by HR and People departments in preparing for new employees and managing onboarding workflows and compliance costs. And that’s before we begin to assess the ROI of ramp-up time for new employee proficiency, benefits of early employee engagement, and the broader influence on employee culture and team success. The Five Key Pillars of Onboarding ROI Sapling believes that there are five key pillars on Employee Onboarding ROI. 1. Automate Tasks, Emails and Reminders Automating the manual, repetitive tasks with sophisticated workflow management within an onboarding solution reduces HR team overhead, driving efficiency across the organization and allowing your team to focus on what they do best: people, not process. 2. Increase Productivity Ensuring the investment made in recruiting new hires is realized as soon as possible. Effective onboarding minimizes the time it takes to get new-hires settled, fully engaged and ramped to proficiency. Employees typically take 8 months to reach full productivity. 3. Decrease Turnover First impressions are critical. A structured onboarding program validates the candidate decision, supports early engagement, reduces the risk of employee turnover by 58%, and saves the recruitment and time costs associated with continually replacing talent. 4. Enhance Culture Organizations with great culture enjoy significant benefits versus industry peers, including higher employee engagement, lower turnover and better financial performance. 5. Support Compliance A sophisticated onboarding solution ensures all regulatory requirements are completed with e-signature capabilities. This enables employment contracts and company policies to be correctly signed and digitally stored.What is the ROI of an Onboarding Solution? Sapling's research puts the ROI at $6,044 - $11,799 per new employee onboarded, with the biggest impacts being in productivity, culture and retention. Importantly, employee onboarding solutions can help you run an onboarding experience on auto-pilot to optimize your team’s time, minimize errors, enhance compliance, remind people of uncompleted tasks, and avoid missed deadlines. This is all while ramping up new employee productivity and engagement, as effective employee onboarding promotes and encourages new hires to hit the ground running and limit anxiety, fear and ramp-up time. Best yet, it’s a virtuous cycle - giving new employees a great onboarding experience supports a culture of employees willing to offer the same courtesy to those who come into the organization after them. How Can Sapling Help? The hidden costs of inefficient employee onboarding can quickly add up. Sapling tackles all of these problems head-on with an onboarding solution that allows you to deliver a simple, intuitive and consistent employee experience. The ROI on effective employee onboarding can’t be understated - and its mission critical to integrate this into your People Management plan to build sustainable and scalable employee success. At the end of the day, onboarding ROI metrics based on HR time should help inform your decisions, but it’s up to you and your leadership to determine the true value on the broader organization of an improved employee onboarding process. Interested to learn more about how onboarding can help you build better connected, more engaged, and higher performing teams? Download the Sapling Guide to Employee Onboarding Success or signup for a free product tour today.
Millennials already comprise the largest share of workers in the U.S. workforce, and while the energy of these young employees is bringing new talent and skills, it’s also creating its fair share of challenges.Brought up as technology natives, Millennials are fluent in many of the game-changing tools and applications that are reshaping the competitive landscape. It’s not surprising that HR departments are competing for the same talent in their teams and to fill the roles for their hiring managers. Unfortunately, for all their beneficial skills, Millennials can be less loyal to companies than other generations. The median tenure for a millennial employee is estimated at just two years, compared to seven years for a baby boomer. Building loyalty and keeping Millennials engaged has quickly become a top organizational priority. According to a Deloitte survey on Global Human Capital Trends, only 4% of senior executives feel that their organization is effectively engaging Millennials in the workplace. This employee engagement deficit means that companies are losing-out on the significant majority of output from the top talent that they worked so hard to find and hire. One of the most important ways to keep Millennial employees engaged is during employee onboarding and training programs.By developing a clear roadmap for the employee that matches the young hires’ aspirations, companies have a much better chance of keeping them engaged for the long term. Here are three methods that you can use to develop an effective employee training program for Millennials. 1. Invest in their Professional DevelopmentMany organizations’ senior position holders may complain that Millennials aren’t team players. However, However, these are likely problems that the Managers and Human Resources teams are co-creating by failing to convince the young employees why they should want to be part of the team. So, why don’t they want to grow with the team?It may be because they don’t feel that the position aligned with their expectations during the hiring process of their long-term professional development goals. The idea behind a successful employee training program is to give a new hire the tools they need to achieve maximum success in their role at the company. 52% of millennials believe opportunities for career progression over financial incentives is their top determining factor when choosing a job. Another 35% said that excellent training and development programs were another top factor they use to determine whether the job offer was attractive or not.To accommodate these millennial aspirations, it becomes critical that HR departments focus on developing top-notch employee onboarding and training programs. A big part of developing a professional career is gaining the expertise necessary to rise through the ranks and land the position you want in the long term. This means that employee training programs should focus on developing adaptable skill sets that the employee can use to further develop their careers.It’s a good idea to understand where your younger employees want to be in five years, and incorporate skill milestones into the employee training program. This will ensure that they learn the skills they need to level-up later on in their career. 2. Leverage the Right TechnologyTechnology is your ally when training Millennials. They are used to having access to information within a few seconds after doing a quick Google search on their mobile or tablet. To engage Millennial hires in employee training programs, L&D teams should create programs that incorporate the basic eLearning principles, and ensure content is accessible across multiple devices. The first major mistake you can make with Millennial employee training materials is giving them a pile of unwieldy binders, full of heavy content that’s difficult to access and easy to forget. Curate your training material in an open environment (or intranet) and make sure that it’s easy to reference with basic search. Not only is this is the way that Millennials are used to accessing what they need, but it’s also a much more effective method for storing and sharing information for everybody in the organization. Millennials are also accustomed to interactive learning from multimedia, such as YouTube. More importantly, it has been shown that memory retention is significantly improved by incorporating this type of training content into lesson plans. If companies have the right resources available, developing custom training videos that deliver lessons on specific company topics can be a highly effective way to engage Millennial employees.Micro-learning is an increasingly popular method for employee training because it’s well-adapted to our brains that have been wired through constant distractions - it is a teaching technique that delivers content in small, specific bursts. Micro-learning is popular with Millennials because it doesn’t require a long attention span, and works great for delivering lessons over mobile devices. Finally, milestone-based approaches that deliver the right information at the right time can make training feel more tailored to employee needs and reduce early employee anxiety. Lesson modules that can be completed, indexed and then accessed on-demand at a later point can go a long way. The training will feel as natural to the Millennial employee as remembering how to cook chicken and mushroom risotto through a quick Google search. HR and People departments should seek to collect data on the results and employee engagement in training programs, then use this data to analyze the training program itself to see if there are areas that could be improved.3. Open Up The Lines of CommunicationMillennials thrive on communication and feedback.In addition to regular employee training programs, it is important to develop a roadmap that will encourage new employees’ personal development and show them the options available to further integrate themselves into the company down the line. Throughout the employee training process, HR managers should be coordinating feedback for the new hire to let them know if they’re meeting benchmarks or areas they should seek to improve.A clear and transparent channel of communication set during this employee onboarding process will support employees to feel that they’re being incorporated into the company in a meaningful way. Employee onboarding is the first step where management and HR teams can align the development expectations and career trajectory of employees. Communication of the roadmap – whether in more senior roles, different departments, or new initiatives – can support company loyalty and increases chances of long term employee success. Putting the Training into Action The key for an effective employee training program aimed at Millennials is to engage them early and ensure they are prepared with all the skills they need to reach their full potential.Millennial employees value training programs, not only for the joy of learning, but because they see it as a path to longer term improvement and stronger career prospects.Developing employee training programs to accommodate Millennials isn’t an overnight process; it requires long-term focus.Stay patient when developing a new program, as implementing new technologies and changing old habits takes time. Think about employee training in terms of geometric progression - small gains build and multiple on each other, and accelerate the rate of employee development and success. Before you know it, you will have changed the trajectory of your organization.Incorporating training into your Employee Onboarding programs can go a long way towards continued company success. Want to learn more about building better connected, more engaged, and higher performing teams?Download the Sapling Guide to Employee Onboarding Success, or sign up for a product demo today.
If you look at the market leader in your industry, more likely than not - they have an enviable company culture.What’s less obvious is that the success and continuity of successful company culture depends heavily on the success of Human Resources teams in one thing - effective employee onboarding.It’s no secret that your organization benefits from attracting and retaining top talent. However, onboarding is the first opportunity to build trust and alignment with new employees. Effective employee onboarding helps new hires get warmed up and hit the ground running. They can be anxious, excited, and eager to make a difference, but without an effective onboarding program that provides the resources and tools they need to ramp-up, they can end up stagnating — failing to meet their own productivity goals in the first few months. A company culture that supports early Employee Experience success is something that every Human Resources team would love to have - so, how do we get there? Communicate the Mission, Vision and Values If you want new employees to embody the company’s mission, vision and values, you have to show them what that looks like.There is no better time to communicate these elements than during the employee onboarding process.Netflix does a great job at this with its cultural diversity and inclusiveness resources that communicate Netflix’s values and what makes them unique.New employees are eager to learn and find their place within the organization. One of the things that we’ve seen most employees concerned about is clarity of the company’s long term mission.A recent, growing trend has been through leveraging employee onboarding portals that showcase the company’s mission, vision, and values alongside welcome notes and an introduction to their future peers.Getting this type of material in the right digestible format that can be accessed by new recruits long before they commence their work gives them time to incubate the key company messaging and grow connected to their new company. Showcase the Culture How do you want your employees to feel about the company culture from the get-go?There’s no doubt that employees are more likely to invest themselves personally in a company’s success if they feel aligned with the organization, and that starts by understanding it. You can help new hires get a clear understanding of what the company culture is by showcasing it during the employee onboarding process.HubSpot does this by publishing its culture manifesto and board meeting notes online.This practice and embodiment of transparency is paying off in employee retention and success - the San Francisco based company has a Glassdoor ranking of 4.6, a figure that is far beyond the industry average. Give New Employees Clear Goals Without clear and transparent goals for their role, there can be no ‘true-north’ for new employees. In today’s fast-paced world, getting employees ramped-up and focused on their personal employee game-plan should start before the new employee’s first day. It would be best if they arrive at the office already knowing what’s happening, the names of their peers, their goals, and fully-aligned with the company’s success.Communicating the goals of their role during the employee onboarding process will help new hires gear their efforts towards achieving them.These insights will help them calibrate their productive efforts around the company’s core objectives even before explicit direction from management.Most new employees tend to fear asking these questions aloud for fear of appearing as if they don’t know why they joined - dont make the onboarding mistake of making them ask the basic questions. A good onboarding program should answer most of them without ambiguity. Engage Multiple Departments with Effective CollaborationEffective employee onboarding involves welcoming a new member into the community of employees and stakeholders.As such, the process should bring multiple departments to work together - exemplifying the broader framework of company success with multiple teams working together.In a bigger organization, managers and VPs should find integrated onboarding solutions that handle every aspect of the company’s HR functions - whether it’s Google Analytics access, Swipe passes, company swag, or email login credentials. There are big easy wins with basic new hire orientation, such as showing them organizational charts, providing company swag, writing a welcome note, and ensuring that they have the hardware they need.Thankfully, this should be much less challenging. You can use employee onboarding portals and workflow tools to facilitate the tasks and communication between departments. Support Them To Find Answers to All Their Questions New employees will always bring a full gambit of new and recurring questions, and they may feel uncomfortable asking all of them - but you can create an atmosphere that encourages them to speak up, and will give you insight on how you can improve the process. Informed employees are generally happy employees, and that is what you support when you invest the time and resources into creating the right environment of knowledge sharing and development. It sets new employees on their path to success. Needless to say, successful employees translate to the success of the business. Investing in Employee Compensation vs Employee Culture Giving employees a great onboarding experience supports a culture of employees willing to offer the same courtesy to those who will come into the organization after them. This virtuous cycle of warm, effective employee onboarding will continually encourage new hires to hit the ground running and limit anxiety, fear, and ramp-up time. Depending on the amount of time, focus, and investment in the process, an onboarding program can make or break the company culture, and research shows that company culture is far more important than compensation. Culture Drives Employment Brand: Source: Liz Pellet, Fellow, Johns Hopkins University The way 21st century organizations scale their company cultures will always depend on their foundation, which is built in the employee onboarding process. Employee onboarding can go a long way in building the foundations for scalable employee success. Interested in learning more? Download the Sapling Guide to Employee Onboarding Success or sign up for a free demo today.
The birth of a Human Resources department isn’t a dramatic moment. It’s a gradual process that happens as a business grows out of its startup stage into a more mature, stable company.At a certain point, responsibilities that had once been covered by line managers become untenable and have to be shifted off into a new role, commonly known as Human Resources (HR), Talent Management or new-age People Operations. This normally takes place when a company crosses the 40 employee mark, or around four or five managers. At this point, one manager will need to dedicate their full day to taking care of the people-related needs of the organization, including recruitment, employee onboarding, training, and engagement. However, it is often at this critical stage when companies face their greatest HR challenges. For mid-sized businesses, defined as having 51-100 employees, Wasp Barcode’s State of Small Business Report found that over half of the owners (54%) reported that hiring, above growing revenue (42%), was the biggest challenge for their organizations.Unfortunately, when graduating from a start-up to a mid-sized organization, HR is often not fully equipped or staffed; as a result, employee engagement can suffer.Employees at mid-sized companies are more likely to be dissatisfied, which overtime can lead to a major ROI killer — employee turnover. Thankfully, you’re not alone. The same challenges are often faced by human resources teams in all mid-sized businesses, and simple measures can be taken to improve and mitigate their impacts, and get back on the path of employee success. Diminished Agility and Disbursed Decision Making In a small business, owners can meet everyone and develop personal relationships.With the flexibility that this personal touch adds, everyone working on the team is more likely to feel included, and employee engagement is likely to be high.There is less need for well-established standards or rules, because every challenge is a new one, and everyone knows that the playbook is being written on the fly. As the business grows, however, this same lack of standards becomes unwieldy. It’s no longer possible for the owner to develop a strong relationship with everyone on the team.Instead, the employees’ interactions with the company leadership will start to go through intermediaries that are made up of representatives pulled from the management team (in most cases).Soon enough, decisions are being made by multiple individuals in the organization, cross department relationships become weaker, and lack of true accountability, results and ownership arise. To counteract this natural tendency, mid-sized businesses must be proactive and not let their growing size prevent them from maintaining and developing all-star teams, and incubating great talent around the company vision. At this stage, it’s important to get employees focused on a core set of company values - whether it’s trust, transparency, customer service or just plain fun.This value-based framework will provide a “true north” for the team and guide how decisions are approached going into the future.Along this road, there will be mistakes and setbacks. But it’s almost mission-critical that HR teams create an environment that encourages people to take ownership and make mistakes in search of the ultimate goal — improvement. Managing Budget Restrictions Mid-sized businesses can often be caught in a catch-22 when it comes to people investment. While they no longer have the flexibility of smaller companies to engage with their employees on a personal level, they also don’t have the same pool of resources to invest in their development as they would if their businesses were larger. When a company crosses 40 to 50 people and becomes a mid-sized business, budget and resource allocations need to be reassessed in all parts of the company, and a budget can be hard to come by in the newly formed HR team. Furthermore, due to growth, the competitor landscape is likely to have changed, and the budget will likely reflect shifting priorities and challenges.When a company reaches this size, hiring and employee training become more challenging issues to deal with. An increase in the training and people resources can go a long way to brightening the outlook and improving results. Planning the Right Technology Road-map When a business graduates from the term “small business,” it gives rise to a host of new systems that will need to be set in motion. HR and people departments play a critical role coordinating this movement.With the team’s addition of new, specialized roles, not only will employee training become even more difficult, but fostering an atmosphere where employees understand what’s happening on the other side of the office becomes a challenge. At this point, today’s companies are increasingly leveraging technology to integrate the right systems and solutions.HR leaders will need to develop a technology roadmap leveraging software applications that can integrate into the various company systems. Furthermore, employee training programs should be adapted using these tools, which will better serve a 21st century learning style and increase employee engagement, especially among Millennial generation workers. To make sure the company’s systems are integrated, the HR department needs to open up a direct line of communication with management and the executive decision makers. The entire company needs to recognize the critical role technology will play moving forward and build that into their central strategy. Creating Scalable Employee Frameworks Instead of panicking, mid-sized businesses approaching the HR creation/ inflection point should plan and develop a solid people operations framework that is built for growth.The infrastructure shouldn’t be built for today, but rather for a year out when the company has grown at its expected rate.Foresight and preparedness become critical to building robust HR machinery that will efficiently bring on new hires and maximize employee engagement into the future. Employee Onboarding is the foundation of employee success, and creating the right experience for new employees that will scale the company’s culture is mission-critical. Not only will HR be developing new employee training programs for the skill-based positions that a mid-sized company will suddenly find itself needing, but you will be building a framework for developing new and scalable training programs in the future.HR and people teams should use the opportunity at this stage to build an innovative people management model that the company will rely on throughout the rest of its growth.Measures taken at this stage will set the precedent for employee success tomorrow. Getting Buy-in from Key Decision Makers Needless to say, the Human Resources department doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The decisions that are made can only go so far without the buy-in from the company’s top decision makers — likely the CEO and CFO.That means that probably the most critical battle an HR Manager will play will be convincing these decision makers to allocate the proper resources and attention to the people of the company.The CEO, who has moved past having a personal connection with the majority of the workforce, is generally focused on ROI-based metrics. As a result, subjective terms like employee “happiness” and “well-being” are more likely to fall on deaf ears.Developing a clear plan of attack that speaks the decision makers’ language is critical to effectively promote the growth of the people in the organization.The CEO must be convinced that without a proper investment in HR, the company won’t be able to successfully hire the top talent it needs, onboard them efficiently and effectively, maintain high employee engagement, or grow confidently as a business. The main problem that Human Resource Managers encounter is that their department is non-technical, making it more difficult to prove its direct contribution to the bottom line. People management is easily the most important aspect of the organization. The HR Manager’s job is to ensure that the CEO never forgets this, and to continually display how the HR department is contributing to that bottom line. Using HR Challenges to Amplifying Employee Success Are you an HR or People Manager at a mid-sized business? Employee onboarding can go a long way in building the foundations for scalable employee success. Download the Sapling Guide to Employee Onboarding Success or sign up for a free product demo today.