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All Posts By

Mariya Finkelshteyn

Onboarding

3 Questions to Ask Before Onboarding Your First Remote Hire

If your company doesn’t already offer remote work and work-from-home benefits, chances are you’re heading in that direction. From 2017 to 2018, telecommuting increased by 22%, and 3.9 million Americans reported working remotely last year. Flexible work options have become an increasingly popular benefit, as remote work offers opportunities for businesses to become competitive employers while hiring the best talent from around the world.HR departments, in particular, are tasked with challenges when their companies decide to grow outside of traditional brick-and-mortar offices. How prepared is your HR team to manage remote employees? Here are a few important questions to consider before onboarding your remote employees:1. Is there a recorded policy on flexible work?When compared to on-site help dedicated to a typical 9-5 work week, remote employees often enjoy greater flexibility, as they often get to decide when and where they’ll work each day. For a millennial workforce that strongly values the ability to balance personal life and work life, the ability to customize one’s work schedule is one of the main reasons so many apply to positions that offer part- or full-time remote work opportunities. Depending on specific job requirements and the level of experience, your HR and leadership teams should work together to create a policy document for enforcing the mobile work expectations. The remote policy should cover any previous cases of remote work, eligibility guidelines for working outside of the office, steps needed to request remote days for those who work both on- and off-site, and communication guidelines between supervisors and remote staff. 2. Do you have the right tools for remote teams? Your remote teams will not have access to on-site IT teams necessary communication equipment to interact with those working in the office. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a powerful collaboration tool which allows users to make phone calls over the internet instead of through a landline. Because VoIP runs on an internet connection to make calls, your company won’t have to install phone lines or extra equipment. Fortunately, there are a number of resource pages where you can learn about VoIP and how it can improve communication with your mobile agents. Other platforms, such as intranet software, help teams by offering a central hub for sharing internal documentation, assigning management and calling out the achievements of individuals. For quick questions or updates, your team can use a team chat service to maximize time efficiency (watch our recent Slack webinar), reduce confusion and cut down on formal email numbers. We also recommend screen recording tools, like Loom. 3. Are your training sessions remote-friendly? Creating a successful and engaging onboarding experience helps shape each employees’ first impressions of your company.. As your company begins to fill positions remotely, you will need to determine the best methods for training those who aren’t available for on-site training sessions. While many companies use a mandatory on-site training program to prepare new hires for success, not every remote employee will have availability to train at an office. That’s why you should integrate remote-friendly alternatives to every training program your business offers. If face-to-face training is ideal, video conferencing is the next best solution because of the visual and auditory components for processing information. Make sure any informal notes that trainers use are transcribed into a universal document that can be shared with participants after each training for reference. As a supplement to the material covered in each program, you may also find it beneficial to share relevant articles, insights or team documentation for remote employees to read in advance. <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Jun 28, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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HRIS

Sapling wins Front Runner for HRIS Management" honor by Software Advice

Update: After a year of extraordinary growth, we’re pleased to announce that our HRIS has again won the FrontRunner award for HRIS software, again. You can review the report here. FrontRunners uses real reviews from real software users to highlight the top software products for North American small businesses. To create this report, they evaluated over 695 Human Resource Information System (HRIS) products. Only those with the top scores for Usability and User Recommended made the cut as FrontRunners—Sapling's score? 9.48 /10. Thank you to our community for continuing to support our efforts and vision! Winter 2018/2019:We're excited to announce Sapling has been named a “Front Runner for HRIS Management” by Gartner’s Software Advice in 2018. Out of the 366 HRIS platforms evaluated, Sapling was ranked as 4th for HRIS (#1 for CoreHR solutions). The FrontRunner honor aggregates reviews from software users to highlight the top software products for North American small businesses. The honor recognizes companies that scored high in two areas: Usability and User Recommendations, based on actual user ratings. More than 366 public and private companies competed at the awards across all industries, locations, and sizes. You can download the full FrontRunners for HRIS Software report here. This honor considers products that offer a core set of functionality—for example, HR Software platforms like Sapling, that act as the system of record for employee data with time off tracking and deep reporting and analytics capabilities to support high-growth, international teams. “We’re humbled and honored to be named a Front Runner for HRIS Management by Software Advice,” said Bart Macdonald, CEO and co-founder of Sapling. “Sapling is dedicated to helping innovative companies deliver a world-class onboarding and HRIS experience. Sapling’s streamlined, data-driven, and customizable technology enables our customer community to develop world-class global teams. With our experienced customer success team ready to help them every step of the way, we prioritize setting up all teams for success with their People Programs. With this blend of world-class technology paired with deep expertise in consulting services, we are thrilled to hear how the Sapling experience is supporting our customers to gain outsized returns on their HR initiatives.” Lori Meeks, Senior Talent Business Partner, reflects on her own experience with the award-winning platform: "Sapling is setting the bar for HR technology and I cannot think of another HR tech platform where I’ve accomplished and developed the environment we dreamed of." Reflections When teams partner with Sapling, they’re getting more than a world-class onboarding or HRIS platform — they’re getting a mission-driven and customer-centric team, whose dedication and passion extends well beyond product tutorials and technical support. There’s a reason Sapling was ranked as one of the top HRIS out there. Learn for yourself how Sapling's Onboarding or HRIS can accelerate your team's productivity, reach out for a demo.<a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Jun 18, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Announcements

Streamline HR Workflows via Sapling's Gmail Add-On

Sapling, a leading People Operations platform launched the Gmail Add-On product with the focus to increase productivity via automated workflows. Sapling's expansive integration with Gmail allows People Ops and IT teams to manage HR activities, such as create and close tasks and view employee profiles, all within their inbox, keeping their team on track with automated reminders and triggered notifications. “With our Gmail-Add On, we want to meet our users where they are most productive. Take your tasks on the go and complete them right from your inbox,” comments Sapling’s CEO, Bart Macdonald. “This add-on will help empower people professionals to be more efficient and strategic at scale.” Ready to get started? Connect with a Sapling representative to learn how the Gmail Add-on will boost productivity for your HR team. Sapling’s People Ops platform connects and automates HR activities across existing HR, IT and Finance solutions and is the leading People Operations platform that streamlines HR workflows, creates a red-carpet employee experience. Sapling empowers People Operations teams with connectivity, data, and insights on their global workforce. Connect with Sapling today for your personalized tour of the Sapling platform.

Posted on 
Jun 4, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

Designing Employee Onboarding for the Remote Workforce—Connect Recap

Employers across all industries are seeing a rise in the remote workforce. Technological advances allow for more and more work to be conducted from almost anywhere, and employers who want to provide a positive employee experience are facing challenges in developing a process that can be delivered anywhere. Dennis Field Senior Manager, People Development, at InVision spoke recently about a process his organization has developed to meet this challenge at Sapling’s Connect Summit on May 1, 2019. You can watch his session here. InVision is the operating system that is used to design apps and websites that we use every day. What is even more interesting from a recruiting and onboarding perspective, is that InVision is a 100% fully distributed company. Each employee literally works out of their own homes or offices. For this reason, there is no traditional onboarding process. Essentially, they’re a global organization with 800 employees from 42 states and 28 countries across the world who are solely connected through technology. In his talk at a recent Sapling’s Connect Summit, Dennis outlined some of the challenges and opportunities employers may face and how these challenges were met by his group during the design phase of the onboarding process. Read on to discover, Dennis’ learnings: Challenges When considering ways to improve your remote onboarding process, begin by targeting several key challenges that the organization is facing with the existing onboarding. Some examples that many companies face include:Limited visibility: In a traditional office setting, it is easy to poke your head into an employee’s office and touch base on a daily basis. With remote settings, it takes a little creativity and extra effort to maintain high-quality communication. It all starts well before the employee’s first day on the job. Preboarding includes a lot of things that need to be built before that first day so that the employee has the ability to get into the new “office”. Proximity: People are working in their homes and offices across the world. Each of those remote locations adds a diversity that changes the ways we communicate, the topics we talk about, the things we can share. There is also a piece that makes everything about the remote work setting feel distant. There are sometimes individuals in very rural areas with different internet sources, which can create even more challenges. Employee’s expectations of onboarding: Employers want to understand what it’s like for someone who’s new to remote work and what they’re expecting from onboarding in general. The answers to these questions would help determine how the onboarding process would be designed in order to meet not only the organization demands but also their needs and expectations. Resources: Understand that everyone has restraints, how will you keep the focus on making sure your organization and remote employees work smart with what they have?Once the challenges are identified, the next initiative is to really understand the audience. The InVision group used their own software to map the entire employee experience. They went through a complete exercise to see what tools were being used, to recognize the communication channels, and to identify what is happening behind the scenes that they might not ordinarily see. To gain additional insight, you could conduct onboarding needs surveys and ask questions to gain feedback on the process from the employees who have completed the onboarding process. This will help employers to see how well the process is working and what needs improvement. Opportunities Once challenges have been identified, the next step is to identify and target several opportunities to place focus on. The greatest opportunities for InVision were around culture and community. They set a responsibility to make sure that culture and community were fostered in the first five days of the onboarding process. An opportunity that is often overlooked is the ability to surprise and delight new employees. Be creative and try to find ways of doing things in a distributed environment that you initially didn’t think you could do. Mission The mission was set to create an onboarding experience that is world class, authentic, iterative, engaging and scales to meet the needs of InVision today, as well as in the future. Understanding the importance of having an ambitious goal helps remind the team why they are doing this in the first place. Guiding Principles Wanting it to feel connected, the team chose features to include in order to build the world-class onboarding experience. They wanted it to be world class and lovable. They wanted new employees to complete the process, feeling that this was the best onboarding they ever had. They also wanted people to leave feeling empowered and excited as well as connected and engaged. The process needed to be designed with intent and purpose. It needed to be flexible and collaborative, but also authentic and people-focused. Solution The ideas for InVision’s onboarding solutions focused around the idea of hospitality. They chose the name, Xenia, for the ancient Greek concept of hospitality, and for their beliefs in the idea of welcoming and generously hosting guests. These beliefs are rooted in what they feel the first five days should be. How Xenia is structured The program is set up for five days. Dennis said, “we realized it doesn’t make sense to fly everyone to a location, conduct training and send them back home - it kind of defeats the purpose of onboarding if it isn’t available in the physical work location, so you would essentially have to re-onboard them at home.” The team has designed a variety of activities to keep the pace steady while encouraging a fun, relaxed atmosphere. They offer pop quizzes daily. Show and tells, where they may include other InVisioners to share their stories of growth. AMA’s (ask me anything) activities encourage open, honest communication. Watching content and having a group discussion about what they are learning. Individual learning with study halls and homework as well. “Invite” everyone to breakfast to start the week, and they often provide lunches that employees can expense. All of these activities help to make the remote culture feel a lot less “remote”. Tools that drive this onboarding experience Tools are available that can make the onboarding experience easier and more user-friendly. Dennis and his team utilize Sapling to automate tasks, workflows and for complete homework during Xenia. Since there are teams that cannot be reached in every time zone, Sapling serves as the “host” when everyone cannot be present. <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a> Zoom is where the teams have their daily sessions and conversations. This is their “classroom”. Onboarding employees log in every morning and chat for about four hours about the content for the day. Slack serves as the primary way to communicate throughout the day and beyond. Dennis even calls it the “headquarters”. For this reason, they make sure to teach the new employees the methods of Slack and how to manage it right from the classroom itself. The ResultsThe feedback and measurable results have been good after InVision has been doing this for around a year. Some interesting statistics gleaned from current employees who have experienced Xenia show the proof:89% feel very knowledgeable about our culture, goals, mission & impact as well as our products and solutions. 93% feel ready to move into role training. 97% are very excited to continue their journey at InVision 96% highly likely to recommend XeniaIt can be easy to feel disconnected in distributed work. This disconnect can be lessened right away, within the first five days with a well-developed, quality onboarding program. You want your employees to feel more connected to people in your organization that they may have with most co-workers at previous jobs, even though they would see and talk to them every day. The idea is to make employees feel like part of the team very early in their journey. With consistent commitment and a willingness to give innovative ideas a try, you can help your remote employees feel like a member of the team right away! You will see strong retention and engagement from your new employees for years to come. Want to know how Sapling can help you develop the best onboarding experience for your remote workforce? Try a free demo today!

Posted on 
May 23, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

Measuring Inclusion and Intersectionality in Your Onboarding- Connect Recap

Bailey Edgell Senior Customer Success Coach at Culture Amp specializes in helping organizations use employee feedback to support diversity, inclusion and intersectionality initiatives at Culture Amp. At the 2019 Sapling Connect Summit, she spoke about ways to include these initiatives in your onboarding program. You can watch her session here.What is Diversity, Inclusion, and Intersectionality? Diversity – the range of human differences including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, social class, and others.Inclusion – the act of making a person part of a group or collective where each is afforded the same rights and opportunities.Intersectionality – considers different systems of oppression, specifically how they overlap and are compounded. It aims to understand how various aspects of a person’s identity can impact their living experience. It is common for organizations to begin focusing specifically on diversity. They may begin by working to increase diversity in the hiring pipeline or for internal promotions by trying to attract under-represented minorities. These are good ways to start but focusing on diversity alone will not work if you do not have an inclusive culture. Diverse talent requires an inclusive environment that acknowledges their intersectional identities to thrive. How to embed Inclusion into onboarding Onboarding is your first opportunity to show employees that they can bring their full selves to work and they are welcome, regardless of identity. Onboarding is also an opportunity to show others how they can be a contributing part of that inclusive environment. Key Experiences:Organizational Values Sessions, where you can help employees understand that they are important to the organization. Show how diversity and inclusion intertwines with your values. Let new hires know this so they can become stewards of diversity and inclusion themselves. Conduct an explore and affirming values exercise: have them ask questions such about their own values, why they are important and how they use them. Then ask, how those values relate to the company’s values? This exercise will help increase inclusion by helping employees see how their values fit with those of the organization. Employee Resource Groups introductions – encourage ERG’s in your organization to support and advocate for employees of various identities. It is common to see ERG’s for women, LGTBQ, people of color etc. If your group has ERG’s, have these groups give an introduction and information during the onboarding session.Inclusion in onboarding – some smaller signals that could lead to big changes Highlight the experiences of your diverse leadership team. This allows employees from diverse experiences the opportunity to see themselves in leadership positions. Create a way for people to share their pronouns. Put a pronoun and name field in addition to legal name wherever necessary in forms, directories, and profiles to help normalize the process. Evaluate the physical environment for cues that might make some individuals question whether they will be respected. For example, Bailey says, “if photos in your office don’t include women or people of color, these groups may doubt their prospects at your organization. Walk around your office and evaluate the signals and the subtle messages that these images are sending to new hires”. Watch out for words such as “guys”. Encourage gender-inclusive language in your greetings. Rather than saying “hey guys”, use words such as folks, everyone, friends or team.Measuring your impact Onboarding surveys are great measurement tools to see if a company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives are giving the expected outcomes. By using the initial survey as a baseline, we can track development over time and determine if our diversity and inclusion programs are successful. Bailey recommends adding the following questions to your onboarding surveys: I feel like I belong I can be my authentic self at work My company values diversity Perspectives like mine are included in decision-making My company believes that people can greatly improve their talents and abilitiesUse demographic data to study and examine intersectionality results, because different individuals will have different experiences. This will give you more fine-tuned analytics. In closing, Bailey encourages you to go beyond just diversity in your onboarding programs. Build an inclusive environment that acknowledges intersectional identities and embeds D&I concepts into your onboarding experience. You can measure your impact in an onboarding survey with questions focused on diversity and inclusion. If you include these concepts in your onboarding process, your efforts will speak to your employees of your dedication to not only diversity but also inclusion and intersectionality across your organization. Need help building diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality in your onboarding programs? Sapling can help! Get your free demo today. <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
May 22, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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People Analytics

Managing Gender Pay Equity Through the Employee Lifecycle– Connect Recap

Rachel Ernst, VP of Employee Success at Reflektive shares her tips on managing gender pay equity throughout the employee lifecycle – from onboarding through offboarding.According to the 2017 US Census Bureau, women currently earn approximately 80 cents for every dollar that men earn. This equals about $550 billion in missed earnings annually. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to bring this in better balance. Early on, men and women are graduating from college at the same rate. In fact, more women than men are completing college. They are entering the workforce at the same pay rates. But, over time, a pay gap begins to form. To better understand pay equity and how inequity happens, Rachel uses a graphic borrowed from the educational system to explain. The picture shows three children standing on equal sized boxes but on varying ground levels, trying to see over a fence. The uneven ground symbolizes the differences in each person’s background. The fence represents the different barriers that each person has, for example, educational status, socioeconomic status, etc. The equal sized boxes signify that each person is eligible for the same amount of compensation from the same salary budget each year. The lesson explores what might happen if we change the size of the boxes to lift everyone up to the same level. While that helps for a time, the fence is still there and will lead to more equity issues over time. We need to work harder to remove barriers if we want to correct the problem permanently. The decisions that are made throughout the employee lifecycle affect pay. There are many pay-related decisions made at milestones throughout the employee lifecycle. These milestones include:Interview Offer Performance Management Company exitManaging interview biasCreate a diverse interview panel requirement for every job. Require a structured interview process for every role. Be consistent and attach the interview to specific skills. Avoid the “like” bias where interviewers give preference to candidates that they like. Provide interview bias education for recruiters and interviewers. Implement a “bias buster” – have someone dedicated to sitting in on interview debriefs to question comments or invoke further discussion when a potential bias is recognized.Avoiding bias at the offer stage If a candidate is asking far less than the approved amount, question whether this is a fair market-based rate, before just giving them the requested amount.Approve a budget for the role in advance Use market data to compare Check salaries of internal employees at the same level Consider geographic pay differences Consider competing offersPerformance Management StageTake care not to make pay-related decisions that could be based on bias.Recency bias –decisions based on recent events rather than basing them on the entire period. Similarity bias – decisions based on the manager’s feelings that the individual is like them rather than how they are performing. Likeability bias – decisions based on how much the manager likes the employee, regardless of how well they are performing.How to ensure equal opportunities for promotion and compensationsCalibrations – bring managers together to discuss their processes and finding a common way to determine performance. Ratings – can be a very specific way of defining performance. Gender analytics on promotion rates and increases – look at gender pay to ensure that pay and promotion rates are equal across the organization. Enforcing equity – leaders and managers should enforce equity among their teams. Compensation analysis twice a year, particularly in competitive markets.How to do a gendered compensation analysisBenchmark all roles to market by geography Align everyone to their roles Include: last pay increase, last promotion date, tenure, gender, salary, level, manager, manager gender, analysis on all above factors by genderEmployee Exit Stage Men tend to negotiate their separation packages more. Each situation is different but be mindful of keeping these as equal as possible. <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
May 16, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Employee Experience

Employee Lifecycle Playbook- Connect Recap

Christina Luconi, Chief People Officer at Rapid 7, spoke at Sapling’s Connect Summit covering the importance of having an Employee Lifecycle Playbook to guide your processes and the employee experience from talent acquisition and onboarding to the transition and alumni cycles. First, she strongly suggests you figure out the most critical element: what your company culture is. You need to establish who you are and what your guiding principles are before moving forward. The Employee Lifecycle stages include: Talent Acquisition, Onboarding, People Strategy, Workplace Experience, People Development, Transition, and Alumni. Talent Acquisition is the first step in the employee lifecycle. From the very first phone call, you are building a relationship with that employee. Employee Branding —In those initial conversations, try to convey your employer brand. You want people to really understand who you are as a company, not just what you do. Candidate experience – think about things you can do to make the employee comfortable in your facility. Be sure to give them a tour, give good driving and parking directions, prepare well for their arrival and really think through the experience so you can help them understand what it is like to work for your company. Hiring the best candidate —be thoughtful and careful in your decision-making. Expanding the slate so you have a greater candidate pool will ensure you hire the best possible people. Make the hiring as inclusive as possible. Employee referrals —Christina says, “you know that you’ve created a good company to work for when your people are raising flags and saying, ‘come work here’. If you can continue to drive people’s engagement to the point that they are so excited to refer their people here…you’re doing a good job.Onboarding is the next step, once you’ve hired them, your new employees want to feel included. Help prepare them to contribute early on.Help them understand how they fit into the mission of the company. Give them as much knowledge as you can right from the beginning so they feel like they can hit the ground running.Don’t pile everything on in the first day. Spend some time thinking about the process. Coach your managers on how to make it the best possible experience. Rapid inclusion. Use the onboarding experience to build culture. Make it about more than just the work that you do, but how you do what you do. Encourage and help them to build relationships.People StrategyEmployee experience – strive to be the organization that you say you are, daily. This will affect your ability to attract and retain people in the long run, so make it a priority. Promotions – this will tell what behaviors are valued in your organization. Making sure you are promoting people for the right reasons. Christina suggests having multiple members of the management team participate in the promotions decisions to avoid political behaviors or bias. Org Planning and Design – plan for what makes sense for the strategy, not just for today, but three years from now. Real-time feedback – feedback will mean much more in the moment rather than days later. Immediate communication offers a more natural rhythm to continue a dialogue. Daily feedback will prevent carrying issues over into other dates. Legal and compliance - stay in conjunction with the legal team to understand what is absolutely necessary and will allow you to get creative with guidelines. It all ties back to the employee experience.Workplace ExperiencePhysical manifestation of our culture – put thought into where and how your people work. Are there spaces for quiet concentration, or for group collaboration? Sometimes there might be an interest in a more sociable setting. Put this thought into the design of physical workspace. People DevelopmentIndividual learning plans – You may be tempted to bypass this when you are busy, but these are important to people. Employees are interested in opportunities. Remember that some may want technical growth, for example, so don’t focus only on management promotions. Management boot camps - teach managers the fundamentals such as how to run a one-to-one meeting, how to give feedback, developing themselves and their teams. Leadership training – try customized programs and internal coaching. Learning Management System – some people like to learn on their own. Provide access to a variety of training modules.TransitionTrends and analysis - watch for cues that employees are losing interest. If you are seeing a loss of staff or reports of poor hires, dig deep to understand the reasoning. Get well plans – instead of a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), Christine recommends a “get well plan” that documents and shows what success looks like for the employee. You want to set your employee up for success. The message to the affected employees is that if they follow the clearly laid out process you create for them, they will get well and will be back on track. Sometimes employee performance issues arise because managers aren’t as clear as they could be. If that is the issue, this provides an opportunity to correct that. Process and experience - be thoughtful about ways you handle the transition period. Try to establish goodwill and make it a positive experience if possible. If employees leave feeling that they had a great experience at your company – even if they were terminated – it might reflect positively on you in the future. They may refer friends back to you.AlumniReputation management– If employees leave feeling that they had a great experience at your company – even if they were terminated – it might reflect positively on you in the future. They may refer friends back to you or speak positively of you.Boomerangs – employees sometimes feel that the “grass is greener” but then later they want to return. Be thoughtful before letting them return. Think hard about why they left, and whether they would cause problems if rehired. Key takeaways:Before you execute the elements of an employee lifecycle, you must first understand and establish your company culture. Tackle the most impactful parts of the lifecycle first – it doesn’t need to be in order. Follow the basic playbook but make it authentic to YOUR company. Include components of your culture into the playbook, so that it will provide the best employee experience for your organization.<a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
May 14, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

Holistic Onboarding- Connect Recap

Maia Palma, HR Coordinator, Zendesk recently spoke at Sapling's Connect Summit on the topic of Holistic Onboarding and gave some great tips on developing your onboarding program. What is holistic onboarding? Maia defines it as, “creating a purposeful onboarding strategy that teaches your new hires about your company, sets them up for success but also infuses company culture and values into that experience right away from day one. It’s the whole approach, not just one aspect of hiring and bringing on a new employee.” Why invest in new hire onboarding?Accelerate Productivity + ROI. If your onboarding program is effective, your new hire will spend less time ramping into the role and will be able to reach peak performance and effectiveness sooner. Improve employee retention. If your onboarding program is designed to set your employees up for success and ensure they know what is expected of them, they will be more likely to stick around. Increased employee engagement. New hires typically walk into a company excited about their new job. If a company shows new hires that they are committed to setting them up for success from day one, the new employees are going to commit to their new employer quickly. Demonstrate commitment to investing in employees from the first day. This will resonate and they will immediately feel that you will continue to support them in and set them up for success. Maia shared some interesting statistics:The cost of losing a new hire in the first 12 months is equal to two years of salary. This includes recruiting costs, time spent recruiting, setting expectations, ramping up. 1/3 of all new hires quit within the first six months. 25% leave a company within the first 12 months. If you can keep employees past the 12-month mark, you will greatly increase the likelihood that you will have these employees for the long term. 58% were more likely to be with an organization after three years if they were part of an effective onboarding program. Common problems in onboarding programs:Not being prepared for the new hire to start. Your new hire is excited to join you. They’ve gone through weeks of the recruiting process, interview after interview. If they arrive for their first day to find no one was expecting them, their computer isn’t ready, or their manager is on PTO for some reason – it might seem like you really didn’t need them after all. Boring onboarding process. Hours of paperwork and policy overview are difficult to get excited about. Irrelevant Information – Some companies bring in managers from every department and give a presentation on processes and procedures from each of them on the first day –that’s a lot to take in, and your new hires may not retain most of it.Employees leave onboarding with more questions than answers. You want to make sure that once your new hires leave orientation, they’re not coming to you with more questions than you’ve got answers for. Solutions: -Get organized. Set clear expectations with cross-functional teams. Have good relationships with the hiring manager, with HR, with IT, with everyone who is involved with onboarding. Make sure the greeters know to expect the new hire so they can make them feel welcome upon arrival. -Use your onboarding software to streamline and automate your process. If you utilize an onboarding solution, see if you can use it to do things such as send an email to the new hire and managers, automatically create new-hire emails & accounts, and much more. -Rotate your presenters to keep it fresh. It might be a lot to ask of 1-2 people. Presenters can become worn out it could show in their presentation. -Keep it fun! It’s a celebration of an employee coming onboard, you should be able to show that in your program. -Introduce company values. Reaffirm why they chose your company. Show that you are more than just a place to work. -Get them moving – out of their chairs. Conduct icebreakers, do an office tour mid-day. Sitting for hours on end is not enjoyable and may cause them to drift off or let their minds wander elsewhere. -Give them the tools for success – remember to offer information that is relevant and helps them understand how to be successful at their job. Show off your company resources. Promote a self-service culture and show them where to go when they have questions.In her role, Maia and her team try to make onboarding a more engaging experience for their new hires. In addition to general forms and standard benefits overview, they recommend getting creative with the process:They include an overview of where Zendesk started versus where they are today. All new hires have lunch with their manager on the first day. The HR team makes sure every manager has this on their calendar. Day one ends with the chance to volunteer for two hours at local nonprofit nearby. It’s not only a great way to get them moving, but also a way to give them a good feeling about themselves and about their new company. Day two is spent hearing about employee resource groups (ERGs) from the Diversity and Inclusion team. At the end of the day, they hold a “Life at Zendesk” talk, given by real employees who serve on the “culture club”. This panel rotates every session. As a bonus, there are quarterly fireside chats with the CEO and Founder with the opportunity to ask him questions.Zendesk has worked hard to create an onboarding program that works for their company. With all the things you do to make your onboarding plans successful, make sure it reflects the values and culture of your company. The best way to see how Sapling can make your onboarding process a breeze is to try a free demo today! <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
May 14, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

Hiring, Structuring, Scaling your People Ops Team

We’ve come across many members in our people ops community that are tasked with building out their own people ops teams. At Sapling, we're lucky enough to work with thought-leaders who have experienced this growth process and some of the do's and dont's they've learned when growing a people ops team. This blog highlights the keys to structure your team and onboarding strategies that can help your team ramp to productivity and development quickly in our webinar, “Hiring, Scaling, Structuring your people ops team” moderated by Sapling’s CEO, Bart Macdonald, accompanied by the following panel of industry thought leaders:Jessica Simmons - US Culture & People Manager, Onfido Avantha Arachchi - Director of Talent, Gerber Technology Sara Wong - People Operations Manager, EdenWatch the entire recording on-demand here!Key takeaways from the discussion were:Hiring: Hire someone in People Ops as soon as possible to help establish policies and culture. Structuring: The "magic number" of Company/People Ops ratio is dependent on business goals + stage. Seek for minimum 100:1, and building out "full-stack-" team.TIP: One ratio that is helpful is using your companies Customer Success Customers ratio, the same ratio should be applied in People Ops, HREmployeesScaling: Use Qualitative + Quantitative data when building a business case to hire a People team.TIP: Hire someone on a temp basis, with an opportunity to convert to FT if OKR's are met, making sure to document their work! Software: Implement purpose-built software to provide tool connectivity, analytics, and automation, so you can focus on the strategic aspect of your role.We know that this is both an exciting and overwhelming time, but as mentioned in this webinar, Sapling's software makes it all possible and grows with your team! Take a quick demo of Sapling today, and learn how progressive People Teams at forward-thinking companies like KAYAK, Invision, and Cruise are leveraging Sapling to automate the admin and elevate their employee experience!<a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Apr 1, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Announcements

Sapling named a High Performer in G2 Crowd's Winter Report

We’re honored to announce that Sapling has once again has been recognized by G2 Crowd, as a Winter 2019 High Performer! This award is selected based on the reviews received from our wonderful customers. A special “thank you!” to each of you for taking the time to share these reviews and ratings - we’re humbled by your partnership and thoughtful feedback. Sapling’s leadership as a High Performer was primarily driven by our high customer satisfaction scores from user reviews, where an incredible 97 users voted Sapling 4.7 out of 5 stars! “Rankings on G2 Crowd reports are based on data provided to us by real users,” said Michael Fauscette, Chief Research Officer, G2 Crowd. “We are excited to share the achievements of the products ranked on our site because they represent the voice of the user and offer terrific insights to potential buyers around the world.” To highlight a few of our amazing customers reviews one user states, “Onboarding done right,” the review went on to say, ”Furnishing and completing all the on-boarding formalities and documents was a smooth experience! Tracking attendance, commissions, performance of team-mates and leaders - smooth experience! Once you go Sapling, you won't go anywhere else!” Another Sapling user mentions, “[Sapling] is a must-have for any company. As I work for a remote company everything is digitalized and I am eager to get started. Sapling makes it so easy to make sure I have all the tasks done quickly and have the necessary links at my fingertips.” To read all the reviews, click here. Thank you again to our incredible customers for the recognition. These reviews on G2Crowd are a great starting point if you’re evaluating Sapling’s Onboarding or HRIS platform, but we'd encourage you to take advantage of a free, and personalized, product tour or trial to see how Sapling could best support your team. If you'd like to learn how Sapling's Onboarding or HRIS can accelerate your team's productivity, reach out for a demo! <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Mar 29, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

The First 90 Days: Transitioning New Hires into Valuable Team Members

Everyone is new at some point. From first day jitters to the wave of panic that comes with making your first mistake, starting a new job can be downright daunting. Until one day, you find yourself juggling tasks and managing projects, beaming with productivity. But how and when does the rookie new-hire become the all-star employee?With strategic employee onboarding, the transition from new hire to valuable team member takes place in the first 90 days. Boosting engagement, optimizing productivity, and increasing employee retention, a strategic onboarding program sparks this new hire metamorphosis. But the transformation doesn’t just happen with the luck of time. It takes a clear, structured onboarding program to reach your new hire goals.Here’s the 90 day break down to gaining valuable new team members through employee onboarding.Day 1: With a stale first day, new hires expire 1 in 25 new hires leave their new job after a bad first day. Don’t miss the chance to make a lasting impression — the first day should be reserved for a warm welcoming to the team, company culture, environment, and their new buddy. Weaving esignaturing into employee preboarding lets you focus on giving new hires a first day experience that will get them excited and engaged. Once a new hire starts, having onboarding playbooks to reference can be immensely helpful, whether that's an engineering new hire, sales, or marketing! Day 15: Invest in culture, encourage feedback Encourage feedback A great idea is setting up new hires to eat, meet with their coworkers to ensure a connection, a great idea is to have their manager take them to lunch after the first two weeks on the job. Encourage the manager to get feedback about the onboarding process, how they are settling in, questions that have come up. This is the time when any new hire is gathering valuable information, so encourage honest and read feedback. Invest in culture and company values Keep in mind, the first two weeks is all about making sure the new hire is invested into the company culture and is seeing the value that your organization brings. When speaking with the new hire, tie in phrases when answering questions such as," We do this, because quality is important" or "We have heard from our customers, that this makes us most effective." Day 30: Connect, learn, and set goals Making connectionsSay you’re introduced to 10 people within 30 minutes of arriving to an event. What are the chances you’ll remember all 10 names an hour later? Strategize coworker introductions by detailing employee names, headshots, titles, and roles in a central onboarding location. To enhance the way new hires befriend their colleagues, learn about company culture, and access fundamental information, establish a buddy program as part of your early onboarding process. Strategizing with early onboarding goals New hires should have a detailed description of their position for a concrete understanding of their role. Setting clear, time-bound early onboarding goals gives new hires the structure they need to get moving in the right direction. Make expectations clear and provide full access to resources and assistance so that new hires can begin accomplishing manageable tasks. Early training for accelerated successEarly tasks and projects can build confidence and highlight where new hires might need more training. Not all new hires have mastered every skill they’ll need. Ask about their preferred method of learning and use mentorship and structured training to accelerate success, guiding them on new software, tools, and skills. Day 45: Performance plans, continue checking in Set up a performance plan Once the new hire has had time to become acquainted with the company culture and has had time to adjust to their new role, it is critical that HR helps set up a performance plan. A performance plan consists of goals they want to hit, metrics and activities. Continue checking in There is no such thing as too much communication. Continue checking in with the new hire, even for just 5 minutes at the end of every week to ensure that they are adjusting well to the new role. During this check in time, you can outline what they have for the following week, or recap what went well for them. Day 60: Collaborate, align, and hold accountableAligning goals and encouraging collaboration Continue aligning new employees with company mission and values by fostering engagement, strengthening teams, and encouraging collaboration. Get the whole team involved in onboarding by holding regular group meetings. Set goals that align with the organizational strategy to help new hires realize how they can individually contribute to the company’s mission. Delegating accountability and managing workflow With ongoing training and support, new hires should start making more meaningful contributions. Keep the workflow process organized and centralized, so managers and employees can access and update progress, holding new hires accountable for their own work.Day 75: Outside learnings and small wins Encourage new hire to continue career development Once the new hire feels well acquainted and integrated into the company environment, it's important that they continue their learnings. Most companies have a learning stipend that encourages employees to further their education, maybe books, webinars conferences. Share with the new hire a list of recommended learnings so that they can start to incorporate that into their work. Create projects for small wins It's critical that the new hire starts working on their own projects that contribute towards their metrics. Around day 75 ensure that the new hire has a project that they work independently on and succeed, in order to feel ready and up to start working more solo on projects. Day 90: Increase responsibility and pursue Development Plans Increasing responsibility As new hires become more independent, their responsibilities should increase. Encourage new employees to contribute ideas and take the reigns on bigger, long-term projects. With the training and support they’ve been receiving, they’re now ready to carry out all responsibilities their role entails. Establishing ongoing engagement with Employee Development 87% of Millennials — the largest share of the US workforce — report that professional development or growth opportunities are very important in a career. Making sure new hires are happy with their Employee Development Plans will keep them engaged and on board with the company. As onboarding comes to an end, the structure of a Development Plan can ensure that new hires stick around to continue growing with the organization. Enhancing onboarding: Check in and continually measure success Checking in regularly When it comes to the first 90 days, don’t leave your new hires guessing whether they’re making it or breaking it. Companies using strategic recognition are 48% more likely to report high employee engagement. If your new hires are on track, recognize their success. If not, communicate with them to find out what’s happening. Onboarding check-ins can reveal where new hires are excelling or where they might need a bit of help, so schedule meetings around days 1, 7, 30, 60, and 90. Measuring engagement and improving the onboarding processGlassdoor reports that 90% of job seekers find it important to work for a company that embraces transparency. Incorporate regular, candid feedback into your onboarding process to find out what is and isn’t working in your new hire onboarding. Strategic surveying and the use of key metrics can help you measure new hire engagement and refine an onboarding program that accelerates the transition of your new hires into valuable team members. Understanding how to develop new hires within their first 90 days can go a long way towards boosting employee productivity and engagement. Want to learn more about building better connected, more engaged, and higher performing onboarding program?

Posted on 
Mar 28, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Announcements

Sapling Launches Integration with Hire by Google to Improve the Speed and Quality of Hiring + Onboarding

Onboarding + HRIS software leader unveils new integration, transforming how companies engage, hire and onboard new talent. Sapling, the onboarding and HRIS platform empowering People Operations teams with connectivity, data, and insights on their global workforce, is excited to announce an integration with Hire, a recruiting app by Google that uses AI to make the hiring process faster and simpler. With Sapling’s prebuilt GSuite integrations and shared goals for the future of work, an integration between Sapling and Hire is perfectly aligned, streamlining administrative tasks and enabling people teams and their talent to have a seamless, redcarpet candidate and employee experience. With this integration, People teams can manage the entire employee lifecycle in a streamlined and unified way, centered around talent-focused companies using G Suite. “We’re very excited about Sapling and Hire’s integration, and the impact this will provide for many growing teams and shared customers, including Copper, UserTesting and Aey.ai.” comments Sapling’s CEO, Bart Macdonald. “Both of our organizations are on a mission to help facilitate an intuitive and streamlined talent and employee experience for medium-sized companies centered around G Suite. This integration will help empower people professionals to be more efficient and strategic at scale.” As the platform of choice for KAYAK, KPMG, Invision, Coupa and many more, we believe that when you create a great employee experience, HR can better support teams to do their best work. Reach out today for your personalized tour of the Sapling platform and integration marketplace.

Posted on 
Mar 26, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Culture & Engagement

Managing the Employee Offboarding Experience

We all want to deliver an effective Employee Experience — which is why we build a great onboarding program into the beginning of the active employee lifecycle. But what about the experience we create for those who have approached the end of their employee lifecycle?Whereas onboarding can set employees up for success in a new role, offboarding can set the organization up for success during an employee departure. Designing a formal process to transition employees out of your organization is important for future recruitment, company reputation, and business performance.Today’s job candidates rely on social media and databases like Glassdoor to learn more about the companies they consider working for. According to a 2016 Glassdoor U.S. site survey, 70% of job candidates look to company reviews before they make career decisions.Many of those company reviews are written by former employees — and while you might not have control over what they write, you do have control over the offboarding experience your organization delivers and the post-departure relationship that remains.To deliver an effective offboarding experience to departing employees, the process must be approached thoughtfully and strategically.Which starts with creating a consistent and repeatable offboarding process. From the moment you receive a resignation notice or organize an involuntary departure, it’s important to have a system in place to quickly and effectively handle the upcoming employee exit. Concentrating on delivering a consistent, employee-focused offboarding experience will leave a positive, lasting impression on former employees — inviting them to endorse your brand, serve as a great referral source, and even consider your organization as a future employer. Thankfully, purpose-built technology can streamline the paperwork and admin involved in offboarding, automate workflows, and offer a smooth knowledge transfer. This way, People Ops teams can focus their attention on creating a positive experience for departing staff.What should you communicate to a departing employee? According to Officevibe, the number one reason employees leave their job is because they don’t feel appreciated. Though it might be too late to retain the departing employee, it is still important to communicate your appreciation. Let them know that you’re thankful for the time and work they’ve put in during their employment.This not only sets the right tone for an amicable and professional departure, but it also encourages departing employees to remain engaged and productive during their notice period. Showing departing employees that you’re appreciative and supportive can also motivate them to invest more time and effort into training whoever may be taking over their role — leading to a faster ramp-up time for their replacement. Listen to what departing employees have to say. If you regularly measure employee engagement through check-ins and surveying, an employee’s departure shouldn’t be the first time you’re learning about their workplace concerns. However, exit interviews offer valuable data — highlighting common themes that might be provoking voluntary departures. Gathering and addressing this feedback is important for retaining employees in the future. For an effective exit interview, People Ops should create a comfortable environment that encourages honesty and welcomes criticism.A few exit interview questions to consider:- Was there a particular event that inspired your departure? - How was your relationship with your manager? - What did you enjoy most about working here? - What did you dislike about working here? - Why did you begin looking for a new job? - Did we equip you to do your job well? - What could we have done differently that would have encouraged you to remain with the organization?After a one-on-one sit down with the departing employee, it’s important to follow through. Summarize main points of each interview to leadership and keep track of recurring themes so that you can address common problems and prevent future turnover.Many companies like to celebrate a new hire’s onboarding with swag packs and welcome lunches — offboarding should be celebrated too. An ex-Googler details her last day at Google as a bittersweet celebration filled with photographs, thank-yous, and a goodbye party (usually involving a cake.) Whether the departure is voluntary or involuntary, celebrating a departing employee’s tenure will send them off with positive feelings surrounding your organization. On their last week of employment, be sure to organize a goodbye event — such a lunch or happy hour, so that departing employees can enjoy closure with their team. And on their last day, gift departing employees with a small present or personalized card signed by the entire team or office, so that they leave with a tangible reminder of the company’s appreciation for them.Equip for an ongoing relationship. Successful companies understand the value of their alumni and strategically approach these ongoing relationships. For example, Chevron has created a Bridges program in which former employees can opt-in to be exclusively considered for contract assignments. This not only offers Chevron a proven talent pool of cultural fits, but it is a great opportunity for alumni to gain valuable consulting experience while furthering the relationship with their former employer. Before an employee departs, make sure all of their contact details are all up-to-date, and they are admitted into your alumni portal. Ongoing communication through an alumni portal is a great way to forge a lasting relationship with departing employees — inviting them to stay current with company news and continue networking around the organization. This ongoing relationship can also benefit the success of your referral program, as People Ops will have wider access to talent when recruiting.Some best practices for ongoing alumni engagement include:- There are around 118,000 corporate alumni LinkedIn groups, including 98% of the Fortune 500s. Invite exiting employees to join a LinkedIn alumni group before their last day to ensure their participation. Here they can learn about new projects and company updates, connect with their former colleagues, and stay up-to-date on current job openings — encouraging them to make referrals or apply themselves.- Consider hosting an annual alumni mixer so that former employees can visit the office, reconnect with old colleagues, and be reminded of your company culture while celebrating their association with your organization. In-person events are an effective way to keep your company relevant to former employees who can further its reputation.A great employee experience shouldn’t end with a resignation. For an effective offboarding experience, People Ops should turn focus away from the administrative process and towards the departing employee. Want to learn more about how Sapling can streamline your employee offboarding processes?Schedule a demo of Sapling below and see how we can transform your company offboarding program.

Posted on 
Mar 25, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Culture & Engagement

7 Companies that crushed their new hire video

With the influx of jobs available and the increasing number of skills that are in short supply, a new hire culture video can be a fun way to stand out from the competition as an employer. There are a growing number of companies using videos for onboarding new hires with an informal video.Video has always been a favorite way to share insight and so it’s not a surprise that companies are turning to this medium to reveal what the employee experience is like if you work there.With more Millennials and Gen Z taking roles in the workplace, a group of people who prefer content delivered by video, it’s important to include this element in any employee preboarding strategy. So too, with a workforce that is increasingly global, being able to onboard new hires who work remotely is made easier by using videos. This can give new hires insight without them ever having to be onsite.Need some inspiration for creating your own new hire culture videos to introduce your next new hire to the organization? Here are four companies (in no particular order) that have gone above and beyond with mind-blowing results. CanvaThis popular creative software firm offers not only a fun look at their modern corporate offices and energetic approach to everything they do, but it includes all the right branding touches one would expect. It opens up with an employee casually rolling through the office on a skateboard, then an introduction of the company vision by Co-founder and CEO, Melanie Perkins who shares her inspiring story.The video introduces various members of the team at all levels, focusing on the Millennial-driven values that create a family type environment, but also jumps to features that the Canva product offers. It’s colorful, includes great music, and overall appeals to the creative geniuses out there they attract.Drift The conversational marketing firm, Drift, headquartered in Boston, does a great job with it’s new hire culture video.It clearly demonstrates a strong brand, complete with a birds-eye tour of the office on an average day. Viewers float through various areas of the building, where employees (otherwise known as ‘Driftlings’) are busy collaborating and working on various projects.The entire video is a great representation of what it’s like to work for the company as it immerses viewers in the culture.AtlassianThe Atlassian team video is different from most because is displays this Australian-based enterprise research and software development firm in a warm, family-like atmosphere. The founders talk about their ideas for the company and its growth while retaining a humble posture.The impressive culture is displayed with strong team images and people. This is a direct reflection of their mission of bringing out the best potential in people using teamwork. The office is modern with plenty of plants and employees settled into work areas, which is appealing to those looking for stability. Hubspot Hubspot, the inbound sales and marketing software service takes a different spin on things in their new hire culture video. Opening scene starts off with their founders, and how the came to the idea to start Hubspot, then going into detail about each department and how they help. The video is entertaining, has fun music played the entire time, and is quite funny. Showcasing Hubspot's "non corporate" and "non-startup'y" environment, they do an excellent job of highlighting the culture of Hubspot of autonomy, trust of employees, and the many perks of being an employee. Dropbox Dropbox's new hire culture video, highlights the excitement that their team has for the product and how the culture is implemented from bottom up. This video is more professional, showing the employees dressed in business attire, giving viewers a real behind the scenes look at how Dropbox's work environment looks everyday. EnteloStartup Entelo, focuses on how they are able to succeed together in their new hire culture video. By bringing a more human aspect to the culture video they are able to showcase more than just "company perks", but they go into a deeper dive of what culture means for them.Their video highlights teamwork, and how they aim to make one another better, while having some fun! Annie's Homegrown Annie's Homegrown, maker of natural and "organic" food, new hire culture video is a great example of a using current employees to boast about your company culture. Annie's does an amazing job of articulating what makes every employee enjoy their job, and offers varied perspectives as to why the work environment is so enjoyable. Showcasing the diversity of their employees, and the multiple ways Annie's makes them feel special. What elements make for effective new hire culture videos? If you are designing your own new hire video for onboarding new employees, there are some key takeaways you can learn from the above winning examples. Make sure to include these elements in your new hire culture video. It’s all about the people. All candidates are looking to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” as they review corporate culture videos for new employees. The videos above effectively answer this question by explaining the benefits and experience that most hires can expect. From onsite perks to learning support, the top employees are looking for a total experience. Make sure your video centers on people and their needs first; everything else last.The leadership and mission is authentic. One thing that we discovered in onboarding new hires is how important it is for leadership to be authentic and for this information to be presented to employees on day one. Culture videos can be a convenient way to introduce new employees to the mission of the company and the leaders who are behind it. Instead of plunking a handbook down in front of new hires at orientation, giving them an interactive presentation of the foundations of the company is far more impactful. How the vision fits the work environment. It's important to keep things grounded with full transparency and regular communication with employees. Quarterly meetings bring employees together to discuss work life, share ideas, and gather feedback. This is displayed in the format of their new hire culture video too. The vision of the company syncs well with the daily work atmosphere. This is something to strive for in your own culture communications. What the company gives back. Research has shown that a key value that candidates have is working with a company that gives something back to the communities in which they conduct business.One study by Robert Half Management Resources advised that 60% of CFOs say corporate philanthropy enhances recruitment and retention efforts. In many of the culture videos, this information was included to illustrate that the company contributes to the world and causes that are important to employees. As you develop your culture video for onboarding new hires into what the employee experience looks like, keep these winning elements in mind.

Posted on 
Mar 25, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Culture & Engagement

8 Stats to Persuade Your Team that Employee Experience Matters

How would you define the Employee Experience at your organization?In The Future of Work, Jacob Morgan describes Employee Experience as the combination of an organization’s cultural, physical, and technological environments.It’s only when People leaders thoughtfully design these three environments that they can deliver an effective Employee Experience to their staff. Continuously managing that experience creates a culture of happiness and high performance, and an environment in which employees want to work and succeed. But as a relatively new topic in the HR space, your team might need some convincing when it comes to the importance of Employee Experience. To help your organization realize the benefits of happier, more engaged, higher performing employees, here are 8 stats to persuade your team that Employee Experience matters. 1. Increased happiness leads to increased performance. Happy employees are up to 20% more productive at work. A positive Employee Experience breeds happy employees, which not only builds a stronger work culture, but also impacts business performance. For increased productivity in your teams, it’s important to invest in employee happiness through employee experience management. 2. You can’t afford disengaged employees. Actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. between $450 billion to $550 billion per year. Investing in Employee Experience management is the first step towards building an engaged workforce. And with the high price tag on disengagement, it is in your company’s best financial interest to strategically and thoughtfully address the state of engagement at your organization. 3. If you think your work culture is “just fine”, think again. 64% of employees feel they do not have a strong work culture.If your team thinks that your organization’s work culture is strong, the fact that the majority of employees disagree might change their minds. Employee Experience management shapes an organization’s cultural environment, and listening to and acting on employee feedback is fundamental in a healthy organization. So before ruling that your company culture is “just fine”, your team should survey employees to find out what they think.4. Financial incentives aren’t enough to foster satisfied employees. Employee satisfaction at Google rose by 37% as a result of employee support initiatives.Google, consistent title-holder for The Best Places to Work, knows that Employee Experience matters. Google has invested in employee support, with employee satisfaction substantially rising as a result — teaching us that a paycheck alone isn’t enough to foster satisfied, productive employees.5. Unhappiness leads to absence. Unhappy employees take 15 more sick days each year than the average worker. Not only are unhappy employees less productive when they’re at work, but they actually show up less often than content workers. Absenteeism can cause a decrease in productivity, company finances, and morale — but creating an Employee Experience in which your staff actually wants to come into work can reduce the high cost of absenteeism.6. Engaged employees increase profit. Companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share.While disengaged employees cost your organization money, engaged employees earn it. As Employee Experience and Employee Engagement go hand-in-hand, managing an effective Employee Experience doesn’t just mean higher levels of happiness and morale, but a concrete increase in earnings growth. 7. Your physical office environment can create a more effective workforce. Employees who have a choice in when, where, and how they work have higher levels of satisfaction, innovation, and job performance.Thoughtfully designing your employees’ physical work environment has a real influence on performance, creativity, and overall employee satisfaction. With physical environment being one of the three elements that creates the Employee Experience, physical work space deserves to be thoughtfully designed and invested in.8. Your employees’ minds will work significantly better if they’re happy. Research shows that the brain works better as a result of happiness.As Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, explains, "Only 25% of job success is based upon IQ. 75% is about how your brain believes your behavior matters, connects to other people, and manages stress." A happy brain functions at a higher level, so investing in an Employee Experience that increases the happiness of your teams can enhance overall job success. A study by The Future Workplace and Beyond.com found that 83% of HR leaders see Employee Experience as either important or very important to their organization’s success.These leaders understand that an investment in company culture, their employees’ physical work environments, and the tools and technology that enable their productivity, translate into overall business success. All companies should seek to build a culture around helping their employees succeed. For optimum performance, simple Employee Experience management practices can be seamlessly integrated into company DNA. Want to see how Sapling’s onboarding technology can help you deliver an excellent Employee Experience to your teams? Download Sapling's Essential Guide to Employee Onboarding Success or sign up for a product demo below.

Posted on 
Mar 25, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

Ask-the-Expert: Onboarding

At Sapling, we’ve had the pleasure of hosting dozens of webinars with Titans of Industry We compiled the most frequently asked questions from our attendees in this special webinar, “Ask-the-Experts: Onboarding!”This blog highlights the key onboarding strategies that can be sure to enable you and your team to have success, from our webinar moderated by Sapling’sCEO. Bart Macdonald, accompanied by a panel of industry thought leaders: Jeff Diana - CPO, formerly Atlassian and SuccessFactors Cara Brennan Allamno - SVP, Human Resources at Udemy (formerly Planet + Pinterest) Matt Hoffman - VP, People at DigitalOcean (formerly ReturnPath) We noted all our panelists best tips, during their live discussion! Watch the entire recording on-demand!Key takeaways include:Employee onboarding programming should largely remain consistent, regardless of career level (entry level vs C-Suite), focusing on the emotional experience and driving role/team/company acclimation. Include team leads, buddies and leadership early in the onboarding journey to expose and reinforce company culture, values and mission When starting an onboarding program from scratch, it’s imperative to designate one person to make new hires feel comfortable + establish clear roles First impressions count! New hires decide within the first 2 weeks if it's the right or wrong job.Our Panelists also cited the growing number of stakeholders involved in creating an effective onboarding experience (People + People Ops teams, Hiring Managers, IT, Recruiting, Buddies, Finance) ... the list continues! We know that’s a lot of moving parts, but as mentioned in this webinar, Sapling's onboarding software makes it all possible! Take a quick demo of Sapling today, and learn how progressive People Teams at forward thinking companies like KAYAK, Invision, Digital Ocean and Cruise are leveraging Sapling to automate the admin, and elevate their employee experience today! <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Mar 25, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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HRIS

What is an HRIS and why do you need one?

When it comes to your employee data, the age of paper forms, file folders and filing cabinets are a thing of the past, welcoming a new era of Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS).Enter an HRIS: So, what does an HRIS do exactly? An HRIS provides a centralized database that stores applicant tracking functions, onboarding, employee demographics, compensation and benefits choices, time-tracking, and so much more. It’s also the hub for your employee data with up-to-date information on your org’s hiring trends and employee retention. According to a report by SHRM, almost 70% of surveyed businesses found that efficient execution of basic HR processes was their greatest challenge. So for that 70%, an effective HRIS can lead to significant gains in productivity and decreased costs from your people operations team by performing typical functions like these:Streamlining employee onboarding A centralized database of employee demographics Retention and succession planning Time-tracking, leave management and scheduling Payroll and benefits administration Data analytics for in-depth reporting Employee self-service options Org chartWhen all of those capabilities become automated it creates some fruitful side effects. Here are four of them:Increased productivity: Do you like to automate recurring tasks, reduce manual processing errors and improve your data accuracy? For example, with tools like Sapling for your HRIS, time and attendance tracking, vacation requests and accruals workflow can be quickly entered one time. It eliminates time wasted in sending forms to HR for manual processing. Employees can update their contact information, benefits choices or time-off requests directly in their employee portal. Improved operational efficiency: Your HRIS simplifies how you track, update and report on employee data. Most HRIS solutions like Sapling even allow for the uploading of hard copy forms to PDF images within the employee’s digital file and let employees upload electronic signatures on their important documents.Informed decision making: While your HRIS is streamlining productivity that enables yout HR team to do more strategic work that will improve business, “Strategic People Ops” focuses on maximizing employee lifetime value, employee wellbeing, productivity, and most importantly, driving the organization forward,” states Jeni Fahy, a contributing author at Sapling HR. For example, HRIS reports can be easily created and shared with managers and executives to help them make informed and timely decisions. Reports on employee off-boarding trends, for instance, can lead to direct employee retention efforts and plan for future company growth.Boost employee satisfaction: An effective and well-managed HRIS can promote a better employee experience. A user-friendly employee portal allows employees to navigate their benefit choices, review and update their information, easily request time off and receive approval, and learn about their company culture. This reduces calls and visits to the HR office, increases their sense of empowerment and reduces the frustration of wait times. It can also play a vital role in making your onboarding process stress-free for new hires.So how do you know if you need one? When is it time to invest in an HR platform for your business? Here is a list of a few signs that it could be the right time to take your HR department to the next level.You are losing out on great candidates- every organization is fighting a talent war, with many skill sets lacking and unemployment rates at historical lows. Job seekers are interviewing for multiple companies at once. This means time is critical when dealing with candidates. Drag things out using an outdated hiring system and the best candidates will be taken by more efficiently run companies. None of your systems "talk" to each other- In a multitasking environment like human resources, there are various processes that each require a certain solution. For example, when onboarding a new employee, HR will need an applicant tracking system, as well as solutions for new hire orientation, payroll, benefits, training support, and more. Then scheduling and timekeeping, performance management, and other aspects of on-the-job success needs to be tracked. If none of your current systems sync with one another, it is time for a new HR platform with end-to-end capabilities. Spreadsheets are getting too confusing- Too many human resource and payroll professionals get into the habit of using spreadsheets for everything. A Google Sheet is not sustainable. While it’s very organized, over time, the data contained in spreadsheets becomes overly complex, outdated, and there is always a risk of data breaches. A good HR platform can accept imports of the data and maintain records for ongoing reporting and tracking of nearly all employee data.There is a need for custom reporting- So much of what human resource does today is work with data. Then why do many continue to try to work with systems that include outdated or clunky reporting systems? A new HR platform can provide all the custom reporting that a business needs to make bigger people decisions, while keeping things simplified. Tasks are getting duplicated- There is nothing quite as annoying as having to perform the same tasks using multiple systems. But, oftentimes human resources professionals and managers find themselves having to repeat similar tasks and completing manual transfers of data from one system to another. This is inefficient and a sure sign that the company is ready for a new HR platform.The right HRIS will save your HR team valuable time, help them to work smarter and allow them to provide strategic guidance to your company’s decision makers. Focus on finding HRIS solutions like Sapling, which will address your company’s current needs, planned growth and future business objectives.<a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Mar 7, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

Onboarding Hacks for Success in 2019

Onboarding sets the tone for the rest of your new hires tenure at your company-- it's imperative to get it right. This blog highlights the key onboarding hacks that will set you and your team up for success in 2019 from our panel webinar with Glassdoor and Lever, moderated by Sapling’s very own CEO, Bart Macdonald with world-class speakers: Elaine Yang, People Programs Manager at Lever Sharon Salmon, founder of Atolent Courtney Bigony, Director of People Science at 15Five Naomi Engelman, Managing Director at Premier Talent Partners We noted all the best tips that our knowledgable speakers shared during the lively discussion! Watch the entire recording of the panel on-demand!Here are some hacks you can use in your onboarding plan: Hack 1: Create an unforgettable welcomeMake a digital introSend a get-to-know-you survey(Read Power of Moments to learn how to create an unforgettable welcome for a new hire.) Hack 2: Cover the basics and set clear expectationsPolicy, benefits, and culture trainingRole expectations and goalsHack 3: Have a cadence to check-insBi-weekly: All-hands for communication + transparencyEvery 6 months: Conduct engagement surveys for data & trends Be sure to download our 21 Sourcing & Onboarding Hacks for successful hiring in 2019! All of the above best practices are already baked into Sapling’s onboarding + HRIS solution so you’re team is set up for success from Day 1.Want to learn how Sapling can supercharge your employee onboarding program? Schedule your demo: <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Mar 7, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Employee Retention

How to Calculate the Cost of Employee Turnover

We found in The Real Cost of Employee Turnover that the #1 challenge faced by Human Resource teams is Employee Turnover.For almost all positions that require specific skills - the median cost of turnover was 21% of the departing employee’s salary. Unfortunately, the actual costs of employee turnover are rarely seen in standard accounting practices - but we know they exist because they can be easily identified. Things like lost company knowledge, culture impacts, replacement recruitment costs, new employee training costs and lost productivity during the new employee onboarding ramp-up period.Does this make sense for your company? It was a common question we were asked, so we created a simple tool for you to use. Employee Turnover Calculator The Employee Turnover Calculator is a google sheet that you can use to calculate the real cost of employee turnover for your company.Wondering how you can use it?Open the Calculator Click 'File' and 'Make A Copy' to save your own version Adjust cells in orange fade (the assumptions)What are the template assumptions? The Employee Turnover calculator accounts for basic employee turnover through its four key components:Departing Employee Offboarding: the costs your company incurs through the departing employee, coworkers and manager focusing on the knowledge transfer.Vacancy Costs: the costs the coworkers and manager incur juggling the new responsibilities while the manager finds a replacement. New Employee Recruitment: the costs for the job postings and manager finding the new hire. New Employee Onboarding: the costs of onboarding the new employee, transitioning the tasks from coworkers and manager oversight.On our base assumptions - we found that employee turnover costs are ~32% of the departing employee’s salary.Every company is different and our numbers are not meant to be taken as right for everyone. We encourage you to invest 5 minutes with the calculator to understand the real costs of employee turnover for your company. Providing a great employee onboarding experience can go a long way towards decreasing employee turnover. What this means for you The ability to find, develop and retain a strong team in today's market is huge competitive advantage, and can avoid an enormous amount of employee turnover costs - both those seen and unseen. It's mission-critical that Human Resources and People Operations teams pay keen attention to employee issues and concerns, and address them proactively to avoid the hidden costs of employee turnover that can kill company ROI. Now with the abundance of employee experience and engagement solutions available - it has never been easier to provide great experience to employees and support their well-being. Providing a great employee onboarding experience can go a long way towards decreasing employee turnover. 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 free product demo below. <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Mar 7, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Culture & Engagement

How to Motivate Millennials: The Key to Effective Management

By 2025, Millennials will make up about 75% of the world’s working population. As a manager, you must therefore understand the things that make this generation tick in order to get the best out of them… and ignore them at your peril!Truth be told, Millennials aren’t all that different from previous generations in terms of ethics, habits, and teamwork. IBM’s study, Myths, exaggerations and uncomfortable truths, found that 18% of Millennials feel “managing my work/life balance” was one of their top two career goals, which is closely aligned with Generation X-ers (22%) and Baby Boomers (21%). That said, there are some fundamental differences to keep in mind when managing Millennials. We consulted with the experts and gathered five leading tips and tricks to effectively managing the Millennials on your team.Understand & Fuel Millennials’ MotivationsMillennials are particularly unique when it comes to their motivators. They are generally motivated by a sense of progress, the opportunity to be creative and to grow, and the ability to do something meaningful. Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO of Gallup observes, “Baby Boomers like me didn’t necessarily need meaning in our jobs. We just wanted a paycheck…For Millennials, compensation is important and must be fair, but it’s no longer the driver.” While the paycheck is one of the factors that Millennials care about and take into account when considering a position, providing purpose is much more motivational to this generation. To provide a sense of meaning on the micro scale, consider explaining the vision of your practice or the business as a whole and how your team members’ work fits into the puzzle. Understanding why their work matters in the scheme of the business and how your business impacts the world will show Millennials on your team that they are part of something larger and motivate them to deliver higher quality work product.Embrace teamworkIn the same study, IBM found that more than half of the Millennials surveyed said that they make better business decisions when there was a group of people providing a variety of input. An even higher proportion of Generation X-ers agreed with this. That said, while Millennials value the input of a diverse group, they are still able to make decisions without the constant input of others. What’s more, Millennials perform best when they feel their individual voice is heard. With this in mind, consider leveraging the power of the group instead of dictating decisions that affect your team. Involve the team in your decision, or at the very least, explain why you made your decision. At the same time, remember to listen. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it can often be ignored, and employees notice. Managers neglecting to listen to the individuals on their team is one of the prime contributors to the consistently low state of employee engagement, which has hovered around 30% in the US over the past few years. So listen more than you speak, and give each individual your attention. Millennials desire a collaborative work culture, motivate and engage Millennials by enabling them to make meaningful connections and develop collaborative workplace relationships. This will allow your team to benefit from the diversity of thought that comes with group work.Leverage TechnologyMillennials are the first generation to grow up with technology like the Internet and connected devices. They therefore stand out for their skill with technology. Millennials are not only adept at using technology, but they also often prefer it over traditional means of accomplishing tasks and are therefore constantly seeking to try new tools or workflows that might be more efficient and effective. They aren’t afraid to try something other than “the way it’s always been done.”Leverage this openness and skill with technology to enhance your team’s efficiency and effectiveness. That said, be thoughtful about when, where, and how you leverage technology. As an example, 60% of Millennials prefer in-person collaboration versus remote technological solutions, so communicating only through technological means may not be the most effective application. Similarly, it is important to be mindful that newer is not always better. Some new technology might cause problems for other members on your team, presenting a cost (as measured in time, frustration, and team divides) that outweighs that technology’s benefits. With this in mind, keep a watchful eye out to evaluate which tools improve efficiency and which ones create unnecessary obstacles for your team as a whole. Alternately, consider offering a mix of more traditional and high-tech means of completing training, accomplishing tasks, and communicating with one another.Provide Regular FeedbackMillennials value authenticity, transparency, and honesty — candid communication is essential to keeping them engaged. Show them that they’re a part of an organization where employees are valued and kept in-the-loop. Millennials also tend to thrive off of praise and encouragement (or constructive criticism and coaching) more than their predecessors. A Gallup study found that employees who feel they are “not adequately recognized at work” are “three times more likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.” Incorporating opportunities for more regular feedback - even if it’s just a quick stop by their desk to chat about how things are going - will fuel your Millennials to excel more than they might otherwise. Given that all of your employees might not feel the same way, consider approaching feedback on an individual basis. Stick to your formally scheduled sit downs for those who prefer it, and add in informal feedback sessions for others. As you deliver feedback in these sessions, channel your inner coach. Studies have found that a coaching management style is far more effective across generations than the traditional command-and-control approach. There are many ways to weave recognition into your Millennials’ employee experience. For example, the Employee Feedback experts at Cultureamp created a “Propsbot” — a Slackbot acting as a “system for documenting and sharing recognition and praise.”Provide FlexibilityStudies have found that Millennials will sacrifice pay if it means that they have a better work-life balance. They expect to have the option to adjust their work schedule to fit their life rather than the other way around. While not every job/position can accommodate this kind of flexibility, it is important to consider work structures that provide balance so that your Millennials don’t feel their personal lives come second to the betterment of your company. There are numerous ways that you can provide this kind of flexibility. One example is encouraging your employees to pursue outside projects and interests. Alternately, you could allow your employees to design their work hours by setting up a block of time when you want everyone there. Then, let each worker decide how early he or she will come in before and stay after that block.Engagement and retention come from offering opportunities to learn and progress within the company. Ask Millennials how they’d like to grow professionally in their role, and communicate available learning opportunities to them, then create a development plan that they’re excited about. Both startups and established companies like KPMG are finding success by providing this kind of scheduling flexibility. Katie Fang, CEO of SchooLinks - a startup that has implemented 4-day weeks, notes, “Our employees come back to work refreshed and ready to concentrate;” and Basecamp CEO Jason Fried observes, “In general, the same amount… gets done in four days than five, mostly because when you have less time, you tend to compress stuff out that doesn’t matter. We don’t feel like we’re losing a lot of output.” Lynne Lancaster, co-author of When Generations Collide, put it well: “[Millennials] want access to bosses, to be mentored and coached, and for bosses to show an interest. When they get ignored, they start to ask ‘Why am I here?’” Incorporate the recommendations here, and you will be able to keep your Millennials’ heads in the game. The outcome of this will be a win-win: happier, more engaged employees and stronger business results for your organization. Interested in engaging your millennial workforce during onboarding? Download Sapling’s Essential Guide to Employee Onboarding Success or schedule a product demo below: {{cta('5e52262b-284f-46c1-be35-1452bd52fc03','justifycenter')}}

Posted on 
Mar 6, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

Employee Experience Matters: Employee Success Trends for 2018

As we head into 2018, it’s hard not to forget about the social and political movements that have rocked our world to its core. New political tensions, increasing awareness of the value of diversity, a renewed spirit of protecting our natural resources, and exposing sexual harassment across multiple industries have forever changed the way we look at the world nowMuch of this has impacted how employees experience the workplace -- in the way that people interact with each other, examine their personal values, and view this thing called a career. Moving into 2018, amid global talent shortages, it’s critical that human resources plans for success in vital efforts such as recruitment, engagement, and retention by acknowledging the importance of each employee’s experience. What’s ahead in terms of the influence of employee experience on long-term success? Artificial Intelligence Glassdoor’s Chief Economist, Dr. Andrew Chamberlain advises that artificial intelligence will play an increasing role in engaging with candidates and employees alike. He says, “Artificial intelligence has been a buzzword for decades, but it’s finally reaching a point where it’s beginning to have a tangible impact on businesses, specifically in HR.” From candidate matching and sourcing applications to friendly chatbots guiding individuals online, AI is expected to be one of the biggest technology disruptors for 2018. However, Chamberlain warns that it’s no substitute for human recruitment practices, which includes plenty of transparency and communication about the hiring process.Employee Self-Service Everywhere you look today, people prefer to do things on their own. We go to the bank drive through ATM, we order our lifestyle needs online and wait for the box to arrive, and we take courses all via the Internet. It only makes sense that in the year ahead, this independent way of doing things will continue with workplace applications that enable more employee self-service tasks. There is already a push for more self-service employee tools in all HR arenas. From strategic onboarding and employee benefits enrollment, to training and offboarding efforts, streamlining paid time off efforts - employees are given more control over their career outcomes. Strategic Onboarding A huge part of each employee’s experience happens in the first 90 days of employment. In 2018, there will be an even bigger focus on streamlining and improving the onboarding process. Why is this important? Bart Macdonald, Co-Founder and CEO of Sapling, says, “Boosting engagement, optimizing productivity, and increasing employee retention, [with] a strategic onboarding program sparks a new hire metamorphosis.” This plan must be clearly defined, consistent, and monitored to ensure that employees have the best possible experience. Improving Employer Branding The word on the street is that employer brand positioning will continue to be a primary move for many companies. Rampant talent shortages combined with a new generation of workers who are dazzled by smart branding (and easily recruited away from their current employers) are creating a need for better recruitment messaging. Much of this takes place on websites and social media networks, but there are many other avenues to consider, such as employer review websites and event marketing. Professional Development Care about your employees by offering professional development opportunities - even those in-house like a brown bag lunch series (do a simple survey to capture what topics employees would like to see). If a brown bag series would not fit into your culture put together a workshop series that can be done in-house, if you have the personnel or locate inexpensive opportunities offered by local community college, for example. A subset of professional development opportunities is a look at Employee Development. Taking the time to sit down with employees to create a unique development plan is essential to showing that the organization cares. This is a practice that as HR you should train the Leadership team (down to supervisors) to effect with their frontline employees. Everyone in the ‘building’ regardless of their role should have a living - agreed upon - Employee Development plan (EDP). This doesn’t have to be an additional task, have it as part of a Employee Campaign where the team that gets the EDPs done the fastest (you’ll review them for rigor and realistic goals) gets a pizza party for lunch or whatever would motivate your organization. Make sure managers/team leaders are empowered to recognize employees for special contributions. Increased Transparency While we want to embrace it or not, transparency around companies HR processes and career opportunities has become huge. This connects closely with employer branding. According to an infographic produced by CareerArc, “55% of Job Seekers who have read a negative review have decided against applying for a position at that company.” Further, “95% of Employers believe employer brand protection will become more important in the next 5 years.” Being transparent in all forms of communication will continue to provide the best return, with more companies moving some of their recruitment budget strictly to recruitment marketing. In this way, employers can have greater control over their brand and hopefully sway employees to leave positive reviews and share their testimonials in a more powerful way. People Analytics Advance We have seen a great deal of talk about the role that people analytics plays into the overall success of employees. It’s now possible to measure just about every aspect of human behavior and performance, thanks to advances in technology. HR Gazette advises, “2018 will witness a shift from companies merely producing data visualizations and HR reporting, to organizations providing real-time, actionable insights which support people processes and improve results.” While there will always be a need for data, this will move into more real-time data applications that measure success as it happens. For example, employee engagement and performance tools that allow employees to rate their daily activities, their boss, and even their moods. Training for Retention Employee professional development will continue to take center stage for many organizations. This is part of a solution to retrain the workforce due to many skill shortages, rapid growth in the STEM sectors, and retention of top performance employees. It also helps to improve the employee experience because it demonstrates an investment in their career success. According to the Brandon Hall Group’s 2016 Training Benchmarking Study, the spending for professional development by 2017 topped $17 million. Around one-third of the budget and decision-making process is owned by HR, and this can only be expected to continue in 2018. Human resource practitioners are in the unique position of being able to see the bigger picture of the talent development strategy as it aligns with corporate goals.These factors towards building and improving the employee experience are already deeply entrenched in the culture of many leading organizations. As they set the bar high for others, it’s expected that others will follow in order to remain competitive in the recruitment scene.<a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Mar 6, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

How to Build Onboarding Plans for New Hires

One of the key differentiators of administrative versus strategic onboarding is the role of a structured employee onboarding plan for new hires.But how do you get started? If you’re working in an established company, you’ll find multiple siloed resources, overwhelming wikis, outdated playbooks, and of course… hiring managers that are already stretched and believe their Google Doc works “just fine”. As a member of the People Operations team, it’s your role to set up managers for success and equip them with the tools they need to be effective. This includes educating your managers on how to onboard new hires. This post will cover a proven six-step method to Build Onboarding Plans for your Organization. #1. Define the post-start experience with Road-MapsTo differentiate from the overall Onboarding Plan, we like to focus on the post-hire experience as Onboarding Road-maps. These are structured learning plans that provide new hires with relevant goals to support their success in their new role. This isn’t the administration of setting up laptops and organizing a swipe pass. Instead, this focuses on one question — What and when should we have new hires learn and understand to be successful? For organizations seeking to maximize the lifetime value of their talent, Employee Development is essential. Taking the time to build structured onboarding plans shows that you care about new hire success. The old-school method of drowning new hires in a thousand Google Docs, blog posts, and playbook reference manuals is dead.With today’s constant overload of information and distractions, you need to leverage the key trends in learning:Bite-sized, snackable content - no 100 page playbooks Crowdsourcing best practices - leverage shareable content across teams Collaborative learning with others - no sitting in corners while managers are at meetings Actionable results and outcomes - (we’ll touch on this later)Research shows that structured onboarding improves new hire retention by 82%. You need to invest the time in breaking down your messaging alignment from playbooks and powerpoints into the right type of content. #2. Identify the Key Objectives of your Road-Map It’s important to be smart with your team (and their time).The second step for a strong Onboarding Road-Map is identifying the key objectives that your Onboarding Plan should focus on. Emphasizing everything has the same result as emphasizing nothing — the new hire will lack focus and direction and be uninvested in the process. We typically see people-first companies focus their objectives on: i. The Onboarding Basics What are the helpful things they need to get started? Will an onboarding buddy be assigned? Is there a regular All-Hands Meeting, Team Happy Hours, or a Company Knowledge base? It’s important to identify and focus the new hire’s attention on the best opportunities to learn new things and best practices all along the road.ii. Company Knowledge To become a US citizen, you need to understand the nation’s history and values, and be connected to the country. Becoming a successful, mission-aligned new hire is no different. What’s the pitch for our company? What are our competitive advantages? What’s our strategy and how do we execute it day-to-day? These are are all crucial elements for the new hire to learn. iii. Cultural Alignment A strong, nurturing social life is both a basic human need and essential for career success. While these things can be learned slowly over time, we encourage you to invest in teaching new hires your mission and connecting them with the team. Some common issues that new hires can face include the way colleagues make decisions, different communication styles, how new ideas are advocated and how disputes are resolved. iv. Case Studies What’s important to our customers and how do we solve their needs? What are some common objections our sales team face? Why do customers choose us vs the competition? Once we identify our essentials, we need to speak to our peers and leverage the current knowledge on what’s important. Siloed resources and outdated content in wikis, playbooks, manuals, guides, and email threads are impractical and ineffective. Rather than struggling to organize such content, make the most of your time by finding the most relevant material for new hires. #3. Identify Role Models that want to Help The hardest part of getting Onboarding Road-Maps in place is organizing and motivating your company’s managers to create plans for their new talent. But Employee Onboarding plans must be aligned with business objectives. Every company is unique, which means teaching new hires how to be a ‘great employee’ is not always the same as being a ‘great employee at your company’. This commonly occurs when HR or L&D departments own onboarding — they create the content, but the content is not connected to the business units. Therefore, is not aligned with team-specific tactics and strategy. The good news is that you can normally find one advocate or role model that is passionate about new hires and onboarding — they will recognize the importance of a structured onboarding plan. With this role model, you can develop the baseline Road-Map covering core objectives relevant to all new hires. Developing the baseline plan will help you build a strong foundation of objectives that can help get the support for other managers.#4. Approaching Managers Everyone’s busy. But it’s the People Team’s responsibility to equip managers with the tools they need to be effective. The best employee onboarding plans include a mix of core onboarding objectives relevant to all new hires (which we created with our advocate), and secondly, role-based objectives for their specific role (i.e. marketing, sales, or product).The best managers will already have an existing plan in place in a Google Document or PowerPoint, but organizational alignment and consistency is impossible using methods that are siloed and don’t scale. Sadly, most managers don’t have any plan in place and would appreciate the support of the People team providing the structure. Remember — coaching managers on how to effectively onboard new hires is the responsibility of the People Operations team. Reaching out directly to line managers with set instructions, the proposed structure, and a Road-Map template can help provide clear expectations on what you’re looking for. #5 Build GlassDoor Reviews into your Onboarding Plans Your company’s employer branding is no longer (fully) under your control. Glassdoor reviews have quickly become a mainstream input into the decision-making process that candidates make around their future employer. With this, not only has Glassdoor brought transparency to the candidate market, it’s also given HR additional credibility in the Boardroom. Companies and C-level Executives now realize that without the best talent they’ll struggle to build a great company for the long term. When it comes to building your employer brand, ensuring your Glassdoor profile paints an accurate and positive image of your company’s culture is a big win. Making Glassdoor reviews visible with a regular report delivered to management is an important first step to showing how your company’s employer brand is being delivered in the talent marketplace. Timing is everything Encouraging feedback is important to build your public brand as an employer, but it’s also important to do it at the right time. Knowing when to solicit Glassdoor reviews (and more importantly, when not to) can go a long way to ensure your company's Glassdoor profile rides the right wave of employee moral and emotions.The employee onboarding process is a critical time in the employee experience and displaying a culture of supporting new hire success will create credibility and trust early. An example may be after a new hire's first month of onboarding, you can ask them to leave feedback about the interview and onboarding process they experienced. Additionally, when new hires provide a shout-out, props or general compliment about the company, encourage a culture of sharing this information on Glassdoor.#6. Create Accountability through Assigned Outcomes As Peter Drucker taught us, "What gets measured gets managed." With onboarding plans, it’s critical to have outcomes that are tracked as part of onboarding plans to ensure that new hires are having a consistent onboarding experience.These include the right conversations with their buddies and managers, along with providing the People Operations team visibility across the organization. The involvement of a Buddy, Mentor, or Coach is essential to Onboarding Plans, and you need to make them aware of their responsibilities. With social acclimation being one of the most important components of new hire success, outcomes should be assigned to multiple stakeholders across the onboarding process.A Buddy could be responsible to:Discuss, ‘What you wish you knew when you were a new hire’ Arrange a meeting to introduce the new hire to 10 people in the organization The Manager could be responsible to:Provide the new hire with an understanding of how cross-department collaboration and communication occur in the organization Discuss and agree on clear business objectives that new hires are expected to deliver againstPeople Operations could be in charge of:Ensure new hire attends introductory sessions with leadership on key business functions Have a development discussion and complete your Personal Development PlanHow many outcomes should be part of a Road-Map?As mentioned above, the best onboarding plans have a mix of core onboarding objectives and role-based objectives — typically totaling 3 - 5 objectives. We believe that new hires should be working to achieve 10 - 15 outcomes with their peers. Too many outcomes can detract from overall progress, so focus on what's really important. #7. Build a Scalable and Repeatable Process The best onboarding programs focus on building a scalable and repeatable process for new hire success, ensuring a culture of sharing best practices and continuous improvement. By creating Onboarding Road-maps on a common platform and structure, all business departments can share the ideas and feel confident in the program. They’ll know that best practices are being shared and new hires are benefitting from a common onboarding strategy and organizational alignment. New hires are a big investment, and it’s year one in which most of the investment risk exists. If you don’t invest in their success with a structured onboarding plan, you could be left trying to fill the role again within 12 months. Forward thinking leaders know that putting the foundational pillars in place from day one yields huge benefits for organizational success. Once you create these plans and weave them into the fabric of your current business, incremental cost of widening and improving the onboarding program is small. At Sapling, we help companies build structured onboarding programs with best-in-class technology. To learn more about how to run an effective onboarding program, schedule a free product demo below.

Posted on 
Mar 5, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

A Google Sheet is not an Employee Onboarding Program

While serving as an undeniably flexible tool, Google Sheets have become the default ‘chaos manager’ for a number of organizational functions, including People Operations and HR teams.One Google Sheet we see over and over again at Sapling is the ‘Onboarding Tracker’ — a manual and time-consuming onboarding sheet used by People Operations adjacent to the core HR functionalities of their HRIS. The Onboarding Google Sheet While not the height of onboarding program sophistication, the 'Google Sheet' can quickly be set up as a handy tool for companies starting to bring on new team members. The typical structure we see for Sapling customers is rows are employees, and columns are checklists of items that need to be completed, such as paperwork being sent through Docusign, the Office Manager ordering Welcome baskets (when remembered), and scheduling meetings with company leadership. Oftentimes we find that onboarding program success is determined by a weekly meeting to review this Google Sheet. Though the ‘Onboarding Tracker’ can be an effective solution for smaller companies onboarding 1 - 2 hires per month, these typically reach breaking point at 5 hires per month as the onboarding activities you’re tracking take you to column “AN” of the Google Sheet. Here are the top three reasons we see these onboarding trackers fail: 1. They are prone to error and continued fixing Hardcodes create big problems in these spreadsheets, so someone who is proficient in Excel is usually required to build in some ‘SUM’ formulas and provide better visibility. But these quickly find breaking point, requiring constant involvement to get them fixed. In People Operations, you should be focusing on the People, not the process. Designing and managing a custom-built onboarding solution in a Google Sheet is a recipe to get stuck repeatedly updating the sheet versus leveraging purpose-built software and focusing on helping your team be more effective. 2. They lack alignment to make actions happen We can see that there are 40 onboarding tasks for “Nick the New-Hire”, but who is responsible for each? And I think Peter from IT is on leave, but I’m not sure if he remembered to order the laptop, as nothing’s updated in the Google Sheet? Building these custom solutions gets even more painful as your onboarding activities naturally swell with the complexity of your company. When it gets to about 10 rows, we typically see an introduction of the greens, yellows and reds — color-coded with red for ‘urgent’, yellow for ‘in progress’ or green for ‘complete’.But how are all these activities maintained and actioned? Emails, Slack pings, shoulder taps — the endless administration of reminders and follow-ups to ensure people complete their onboarding activities can be a huge time sink. People Operations teams can often end up being the gophers running between managers and departments, trying to get everything sorted.3. They don’t scale as the complexity of your organization grows We see an average of 80 activities per onboarding — when managing 5 - 10 new employees every month, this quickly escalates to 400 - 800 activities in your Google Sheet! At this volume, how can your team be expected to maintain and drive the right actions to ensure new hires are set up for success? If you have the wrong process, everyone is suffering. The manager, IT team, the department — you are failing the people in your organization.So who is responsible? People Operations! The onus is on the People Operations team to ensure a streamlined program. Amazing people can go a long way, but process beats talent. It’s on you to invest in the right scalable systems. The top onboarding programs are well-run machines that support new hires to be fully engaged and contributing as soon as possible. It might sound emotional, but the first 6 months is critical to new hire confidence, productivity, happiness and success.Don’t get caught with big hiring plans with a Google Sheet that is going to leave you overwhelmed and constantly putting out fires. Sapling helps companies build structured onboarding programs with best-in-class technology. <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Mar 1, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

Top 10 Employee Onboarding Programs

Leading HR and People Operations teams know that successfully recruiting a candidate is just half the battle.To truly set up new hires for success at your company, it’s crucial to deliver a tailored Employee Onboarding program that embodies your company’s culture and prepares them for the road ahead. Successful onboarding programs go beyond administration to deliver a great experience, even before new hires have their first day on the job. This includes everything from crushing the new hire video, ensuring their desk is littered with excitement, and giving them a clear 90 path to success. And while many companies can stumble in making the investment in employee onboarding, there are a few companies that stand out. Here are the Top Employee Onboarding Programs from Netflix, Quora, Digital Ocean, Twitter, Buffer, Linkedin, Zappos, Facebook, Google and Pinterest. 1. Netflix: A culture and leadership-driven onboarding program Streaming Heavyweight Netflix has a solid cultural and leadership-driven onboarding program, which was covered in a recent Quora discussion.Poorna Udupi, an engineer at Netflix, shared details about Netflix’s orientation program, including elements that:Explained the Netflix technology stack and introductions to ever-helpful coworkers made my life as a software developer super easy and exciting.Met with Executive management including Chief Product Officer, Chief Finance Officer and Chief Executive Officer in the first quarter helped to orient me with the company's ethos and aspirations. Gave New hires significant responsibility and allow them to have a solid impact from the get-go.It was Patty McCord that drafted the foundational document on culture in Silicon Valley for Netflix, but Netflix continues to do great job with cultural diversity and inclusiveness resources that communicate Netflix’s values and what makes them unique. 2. Quora: Tailoring new hire goals to their booming startup Quora knows the value of investing in an onboarding program. For a quick ramp-up time, Quora concentrates on mentorship by allocating a personal mentor to each new hire. Understanding the benefit of prioritizing new hires, Quora respects that mentors lose around 25% of personal output during the first weeks of training.In a fast-paced startup environment, Quora values productivity. They choose to push new hires towards making meaningful contributions and tackling a manageable project by the end of week 1. Simplifying first day activities and focusing on tasks communicates their startup culture and values. Organizing 10 onboarding talks over the first few weeks, Quora invests in teaching new hires the fundamentals for success. They also provide new hires with detailed documents on the key concepts and tools they need. Quora values their employee onboarding program as a chance to “steer new hires toward what the team believes matters most.” 3. Digital Ocean: A People-First Hiring Experience Digital Ocean’s People team strives to be progressive in elevating the Candidate and Employee Experience. Matt Hoffman, VP of People at Digital Ocean, seeks to Make Day 1 Inspirational. When a new hire arrives, they should see more than a working computer - Digital Ocean wants them to be excited. That’s why they provide them with:A balloon on their desk so other employees can find and welcome them. A handwritten welcome note. A bottle of champagne. Some DigitalOcean swag.DigitalOcean had long been committed to employee success, building out a robust People team and HR tech stack to proactively address key people operations needs as their team grew. You can learn more about Digital Ocean's onboarding program here. 4. Twitter: From 'Yes to Desk' One company that leads with employee onboarding is social media heavyweight Twitter. The company has around 5,000 employees in 35 offices around the world.Twitter's employee onboarding program focuses on making the ‘Yes to Desk’ period as productive and welcoming as possible. This period is from when a new hire says ‘Yes’ to an offer, all the way through to arriving at their ‘Desk’.Getting new employees onboard and ramped-up can require tons of HR time in preparation and onboarding workflows without the right technology. At Twitter, they have over 75 steps and handoffs between Recruiting, HR, IT, and Facilities. Before the employee sits down, they have their email address, a T-shirt, and bottle of wine waiting. New employee desks are strategically located next to key teammates they will be working with. On the first day, new team members have breakfast with the CEO followed by a tour of the company office, before group training on the tools and systems relevant to their role. To keep the company culture vibrant, Twitter has a monthly new hire Happy Hour with the Senior Leadership Team, and a rotating schedule of presentations on Friday afternoons where employees can learn about other team projects. 5. Buffer: the 'Three-Buddy' system The value of a strong employee onboarding program doesn’t only apply to teams in a physical location - Buffer is made up of a remote team with just under 100 salaried employees.This presents a special challenge for maintaining a cohesive team and onboarding program. Buffer, similar to Twitter, starts the employee onboarding process as soon as they have confirmation from the new recruit accepting the position. They have a group of three “Buddies” who play different roles in their six-week onboarding ‘bootcamp experience’; A Leader Buddy, a Role Buddy, and a Culture Buddy. New hires are introduced to these buddies before day one, who help guide them through the ‘bootcamp experience’ with regular communication and check-ins. Here is a Free Buddy Program Playbook (Google Document) you can use to get your Buddy Program started at your company. 6. Linkedin: the New Hire Roadmap LinkedIn has more than 13,000 full-time employees with offices in 30 cities around the world. On their first day, new recruits join other new hires with dedicated icebreakers and general learning about the company culture.New employees grab sticky notes, and write their name and a headline describing them as a professional as well as an interesting fact about themselves. This is followed by a Linkedin campus tour and lunch, then a session called, “Investing [In] You” which covers core new hire orientation topics such as corporate, medical and financial benefits. General Corporate and Medical Benefit programs are often the most misunderstood and communicated parts of the employee onboarding process. After some executive talks to finish the first day, the new team is given backpacks and laptops that are already set-up with the communication tools the new employees need. Most importantly, new employees are given a ‘90 day New Hire Onboarding Plan’ - designed to help their transition into the company. It’s a week-by-week guide that supports them to be productive and successful in their new role. 7. Zappos: Protect the Culture Zappos’ onboarding process lasts four weeks and puts a special emphasis on getting new hires in sync with the employee community.Everyone who joins the company (regardless of their role) experiences the same employee onboarding program. The Zappos onboarding experience is designed to grow company culture, build a stronger team, and create lasting relationships throughout the entire company. It also trains the employees on best practices for delivering their service to their customers buying clothes and shoes.To ensure cohesiveness between the different teams, a collection of 10 core values and the history behind each value is presented to the new hires. The onboarding program represents a true cultural immersion for new employees at Zappos. At the 1 month anniversary, any new employee who doesn’t feel they’re a good fit is offered $2,000 to quit. This highlights Zappos’ focus on protecting the company culture and ensuring they have the right employees who want to be there. 8. Facebook: Still Moving Fast to Break Things Facebook, with almost 13,000 employees, uses a six week boot camp where new hires learn their role and the company culture at the same time.In 2014, the company changed its motto to the less sexy “Move Fast With Stable Infrastructure”, but it’s clear the onboarding program supports new employees in moving quickly to become productive. Instead of having the usual onboarding talks and presentations, the philosophy of the training program is to give the new team members the tools they need for practical work. Within 45 minutes on day one on the floor, new employees are underway on their first projects, thanks to the intensive preparation undergone before they start. This shows that the company trusts in new hires and leaves them autonomy to create their own work early. Quora user, Joshua Chaisson provided an overview of their sharp onboarding recent Quora discussion. "I think that if you are an engineer it's hard to beat Facebook's onboarding bootcamp program. Bootcamp for engineers is an intensive program designed to immerse new hires into the companies code base, give people the chance to push code to over a billion users in their first week, get a comprehensive overview on the entire engineering organization and ultimately help them to select the best team for them to join long term." Facebook’s onboarding bootcamp was covered in more depth by Bloomberg in 2015, check it out here:9. Google: Data and Experiments At Google, now nearly 100,000 people, they've found that team-level employee onboarding is more effective than taking a centralized approach.Google has also led the charge to measure results with real data from their onboarding initiatives.Even though slightly different onboarding processes are happening within various teams, part of the Google approach is to use data and experiments to improve the process continually.In Lazlo Bock’s ‘Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead’, the Head of People explains how Google front-loads people investment, with 80% of their time focused on recruitment and onboarding. Google hires and onboards smart people, and then lets the 'inmates run the asylum’. By maintaining a grip on the industry’s top talent, the company has been able to create one of the top working environments for tech-industry workers around the world. 10. Pinterest: Start Knitting Pinterest has employees with offices in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo and Sao Paulo. But all new employees go through an orientation at Pinterest’s HQ in San Francisco.Before new hires arrive, they receive an introductory email with their schedule and other details, and are given the opportunity to introduce themselves to the company. Everyone in the new hire class meets on day one for breakfast followed by some brief icebreakers.This gives new hires the opportunity to start absorbing the Pinterest value of "knitting" - a term used to mean collaborating with people and seeing the world from different points of view.This continues during the week with talks from the company's leadership, onboarding workflows like IT setup, laptop and a bunch of essential tools (i.e. slack), and opportunities to get out into the neighborhood to volunteer with KnitSF. Common Themes in These Onboarding Programs All of these onboarding programs share common themes that contribute to employee experience success.Make the investment: these onboarding programs are not an accident; the companies listed invest heavily in time and money to support new employees to be successful. Start early: taking a page from Twitter’s ‘Yes to Desk’ approach, make sure everything is ready before the employee starts their first day to make sure they can hit the ground running. Company Culture is everything: over invest in making new employees feel welcome and aligned with company values. Get the team involved: Welcoming them into an inclusive, dynamic team with lots of communication that will have real returns on their ability to integrate with the team effectively. Clear Roadmap: Giving new employees a clear and structured path for their integration into the company supports them to be productive and successful in their new role. Training and development: Help new employees learn with the right training tools, and by giving them practical skills so they can start contributing as soon as possible.It makes sense to invest in Employee onboarding. With a structured program, employees are 58% more likely to be with your company after three years. Remember, the risk is not that you do too much in employee onboarding, but too little. Building a productive, scalable, and engaged workforce starts with providing new employees with a great onboarding process. Interested in learning how an automated onboarding solution like Sapling can help? See the demo below!

Posted on 
Mar 1, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Culture & Engagement

4 KPIs to Measure Employee Engagement

How has your employee engagement been impacted by the recent changes in the marketing department in the last 90 days?The answer to a simple question like this should be a quick, off-the-shelf data point that is tracked and measured, as influences and trends in employee experience can have big impacts on the success of your organization. Engaged employees invest themselves in the broader success of the company, rather than only being present for the paycheck and benefits. They are also more likely to see their role as an important part of the company’s mission, and will often support the company in a manner of different ways outside of their everyday responsibilities. Unfortunately, research shows that only 32% of U.S. employees are engaged at work. This would suggest that we are missing out on 68% of the potential output of our people. This is supported by the research in finding strong correlation between actively engaged teams, and increases in customer ratings, profitability, and productivity. Clearly, this is an important factor that Human Resources leaders should focus on constantly measuring and improving. Employee engagement involves emotions and feelings, which are difficult to measure objectively. You need data to accurately measure and improve engagement levels. Here are four key performance indicators (“KPIs”) that Human Resources teams can use to get the right feedback on employee engagement. 1. Employee Suggestion Box Suggestion box programs give your employees a chance to have their voice heard. Not surprisingly, 48% of employees said that asking them for feedback and putting it into action would reduce their chances of voluntary turnover. Your team sees the problems and opportunities from the front-lines - listen to them. With the right encouragement, employee engagement levels can provide valuable insights and suggestions on the ways to improve productivity. Demonstrating to your employees that their opinions matter and that they can promote real changes to happen can increase their motivation and job satisfaction. It shows them that they aren’t just cogs in the machine - but real contributors that can make a difference.If sharing the results publicly, be sure to announce this and keep responder results anonymous. This will help your employees feeling free to be honest without fear of being judged or treated unfairly for criticizing the practices or procedures that are currently in place. Beware - what you do with this information is equally as important... If you offer employees an outlet for candid feedback and ignore the suggestions posted - employees can become disgruntled and conclude that making suggestions is a pointless endeavor. And in all honestly, who wouldn’t?If they realize that no changes are taking place, the suggestion box will be ineffective and possibly even damage long-run employee engagement.For best results, make sure you outline a clear structure and method for reviewing and implementing ideas.2. Employee Engagement Surveys Another way of collecting opinions to gain insight into levels of employee engagement is by using employee engagement surveys.These surveys can vary in cadence, but the general rule is: the more frequent, the better. Today’s workforce is comprised of Millennials who naturally resonate with continuous feedback and information loops. For companies scaling quickly, after the employee onboarding process is a great time time to check-in on new hire engagement and ensure expectations have been met.Using employee engagement surveys enables Human Resources teams to ask real questions related to the employee experience:How valued they feel as an employee? How satisfied they are with their work/ life balance? How they feel about their career prospects?Using a combination of open and closed questions in order to get both quantitative and qualitative feedback from your team will give you valuable insight on what your organization could be doing to make people feel more engaged. A positive score coming out of the survey is great, but if it is achieved dishonestly, then it won’t provide you with the knowledge you need to actually improve your company's employee experience. Nor will it help the success of your company. Similarly to employee suggestion box programs, it is vital that something is actually done with the results you collect in order to improve employee engagement.Sweeping problems underneath the rug is a slippery slope which can lead to bad outcomes in the long run. 3. Employee Net Promoter Score (NPS) Net Promoter Scores were originally introduced to measure the levels of satisfaction and loyalty of customers. They have since been adopted internally by progressive employers to ascertain the same information from their employees. This is done by asking the simple question, “How likely is it that you would recommend working at our company to a friend or colleague?” Generally, the question is answered on a scale from 0 to 10, where anyone answering 0 to 6 considered a detractor, 7 and 8 considered passive, and 9 and 10 respondents are considered promoters. To calculate your employee NPS, you simply subtract your detractors from your promoters (and ignore the passives) and divide by the total number of respondents: Employee NPS = (promoters - detractors)/ total respondents A negative score indicates that more employees said they would not recommend someone to work at your company, whereas a positive score indicates that more people would recommend your company as an employer of choice.Evidently, the more positive the score, the better. Employees that are engaged will be more likely to recommend a position to a friend or colleague. If this is not the case, you need to determine how to improve your employee NPS, which starts with putting yourself in your employees’ shoes. Having a clear understanding on what your employees are looking for from their role can go a long way in evaluating the reasons behind a low employee NPS. Including an additional question (either optional or required) that asks employees how your company could increase this score should also give you some insights on how to improve employee engagement levels.4. Employee Absenteeism and Turnover Rate It's no secret that engaged employees show up and put in the effort. Examining trends in absence rates and turnover rates of your employees can be a good indication of employee engagement, but unfortunately it’s a lag indicator. According to market research, you should aim for an annual employee turnover rate of 10% or less. Of course, a certain amount of employee turnover can be beneficial in terms of moving the company forward and sparking change, but unnaturally high employee turnover can be a massive ROI killer for your organization.From a ground-up approach, absenteeism and turnover rates within teams will also show you whether there are certain managers or departments that need attention to improve employee experience. Also, if certain employees are often away without valid reasons, this can affect the rest of the team. A proactive way of improving both employee absenteeism and turnover rates is by understanding what motivates your employees when they are hired, and ensuring that these motivations are continually met and exceeded during their tenure with the company. Presenteeism can also be an issue. This is where employees arrive to work, but they aren’t actively engaged in the activities they are performing. They might be distracted, put less effort, or not be doing what they should be.This can be a strong indicator of declining employee engagement, and if it’s a team-wide issue - it signals a need to realign your company's success with that of your employees.Focus on the People All companies should strive to strengthen and grow employee experience, so it is mission critical for companies to understand how engaged their employees are with quantitative and qualitative data points. Without objective measures and feedback , there is no way of knowing if your efforts are working. Providing a great employee onboarding experience can go a long way towards improving employee engagement.{{cta('4d230012-6b9b-416d-a9b3-a687d1e015e9','justifycenter')}}

Posted on 
Mar 1, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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People Operations

Tactical vs Strategic - What People Operations teams can learn from Google's Lazlo Bock.

If you ever find yourself thinking, “If only I had time to focus on strategy instead of all this admin,” then chances are that you may be finding your People Ops role limited to the Tactical.With the growth of progressive technology, APIs, and data flowing seamlessly across your organization, it’s becoming critical for the People Operations team of tomorrow to rise above the operational aspects, and move into Strategic People Operations.But it’s not easy.Often the People Ops team can find themselves as the gopher running between new hires, managers, IT, executives and broader talent base, putting out fires, answers questions, and scheduling meetings for managers. The tactical and the strategic aspects of HR are intertwined, but it’s when the People Ops team can build repeatable and scalable HR systems to manage the tactical, that they can turn focus to the strategic. How did Laszlo do it? In 2015, Work Rules! Insights From Inside Google, was published by Lazlo Bock, shedding light on the top end of Strategic People Ops.Here’s a quick summary of the insights, which each have the potential to transform your organization, team or workplace:Give your work meaning: Connect company to more money, align sense of values and purpose. Trust your people: Be transparent and honest, and embrace trusting good people with responsibility. Hire only people who are better than you: Take the time and get it down right. Don’t confuse development with managing performance: Separate L&D from reviews. Focus on the two tails: Find the best and worst performers and study them. Be frugal and generous: Most perks cost nothing, but pay-up on the important things. Pay unfairly: Understand incentives and value creation. Nudge: Encourage the right behavior. Manage the rising expectations: Experiment with ideas. Enjoy: Building a great culture and environment requires constant learning and renewal.It might have worked for Laszlo, but I’m still trying to get managers to have one-on-ones — so why does understanding Laszlo’s focus matter?Because without identifying the real strategic aspects of People Ops that can move the needle on organizational performance, it’s quite easy to get trapped in the tactical fires that arise day to day.Tactical - Keeping the Trains Running Tactical People Ops is performing the operational-focused aspects of Human Resources, often seen by the team as the administrators. The initiatives undertaken are generally to keep the trains running on time, which means it can (unfortunately) often be a thankless and misunderstood role. Tactical People Ops can be very much invisible to other teams because they are so focused on their own work, and lack the perspective of recruitment, onboarding, and ongoing employee success —along with the thousand other things that provide the work environment for people to be successful.Strategic - Driving the Organization Forward Strategic People Ops focuses on maximizing employee lifetime value, employee wellbeing, productivity, and most importantly, driving the organization forward. This is the hard part of People Ops, and it’s only when the Tactical People Ops responsibilities are handled do we have time to focus on the Strategic stuff. How your People Ops team can gain employee trust? With Lazlos's framework in place - People Operations teams have the potential to transform the organization, team or workplace, but require trust from the team for their initiatives. From developing and retaining talent, to building and managing company culture — employees must believe that People Ops holds their best interests in mind. This mutual trust and respect is essential for People Ops to successfully design and implement strategies that will better the organization. With this in mind, what are some approaches People Ops can take to gain employee trust? 1. Be inclusive and consistent. If you scan Glassdoor’s negative employer reviews, you’ll find many different kinds of complaints with a common root cause: the company isn’t listening to all of its employees. An organization should not have a pecking order or appear to play favorites — People Ops should have go-to tactics that make all employees feel equally important, regardless of their title and salary, or whether they work in-office or remotely. Regularly communicating with your employees is another fundamental element in promoting an inclusive, consistent work culture. Jenilee Deal, VP People at Qadiu, shares how Qadium’s People team builds employee trust by holding regular one-on-ones with everyone in the company. They do this by selecting a sample from the employee base each quarter, inviting those employees in for a sit-down with a member of the People team. This shows that People Ops doesn’t just talk to managers and execs, but wants to hear from employees too. In these one-on-ones, the People team asks Stay Interview questions to understand why employees stay and why they would leave. To build trust, inclusiveness and consistency must be shown across entire employee lifecycle — from preboarding, to reward, all the way through to offboarding. 2. Don’t just gather feedback, act on it. A core responsibility of People Ops is to surface the voice of the employee base. Besides assessing how an individual employee is feeling, it’s also important to understand how employees feel about the company — regarding culture, work-life balance, direction, leadership, and vision. Surveys are an excellent tool for collecting feedback to measure Employee Engagement as well as overall organizational effectiveness. And with surveying tools like CultureAmp, meaningful, anonymous feedback can be highly accessible. Once feedback is compiled and communicated to employees and managers, consider pitching your suggested changes and requesting employee feedback on proposals. Crowdsourcing tools, like Waggl’s real-time feedback technology, can help People Ops keep employees completely involved in the process, showing just how much you value their opinions. 3. Be transparent. Today, People Ops doesn’t have the same control over the organization’s image that it did five years ago. Between social media and public databases like Glassdoor — culture, benefits, and salaries are all common knowledge. With company information so readily available, People Ops must be just as transparent itself. In the early stages of the active employee lifecycle, distrust often comes from a simple lack of communication. Research shows that 69% of employees do not trust their employer to know what benefits are right for them. Consider using a Total Rewards Statement to communicate and promote your rewards package along with your reasons behind choosing it. This can show employees how much thought People Ops has put into their benefits package, encouraging them to trust and value your judgement. 4. Articulate your brand. What does your team believe about people? What are your values as a head of People? What does your overall function value? Every company has a different kind of People Ops program — you might have a culture-based, performance-based, or compliance-based team. Articulating who you are and what you believe to be true is a great way to build trust. Over time, your People function should know what it believes in, and be clear about those beliefs with the entire company to establish trust. Communicating your philosophy shows employees where your programs are coming from and the value behind them. Your roadmap should be a blueprint of what the function is going to accomplish over the next 1-2 years. The roadmap details your function’s accountability and value, and builds excitement around what you’re planning to accomplish. Some employees believe that the People function is a fuzzy field, failing to understand its ROI. But by laying out a clear roadmap and specific goals that are interesting to employees, they will realize how your function benefits them. This will earn you credibility, proving that you are a valuable function deserving of time, energy, resources, and trust. What does this mean for you?For the busy People Ops team managing those train schedules, there used to simply be too many trains running to find time to focus on propelling the organization forward. But now, it’s never been a better time to be in People Operations.There can be transitory costs (duplicate data, app fatigue, too many passwords), but the long-term benefits of leveraging purpose-built software to focus on the strategic aspects of People Ops are abundant. Want to learn more about how purpose-built onboarding software can help you transition to the Strategic side of People Ops? {{cta('4d230012-6b9b-416d-a9b3-a687d1e015e9','justifycenter')}}

Posted on 
Mar 1, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Announcements

Customer Love Helps Sapling Grow

Valentine's Day, a day to show love to those you care most about. At Sapling, that is no exception. So when Valentine’s Day came around this year, we wanted to express to our customers how much we value and appreciate them.It’s no secret that you work day in, day out to improve the lives and wellness of your team members. You’re changing the world for the better! What’s more amazing than that? Plus, when you and your teams grow, so does Sapling and we love you for it. So without further ado, our L O V E to all of our customers and community- thank you for making Sapling better every day!This is just a token of our appreciation, looking for more ideas to implement employee appreciation? Tune into our webinar "Employee Appreciation Starts with Onboarding."We don't just love our customers and they love us! Read our 5 star reviews <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Feb 14, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

5 Best Practices for Onboarding Technical Employees

We all know that first impression matters. Therefore, apart from the interview session, any employee will form the first impression of a company during the employee onboarding process. On the other hand, if you are recruiting employees for technical roles, then you know that you are dealing with some of the most sought-after employees in the current job market. Therefore, even though the onboarding process has the same main goals, you will be dealing with a special kind of people who are looking for a great employee experience. So, if you are struggling to create an interesting onboarding session for technical employees, then this article is going to show five best practices to help you in this direction.1. Put technicalities first When you interview potential technical employees, you are looking for a particular set of skills and abilities. This is the starting point you should consider during the onboarding process. Apart from the competitive salary package and benefits that you can present during onboarding, you can also show your future employee how much you value his expertise during pre-onboarding. For example, Netflix asks its technical employees during employee preboarding what type of laptop and configuration they prefer to work with. So their team can prepare everything according to the new hire’s preferences before day one. This type of inquiry goes a long way to show your technical employees how much attention you pay to details and will help you establish a memorable and impactful relationship during onboarding.2. Managers should get ready for their new employees before they start“A manager’s schedule is always hectic, with a lot of things going on every day. Therefore, when a new hire comes to the team, they will most likely start thinking about that new member exactly when they start. Thus, it sometimes becomes difficult for the manager to prepare a comprehensive “welcome discussion” and discuss what he expects from the new hire”, says the HR Head at Pick Writers. The HR team at Google, for example, sends reminders to managers a few days before a new hire begins. The reminders will include a tasklist list with the most critical discussion points any manager should discuss with a technical employee. So, all the managers have some time in advance to prepare the discussion about the employee’s role and responsibilities, establish a buddy to mentor him and organize the introduction to the team.3. Give your technical employees a challengeStatistics say that a structured onboarding process increases employees’ retention by 25% and improves their performance by 11%. What is more, the onboarding process is not limited to the first days when you present the company’s structure, benefits, and tools. You can create a unique onboarding experience by giving your technical employees an easy-to-manage project which will bring an immediate win and satisfaction for them. Thus, you will help them become comfortable with the work culture and boost their confidence. For instance, Apple asks new hires to set their iMac and get it ready for work. This is a great method to make your technical employees accomplish an easy goal and show them that you trust them from Day One.4. Communicate directlyThe onboarding process is not a one-time event. Many technical employees consider it a decisive milestone which convinces them to stay or to leave a company. What is more, studies have shown that 49% of millennials are looking for a better onboarding process, while 22% of the staff turnover occurs in the first month and a half. Thus, any aspect of onboarding plays a decisive role for a technical employee’s loyalty towards the company. Communication is an important element of any onboarding program. However, technical employees often tend to prefer digital communication, while many of them will get so absorbed by their projects that they will forget to communicate at all. Any manager should use direct communication to check how the new employee is accommodating with the position and team. Moreover, direct communication will also help managers check whether the onboarding goals are met and receive feedback as checks and balances for how things have gone so far. It will help both managers and employees decide how to move further and improve the onboarding areas that didn’t go as planned.5. Don’t forget about buddies and mentorsEven though they are confident in their skills, technical employees might be shy when it comes to asking for help and getting used to their new colleagues. Therefore, having someone whom they can ask about anything can be of great help. This is why you will need a buddy and a mentor who can take care of all the questions and social part of the onboarding process. The buddy will help your technical employees quickly become part of the team and efficiently communicate with its members. They will help acclimate new hires to the new office culture. Mentors, on the other hand, will always be available for new employees to answer any questions related to work. Give their applied experience; mentors will become a trustful resource for technical employees when they need professional guidance. Conclusion Finally, remember to encourage your technical employees to develop professionally and offer them growth possibilities. You can get creative with your development plans. Try to be transparent with any growth opportunities and align them with the business objectives. Onboarding programs are the first experience an employee has when they join an organization. Thus, they represent the foundation for your employees’ success. To create a first good impression and prepare your technical employees to unleash their potential, you should carefully plan your onboarding program. Show them how much you value their abilities from Day One and boost their confidence by assigning them small, easy challenges from the beginning. Be clear when it comes to the company’s culture and encourage them to communicate and offer feedback during their working experience. Keep new employees involved in social activities and be always ready to answer work-related questions. A successful technical employee begins with a strong new hire orientation program. You have exactly one chance to make a positive first impression—don’t waste it. <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Feb 7, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

How to Create a Memorable and Impactful Onboarding Experience

When we host webinars with thought-leaders in the People Ops space, there are so many gold-nuggets of wisdom that are learned.Our recent webinar on, How to Create a Memorable and Impactful Onboarding Experience, was a discussion after our own heart. Moderated by 15Five’s CCO, Shane Metcalf, in conversation with Sapling’s CEO, Bart Macdonald and 15Five’s Director of People Science, Courtney Bigony the discussion was rich with takeaways and quick wins for your own teams. Here are some key takeaways for you to use in your onboarding plan:Keys to a Successful Onboarding:The goal of onboarding is to get your new hire socialized to the team, manager, and role. - Do they feel emotionally connected to the mission of the company?Foresight and planning go a long way. Do not ignore the employee development phase. Help them understand what success looks like and what's expected of them. Role clarity is the key to success. Only 50% of employees clearly know what is expected of them at work. Role clarity increases-- retention and productivity increases. Onboarding is complete when your team feels like an insider.Things to Consider:Onboarding leads to lower turnover, higher performance and productivity, higher job satisfaction, and lower stress. That's a lot of wins. Realistic job previews are a part of the preboarding experience. Unfortunately, people usually go right into performance mode vs. relationship building during the Day 1 manager meetings. Take the time to ask, “What are your new hire's strengths?” and then ask yourself, “how can I align that to their work?” The longer there's a structured onboarding program that focuses on impact and increased socialization the more successful the new hire. Make a proactive effort to build a structured experience, otherwise, your new hire might be asking, "are my peers asking what I'm going to be contributing?" The ELTV model shows that you need powerful 1:1s to dramatically increase how long someone stays at a company. The time between a candidate accepting a role and the lead up to their Day 1 is critical. Many companies don't do the follow-through during that timeline. The first three to six months are when new hires are particularly susceptible to turnover. How can you make your entire onboarding experience focused on your employee?Best Practice Onboarding Timelines:Employee onboarding starts well before Day 1 - Include a welcome email to your new hire for sharing your excitement - Provide details around next steps (Think: start date, attire, office info)Administrative tasks should be taken care of prior to Day 1. Preboarding: There are many high-impact/low investment ways to improve the employee preboarding experience: - Send buddy or coach program invites - Have them complete new hire paperwork - Ask your new hire their equipment preferences - Provide info about org's history, team, and cultureThe first day: Celebrate the new opportunity to come in join the new team and company and the impact they'll be making. - Don’t deep dive into the Product, it’s overwhelming on Day 1. Focus on the connections. Without the bonds and connection, Day 1 doesn't matter. - Have your new hire arrive late + have coffee with their manager - Make sure your new hire knows the office + team membersWeek 1: It is critical that new hires have tasks spread out over the first week Build out your new hires calendar to reduce the ambiguity of what their tasks are - Start to provide a top-down overview of the company (culture + vision) - Meeting with managers is critical. It needs to be set up either over lunch or if they're remote -- over a video call. - Go offline with your buddy and get coffee-- actually block it in their calendar! Want to learn even more tips & tricks? Click the webinar below: Many of the best practices in this webinar are embedded directly into the Sapling platform. Reach out if you want to speak with an onboarding specialist! <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Feb 5, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Announcements

The Sapling Library Top 10 of 2018

As we settle into 2019, we’re so excited for you to get access to the resources that Sapling has planned for you to hone your professional skills and company’s rapidly evolving People Operations needs (Subscribe here if you don’t want to miss out on any of it)! But today, we’d like to summarize some of the top posts published by Sapling in 2018!10. How to Successfully Implement an HRIS in 8 stepsIf your current HRIS is slowing down your team and damaging your employee experience program, implementing a more modern solution may be your next big decision this year. The goal of any HR software is to help you automate workflows, support data-driven decisions and be more strategic. Whatever your goal, once you’ve decided to evaluate a new HRIS, here are 8 steps you can take to ensure a successful implementation.9. 11 Things to Avoid When Offboarding an EmployeeEmployees leave organizations for a limitless amount of reasons; some positive, some negative. Learn what some of the biggest mistakes organizations make when offboarding employees -- and how can we avoid destroying an otherwise golden opportunity for gaining feedback and insights. 8. How HR Teams Scale from 10 - 1,000 Employees As your small business evolves into a company of a thousand plus employees, your people team faces new, complex challenges. We compiled the key takeaways from a panel discussion with Sapling’s CEO and other Leaders in the People Ops space, including Jessica Yuen (former CPO at Couchbase + Gusto), Aisha Stephenson (Former VP People at Quizlet), Desiree Therianos (Former Head of People Ops + Talent at Ellation)7. 10 Do's and Dont's of Hiring and Onboarding Two areas that make an immense impact on the employee experience happen to be during the initial hiring and onboarding phases. In order to dispel a candidate’s perception that a company may not have a structure in place to make for a positive career experience, it’s critical to get hiring and onboarding right. Check out our Sapling’s list of do’s and don’ts for world-class Onboarding to accelerate your new hires. 6. Ask the People Ops Expert: Employee Experience Initiatives The People Team at Blend has implemented a variety of Employee Initiatives. Discover what works best and which ones you can use at your own organization.5. The #1 Reason Employees Don’t Adopt New HR Solutions Usability refers to how easy it is to access or use a software solution or website. Despite best intentions, usability is not often factored in when people ops choose a solution. Read why this can’t be the case as you adopt a new HR solution.4. Utilizing Design Thinking for Employee Onboarding Design thinking offers a proven, structured approach to problem-solving, including those related to the modern workplace. Discover how you can apply the 5 phases of design thinking to your company’s onboarding program.3. 10 Blogs to Make you a Better HR Leader To support our community becoming better and more innovative HR leaders, we syndicated a list of some of Sapling’s favorite HR blogs. We hope you enjoy this non-exclusive list as much as we do!2. Implementing a New HRIS: 7 Common Mistakes to Avoid If you plan to implement an HRIS in 2019 (which we highly recommend) make sure to avoid 7 common mistakes teams make about the rollout.1. How to Measure New Hire EngagementOnce you’ve incorporated your engagement strategy into onboarding, the challenge is to figure out how it’s working. Learn the 5 Core Questions you need to ask to Measure for New Hire Engagement. Don’t miss any of our other top blogs and resources in 2019. Sign up for the People Ops Collective newsletter.

Posted on 
Jan 15, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Announcements

Bart Macdonald accepted into Forbes San Francisco Business Council

Bart Macdonald accepted into Forbes San Francisco Business Council Forbes San Francisco Business Council Is an Invitation-Only Community for Successful Business Owners and Leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area San Francisco, January 2019 — Bart Macdonald, CEO and Co-Founder of Sapling, an HRIS and Onboarding solution for high-growth teams, has been accepted into Forbes San Francisco Business Council, an invitation-only community for successful business owners and leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area Bart Macdonald was vetted and selected by a review committee based on the depth and diversity of his Industry and Management experience. Criteria for acceptance include a track record of successfully impacting business growth metrics, as well as personal and professional achievements and honors. “We are honored to welcome Bart Macdonald into the community,” said Scott Gerber, founder of Forbes Councils, the collective that includes Forbes San Francisco Business Council. “Our mission with Forbes Councils is to bring together proven leaders from every industry, creating a curated, social capital-driven network that helps every member grow professionally and make an even greater impact on the business world.” As an accepted member of the Council, Bart has access to a variety of exclusive opportunities designed to help him reach peak professional influence. He will connect and collaborate with other respected local leaders in a private forum and at members-only events. Bart will also be invited to work with a professional editorial team to share his expert insights in original business articles on Forbes.com, and to contribute to published Q&A panels alongside other experts. “I’m humbled by this honor to be a part of such an esteemed business council that provides so much value to the community. I’m excited to share my expertise in people operations and in leadership in the human resources sector with the Forbes community at large. Entrance to the Forbes council will provide access to incredible thought leaders and industry icons, helping to influence Sapling's product roadmap and add credibility as the leading provider of Onboarding and HRIS software for global, medium sized businesses.” ABOUT FORBES COUNCILS Forbes Councils is a collective of invitation-only communities created in partnership with Forbes and the expert community builders who founded Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). In Forbes Councils, exceptional business owners and leaders come together with the people and resources that can help them thrive.

Posted on 
Jan 7, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Culture & Engagement

Learn how to Leverage Hiring and Retention for your Employer Brand

When it comes to hiring and retention, your employer brand is a cornerstone that prospective and current employees will use to evaluate whether or not your company is the right place to work. This blog has the key highlights from our panel webinar moderated by Culture Amp’s Senior People Scientist, Craig Forman with speakers:Bart Macdonald, CEO and Co-Founder of Sapling Christina Luconi, Chief People Officer at Rapid7 Jamie Hichens, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition at GlassdoorOur speakers discussed how to leverage their employer brand to attract and retain top talent. Some points from the webinar that Sapling, an onboarding and HRIS platform, found particularly compelling was around, how crucial it is to make your brand visible through the employee experience.Jamie stated: The onboarding experience should begin even before the candidate starts. When we extend an offer to a candidate, my hiring team reaches out to tell them how excited we are. Before they start, we have the new hire come on-site to have lunch with the team. On their first day, I always find time to spend with them. Even after they’ve officially ‘started’ from a recruiting perspective, I’ll still do monthly check-ins for the first ninety days. After ninety days, we’ll do a recap with our HRBP to make sure the new hire is set up for success." Watch the entire recording of the panel! Key Takeaways:- “From Yes to Desk” - employer branding and onboarding starts the moment your new hire signs on to join your company - Be intentional in creating your Employee Value Proposition - it can be used as an effective driver in talent acquisition, engagement and retention - Respond to negative Glassdoor reviews with authenticity and empathy - Conduct listening tours to get a pulse on the voice of the organization and how they impact your employer brand If you’re looking for a solution to ingrain your employer brand from the moment a candidate joins the team, Sapling’s onboarding + HRIS solutions are built around the idea that culture & branding is a company’s key asset. Reach out for a demo or free trial. <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a> Sapling’s onboarding and HRIS platform helps high-growth, global companies automate and elevate their employee experience, with deep integrations across all the Google G Suite applications your team already knows and loves.

Posted on 
Jan 2, 2019
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Announcements

Sapling launches partnerships with Small Improvements and Blue Marble Payroll

We know how important it is for the software in your HR tech stack to work together, especially when integrations and automation can remove administrative steps from your hiring, onboarding, and broader hr process. The less data entry your teams are burdened with, the more time you have to focus on the things that really matter, whether that’s crafting 30-60-90 day onboarding programs or designing OKRs to keep your team aligned. That’s why we’re excited to announce our latest integrations with two new partners, Small Improvements and Blue Marble Payroll. Small Improvements is a performance review and feedback solution for small and midsize businesses, helping employees and companies to grow and succeed. The integration with Small Improvements allows Sapling customers to leverage best-in-class performance tools (360 Feedback, Goals + Objectives, Reviews) while streamlining data flow with Sapling’s best-in-class HRIS. Blue Marble Payroll is a leader in global payroll and integrated solutions for accounting, tax, finance, and global HR services for 135 countries worldwide. The integration with BlueMarble Payroll allows Sapling customers to organize and process multinational payroll and run aggregated reports, keeping their international workforce data integrated across two best-of-breed solutions for CoreHR and international payroll management. We’re excited by the impact both integrations provide to HR, Finance, Operations, hiring managers and other stakeholders, automating low value-added manual work, with enjoyable, strategic work. If you'd like to learn how Sapling's Onboarding or HRIS suite can accelerate your team's productivity with a growing list of integrations, reach out for a demo or free trial. <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>Sapling’s onboarding and HRIS platform helps high-growth, global companies automate and elevate their employee experience, with deep integrations across all the Google G Suite applications your team already knows and loves.

Posted on 
Dec 17, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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HRIS

How to Successfully Implement an HRIS in 8 steps

The market of CoreHR systems is undergoing a paradigm shift as companies rapidly shift their people operations focus away from transactional and forms-based HR, to a long-term view of overall talent development and success.The impact of employee experience on your organization’s success drives the demand for smart human resource management information systems (HRIS) that are fully automated, connected with the current technology and employee-centric. Today’s People Operations community have graduated from wondering “what’s an HRIS?”, to seeking out innovative tools which support their company’s talent acquisition and retention efforts, provide in-depth people analytics, and incorporate employee development to enable teams to do better work. If your current HRIS system isn’t up to the task, implementing a more modern system may be your next big decision in 2019. The goal of any HR software is to help you manage your HR initiatives and to better support your company’s objectives. You may be hoping to increase the effectiveness of your team while decreasing the hours spent managing transactional activities, leading you to an improved employee satisfaction and leadership support. Whatever your goal, once you’ve decided to transition to a new HRIS, here are 8 steps you can take to ensure a successful implementation. 1. Identify your current HRIS needs and plans for future growth. Know what you want your HRIS software to do. Having a clear goal in mind will help you to set your expectations for the new platform. Are you seeking to reduce time spent on manually processing tasks or eliminating paperwork? Does the new system need to work seamlessly with your existing ATS, international Payroll or other software in your HR/IT/Finance ecosystem? What must the new system do that your current HRIS cannot manage? Answering these and other questions early in the process will help you to develop your Request for Proposal and to assess your prospective vendors. 2. Establish your HRIS budget. Be clear on which features are the most critical for your team and for the company. Would employee self-service cut down on tracking PTO requests? Does leadership need access to advanced reporting to make data-driven people decisions? Do you want to accelerate time to productivity for your new hires with structured onboarding? Include an additional budget for IT, additional staff training time and possible budget over-runs. 3. Send out a Request for Proposal (RFP), interview vendors and then select an HRIS platform.Do your research by connecting with industry peers, reviewing what HR blogs and other sites are saying about best-in-class HRIS vendors (if you didn’t hear, Sapling was named a SoftwareAdvice.com Front Runner by our users!). Invite your shortlisted vendors to give a presentation to both you and your team. Aside from the sales pitch, ensure that the vendors have aligned their systems’ capabilities with your expressed current and future plans while staying within established budget and timeline for implementation. Discuss whether the system can be integrated with the tools you already use, and develop an understanding of their Professional Services Program to ensure you’re set up for success.For instance, Sapling’s HRIS connects to your existing systems including your ATS, HRIS, SSO, communication, and productivity apps. Request and follow up with references. If possible, talk with their client references to see the vendor’s system in action. <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a> 4. Partner with the chosen vendor to create a comprehensive implementation project plan. Identify both your internal and external implementation project teams and garner support from your company stakeholders and sponsors. If possible, have a skilled in-house project manager be the liaison between the vendor and your internal teams. Establish dedicated resources (IT, consultants, etc.) at both the technical and the functional level, who are available throughout each implementation phase. “Companies should have a clear vision for HRIS implementations that are concisely articulated, identify stakeholders and address their concerns, have realistic timelines, and create clear processes for performing them,” said Katherine Jones, Ph.D., of Mercer's North American Talent Business division. 5. Next up, implementation kick-off. Work with your chosen vendor and your internal and external stakeholders to establish a multi-phased approach to implementation. This can ensure that sufficient time and resources are allocated at each phase, and day-to-day work can continue without major disruptions. Phases may include IT and connectivity, security, systems integration, data migration, testing, super-user training, and usability testing. Communicate the implementations progress to sponsors and stakeholders on a regular basis. 6. Communicate the HRIS Company-wide rollout. Establish a communications plan for company-wide messages as you move toward your rollout date. Your plan can include specifically timed and focused messages to super-users, stakeholders and end-users. Identify and promote internally information on technical support, functional support, and end-user training. 7. Identify challenges and provide support. Once your HRIS system is fully functional, have additional resources in place to support late or slow adopters. Have a 2-way communication system in place to gather feedback from super-users, stakeholders and end-users. Continue to work with the vendor, internal and external resources to make any necessary technical adjustments. 8. Evaluate Implementation Success Once you’ve reached the end of your implementation, spend time reviewing the process with both your internal stakeholders and your HRIS vendors’ Success Team. Identify the impact of any cost over-runs, unexpected delays, and additional resources. Ensure that your vendor has addressed all outstanding issues. Have a plan in place for future add-ons, new technology or upgrades to the HRIS system. Be prepared to share your implementation experience with the vendor’s proposed clients via references or case studies in the future. Implementing an HRIS and executing it effectively require forethought, communication, and project management. But the results will lead to higher productivity and engagement from your team. If you'd like to learn how Sapling's HRIS or onboarding solution can accelerate your team's productivity, reach out for a demo or free trial. <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>Sapling’s onboarding and HRIS platform helps high-growth, global companies automate and elevate their employee experience, with deep integrations across all the Google G Suite applications your team already knows and loves.

Posted on 
Dec 10, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Employee Experience

Ask the People Ops Expert: Employee Experience Initiatives

Ask the People Ops Expert: Amanda Delaney, Employee Experience at Blend. Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do at Blend and what are your specialties? Amanda: Early in my career, I was the office manager and event planner at a small hedge fund in New York City. I realized that the employee experience is one of the most important elements of happiness and productivity. My dream role of focusing just on Employee Experience opened at Blend, so I accepted and moved cross country, and I’ve never been happier at a job. Here at Blend, the Employee Experience is responsible for internal events, onboarding, employee recognition programs, engagement surveys, swag, and wellness programming. It’s an incredibly rewarding role because we get to see the impact of our programming on our employees’ day-to-day lives. For an organization that is in the beginning stages of discovering what employee experience is for them, what steps or research do you recommend to help get them started? Amanda: I’ve learned so much about what works and what doesn’t at People Operations networking events, like Sapling’s People Ops Collective, and Culture Club hosted by Exubrancy and LifeLabs Learning. When establishing the employee experience at Blend, my goal was to create programming that was as inclusive as possible. I happen to be an extroverted people-person who loves attending events. But I’m just one persona out of about 350 employees. In order to better understand all the individual personas at Blend, I recently started a listening tour. One of my favorite examples of Blend’s employee-led culture are the groups that have organically formed around shared interests and hobbies. We officially and affectionately call these Blubs (Blend clubs like Blub-Burgers, Blub-Yoga, Blub-DIY, Blub-Rockclimbing)! Some blubs are about shared passions, some are about fandom, and some cultivate hobbies. What they all share, is the power to bring people together regardless of their role or place in the org. Each approved Blub receives a quarterly allowance to pursue its passion. Monitoring employee satisfaction is one of the ways we benchmark success. Because we’re a data-driven company, we love tools that help us aggregate feedback from all over the organization in a light-touch, yet high volume way. One of these tools is called Officevibe, which allows us to do a bi-weekly pulse survey to understand what’s on our employees’ minds. We receive valuable quantitative data, but it’s in the qualitative comments where we take action. All of the anonymous (or not) comments go into a Slack channel with our leadership team so they can take action and create positive change at Blend. How do you create an employee experience that meets the needs and expectations of so many different people? Amanda: The listening tour I started and the information I’ve pulled from Officevibe data really helps with understanding the unique individuals that make-up Blend’s culture. I’ve learned that even if an employee never attends a yoga class, they love knowing that we offer this type of class and that their colleagues are benefiting from the class. I love all of our programmings, but it’s the Blubs that create the most inclusive environment and meet the needs and passions of so many different types of employees. One of Blend’s core principles is around iteration. This allows me to test different programs and events in our office to see what sticks. For example, earlier this year we rolled out Third Thursday Social Hour. They started out small but then we started offering other Blend groups to “takeover” they were a huge hit! It showed how strong our employee-led culture is. We recently hosted a Blub Fair where our Employee Resource Groups did a Third Thursday panel and ice cream social and our employees learned about the various clubs. Why do you invest so much time in the onboarding of your new hires? How do you connect it with employee experience? Amanda: We want our new hires to feel inspired and excited that they made the choice to join Blend. People Operations, Facilities, IT, and Employee Experience make-up our day-one onboarding. We strive to give our new hires all of the essential day-one information and tools that allow them to focus on learning and connecting. Since I run Employee Experience at Blend, I touch on their upcoming meetings and events, Slack, employee recognition, and engagement. I love to tell our new hires that life is short, we are working really hard here to push forward an incredible product, and my team is here to surprise, delight, and make employees’ lives a little better. During a new hire’s first month they attend Blend University, which is a 3-day onboarding program that digs deep into each department. Ryan Giordano, Organizational Effectiveness Manager, created Blend University with the goal to further new hires’ connection to one another, expand their knowledge about Blend, and inspire them about the mission we’re all a part of.How do you get leadership and management to care about employee satisfaction and engagement? Amanda: Our leadership team is passionate about growth and development, internal movement, and recognizing good work. There are many ways our employees can be recognized, from daily gratitude cards to shout-outs in our #gratitude Slack channel, to the CEO award (which is a gold replica of Bailey, our CEO’s dog, considered to be the highest level award at Blend). Additionally, we have ‘Pass the Pizza’ and ‘Pass the Blender’, which happen at our monthly All Hands. These peer-to-peer recognition awards have created a sense of pride and community at Blend. Pass the Pizza is an award for a cultural moment and Pass the Blend is for cross-collaboration. We pass a gold spray painted pizza box and a toy blender and each winner receives a hat with a pizza or blender patch. It’s a lot of fun and something that’s completely unique to the Blend culture. These peer-to-peer awards don’t require a nomination process but they do inspire heart-warming speeches and pretty cool swag. Quarterly, we do a our much-anticipated Golden Dew awards which are nomination based, endorsed by managers, and announced by our CEO at our All-Hands. We spray paint Diet Mt. Dew cans (our CEO’s beverage of choice) and award them to people whose recent work reflects our five principles. How do you make sure remote employees feel included in the employee experience? Amanda: Being inclusive of remote employees is always on our mind. In addition to investing a lot into making our NYC office a unique extension of our SF HQ, we send swag to our remote employees, Zoom everyone into our All-Hands and important meetings, and plan bi-coastal events when it makes sense. What do you see as the future of employee experience? Amanda: The human element of Employee Experience is so important, but I think survey tools and data will continue to drive change in the industry. The more we understand, the better we can address the needs of all employees. The importance of employee buy-in and employee-led culture are crucial to ensuring traditions stick. I do believe that wellness will be a bigger trend in 2019 and future years-- we’re figuring out how to trigger employee’s to live a healthy life that will, in the end, drive happiness and productivity. Why not try an onboarding and HRIS solution, like Sapling, and discover the red-carpet employee experience for yourself? <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Nov 19, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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HRIS

The #1 Reason Employees Don't Adopt New HR Solutions

The HR solution selection process usually follows a standard pattern.Our HR leader defines a problem, like low employee engagement or inefficient operations. They know HR solutions exist to address their particular challenges, so they make a list and vet the options based on functionality, price, and support. After carefully considering their options and reading copious number of reviews, our HR leader chooses a solution. They carefully plan milestones for adoption, create ROI calculations and then roll out the HR solution to the entire company. Then none of the employees use it. Or they use it, but only after complaining about how much they dislike it. Now, our HR leader has two choices neither of which are very appealing: migrate to another HR solution or stick with a solution no one likes. What went wrong with this story? Our HR Leaders was methodical and pragmatic and they did their research. The problem was they forgot to consider what it would be like for the majority of people to actually use the solution they chose. Despite best intentions, our HR leader didn’t factor in the importance of usability. What is usability? Usability refers to how easy it is to access or use a software solution or website. To have high usability, the software’s design has to meet three standards: 1. It should be easy for people to become familiar with the first time they use it.A well-designed HR solution allows a new hire to work through the series of steps required in the onboarding sequence quickly. Being able to rapidly complete small tasks in a longer process is a surefire way to tell if something has high usability.2. It should be simple for people to achieve their objective using the technology.Returning to our onboarding example, if your new hire’s goal is to complete legal documents and create their company profile, the HR solution should provide them with the easiest possible series of steps to do so. 3. It should be easy to recall the software design and how to use it. Once your new team member finishes the initial onboarding process, they should be able to easily recall how to navigate the HR solution and find what their looking for — like the org chart or their onboarding buddy.Why usability matters now For a long time, HR technology wasn’t user friendly. Companies thought that if they developed a piece of technology that had a lot of features, people would use because it helped them do their jobs. And for a long time, people tolerated HR solutions that were loaded with features but was a nightmare to use. Employees lived with the status quo, because they had no other choice. But then things started to change. The iPhone (among other technologies) arrived and transformed the way people thought about usability. Suddenly, everyone had a highly usable piece of technology at their fingertips and they began to wonder why their technology at work couldn’t function the same way. Companies also began to realize that if they built for usable software, their employees, i.e., the people who had to use the software, would be happier and more productive. Output would rise, and employee retention would increase. This trend really gained momentum in the last 10 to 15 years, and now employees expect their HR solutions to match the high levels of usability they find in technology outside of work. How to select a product with good usability When you’re trying to gauge whether a design is usable or not, there’s only one thing you need to do: ask the people who are going to use the software. Usability can be relative, so giving people a first-hand experience with the HR solution is the only way to truly know what they’ll think about it. Here’s what you need to do: Survey the employees who will use the solution and find out what their biggest challenges are with their current setup. Keep those challenges in mind as you narrow the number of HR solutions down. Invite several employees to trial each of the HR solutions you’re considering and get their feedback. This process is pretty straightforward, and it will save you a ton of headaches in the future. Usability can be overlooked when evaluating different HR solutions, but it’s never been more important for employee engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction. If you’re looking for a new HR solution — perhaps that one system that could completely modernize your onboarding and HRIS operations — remember to look at more than just features, integrations, and pricing. Be sure to consider the ease of use. And most of all, include some of the people who will use the software on a day-to-day basis in the research process.Sapling’s Onboarding and HRIS platform helps mid-sized companies automate and elevate their employee experience, with deep integrations across all the Google G Suite applications your team already knows and loves.

Posted on 
Nov 1, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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HRIS

4 Requests a PTO Tracker Will Help You Manage

If you’ve managed a workplace time-off program before, then you know how overwhelming it can be tracking the incoming and outgoing requests that are received in a variety of ways. Maybe someone asked you in person, or over an email, or on a paper PTO request. The whole process can become mind-boggling and get out of hand quicklyPlus, there’s the looming risk that any overlooked or non-compliant PTO mistakes could cost your company thousands of dollars in lost time and legal fees. Good news! You can rein in all the PTO requests and approvals and manage the comings and goings of your employees with a PTO tracker which is an HR Automation software. The ease of mind of a PTO tracker is it’s your business’ one standardized method for managing and tracking PTO, so you don’t have to deal with non-compliant requests ever again. Bonus! The self-service portal in PTO trackers is intuitive and informative which means the incoming PTO questions that you’re fielding regularly will decrease significantly. Here are the four most common PTO questions that you’ll (hopefully) hear less from your team: 1. “Have I accrued the PTO time I need for my leave?” If your PTO tracker is integrated with your HRIS, it’s easy for employees to track their own PTO accrual in the self-service platform. A PTO tracker with an employee self-service function gives employees the option to view their real-time PTO status. Employees can see for themselves how much unused PTO time they have available, wait periods for new hires, and the maximum PTO accrual balances. The accrual tiers within a PTO Tracker can vary by length of employment, by a specific department, job function or title. With a PTO tracker, the manual work factoring that in before you inform someone of their accrued PTO is gone.2. “What can I use my PTO for?”Some types of leaves can be complex and difficult for employees to understand.Additionally, policies can vary depending on particular states regulations or regional office policies. Fear not, PTO trackers can be customized and automated, so the PTO process for employees is consistent no matter where they’re located! Some of the reasons for PTO leave can range from sick leave to personal, to maternity, family leave, regular vacations and more. In a PTO tracker, an employee can login and see for themselves which leave policy their PTO falls under and as an added precaution, there is a helpful comment section for anyone submitting to clarify what the PTO will be used for.Making the PTO leave use cases clear in their portal empowers your employees to confidently request PTO by themselves.3. “How do I submit my PTO request?”A PTO tracker self-service portal is designed so employees can intuitively login and request time and the type of time off, off hassle-free. Then the PTO tracker routes the request and all significant employee details to the identified request approver, who may be the manager, department head or the HR business partner. This seamless routing of the request eliminates mistakes in communication, missed email messages, lost requests and illegible paper forms. It also makes your people ops team more data-driven.4. “How do I know if my PTO request is approved?”Managers and HR Teams can easily access and report on time off requests so they can anticipate and plan accordingly for the leave. Once they’ve decided if the request is approved or denied, the PTO tracker will send a notice of the decision back to the employee. Your PTO tracker will decrease your workload and frustration. It will add time to your day and increase your employee satisfaction. Best of all, all that important employee information is tracked and will give you valuable insights into your employees’ self-care and well being. So all that time saved answering those same, repetitive questions you can spend helping you to keep your team as happy and productive as possible. <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>Sapling’s Onboarding and HRIS platform helps mid-sized companies automate and elevate their employee experience, with deep integrations across all the Google G Suite applications your team already knows and loves.

Posted on 
Oct 25, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Announcements

Sapling named a High Performer in G2 Crowd's 2018 Fall Report

We’re honored to announce that thanks to Sapling’s consistently positive customer reviews and user satisfaction scores, we’ve earned a spot on G2Crowd’s “Fall 2018 High Performers” list.This award is selected based on the reviews received from our wonderful customers. Special “thank you!” to each of you for taking the time to share these reviews and ratings - we’re humbled by your partnership and thoughtful feedback. Sapling’s leadership as a High Performer was primarily driven by our high customer satisfaction scores from user reviews, where an incredible 100% of users rated Sapling 4 or 5 stars! Here’s what Michael Fauscette, Chief Research Officer at G2 Crowd has to say: “Rankings on G2 Crowd reports are based on data provided to us by real users. We are excited to share the achievements of the products ranked on our site because they represent the voice of the user and offer terrific insights to potential buyers around the world.” One customer described Sapling’s solution as “the best onboarding experience ever.” The review went on to say, “The sheer fact that there is an application to help organize all the onboard requirements for a company is brilliant. I haven't experienced such an easy onboarding process in my life.”Another customer mentions: “[Sapling is a] very user-friendly experience, all the information I needed was available to me on Day 1 of my new job. Sapling provides a streamlined approach to onboarding new employees and saves time and confusion along the way.”Final thoughts When teams partner with Sapling, they’re getting more than a world-class onboarding or HRIS platform — they’re getting access to our mission-driven and customer-centric team, whose dedication and passion extends well beyond product tutorials and technical support. For Sapling’s customers, this is probably old news to you. If you’re not, check out how Lori Meeks, Senior Talent Business Partner, describes her experience: "Sapling is setting the bar for HR technology and I cannot think of another HR tech platform where I’ve accomplished and developed the environment we dreamed of." Thank you again to our incredible customers for the recognition. These reviews on G2Crowd are a great starting point if you’re evaluating Sapling’s Onboarding or HRIS platform, but we'd encourage you to take advantage of a free, and personalized, product tour or trial to see how Sapling could best support your team. If you'd like to learn how Sapling's Onboarding or HRIS can accelerate your team's productivity, reach out for a demo or free trial.Sapling’s Onboarding and HRIS platform helps mid-sized companies automate and elevate their employee experience, with deep integrations across all the Google G Suite applications your team already knows and loves.

Posted on 
Oct 17, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Announcements

Announcing our Customer + Partner API

This week Sapling launched our customer-facing API — a powerful new way to empower People Operations, Finance and other teams to find, report and integrate Sapling data with virtually any dashboard or applicationWhat does Sapling's API do? Sapling’s API will help customers solve specialized use cases and business challenges and will unlock a new level of accessibility by allowing other software vendors that partner with Sapling to deliver a streamlined and data-connected employee experience. The API includes all users and profile fields. Here are a few of the use cases of this new feature:Perform a deeper analysis of your data. Extract employee data and enhance, manipulate, or combine it with information from other sources. Integrate Sapling data to your own company dashboarding tool. You can incorporate your data into existing reports or create new ones entirely. Whether it’s a collaboration hub, or a reporting tool like Looker, it can all happen with the API. Empower your IT team with the right HR data. They can find employee data, manage permissions and understand role changes to ensure the right technology and security is in place. There are no limits to what you decide to do with the new API, it is really up to your imagination. How SafetyCulture used the API for diversity goals SafetyCulture is a global technology company on a mission to help companies achieve safer and higher quality workplaces through innovative, low-cost mobile first products. With almost 300 employees located across four offices internationally, SafetyCulture partnered with Sapling in May 2017 to power their employee experience programs, from onboarding to offboarding. As a Beta Customer of Sapling’s API, they’ve been leveraging the API to gather, analyze and report on their people data, which previously was scattered across multiple systems with sometimes inaccurate data that was hard to access. Through Sapling’s API, SafetyCulture has built real-time analytics dashboards on employee starts and terminations, diversity and inclusion, and location growth by headcount. Nick Ingall, SafetyCulture’s Head of People Culture, highlighted how transformative Sapling’s API has already been for the People and Executive Team. “Data visualizations are incredibly important for our People team. Sapling’s API has helped us to communicate more effectively across the organization and with our leadership team, on our People team’s goal of building high performance teams.”We're just getting started! We're committed to having Sapling work well with the other services you already use and providing a powerful HR platform for high growth and global customers. We're excited to get your feedback on our current API, and to continue your partnership as we build additional functionality in the future. Contact us to learn more about what makes Sapling's API unique and how to get started. <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>Sapling’s Onboarding and HRIS platform helps mid-sized companies automate and elevate their employee experience, with deep integrations across all the Google G Suite applications your team already knows and loves.

Posted on 
Oct 9, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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HRIS

4 non-obvious benefits of an Org Chart software

We commonly see customers leveraging their Sapling Org Chart in novel ways, and wanted to share 4 non-obvious benefits that purpose-built Org Chart software can create for your team overnight. New Hire Onboarding An org chart is a handy resource for new employees, helping them to navigate the maze of faces and names they’ll encounter during their first few weeks. You can either include a link to the org chart in your new hire orientation materials or, purpose-built software like Sapling it can be found in the onboarding portal. Employee photos, along with bios or personal profiles can make the org chart practical and interesting.Communication and CollaborationToday’s interactive org chart makes it easier to find more than just a name or department listing. It can be filled with photos, titles and contact information. You can really leverage an org chart to be a vital tool for helping employees feel connected to each other. Organic search functions let employees easily search by name to identify co-workers for project-based partnerships or for answers to their questions.Enhance the Employee ExperienceMany org charts, have self-service features which allow employees to manage and update their contact information. They can opt to add personal details such as hobbies or favorite local hangouts. Co-workers can view more about each other and bond over similar interests through such user-friendly org chart features. Employees will more readily use an org chart that has useful information that is easy to use and accessible.Planning and BudgetingDon’t hesitate to utilize the org chart as a planning tool to help leadership manage change and growth. It’s useful for budget projections and resource planning and can visually map out teams and individual roles or responsibilities. Allowing you and your People Ops team to identify resource gaps or managers with too many direct reports and other misalignments. It can also show you which teams or individuals can potentially take on new projects based on their current responsibilities or skillset. Your company’s growth often means that roles shift as you manage new hires, promotions and departures. You can make instant updates throughout the employee lifetime with a real-time org chart, so that everyone can trust they are getting up-to-date information and an accurate view of the company. An org chart can be an effective tool for showing how your company works. It can make workforce planning easier, clarify the role each person plays and strengthen your company’s culture and employee engagement. Want to learn more about how else an org change can enhance engagement and performance in your teams? Schedule a demo with Sapling below: <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>Sapling is an onboarding and HRIS platform for high-growth global teams. Facilitate data driven decisions, streamline and automate HR processes, and elevate your org's employee experience so you can refocus from people admin to people strategy by connecting the tools you are already using everyday in one place with Sapling.

Posted on 
Sep 27, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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People Operations

10 Blogs to Make you a Better HR Leader

People Operations is going through a transformation and there’s a wealth of information available to help us cross the chasm from an Administrative to Strategic-focused function, though at times it can be overwhelming to find a strong signalnoise ratio.To support our community becoming better and more innovative HR leaders, we syndicated a list of some of Sapling’s favorite HR blogs. We hope you enjoy this non-exclusive list as much as we do!Culture AmpCulture Amp writes for people operations teams that want to understand and act on employee feedback. Topics on their blog range from gender diversity, to the science of motivation, to keeping older generations engaged at work. It’s also one of our favorite communities to be a part of! We recommend: How to Use Company Culture as a Competitive Advantage The Talent Innovation BlogFor content around recruiting strategies look no further than Lever’s blog. It’s a great hub of fresh insights on recruiting strategies and processes as well as hiring best practices. We recommend: 13 Quick Tips to Get More Employee Referrals The People Ops CollectiveWith a new blog added every week, Sapling’s content offers modern best practices on a variety of HR topics including culture, employee engagement, HR software, training and onboarding programs. We recommend: 8 Ways to Cope with a 1 Person HR Team LatticeLattice’s blog is one to check out for resources on performance management. They also host an awesome interview series where industry leaders discuss how they approach people challenges that we highly encourage you check out. We recommend: How the Performance Review Impacts Your Bottom Line (and How to Make Them Better). 15Five15Five’s blog focuses on leadership, company culture, and team productivity practices that will help to bring out the best in your people at work. It’s an award-winning blog with more than 350 posts for you to consume (and you’ll want to)! We recommend: Viewing Generational Differences Through A Cross-Cultural Lens to Effectively Manage Millennials. BlueboardIf your HR team is looking for tips and best practices around employee recognition then make Blueboard’s blog your go-to resource. Their blog will teach you how to craft an innovative recognition program. We recommend: In Your Own Words: The 5 Languages of Employee Appreciation. BonuslyBonusly’s blog is another resource that will help revolutionize your recognition program. Every couple weeks the Bonusly blog publishes easy digestible insights and tips on leadership, organizational culture, and employee recognition. We recommend: Why Employee Recognition is Crucial to Inclusion. TINYpulseA powerhouse in the HR blog community, TINYpulse’s blog focuses on organizational culture with interviews, research and guides for HR practitioners across a wide spectrum. We recommend: 10 Reasons for High Turnover Rates. WorkologyFormerly known as Blogging4Jobs, Workology offers an unconventional view of the HR trends and human capital landscape. There’s a little bit of everything on their blog and they even break down their content depending on where their readers are on their professional lifecycle. We recommend: Wherever We Go, There We ARe: Tops for Effective Team Communication.Talent CultureThe Talent Culture blog offers several opportunities to contribute to conversations on career strategies, recruiting, HR leadership, talent management and HR training. If you’d like to get your voice out there and get involved in the conversation then Talent Culture is the blog for you. We recommend: Dos and Don’ts for Buying HR Software. Ultimately, there are blogs out there that didn’t get included in our list this time around. What blog do you read faithfully to continue developing your skills?Sapling’s Onboarding and HRIS platform helps mid-sized companies automate and elevate their employee experience, with deep integrations across all the Google G Suite applications your team already knows and loves.

Posted on 
Aug 29, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Culture & Engagement

How to Successfully Build a Unified Team During Global Growth Q+A

Yesterday we had a productive webinar talking about How to Successfully Build a Unified Team During Global Growth. It was great to receive such positive and immediate feedback on the topic from the audience. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to address these questions during the webinar so we’ve captured the information for everyone below (as well as posted a recording of the webinar). Q : How do you avoid the ‘us/them’ effect when hiring employees in different countries? What do you do for people to actually like a part of one team? A: Maintaining a level playing field across continents is a unique problem to organizations experiencing global growth. Be open & explain the differences.There are very likely laws that will necessitate differences with employees in different countries but if HR makes that transparent - meaning ‘inform’ all employees as to the why they will likely understand and not feel like a group is given preferential treatment. If, for example, if a cultural difference allows individuals abroad to leave the office at 3pm local time explain to the U.S. counterparts that this is cultural and those employees come back to work at 7pm or on Saturday and truly carry the same load as those working in U.S offices. Be deliberate & reframe the notion of ‘team’ events.Creating a team with individuals who are geographically displaced is a challenge many organizations face. Organizations with a portion of their workforce working remotely will also face the challenges of creating a team with everyone. A few suggestions: 1) Get rid of the notion that ‘team’ means we all have to be physically located in the same conference room and let that drive your planning of team events; 2) as an HR team determine how specific events can be developed where the individuals who live in another country are able to meet together and then lifestream it to the rest of the organization; and 3) Pair/Group (depending on the number of employees are abroad) employees by business practice, job duties or personality to participate together in regular team activities. Encourage them to have frequent communication and provide them an online vehicle (i.e. Slack, Asana, Live Chat) for these pairs/groups to easily communicate with each other and develop the rapport necessary to develop a team. It will be evident when you have organization-wide events what pairs/teams have spent time working together by how successful they are in understanding each other. Q : How do you get companies to recognize the importance of travel? We have engineering teams split across three different U.S. time zones. A: Sometimes it takes a failure of a project or portion of a project for an organization to realize the value of allowing a dispersed team to travel to work together. Share a project fail and how it impacted the bigger project, include the financial cost and show the loss compared to the cost of a trip to work at the same place. Be sure to include losses that aren’t as tangible such as those of in time/progress on the project, momentum and trust/synergy between team members. Don’t expect the result to be approved weekly travel from an organization resistant to an annual trip. In your proposed plan include the daily use of technology (i.e. Slack, Asana, Live Chat) and video/live streams to illustrate your understanding of the high financial cost of physical meetings for a team. Show the proposed value that could be reflect in not only meeting a project deadline but finishing ahead of time and going into beta-testing early. Q How can we build rituals? Would you start them during onboarding or is it something that develops over time?A: This really speaks to the intersection of training and organizational culture. Rituals can be events that are carefully orchestrated (during onboarding) and reinforced on a day-to-day basis. However, rituals can be elements that have evolved over the life of the organization. Either way rituals fit into your organizational culture it’s important they are healthy & productive for employees, teams and the mission/vision. It’s important to introduce these rituals in the onboarding process so new employees are aware of them; include them in in-house training opportunities and most importantly daily practice. Make sure the HR team is acutely aware of them and models these rituals for all employees. Repetition and buy-in from the teams will allow the rituals longevity. Q What are ways you’ve tackled getting leadership buy-in especially as it comes to communication? (Since this can be an ambiguous concept to leadership teams.) A: Leadership buy-in is an essential building block of HR success whether or not the organization is experiencing global growth. Providing data or a narrative to leadership about times when there was a lack of communication and how much the organization lost (i.e. time, money, trust, loyalty, sales) is a great way to start this dialogue. Show several tangible ways communication can improve the pain points of the organization will be embraced by a solid leadership team. Most of the time leadership knows communication needs to be improved but it too busy working on strategic partnerships, new product launch plans or other high-level items to determine how it can be improved. Q: What do you recommend doing to be creative in an international non-profit where we don’t have the capital start-ups do so we can build team culture? (I came from the tech world so I’m used to leveraging capital to facilitate global team travel.) A: The fact is, many small to mid-sized organizations have limited team travel budgets. Being creative with the resources you have is key as is working to embrace the organization’s mission. In an international non-profit there likely should be a creative focus on development (financial and human) than may need to be in a start-up (which may already be funded). It sounds like global team travel hasn’t been the norm in your new organization - research how that impacted the annual development revenue and the employee turnover. Both are undoubtedly top goals where results can sustain and even grow a non-profit and enable its mission/vision to expand in a shorter than expected time period. After you find out the historical data you should be able to make a case for targeted global team travel around the capital campaign efforts, for example. Q: If you’re an organization that’s been primarily in a single market but are ‘going global’ how do you bring everyone along? A: A shift like this is one of epic proportions and needs to be taken slowly to bring the organization (i.e. people, projects) along intact. Strategic planning should include open dialogue about the intended purpose with no just managers but those on the frontlines. Getting input from everyone will strengthen the strategic plan and allow the Leadership team to gain valuable insight from all levels and departments they may have overlooked.Thanks to our audience for sending in such thoughtful questions. You can watch the rest of the webinar here. Sapling’s Onboarding and HRIS platform helps mid-sized companies automate and elevate their employee experience, with deep integrations across all the Google G Suite applications your team already knows and loves.

Posted on 
Aug 22, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Culture & Engagement

Employees on the Brink: What’s their breaking Point?

We all wish for employees who wake up in the morning saying “Wow, I get to go to work today!” Unfortunately, most employees aren’t at all excited about their current work situation. In fact, it’s possible that many of your employees are on the verge of walking away from their jobs. According to the Faas Foundation and Mental Health America, their 2017 survey of 17,000 U.S. Workers across 19 industries showed that 71 percent of employees were unhappy with their current jobs and seeking a change. “About half of today’s employees will hit their breaking point in 2018,” states Dave Wright, ServiceNow’s Chief Strategy Officer. He adds, “Employees feel like they are burning the candle at both ends. In fact, 46% said they will need greater workplace efficiencies in 2018 just to get their jobs done.”What are the main factors pushing today’s employees to their breaking point, and what can you do to reduce your company’s talent exodus? Workplace Stress Workplace stress can push employees to their breaking point, causing them to become frustrated and quit their jobs. Long term and acute stress may have a negative effect on your employees, leaving them more susceptible to both mental and physical illness. This can result in more missed work days, project delays and missed deadlines. Stress has become a recognized and serious occupational health and safety hazard and a significant concern for employers, labor unions and government regulators. An employee file for stress leave and obtain benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act, with proof of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her job and appropriate treatment from a medical provider. Workplace stress is one of the major breaking points for employees. Key factors impacting employee stress may be increased workloads or work expectations, additional responsibilities without increased compensation, difficult co-worker relationships, and inept or insensitive management. Stress can impact an employee’s ability to perform at their best and to have a sense of integration and inclusion in their company. Stress at work is not a uniquely U.S. problem. A worldwide survey conducted by Cigna, revealed that New Zealand and the United Kingdom tie for 4th place for unmanageable stress. “Eighty-three percent of Kiwis says they suffer from stress and a third say work is the cause,” states Newshub writer Wilhelmina Shrimpton. “Fifty-eight per cent of Canadians report feeling overworked,” reveals Arturo Gallo, content manager at Monster Canada.” He also states, “out of those people, nearly one-third say their workload is their main cause of stress.” "As we know, stress comes in all shapes and sizes at work," says Angela Payne, General Manager for Monster Canada. "To avoid the possibility of employees seeking greener pastures elsewhere, when possible, employers should consider taking steps to establish more sustainable workloads for employees, and consider employee engagement programs that keep motivation high during busy times." Lack of Recognition and Workplace Perks Employees may reach their breaking point more quickly when they don’t feel the love. Workers are struggling for appreciation and recognition for a job well done. The majority of employees surveyed for the 2017 Mind the Workplace report said that they don’t get sufficient recognition from their companies. 45 percent of those responding felt that they “rarely or never” received the compensation they deserved. 44 percent believed they were “always or often” unfairly passed over for recognition, and 77 percent said that co-workers were being unfairly recognized over others with better experience or skills. The lack of employee-friendly workplace perks can be another tipping point for employees. In addition to the benefits typically offered by companies, the lack of workplace perks can have a major impact on employee experiences and opinions about their workplace. Companies which offer the increased autonomy of flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting, flexible work hours, open-door management policies and training opportunities for professional growth may have employees who feel more in control of their work experience, and less likely to leave for greener pastures. Workplace wellness research has established that employers with successful employee recognition and reward programs are more likely to have higher scores on employee engagement. “No one wants to feel like they’re slaving away and no one is noticing. Let employees know that you’re aware and appreciative of their work. To reduce turnover, let your employees know that you value them as a part of your team, that they play a role in your success and that you are grateful for the contributions they make. Employers with great employee recognition programs are also more likely to have higher performing employees and to foster a greater level of employee tenure and company stability. “We know that employees who are overstressed and under-supported can significantly impact the people around them and a company’s success,” states Paul Gionfriddo, president and chief executive of Mental Health America Compensation While compensation is not always the biggest reason why employees reach their breaking point, it certainly plays a role. An unhappy employee may reason, “I’m stressed out and I’m not paid enough for what all that I do,” or “my manager doesn’t recognize my value and I don’t get paid what I should.” In addition to compensating employees at a fair market value for their positions, companies should consider weighing in the value of industry-specific “hot skills” and the merits of advanced experience or training. Salary increases can also be aligned according to tangible and demonstrable performance metrics having been met or exceeded. Offering incentive or bonus pay for taking on or successfully completing special projects is another way to tie compensation to performance. This can ensure that team members are adequately recognized, and that no one employee feels overlooked for their contribution to the team’s success. Focusing on employee recognition and retention efforts will pay off in the long run and is far more cost-effective than recruiting and on-boarding new talent in today’s competitive market. Regular employee engagement surveys, performance evaluations, exit interviews and an open-door policy can help your company to keep a finger on the pulse of the employee experience. Early intervention and recognition of the signs of burnout, stress or building frustration, can help keep your employees from reaching their breaking point.Sapling’s Onboarding and HRIS platform helps mid-sized companies automate and elevate their employee experience, with deep integrations across all the Google G Suite applications your team already knows and loves.

Posted on 
Aug 21, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Employee Experience

4 Ways to Extract ROI from the Employee Experience

Companies have traditionally focused on “culture” as the driving force to improve employee satisfaction scores. As we look to the future, companies are recognizing that culture is just one aspect of the overall employee experience. Companies hoping to extract useful information and ROI from their employee surveys should also look at other factors, including the technological and physical environments that make up the employee experience, and the availability of information regarding the company’s goals and initiatives.The employee experience reflects the bonds employees have with their coworkers, managers, leaders and to the overall mission of their company. Forward-thinking companies are beginning to view the employee experience with a comprehensive approach and are placing more emphasis on increased employee self-direction, development and relationships. Employees are learning more about how their work directly impacts and aligns with the goals and mission of the company. Within this innovative methodology, the employee experience means that employees feel supported in pursuing work-life balance and can make autonomous decisions about how their work is accomplished. They confidently seek out and master new skills and can visualize their careers progressing within the company. Most companies do not know how to optimize their employee experience. According to a 2015 Gallup Poll, only 32% of U.S. employees felt engaged – involved in, passionate about and dedicated to their work. The cost to American businesses in lost productivity from disengaged employees amounts to about 500 billion dollars. Worldwide figures show an even bleaker picture. Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace report found that 85% of employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged while at work. A 2012 case study by the Center for American Progress found that businesses spend about one-fifth of an employee’s annual salary to replace that worker.The ideal way for a company to create an excellent ROI on their employee experience, would be to first attract, then successfully hire and retain top talent. This opens several avenues for evaluating the employee experience, from the hiring process all the way through retirement. Here are 4 specific areas where companies can measure their ROI while improving the employee experience.1. Invest in An Effective Onboarding ProgramThere are 3 distinct phases in the employee onboarding process – prior to their first day, during their first few weeks, and beyond their first months in the company. People Operations can team with the hiring manager and others to ensure that the new employee feels welcomed and has a smooth transition from orientation to their desk. Ensuring that all paperwork has been completed prior to their first day, allows the employee to move directly into productive work. A welcome package filled with company swag, notes from across the leadership team, an arranged tour of the building, lists important phone extensions, safety and parking information, are all ways to show the new hire that they are valued. Having equipment and systems up and running, a designated office or desk ready with supplies, office keys and other logistical necessities are great for getting new hires on their feet quickly. Managers can carve out time for one-on-one and team meetings with the new employee, to discuss expectations, provide job-related information, to build relationships and to bring the employee up to speed on the company, culture and team dynamics. Products like Sapling, for example, were designed to help HR Managers at mid-sized companies automate and elevate their employee experience with the onboarding. The employee’s first week is a crucial time to keep new hires excited and engaged while they learn the ropes and focus on integrating with their team. This is a great time for in-person workshops on culture and mission, team building exercises, and discussions on how the employee’s role impacts and enhances the company. There are several options for extracting ROI in the onboarding process, including an end-of-orientation survey, a week 1 check-in call between HR and the new employee, a 30-day email survey, and a 90-day evaluation or in-person check in with the manager.2. Create Effective Working EnvironmentsThe physical work environment can drive and affect culture, increase or decrease morale, inspire or kill productivity, and encourage or discourage teamwork, and collaboration. These are all characteristics which impact employee engagement. Are your company’s workspaces promoting these important aspects of a positive employee experience? The ideal workspace would balance collaborative and community spaces with areas for individual work and quiet focus. Does the sales team meet regularly with product development? Teams which frequently collaborate with each other should work near one another, enabling them to develop strong connections. A good first step to increasing ROI is to build an effective office environment which balances group collaboration spaces with private offices for individual focus. An attractive work environment, along with an opportunity to choose where to work is key as well, as discussed in a previous Sapling HR blog on the employee experience.3. Provide Great Tech and ToolsThe availability of effective technology and useful tools significantly impacts the employee experience. Great tech is employee centric and user friendly, simple to use and integrates easily into the employee’s workflow. Tech in the workplace should solve practical and important problems, not create additional work, or cause employees to duplicate their efforts. Great tech and tools are adaptable and can integrate with vital systems, to eliminate data entry and possible human error. These tools should be evaluated regularly and have the capability to change or grow to keep pace with evolving business demands. Ensuring that great tech is readily available to employees is one way to increase ROI. A critical review of your company’s systems and tools will determine if your tech is effectively solving problems. One measure of effectiveness is whether your employees have integrated the tech and tools into their workflow. What is the adoption rate and how many employees are regularly using the resource? 4. Share Company Information with EmployeesEmployees feel more engaged when they can see the impact that their work has on the company’s mission and goals. According to a 2016 Robert Half Management Resources survey, employees want more information about how their own work contributes to the company's bottom line. Over half of those polled, said they want a better understanding of how their work helped the company.Companies can devote more time and resources to communicating their direction to employees at every level of the organization. One good way is by sharing financials, new customer initiatives, and company successes during monthly or quarterly all-hands meetings. Companies can also post leadership media interviews, press releases and targeted goal check-ins on internal websites, and encourage employees to comment and provide feedback. Helping your employees to understand the impact of their work can give them a sense of belonging and purpose, ultimately driving engagement, boosting performance and increasing ROI. Once an employee has successfully settled into their role and has become familiar with the company, you can continue to measure ROI through bi-annual engagement surveys, pulse surveys and open forums, giving employees a venue for submitting questions and engaging in dialogues with leadership.Companies willing to consider these four approaches for extracting ROI on the employee experience can anticipate improvement in their overall employee satisfaction scores. Want to learn more about how extract ROI from the employee experience (and bonus how to extract ROI from the candidate experience)? Check out our webinar with Lever!Sapling’s Onboarding and HRIS platform helps mid-sized companies automate and elevate their employee experience, with deep integrations across all the Google G Suite applications your team already knows and loves.

Posted on 
Aug 17, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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HRIS

Implementing a New HRIS: 7 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Why get an HRIS? There are many ways to determine which HRIS is best for your organization. To learn more about the benefits of using an HRIS check out The Balance Careers which helps identify the HR functions that can be automated. Is your team ready to implement an HRIS? First, you need to do a basic cost-benefit analysis (what’s in your budget) and value proposition of adding a new HRIS this to your organization. You need to have a baseline of what you can spend and how it will benefit productivity on your team and the employees you serve. Once you have this cost-benefit analysis move onto the next step, determining what platform has the best features for your organizations needs. Getting recommendations from HR colleagues at similar-sized organizations is a great place to start. Finding out the ‘best of’ in the industry, such as from PC Magazine helps by giving a side-by-side comparison of these tools to help narrow the options that could be scaled for your organization. Mistake #1: Believing all HRIS are the same Don’t choose a new system simply because your HR colleague loves to use the application in her organization. Committing to an HRIS isn’t as simple as purchasing a grade schoolers back-to-school supplies. Create a comprehensive list of ‘must haves’ for an HRIS along with the user bandwidth necessary to make it effective and accessible for all employees. Find a system that will allow the organization to grow - for example, if your organization is 150 employees go with a system that allows for 500 users but choosing one for Unlimited users is unnecessary.Mistake #2: Thinking, "We don’t have the budget for a new HRIS" Make a case for the allocation of financial and training resources by including this in your cost/benefit analysis and work with your leadership team to show the value proposition of having a robust (for your organization) HRIS. Be sure to check employee feedback, frustration and pain points unrelated to performance and you’ll undoubtedly see it’s a lack of access to benefits information, timesheets, etc where the right HRIS can help. Review this HRIS toolkit developed with a grant from USAID to help you strengthen the HRIS system in your organization. Mistake #3: Hoping for a seamless roll-out because you have a great HR Team No matter how seasoned your HR team, this won’t be a quick and painless roll-out. There will be bumps in the road from training to implementation to user error. Make sure the HR team is well versed (via training, time to digest materials, hands-on practice) to ensure a seamless as possible roll-out. Mistake #4: Thinking all employees will embrace ‘improved’ access to benefits Face it most people don’t like change. Even those on the HR team may be uneasy with a new HRIS. Create a message that provides the value proposition for all employees as the organization moves to a new HRIS. This may seem like extra effort but having your team and employees embracing the change will make the roll-out easier. Do a short survey (like Survey Monkey, for example) to quickly allow you to identify concerns so you can determine how to alleviate misunderstandings, field questions/concerns and use as a springboard to an education and training plan for a successful roll-out. Mistake #5: Thinking it’s a waste of time to educate & train all employees pre-rollout Don't let employees wonder why the organization is investing (they will think it’s a waste of money and time) in a new HRIS. Be transparent with the value proposition for them! Hold an HR open house with light snacks and answer questions or host a brown-bag Lunch and Learn with a demo of the new system and show how it will benefit all employees. Hold different sessions to demo the product to the Leadership team and front-line managers tailoring each to provide instruction on the aspects that will be most beneficial to them in their position. Still notice convinced? Read what our Co-Founder and CEO Bart Macdonald said about 2018 trends and see the importance of training employees. Mistake #6: Relying too much on FAQs, and not preparing your HR Team to handle ‘fallout’ post implementation Even after months of preparation and internal training don’t assume your HR team is ready to handle the inevitable employee fallout post implementation. Provide targeted training for your team to ensure they are armed with an FAQ (tailored to your employees needs not one provided by the HRIS) and help them determine when they need to research a question or call the Vendor before getting back to an employee. Partner with the Vendor to ensure you have an open line of communication with their Help Desk folks to get those tougher not anticipated employee concerns addressed in a timely fashion. High level of employee satisfaction (including the HR team) will make any roll-out hiccups seem like they are speed-bumps and not craters in the road. Mistake #7: Thinking your HR team will immediately get it right There’s no doubt your HR team is the best, however, do frequent check-ins with them to ensure they aren’t overwhelmed. Empower them to contact the HRIS vendor (designate a point-person) to get questions answered so they can learn more about the platform and follow-up with employees. This rollout is bound to put additional stress on the team but with your support, encouragement and the tools to find out the answers it will go more smoothly. Don’t assume because they sat in the same training that you did that it answered all their questions. Test them before the roll-out and throughout. In the end there is no one-size fits all HRIS but with a keen eye on choosing the platform with the functions your organization needs and be realistic in education and training all employees from pre- to post implementation you can some avoid common mistakes. Choosing the right HRIS can go a long way towards higher employee retention. Sapling's HRIS feels like an all-in-one platform with none of the compromise. That's because we have powerful integrations that allows you to select the top tier of the products you love for the best possible employee experience. All while being supercharged around Google’s G Suite. That's our best of breed HRIS approach. Want to learn more? <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Aug 16, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Culture & Engagement

8 Ways to Cope with a 1 Person HR Team

A day in the life of a 1-person HR team can range from sourcing for candidates for an open position, to corrective action meetings to managing a barrage of employee questions about benefits open enrollment period. No two days in HR are the same because the department/function supports employees it ranges from day-to-day.There are countless ways an organization can cope with a small (in this case a 1-person) HR department. Identify which will work for your company based on HR functions most organizations regardless of size will run into: Talent Acquisition (sourcing/recruiting): Invest in recruiting accounts/platforms to assist with sourcing. Have managers partner in the process and review resumes (give them access to the platform so it’s their responsibility to find the candidates as they come in & review them). Empowering managers in other departments to take ownership of sourcing for their own positions will lighten the load for the person in HR and will give them the ability to find/interview the exact person they’d like for the position on their team. Onboarding (initial training/organizational culture): No matter the size of the HR team onboarding must occur. New hire orientation can be highly structured to a hands-off and done by the employees’ new team. Forget the formalized new employee orientation process with a 1-person HR team rather put folders together with benefits information, intranet access, getting a company email, directions to enter time. In doing this have an intern or someone who does administrative functions (i.e. a receptionist) help put the folders together. Tools like Sapling help streamline the onboarding process so your employee ramps up to productivity quicker. Employee Handbook: Hand-in-hand with onboarding is the Employee Handbook. It’s an essential component to set the expectation for employees and show the benefits/processes in place for a workplace that’s in compliance with state and federal laws. Outsourcing this could be beneficial for your HR team of one ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations surrounding employment law. Additional onboarding best practices can be found here on the Association for Talent Development, the premiere professional association for human resource professionals tasked with developing and retaining employees. Employee Relations: Use the company intranet (make sure to put everything online) which provides easy accessibility of the Employee Handbook, forms, links to employees so they do not need to call or stop by HR to access to this information. Not only will a dynamic intranet provide beneficial for the 1-person HR team but it can be easier for employees to access. Provide an online method for communication with an expected turnaround time of 24 hours or even a Live Chat function for HR to answer by the end of the day if HR may not be located on-site with the employees. Employee Morale: Often organizations think that employee morale is a luxury and one that should be put on the back burner especially given a 1-person HR team. A committee comprised of employees from all departments can be a part of a Morale Committee which is a great help to HR. This committee can brainstorm and implement tasks to improve employee morale, such as an employee recognition program, and the HR person does not need to be a part of the Committee. Entrepreneur provides other effective methods for boosting employee morale on a budget. Training & Career Development (task/job specific and over the life of the employee): The HR team should partner with Leaders (or just the President depending on the size of the organization) to empower them to provide career development opportunities for their employees. These plans can be a part of an annual review process and HR can provide a format to capture and track this information to assist the Leaders in providing meaningful development opportunities for their team. Provide/offer off-site training opportunities and have a process in place (form for employees to fill out to get permission to attend) so managers are able to handle this. Revisit our own blog about increasing bottom line of the business by focusing on employee development. While Jeni gives context in the timeline of onboarding I would argue that development is an ongoing process that extends beyond successful onboarding. Payroll: Outsourcing payroll has become a commonplace function to effect paychecks to employees ensuring the correct deductions are made. This also includes any garnishment received by HR in addition to local, state and federal taxes which are mandated. Even though your HR team will still have to manage an on-site payroll system (this can be automated for further ease) it will greatly reduce labor hours to have this function outsourced. Employee Performance (coaching, remediation and termination): Unfortunately between finding the best candidate, onboarding them and working with them on a day-to-day basis there can become performance issues that need to be formally remediated. In the case of a 1-person HR team the other managers must be empowered to drive this process. HR can have forms available for managers to initiate a process in-line with the written company process.Outsourcing, empowering other managers, leveraging online tools and partnering HR with other departments/leaders are essential to effectively coping with a 1-person HR team. Share a way you have coped with a 1-Person HR team or when you use some of these strategies and how they worked with your organization.Sapling’s Onboarding and HRIS platform helps mid-sized companies automate and elevate their employee experience, with deep integrations across all the Google G Suite applications your team already knows and loves

Posted on 
Aug 3, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Culture & Engagement

How to Weave Diversity and Inclusion into your Employer Brand

The employer brand is your company’s value proposition and reputation that current and prospective employees use to evaluate whether or not your company is an attractive place to work. Shaping the employer brand around diversity and inclusion is a business-critical journey and the right thing to do for your people and community. Leaders in the people ops space, Eric Carter (previously People Partner Diversity and Inclusion at Planet), Albrey Brown (Senior Program Manager, Diversity and Inclusion at Pivotal Software, Inc.), Steven Huang (Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Culture Amp), Lisa Holden (Senior Manager Public Relations at Entelo), and Natalie Simmons (Diversity and Inclusion at Zendesk) addressed, “Exploring how to Weave Diversity and Inclusion into your Employer Brand” in a panel moderated by Sapling’s CEO, Bart Macdonald. We compiled the discussion’s key takeaways and our panelists’ insights on the best practices and challenges they experience. BM: When it comes to inclusion, how do you foster an environment where people who come from different backgrounds know you value their ideas? SH: One thing thing we do, because we have quotas, targets, etc. We tell every new hire, regardless of background, that we have really high standards and we expect you to make them. We are going hold each team member to the same standard as everyone else. We find that in the first month that, because we values everyone’s ideas, we expect them to figure it out and to do whatever it takes to get stuff done. NS: At Zendesk we think of inclusion as an action and an experience and we believe that inclusivity needs to be built from the bottom up and top down. Empowering employees and creating space for everyone at the company to share their experiences has helped bring our community together. We rolled out employee resource groups last year, which have been a great platform for our employees to have their voices heard, and also for our leadership to understand what’s going on at the company and be able to make impactful changes. As a small yet powerful example, our Pride ERG championed Zendesk to create a space for employees to add their gender pronouns into Slack profiles. Being able to spotlight employees doing really great things and to increase visibility has helped to cultivate a culture where we’re all in it together. LH: When we notice that we have differences in opinion, we celebrate it. And we use it as an opportunity to foster the discussion about differences of thought and opinions. It’s very similar to an early core value that Facebook had: a notion to move fast and break things. That notion was around the idea that, if you think differently than me try it out and, if it doesn’t work or it breaks, that’s celebrated, and I think that can be a very key element for D&I. BM: What successful initiatives or best practices has your organization identified concerning diversity and inclusion issues? Can you share some examples of how a D&I policy affected your company in a positive way? EC: One barrier that comes up when D&I is introduced at a company, is you can get a self-selecting group of people who care about D&I and want to participate and are always showing up to the discussions and a lot of others don’t. Reaching a wide range of employees is very important and encouraging all to take part. Early on at Planet, we encouraged people involved with our D&I program to speak at our All Hands presentations to share what they are working on to spread awareness. AB: The most impactful thing we’ve done is have leadership be the #1 voice for D&I. Not just the CEO and the C-Suite, but also our VPs who we hold to an executive commitment where they will commit to inclusivity on their teams. The second thing, we created a newsletter as a way to help everyone learn and ask questions - share info and experiences broadly. It’s more than just training and workshops, I think the most important thing you can do for D&I is to share experiences. SH: I would say, “Don’t do the sh*t that doesn’t work!” Just because another company is doing something that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to as well. At the Culture First conference, our speaker said “Look at everything you’re doing, and if you don’t have a good reason for it, or you don’t like doing it, then stop and kick it out.” The example I want to share is, when I first joined, we decided that we weren’t going to capture any representation metrics (like race, gender, socio-economic status and more) at Culture Amp in Year 1. Instead we’ll measure things like belonging and inclusion. The idea here was to help people feel more comfortable as we make this transition. We still have a long way to go to make people feel comfortable but, after only 6 months, a lot of people who weren’t comfortable with the diversity conversation now are. We really didn’t want to do something that could eventually backfire. Audience question: How do you capture this data when people don’t feel comfortable? LS: We hosted something called Belong @ Entelo. Mission Statement of the event was - share your voice. What we did is we stopped and listened to our employees about how they felt connected to the company and how they felt they belonged ; which can be really hard at a startup when you’re moving a million miles an hour. When we went through that exercise what we found is that there were various factors that made them feel like they did belong in some ways and how they felt disconnected in others. That gave us a lot more context about the parts of diversity that we hadn’t exactly considered. Audience question: If you’re a lean team, how do you prioritize the info you are trying to collect and what’s the best way to communicate that? AB: Start with the hardest problem to solve, those who are marginalized the most. Focus on the communities and individuals who are struggling the most, and that will bring up everyone else. BM: How do you hold managers accountable to diversity and inclusion measures? LH: We really focus our D&I efforts when it comes to management on the recruiting process, particularly interviewing candidates. #1 question we ask candidates at the management level during interviews is: “Have you ever been part of a D&I initiative? If so, how so? If not, why not? Is that something that matters to you?” It’s something that’s very revealing to us about the candidates, but more importantly it showcases who we are as an organization to that candidate and they can see where our heart is. AB: At Pivotal, we started with our VPs, who manage our directors, who manage our managers so the VPs have their their thumb on pulse of the company and keep people accountable that way. I think there are many ways that you can hold managers accountable, and we found that having the manager’s manager on the hook then that is what drives the most inclusion and change. NS: 3 different things:Pulse Survey: Our annual survey that gages employee satisfaction globally. This survey includes 3-5 questions specific to employee inclusion and belonging. The survey results give us insight into team dynamics, and enable us to learn from managers who are doing things well and see where we need improvement.Working Cross Functionally: Diversity and inclusion at Zendesk is a cross-functional effort. Having stakeholders in different departments invested in our work not only champions the work we are doing, but also gives our team insight into the unique challenges different offices and areas of the business face.Monthly town halls: Our CEO and other business leaders talk honestly and openly about what is going on at the company. Transparency helps our employees understand where we are, and what we are doing to improve our community.SH: I’m trying to remove the fear around unconscious bias training. Unconscious bias trainings really activate stereotypes and make them more salient. The workshops I lead at Culture Amp start w/ discomfort, then you go to comfort, and then you go back to discomfort. The goal is to figure out where managers are at. At Culture Amp we have 4 company values, and the 5th value is for you to add your own. We celebrate and appreciate people’s differences instead of requiring that they conform to ours. NS: At Zendesk, our core values revolve around empathy. And we made up a word called “Humbledent” - which means humble yet confident. To supplement our core values we really base our interviews off of what are the behaviors that would make someone successful in this job along with the technical skills.EC: A lot of companies are shifting their thinking from culture-fit, to culture-add. The entire point of D&I is that you have these unique people coming together and spark something new. If you’re not looking for the thing that’s different, then you’re missing out. So we would told our recruiting team to look for that culture-add and this has been a good mindshift. LS: When it comes to D&I there should not be controversy around whether it’s important because it’s the right thing to do. The statistics all point to diversity being directly correlated to success and the question should be: can we afford to wait much longer? SH: Don’t go the business case route, because underrepresented people don’t require a business case! Start with storytelling and that will bring out the true emotions. BM: How does your organization deal with unconscious bias? NS: We’ve created Unconscious Bias trainings that are offered quarterly in all of our regions (Asia, Europe and Americas). We also counter UB by making educational opportunities easily accessible for employees. Lunch and learns are a popular educational forum at Zendesk, where employees are given free lunch and the opportunity to learn something new. Our weekly L&L’s average ~100 employees in attendance and provide us with the opportunity to spotlight community partners, engage in panel discussions, screen films and build community. We’ve also see things come from unexpected places: Our employee lead in-person D&I book club was a smashing success. The first book, Ijeoma Olou’s So you wanna talk about race? ended up bringing 60 employees together over several weeks to talk about the book, fostered honest and open conversation, broke down barriers and moved the conversation forward. Overall, our approach is rooted in unity vs resistance. We try to keep an open door where people will reach out to us individually, meet people where they are and assess where additional education opportunities are needed. AB: We have unconscious bias trainings as well, especially for our recruiting teams and managers. We sponsored a movie night for the whole company globally every 6 months. SH: Unconscious bias trainings are really fun to build and you can do the research and host the training yourself. Especially since you know your company better than any vendor does, if you can’t afford to have someone come in to train your team, do the research and train them yourself. There are a lot of free resources online (e.g. EdX courses). BM: What are the best resources available to those in the Diversity and Inclusion field?EC: There’s an email group called “Diversity Advocates”. Also, “People Openly” share best practices and are incredibly passionate about D&I. It’s an incredible resource. AB: Project Include and Better Allies - everyone can be an ally. NS: Fortune raceAhead and UC Hastings Bias Interrupters: free toolkit particularly helpful for us when rolling out interview training. SH: Millenialhrdesign.com. LH: Encourage everyone to share info that they’re learning. And being transparent about where you are in the process of learning about D&I. Something that’s really important to remember is that no one has solved this, even the people on this panel have a lot more to learn. BM: We’re all in this community together and are trying to learn from one another and collaborate. Everyone here is trying to promote diversity and inclusion in our organizations not only because it’s right but because it’s going to be best for all of our colleagues and peers.Sapling is the all-in-one HR platform built 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.

Posted on 
Jul 30, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Culture & Engagement

5 Ways to Establish Goodwill with Departing Employees

Former employees can wield a great deal of influence on your company’s current success and future growth. Happy ex-employees can positively represent the company and its culture to the outside world. However, an unhappy former employee can malign your company to current employees, potential hires, investors and customers. When hiring, 70% of job candidates look to company reviews before they make career decisions. Many of those company reviews are written by former employees. This means that an enthusiastic former employee can encourage potential talent to consider your company, but a negative ex-employee can scare away good talent and give customers a poor view of the company. This can affect your capability to attract and engage potential new hires and to retain current staff. In light of this, it is vital that you maintain goodwill with your departing employees. Whether the employee separation is voluntary or involuntary, your company needs to have good offboarding practices and policies in place, to ensure that departing employees have a smooth and positive transition experience. In the case of voluntary separations, employees may leave the company due to professional or personal motives, including retirement, career or educational advancement, relocation or changes to family dynamics. Employees who experienced goodwill with their ex-employers are a great source of business insight and industry knowledge for their past employer. Here are five ways you can increase the goodwill experienced by ex-employees.1. Let the employee know that they are valued. Once an employee announces their resignation, ensure that efforts are made to retain them by offering valuable inducements to stay. For example, is telecommuting or schedule flexibility available for a new parent? Giving the employee a chance to communicate their reasons for wanting to leave and finding ways to meet their need, may be the first step towards retaining great talent and increasing employee satisfaction.2. Let the employee know that they will be missed. Once an employee has confirmed their decision to leave, ensure that their time with the company ends on a positive note. Small touches such as a farewell gift or a personal letter from the leadership team, can mean a great deal. Encourage managers to organize a farewell lunch where coworkers can say goodbye. This can go a long way towards giving the employee a positive exit experience. 3. Have a solid employee exit interview and process. "When an employee quits they are sensitive to how they were treated when they left the organization.” states Raghuram. And according to Harvard Business Review’s Cem Sertoglu and Anne Berkowitch, “Effective alumni relationships are seeded at the moment of departure, when HR executives communicate the benefits of staying in touch and capture valuable information, such as the reasons for leaving, views about the company, future plans and aspirations, and, most important, contact information.” A meeting with the employee, their manager and a human resources representative should occur prior to or on the final day of work. During the meeting, confirm that the employee understands all final wage arrangements and benefits, and has a chance to ask questions. This can also be a time to discuss their final thoughts about the company. Make every effort to keep the exit interview positive and factual.4. Establish a company alumni web portal or networking group. By extending the relationship between the ex-employee and the company past the separation phase, you can maintain a qualified talent pool, drive rehires and build brand advocacy. According to the 2018 Corporate Alumni Survey by Enterprise Alumni, ex-employees can be a valuable resource to your company as mentors of your new and rising talent. These goodwill ambassadors have direct experience and can offer your current employees the freedom to develop genuine and lasting business relationships. Companies like Deloitte and Mckinsey and Company offer their alumni a chance to stay in touch with former colleagues, highlight alumni successes, obtain career resources and significant perks and discounts.5. Encourage boomerang employees. Ex-employees may also come back to you in the future, a term known as “boomerang talent.” They can bring even more value in experience, new skills and a larger network for future talent. Boomerang employees may not need as much training and can get up to speed more quickly than a fresh hire. Because they know the company and have relationships with co-workers and former managers, they are an easy fit with the company’s culture. Make it easy for ex-employees to apply to open positions, and to sign up for notifications of changes within your company’s structure, such as retirements and promotions. They may find a new niche that fits any new skills or experience which were acquired during their time away. Whether an employee is leaving on their own terms or due to an involuntary termination, it is important to take the time necessary to ensure that their exit happens in a positive, respectful and professional manner. Sapling is the all-in-one HR platform built 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.

Posted on 
Jul 25, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
Read More
Onboarding

How to Measure New Hire Engagement

With the majority of American workers reportedly "not engaged" at work, the time to start fostering employee engagement is during employee Onboarding. Instead of waiting for a problem that needs fixing, prevent employee disengagement by setting a new hire engagement goal.Once you’ve incorporated your engagement strategy into onboarding, the challenge is to figure out how it’s working. Measuring new hire engagement doesn’t have to be a chore — here’s the simple way to evaluate engagement throughout Employee Onboarding. Meaningful feedbackIf feedback isn’t already part of your onboarding program, it’s time to weave this essential element in. With strategic feedback surveys, you’ll gather revealing data to measure new hire engagement. It’s not as simple as a few employee satisfaction questions at the end of onboarding — a survey can be counterproductive unless it’s carefully designed to gather the exact information you need. Culture Amp, the expert in surveys for engaged employees, recommends keeping survey takers interested and focused by sticking to a reasonable number of questions that each serve a purpose. Strategic surveying details what is and isn’t working by gathering relevant feedback throughout each stage of Employee Onboarding. Before delivering surveys, it should be clarified that all answers are confidential. Don’t ask for feedback then leave new hires in the dark. Let them know that their opinions count, explaining how their experiences will be used to make improvements. 5 Core Questions for New Hire Engagement Ask meaningful, scalable, and time-specific questions with compulsory comments explaining each answer. Don’t overload new hires with questions that aren’t relevant to each stage of the onboarding process. Instead, focus on one area for each survey, prompting new hires to provide insightful feedback. Ask these 5 core questions throughout your new hires’ first 2 months on the job to measure their engagement.Week 1: How well do you understand the company’s mission and how does your role empower you to contribute to its success?It’s important to communicate organizational values and strategy to a new hire at the very start of onboarding. Through understanding the company’s mission, new hires can recognize how their personal tasks and projects contribute to the bigger picture. Without a complete understanding of the company’s mission, new hires can’t become fully engaged in working towards it. This survey question will translate whether the mission needs to be better communicated or if an employee’s work isn’t clearly aligning with it.Week 3: How satisfied are you with your Employee Development Plan? An Employee Development Plan is fundamental in engaging and retaining employees. Dissatisfaction can mean new hires haven’t had enough say in creating their plan, or that their manager hasn’t put in enough time and effort. Without a solid Employee Development Plan, new hires are doomed to become discouraged and disengaged, unable to envision their future within the company. Tackling employee development issues early on will put new hires on the right path towards engagement. Week 5: How happy are you with your leaders? Leadership is a key driver in employee engagement, with managers accounting for as much as 70% of variance in employee engagement scores. Find out if new hires feel their managers are trusting, empowering, and offering the guidance they need. Week 7: Have you been receiving enough recognition for the work you’ve been doing?Recognition for a job well done should start early for new hires, no matter how small the achievement. A bit of recognition can go a long way in terms of confidence and drive to do well. Understand whether new hires are receiving the recognition they deserve, which translates into higher engagement levels.Week 9: How often are you able to do what you do best?Engaged employees get to do what they do best everyday. When new hires begin completing tasks and working towards goals, they’ll decide if the new job is enabling them to utilize their skillset. This answer is a leading indicator of whether daily tasks and goals contribute to or detract from engagement. Turning results into change Turn your data into game-changing action. Explain survey results to supervisors or managers, discussing the trends in new hire engagement levels and how to boost them. Continuously measure new hire engagement through surveying, regularly compiling and translating data to stay ahead on employee engagement.Measuring new hire engagement is one step towards taking your employee success to the next level. Want to learn more about how you can use Employee Onboarding to amplify Employee Engagement? Download Sapling’s Essential Guide To Employee Onboarding Success or sign up for a product demo of Sapling below. <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Jul 18, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Culture & Engagement

Building a Culture that Supports 4x Revenue Growth

In startups, it is a common goal to approach revenue growth with a specific figure in mind -- generally somewhere around 40% or a 4x revenue growth strategy. At this level, a startup organization is considered to be successful and either it’s sold at a significant profit or investors become interested and it continues to evolve. A huge factor that can influence the growth of a startup firm is the employee culture. Made up of the shared beliefs, values, people, processes, and historical successes, the employee culture is unique to each organization. It governs the behaviors and decisions made by employees, as set forth by founders. A strong employee culture doesn’t happen by accident; it’s a well-planned component of a successful business venture. How does employee culture impact revenue growth? If an organization does things right, the founders will establish the early form of an employee culture. This can include certain ideals that the business is striving for, the general work environment, the way communication happens, and more. Certain operational aspects come into play as the organization grows and more people participate in their given role. The employee culture evolves as one that maintains high levels of employee engagement and productivity, not only out of necessity, but because people believe in what the company is doing. If they are contributing to making the world a better place they are more apt to put the extra effort in for their employer. Employee engagement is at a low place with only one-third of the workforce actively engaged with their companies. This element of an employee culture is especially vital for recruitment purposes. The Deloitte 2017 Millennial Survey showed that 76% of young working adults regard business as a force for positive social impact. Another 88% say business around the globe is having a positive impact on the wider society in which they operate. People want to combine their careers with social responsibility. Attracting the next generation of the workforce will require an employee culture that focuses on responsible business practices. At the same time, employee culture that promotes diversity increases the likelihood that the organization will be profitable. The McKinsey report Diversity Matters showed how organizations in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. The more diversity found in the executive level of a company, the higher the profits. Embracing diversity and placing more women, racially and ethnically different people into management roles can support rapid revenue increases. Any organization can get on track with a better employee culture Whether the organization is in the beginning phases or has been growing steadily for some time, it’s possible to fast-track profits with an improved employee culture. Investing in a better employee experience should be the number one goal of this effort. As the business scales, the more positive the experience of employees, the easier it will be to attract and retain talent. Constanza Loboguerrero, Senior HR Manager with one of the top companies that has been recognized for providing a great employee experience, Accenture, told CMS Wire, “The concept of employee experience goes deeper than the surface-level relationship between a company and its employees.” Loboguerrero advised, “This includes each one of the moments that matter in my [employee] interactions with my employer.” During the recruitment, onboarding, training, daily life, and termination phases of the employee experience, the company has an opportunity to make things better. The two steps to creating a revenue-generating employee culture are simple:1. Determine what matters the most to employees 2. Align these values with company objectives To complete this analysis and process, management needs to be willing to open the doors of communication and allow employees to voice their ideas freely. This can be a good process, particularly if there has been any question as to whether employees are happy and engaged at work.Once this information has been obtained, either through direct meetings with employees or surveys, the task then becomes sorting the list by priority. Choose the top 10 ideas and concerns. Narrowing down the list gives leaders somewhere to start. Review the current employee culture and note any areas that are negative or creating tension for employees. Look for processes that are getting in the way of employees being able to successfully use their talents for the good of the organization. Find out what may be creating a negative employee experience for some. These need the most attention. Evaluate the current values and practices of the workplace. Do they correctly align with the vision and mission of the company? If not, they need to be eliminated or replaced. Keep in mind, this effort will not happen overnight. It will take careful planning and buy-in from all concerned to make it work.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.

Posted on 
Jul 11, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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People Analytics

Will HR Tech replace the HR profession?

Do you sometimes wonder if your job as an human resource professional will become obsolete because of HR technology? This is a common concern, but it’s hard to imagine a world where humans will no longer be needed to manage the very human aspects of their organizations. Recently, the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group released a joint report that shared a glimpse into what the future workplace may be like. The report concluded that by the year 2026, as many as 1 million Americans will find their occupations have disappeared. Administrative and production jobs top the list of the most rapidly vanishing jobs. Those who are impacted will be forced to re-skill in order to stay marketable in a technology-driven workplace. On the opposite side of things, the report also shows that those currently working in executive administrative roles have a better chance of transitioning to human resource roles due to skills that are transferable. Another report, issued by McKinsey Global Institute indicated that while we can expect as many as half of all of today’s jobs to be replaced by automation, there will be hundreds of millions of new jobs created too. This is a response to the skills needed to manage emerging economies, increasing technology development, and even the rapidly aging population. Currently, McKinsey finds that as much as one-third of the tasks that employees perform now can be automated in the near future. Only around 5% of jobs can be automated completely. The opportunity to work in human resources will exist in 10, 20, and even 30 years from now...but it will look different than it does today. The activities that are at highest risk of automation include physical labor jobs, repetitive tasks, and data processing. Therefore, one can deduce that big data will be managed and used in different ways as a result of HR technology. Data comes from nearly every aspect of HR, from recruitment to training, meaning human HR professionals will need to be knowledgeable on how to use this data for business decisions and strategic policy building. Keep in mind that employment laws will continue to change, thus HR best practices will have to adapt. There will still be a need for experienced human resource leaders to guide policies and make decisions that are best for the business. No robot can do that. One popular trend in HR is the use of all-in-one human capital management software that handle everything from recruitment and onboarding of new hires to training and payroll. These can be a good solution for startup firms that need a central HR platform while they function without a formal HR person on staff. However, once a company scales and goes beyond 25 or more employees, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage the tasks associated with employing people. Then there is the aspect of how employees view their work experiences today. Millennials, who far surpass all other generations of workers by sheer numbers, rule the workplace. A recent Gallup poll indicated that millennials are the least engaged employees, with most of them willing to switch jobs if they don't get what they want. What does this mean for human resource professionals? Using a variety of methods, HR is tasked with creating a more unique and rewarding experience to keep young talent plugged in and excited about their jobs. This requires a hands-on approach that HR knows best. Human resource pros are also in the ideal position to promote the brand of their organizations. They know the culture inside and out, why it’s important, and how to get the message out to the rest of the world how unique it is to be part of the bigger plan. A strong employer brand doesn't get that way on it’s own. It also does not remain intact by itself. It comes down to this fact: technology is meant to facilitate, not replace human resource professionals. As an industry, HR is being disrupted by tech tools, but in positive ways. Here are a few to consider: Artificial intelligence now anticipates the behaviors of employees in nearly every facet of their lives. At work, this can include AI-driven content that becomes part of the learning and development experience. It’s also useful in recruitment, so candidates can be accurately matched up to the right jobs and become more successful. From a company standpoint, that means greater productivity and profitability too. AI is also a tool that assists human resource professionals with their performance evaluations, to make sure employees are getting the support they need to work up to full capacity. It takes bias out of the equation and places all employees on an equal playing field, so everyone has a chance to excel. Data management can be a huge headache for many human resource professionals, due to the volume and increasing complexity of data science. Fortunately, data technology helps to translate, organize, and find purpose in the data that is produced. Advances in blockchain data enable human resources to verify candidate information faster, based on encrypted public data. Intelligent reports, predicting outcomes based on historical data, can help HR to be more strategic. Data is also a key way for HR to remain at the decision-making table along with other leaders, because it’s based on facts, not instinct. Automated and employee self-service tools are a godsend for most human resource professionals. This frees up a lot of time conducting repetitive tasks, such as recruitment screening, candidate assessments, onboarding new employees, training, benefits enrollment, personnel updates, terminations, and much more. Employees often prefer to find information on their own, much like consumers like using ATM machines at the bank vs. going inside to speak with an actual person. Intelligent apps are learning what is important to human resources, including attitudes and values. This responsive technology essentially extends the reach of human HR professionals, so they can handle things more efficiently. The technology has gotten so advanced that already it can be difficult for employees to know if a human is answering their message or if they are talking with a chatbot. Intelligent software, enabled by AI, also adds another layer of analysis, so that efforts are measurable in real-time, which proves without a doubt the value of HR in business. How can HR professionals respond to these and other future technology developments? It’s important to recognize that the workplace is evolving and will continue to do so. HR has the opportunity to find ways to harness the appropriate technology for the right task, deploy it, test it, and then perfect it. By integrating technology into the natural flow of the business, HR becomes the expert in managing it for positive outcomes.Sapling is the all-in-one HR platform built specifically for fast growing organizations using GSuite. 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.

Posted on 
Jun 21, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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People Operations

Why HR Leaders need to invest in Employee Experience

2018 has been referred to as the “Year of the Employee Experience” by a number of sources. Let’s be clear, employee experience is based on strong marketing concepts that have established the new ‘norms’ of many companies. It’s not about making things all warm-and-fuzzy when onboarding a new employee. Instead, it’s about creating an overall environment that improves the experience that a new hire has, which can impact them months and even years after their first days on the job. Here are some interesting stats on the employee experience and its value in the workplace (from our previous blog post):- Happy employees are 20% more productive at work. (SMF/Warwick University)- It costs US employers $450 billion to $550 billion annually in lost revenues from disengaged employees. (Glassdoor)- 64% of employees do not believe they have a strong work culture. (TinyPulse)Amazingly, even as leaders know the critical nature of the employee experience, too few think that they should have much to do with this. After all, isn’t it up to employees to find their place in the organization where they will sink or swim? Henry G. Jackson, current CEO and president of the Society for Human Resource Management reminds leaders that, “The skills shortage is an ever-present challenge” in today’s job market. He adds, “Winning at talent today means taking an end-to-end approach to finding, developing and engaging our workforces.” By offering an outstanding employee experience, this competitive advantage can attract the best of the best in terms of new hires at the same time as make things better so that they will stick around. Leaders know this is where it counts the most as it’s impossible to build a strong company when the foundation of good people is crumbling. A new hire onboarding makes a lasting impression. The experience factor happens when onboarding a new employee. Actually, it happens even before the job offer is made. The employer brand and the value that the company markets is all part of the pre-boarding process. HR leaders have much to do with this. If things are in sync, the marketing team has worked closely with the HR team to develop accurate messaging around the entire career brand. Getting the job isn’t all there is for talent. The employee experience has become a social contract, says Deloitte in their latest Global Human Capital Trends report. Even the most stable employee-employer relationships are being disrupted by Millennials and Gen Z workers who tend to change jobs more often than previous workforces. Merely getting hired by a great company isn’t enough if there are no professional development opportunities, new projects, or promotions on the horizon. Part of the employee experience comes from being able to feel in control of one’s own career path and having the tools to do so. This is what employees of today want the most. Jim Link, CHRO of Randstad North America, told HR Dive in a recent post, “More employees, especially younger workers, are seeking individualized, tailored career experiences from their employers.” Creating a great employee experience requires stepping into their shoes to find out what drives them and what they want in the near future. It’s very common for individuals to post encounters with companies on public social networks and review websites. The employee experience has become so transparent that it’s something all HR leaders should be thinking about. Some have even suggested that Glassdoor reviews can be built into onboarding practices. Jacob Morgan, podcaster and best-selling author of "The Employee Experience Advantage" (Wiley, 2017), shared with Inc., “People can and will know everything about your organization even before speaking with anyone who works there.” He added, “This includes salary information, benefits packages, corporate culture, questions asked during the interview process, and practically everything else.” Anyone involved in recruitment marketing, handling candidate screening, interviewing candidates, onboarding new employees, training and managing people, should be thinking in terms of this full system of transparency. What HR leaders can do to invest in the employee experience. In recent years, human resource professionals have taken a more active role in their organizations. No longer confined to back-office administrative functions, human resource leaders have arrived and have taken their place among key decision-makers. This is an awesome time for anyone to be involved in human resources management! To improve the overall employee experience, HR leaders must be thinking in terms of what employees are looking for in a great work life. The only way to determine this is to ask. Human resources has a number of tools for gathering employee feedback and ideas for better engagement. It often starts with surveying new hires when they are most objective and connected to their career needs. However, employees at all stages have valuable insight and this can be surveyed as well. Reviewing past performance reports, employee inquiries, and management suggestions can supply information that can turn into an incentive for employees. Even exit interviews can provide ideas about what’s lacking in the company experience, and what’s going well.Another factor that can influence the experience that employees have is to improve the environment in which employees work. People spend so much time at the office, more so than at their own homes, that they can either become psychologically inspired or dragged down by the actual corporate setting. An office that includes plenty of natural light, fresh air, plants, and spacious clean workspaces is far more enticing than a dull cubicle farm where all creativity and collaboration is stifled. A Harvard Business Review article pointed this out, indicating that when employees have a choice about their working environment they outperform their peers who don't. This can also include working from home, open office spaces, and the opportunity to change things up once in a while with an outdoor meeting.Need some further inspiration? There are some amazing companies that are leading the way towards better employee experiences, and it shows. Take the time to read through this and borrow some of their ideas for your own organization.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.

Posted on 
Jun 11, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
Read More
Culture & Engagement

10 Steps to Improve Your Employer Brand

With all the noise that modern life includes, organizations are tasked with creating a brand that appeals to both customers and job seekers. Good people are vital to a successful business. In a time when talent acquisition has become more competitive, the employer brand can call positive attention to a company and will consistently support attraction, onboarding and retention of new employees.According to the 2017 Employer Branding study conducted by CareerArc Group, LLC, only 34% of candidates will work for an organization with a poor employer rating (less than 3 out of 5 stars). Whether your organization is in the process of attracting talent or already onboarding a new employee, the employer brand is critical for long term success. Read on to learn 10 steps towards building an improved employer brand.Step #1 - Research the competition Just as any marketing campaign would start out, a good research period will evaluate what your closest employer competitors are doing. This effort can point out gaps in your employer brand, what other companies are doing with onboarding new hires, all the way to what employees say once they leave. Read company reviews, career sites, job postings, and social networks for an overview of your competition. Step #2 - Develop an authentic brand Taking into account your company vision and mission, consider what it means to work for your organization. How closely does this brand resonate with your employer values? What is uniquely better about your brand? Identifying this now will help create something authentic and not build on false hype. Step #3 - Align the brand with the culture Your employer brand needs to be connected to the culture of the workplace. Keep in mind that employees may see this differently than your leadership team. Take a survey of your employees to find a brand that aligns well with the true culture. This is important because when onboarding a new employee it's very easy to disappoint them when the culture doesn't meet expectations. Step #4 - Promote the success stories of employees Perhaps one of your best resources for building a great employer brand comes from your employees themselves. Learn about the success stories of your workforce and be sure to share this on every channel you can. People are most apt to apply for a job with a company that shares real stories of employees.Step #5 - Get all management levels on board The brand may be outstanding, but if you cannot get buy-in from the management team it will not be as impactful. Get your managers from executive to entry level to focus on embracing the brand of your company. Step #6 - Extend the brand with partnerships A big part of your company brand also involves the partnerships that your company has with other brands. As candidates review your website and read through the career pages, they are also evaluating the companies and brands your organization works with. Make sure to display strong brands for your industry. Step #7 - Coordinate content and social media marketing A well-designed employer brand includes consistency across all marketing media. This includes the content marketing efforts made on the website, presentations, marketing materials, and social networks. Check to ensure there is no conflicting messaging and that the brand is consistent across platforms. Step #8 - Develop brand ambassadors A powerful way to get the word out about your employer brand is with brand ambassadors. These can come from highly engaged current and former employees. Anyone who loves your company and has something good to say about it can be nurtured into being a cheerleader for your brand. Step #9 - Test and improve your brand As any good marketing plan rolls out, there is a critical period to test and evaluate. Test the brand with current employees first and when onboarding a new employee. Then use split testing on the website career pages and survey a random selection of candidates to get their insight. Split testing requires releasing two versions of the career website and noting if one version has a positive impact vs. the other. For example, increased applications from qualified candidates could be a positive result. Always be making improvements to your corporate brand. Step #10 - Inject fun into the employee experience Trying to improve a corporate brand means that sometimes rules can be bent and strict ways of doing things can be loosened up. The corporate brands that include fun as part of their new norm often have the most positive and loyal employees. Think companies like Virgin, Google, and Zappos, which have fun built in to their cultures. Having fun at the office gives employees a chance to share their stories on social networks, and these stories behave like marketing segments that attract talent and customers to the brand. By using the above steps your company will develop a more authentic and effective employer brand that can improve recruitment and retention rates.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.

Posted on 
Jun 6, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

10 Do's and Dont's of Hiring and Onboarding

Two areas that make an immense impact on the employee experience happen to be during the initial hiring and onboarding phases.In order to dispel a candidate’s perception that a company may not have a structure in place to make for a positive career experience, it’s critical to get hiring and onboarding right. Following are some do’s and don’ts of onboarding from our team of experts at Sapling:Do: Establish a clear value proposition. When developing your brand message, it is vital to get your employee value proposition out there to candidates. This is the marketing message that says to candidates, “We have just what you are looking for in your career.” Work closely as a team to understand what targeted candidates are looking for in your industry. Poll your current employees to learn what prompted them to take a job with your company. Test these messages on your career website and job advertisements to see what produces the best results. Don’t: Try to emulate a competitor. Take the time to research your competitors, but never ever try to be like them. Your value proposition is about your company’s story. It’s what makes for a unique success in the industry. Create a 100% original value statement that honors your vision and what you want candidates to know about your future. They should be able to see themselves there too. Do: Offer a generous compensation package. Develop a generous compensation package that starts with an above-average salary, flexible work arrangements, a healthy environment, and the chance to become one of the founding leaders of a team. Don’t: Try to compensate with meaningless perks. One mistake that companies make is trying to overcompensate by tossing in meaningless perks. For example, many employees will enjoy free beverages and snacks throughout the day, but not too many will enjoy a skateboard ramp in the middle of the office. Put some thought into the perks you are offering and think about what a startup firm can reasonably offer. Do: Use a structured hiring and onboarding process. Despite being a new company with few processes established, take the time to create a remarkable hiring and onboarding process. This can lay the foundation for the company and will impress candidates when they see how much focus is placed on new hires. Try a new hire video to impress candidates.Don’t: Assume onboarding happens organically. One should never assume that onboarding will just happen on its own. A formal onboarding process is vital. This provides a better impression for candidates and sets the foundation for success. Get a structure established for onboarding in place from the very first day the new hire is on the job. Do: Be transparent about the company with candidates. This is a transparent world we live and hire in. People can spend about ten minutes researching any company they wish and find information from former employees and interviewing candidates. Therefore, it’s critical to be transparent with candidates about the hiring and onboarding process. Give them the general rundown of what to expect so there are no unpleasant surprises. This includes what the company culture is like, the employment outlook, and the benefits. Don’t: Inflate the corporate culture. No one enjoys accepting a job and then months later finding out that it's not the kind of company or work opportunity that they expected. It takes time and money to develop an outstanding corporate culture. Don't make things sound a lot better than what you can offer. People will eventually find out. Do: Take the time to hire the right people. Hiring is no easy feat. However, do not make the mistake of hiring a candidate on a gut feeling. Hire people who fit the skills needed to get the job done now and into the foreseeable future. Hire for attitude. Hire the right people to build a strong team.Don’t: Hire any talent that comes along. Let us emphasize how important it is to hire the right people for your company. Talent is the most valuable of any business asset, therefore this needs to be a careful process. Use a structured process to evaluate and interview candidates. Create an onboarding and career plan for each new hire to solidify their place in the organization. Why not try an onboarding and HRIS solution, like Sapling, and discover the red-carpet employee experience for yourself? <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
May 14, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Culture & Engagement

How HR Teams Scale from 10 - 1,000 Employees

As your small business grows to being a company of one thousand, your HR team faces new challenges. Leaders in the people ops space, Jessica Yuen (CPO at Couchbase), Aisha Stephenson (VP People at Quizlet), Desiree Therianos (Head of People Ops + Talent at Ellation) addressed, “How your HR Technology needs change; scaling from 10 - 1,000 Employees” in a panel moderated by Sapling’s CEO, Bart Macdonald. We compiled the discussion’s key takeaways and our panelists’ insights on the best practices and challenges they experienced during the growth. BM: How does the role of people operations evolve from 10 to 1,000 people? DT: I joined as the first non-engineer to a relatively young team. I assumed the role of director of operations because we quickly noticed that we were having “people” challenges and had to pay closer attention to management and career development. When in 2018 our head count tripled, those key initiatives become priorities overnight. People operations evolved from being an administrative function to being strategy driven and our decisions now had to backed by crucial data. AS: People ops as a team has changed, thank god. We’re now asked for strategic perspective to propel business goals. When your company is scaling in growth, the hardest part is to move from tactical to strategic. When I joined tech space it was all about tactically finding the best talent. But, HR is changing to being at its core a binary team structures: HR operations and strategy. Thinking about that is really exciting for our space!JY: In the beginning, having started at a company when it was five people it was very tactical operations, “we need to go hire 2 engineers, get milk, etc.” but as you start to scale you begin to feel the growing pains and know you need to add more people and add more tools. Compared to where I am now, my focus is strategy and is much more relationship oriented. I now ask myself, “How do I build up the trust and credibility of HR to our execs and leadership team?” BM: How does your HR technology need to evolve from 10 to 1,000 people? DT: When you’re at a company with 1k +, you have softwares to calculate your data. But when your team isn’t there yet, you often have to get creative to get to a solution. Before, when we reported to our board and execs, we would use spreadsheets and it was long and it was painful. Then with our partnership with Sapling, infrastructure systems and presenting demographic data was at the click of a button for execs and our board for them to call on whenever they want. I am empowering our team, so we make better decisions as a whole. But, your presented data is only as good as the integrity of your data. Before adding a ton of tools and integrate systems make sure the data has integrity. People will quickly notice if data is inaccurate. AS: When you're in the early stages you're putting all the employee personal information into a convoluted spreadsheet. Then your employees want self service and be able to access their benefits, goals, and feedback. It’s maddening with all the hats you have to wear. Luckily, HR at tech companies are forward thinking in terms of integrate with other systems. I wanted to only try out tools that talked to our applicant tracking system. Make sure early on that you're triple checking data and work. Clean data and leverage technology is huge. BM: What is the biggest challenge you face as a People Operations leader? JY: Strategic skills and relationship management. The HR function before didn’t have a seat at a table. But now in the HR space, you need to understand your business and its goals. What does strategy at your company mean? I actually looked up the word. Strategy comes from a Latin word that means going into battle and anticipating what will happen. If things happen one way or the other, how will the team react? With a strategy, rather than being reactive you are proactive. AS: In the beginning, I wasn’t thinking about the company’s HR strategy beyond just attracting talent. Talent acquisition was alway the HR move, but going forward it’s morphing into, “What in you current workforce do you have?” and “Can we promote someone internally vs. hiring someone?” which I think sends the right message. I also certainly didn’t get into HR for my analytical skills, but as I've come through my career it’s evolved and those skills have developed. I’m always challenged thinking, “How can people ops become more strategic because of technology?”DT: HR is usually brought in to do clean-up work. But we should use HR to think, “What can we give back to the next employee?” 70% millennials life cycle 18 months, millenials want more from a company and you have to think proactively and all too often we’re reacting-- so it doesn't create the right experience. We have such a huge responsibility because we have an employee’s careers in our hands. We craft each aspect from finding candidates, to onboarding, to managing performance reviews, to employee growth at the company. My challenge is handling it all with integrity and forging an alliance between the employee to the company. My team and I intentionally visit other teams at our business partners and we observe their culture and what they're doing. It’s so powerful to be able to talk to people with like minded challenges. What’s unique with HR is we’re really open to sharing our challenges with one another to help us evolve in the field. BM: Who are some leaders (or companies) you look up to and why? AS: Lever. I looked at an opportunity there and met their team and was so impressed with how they talked about the employee value proposition. Also, the things that are coming out of Pinterest are amazing. The Startup HR community is great resource as well because you can talk to HR peers and mitigate any kinks you might have done without running it by your peers. JY: The Gusto founding team. I was really fortunate to fall into a role and to learn from people who really care about people operations. Gusto discussed a lot what they talked about with customers should be reflected at the Gusto office. They wanted the experience to be that anyone who walks in the Gusto doors has a delightful experience. I also have a lot of respect for Laszlo Bock. I think he shifted what we think of HR. He focused on hiring people from different backgrounds and trying to hone creativity. Why not try an onboarding and HRIS solution, like Sapling, and discover the red-carpet employee experience for yourself? <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
May 8, 2018
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

Preparing for Success with Employee Preboarding

Your Recruitment team has found the perfect candidate. Someone with outstanding credentials and impressive experience, who will fit right into your company culture. They’ve accepted the position and are scheduled to start in 3 weeks.Now it’s time to kick back, relax and say, “Catch you next month!”… Well, not quite. The competition for today’s top talent is intense. A great candidate’s agreement to accept a role at your company no longer guarantees they’ll be eagerly waiting at reception on their first scheduled day of employment.From the time a sought-after candidate accepts a job offer to the time they actually begin the new role, you should assume there are persistent recruiters, attractive organizations, and interested hiring managers all contacting them with offers and interviews for another position. It’s the responsibility of People Operations to ensure that new hires stick to their decision of joining your organization, instead of taking the bait from another. How?With a dedicated Preboarding program that increases new hire excitement and engagement, while taking care of the administrative aspects of starting a new role, so they’re ready to jump in on Day One. When does Employee Preboarding take place?From signing an employment offer to their first day of work, it’s important to communicate and engage with your new hires. This transitional time period is called preboarding — the stage that comes after hiring but before onboarding. Why does it matter? Employee engagement is a hot topic, but what many People teams miss, is that it doesn’t just concern active employees. With only 29% of the US workforce reportedly engaged, Employee Engagement strategies must start early. Excitement and motivation come and go unless they are continuously instilled and managed. Even if a candidate was beaming with enthusiasm around the new role during their final interview, if you let weeks go by without contact, that spark will likely burn out. And keeping that spark alive is a critical step in bringing engaged, motivated team members on board, and setting them up for success.Preboarding offers the organization a chance to start aligning new hires with its mission, vision, values, and culture. It’s also a great time to begin introducing new hires to their peers through virtual or physical meetings with teammates. An early sense of alignment and inclusion is critical in keeping the momentum going around a new hire’s choice to join your organization.By providing basic information about their role, outlining their responsibilities, and giving them a sense of place within their new organization, you can set new hires up for a successful onboarding. What does preboarding mean for the First Day experience? A new hire’s first day should be filled with meaningful introductions, early learning, and celebration. But this isn’t possible if you’re having new hires fill out tax forms and non-disclosures, or tasking them with studying a 60-page employee handbook. Preboarding enables you to get the admin involved in taking on a new hire out of the way before they begin work. This means People Ops can turn focus away from the administrative side of early onboarding and onto a new hire’s early Employee Experience. Top companies like Twitter focus on running a smooth preboarding program for a successful first day experience. Twitter thoroughly prepares for a new hire’s arrival — before a new hire even sits down at their new desk, their new email is set up, and a T-shirt and bottle of wine are waiting.With a polished preboarding process, a new Twitter employee’s first day allows them to dive right into the new role, through breakfast with the CEO, a tour of the company office, and group training on the tools and systems they’ll need. What should be included in a preboarding program? The details of your preboarding program depend on the size and resources of your organization, your unique company culture, and the time between a new hire’s job offer and first day. However, all preboarding programs should include these basic elements:Send a personalized welcome email from the People team and the new hire’s manager, ensuring the new hire feels comfortable reaching out with any questions.Request new hires to complete their employee profile, and give them access to the database so they can check out their team.Provide short, engaging preboarding videos or reading to start aligning new hires with company mission, vision, and values. Zappos, a leader in Employee Experience, effectively showcases its culture through video — this 3 minute peek into the ‘Zappos Family’ serves as an easy, effective way to begin aligning new hires before Day One.Have the new hire complete administrative paperwork, including tax forms, NDAs, and health insurance forms. Today’s talent is tech-savvy, so to deliver the right preboarding experience, paperwork signing should be done digitally before Day One, and sync across each of your HR platforms.Provide your employee handbook.Share benefits information.Detail the new hire’s first day schedule, so that they feel prepared and can get excited.Building a repeatable employee preboarding process ensures that all new hires share the same excellent early Employee Experience.Remember, the experience you deliver during preboarding sets expectations around the Employee Experience your organization will deliver. Take the time to build a formal preboarding plan for the right start to a successful hire.Want to see how Sapling’s best-in-class technology can streamline your employee preboarding process? Download Sapling’s Essential Guide to Employee Onboarding Success or schedule a product demo below.

Posted on 
Apr 14, 2017
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Employee Retention

4 Core Steps towards Decreasing Employee Turnover

Employee Turnover is often considered bad news. Though employee departure is a necessary occurrence in healthy organizations, we need to make sure that employees are departing for the right reasons.When fostering a culture of continuous development, it’s important to recognize that some employees are meant to move on from your organization in order to fully develop — perhaps by starting their own companies, moving overseas, or changing their career path altogether. However, too often do our employees turnover for the wrong reasons. Unhealthy employee turnover is costly, can give your company a bad rep, and is highly contagious. Even a seemingly small burst of employee exits can encourage more of your staff to follow suit, jumping ship alongside their peers. Reported as the #1 challenge faced by Human Resource teams, employee turnover is an issue to be addressed with thoughtful, strategic, actionable tactics.So what should be at the core of your employee retention strategy?It all starts with designing an Employee Experience that encourages your employees to stay, grow, and succeed within your organization. Here are 4 core steps your People team can take to decrease employee turnover. 1. Correct what’s not right. We all know the importance of hiring the right candidates. Throughout the interview process, a candidate’s qualifications, experience, and ability to fit into company culture are all assessed. But things aren’t always as they seem, and candidates don’t always turn out to be the promising employee you met in the interview. A big step in reducing employee turnover is realizing when you’ve made the wrong hire, and doing something about it. Ignoring the problem and keeping bad hires in their roles, poses a threat of employee turnover. Not only will your business performance experience the negative effects of a bad hire, but a poor fit can interrupt the Employee Experience of their peers — and that interruption can lead to turnover amongst your great fits. How? A bad hire doesn’t perform well, harms the company culture, and does not collaborate effectively with teammates. This can cause your other employees to grow unhappy, frustrated, and more likely to turnover in the long run.Highly successful organizations understand the importance of weaving out bad hires. Amazon, a leader in Employee Experience, believes that it’s more costly to hold onto bad hires than to hand over a few grand for their departure — offering to pay its employees up to $5,000 to quit if they feel they aren’t a good fit.While this pricey tactic isn’t an option for most companies, there are other measures People teams and managers can take to identify bad hires early-on. Employee onboarding is the perfect opportunity to track and analyze a new hire’s ability to achieve goals, fit into company culture, and work with peers.By the end of a 90 day onboarding program, you should understand whether a new hire is a good hire, as measured by the way new employees achieve their 30, 60, and 90 day onboarding goals. If new hires don’t meet these goals, don’t show improvement, don’t fit into company culture, and don’t work well with their teams, it’s better to take action after 90 days rather than endure the poor performance and company of a bad hire.2. Foster a culture of open communication. When employees decide to quit, it’s often the first time they’re communicating their workplace concerns. This lack of open communication means an employer isn’t given the chance to correct existing issues before being handed an employee’s notice.A crucial part of reducing turnover is effectively and openly communicating with employees. Finding out how employees feel at work, measuring their engagement, and understanding how they view the company, are all necessary ingredients in improving employee retention. Feedback and communication go hand-in-hand, and are both essential throughout the entire employee lifecycle. A culture of transparency will give employees the chance to voice their concerns as they arise, rather than silently endure their problems until they decide to quit.Depending on your company’s size, there are different internal communication strategies that might work best for your organization, such as:An open door policy Internal newsletters Weekly team meetings Weekly one-on-ones Monthly team events Quarterly all-hands meetingsTo encourage employees to stay with your organization, make them feel like they’re a part of something important. Keep employees aligned with your mission, vision, and values, through ongoing communication and a transparent Employee Experience. 3. Develop your employees. 87% of Millennials — the largest share of workers in the US — report professional development or career growth opportunities as very important in a career. If you’re not catering to your employees’ values, you’re giving them a reason to leave. Forward-thinking companies understand the value of learning. Thriving tech company, TripleLift, invests in learning and development by holding a weekly “Tech Trek”, in which employees teach their peers about new projects they’re currently working on. This weekly session creates a safe peer-to-peer learning environment — tying in two core retention steps of communication and development.In any organization, opportunities for growth are everywhere. While you can’t promote your entire workforce, you can always offer education opportunities, lateral moves, job rotations, or cross-training. Exposing employees to different parts of your organization gives them a chance to gain valuable insight and experience throughout multiple sides of the business.An employee development plan should be in place for every single employee in your organization, giving them say in their own career path so they can visualize their internal growth. Without internal development, employees will ultimately seek their learning and development opportunities externally.4. Recognize and reward effort and success. Research has shown that companies with recognition programs that improve employee engagement have 31% lower voluntary turnover. Yet a study by the US Bureau of Labor shows that only 29% of US employees feel valued in their jobs.No one wants to feel like they’re slaving away and no one is noticing. Let employees know that you’re aware and appreciative of their work. To reduce turnover, your employees must understand that you value them as a part of your team and are grateful for the contributions they make.Successful organizations invest in a recognition-rich culture. Tom Mendoza, Vice Chairman at NetApp - a company that has topped multiple Best Places to Work lists - has said, “I think people want to be at a place where they feel respected, appreciated and the company is trying to do something special.”So how does NetApp make its employees feel appreciated? Mendoza personally calls NetApp employees on a daily basis who are “caught doing something right” — the ultimate form recognition! But recognition shouldn’t just come from managers or execs. Purpose-built technology, like Bonusly, can help you embed peer-to-peer recognition into your company culture. With regular acknowledgement for effort and achievements, employees will become more engaged, and less likely to leave your organization.Reducing turnover through recognition also means recognizing employees when they’re not succeeding. Employees want and require some level of guidance, so when they don’t succeed, address the failure and work alongside them to learn, grow, and move past it. Recognizing and addressing shortfalls is also a great way to make employees feel like they’re learning and developing within their organization.Strengthening the Employee Experience is an elemental step in decreasing employee turnover. Give employees a reason to stay with your organization by taking these core steps towards their success, engagement, and growth.Want to learn how Sapling’s onboarding solution can help deliver an excellent Employee Experience to your teams? Download Sapling’s Essential Guide to Employee Onboarding Success or sign up for a product demo below.

Posted on 
Apr 7, 2017
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Culture & Engagement

7 Inexpensive Ways to Invest in Company Culture

Zappos, Google, Expedia, Airbnb — what do some of today’s most innovative companies have in common?The huge success of these people-first organizations is founded by one crucial ingredient: a strong company culture.In a letter to his entire team, Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, writes, “Our culture is the foundation for our company.” And what exactly is culture? Chesky explains, “Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with passion.”When candidates, employees, customers, and the public interact with your organization, what do they experience? The way your company is perceived hinges on the internal culture you build and manage. And that company culture impacts everything in the organization — from productivity, engagement and retention, to employee happiness and business success. If this core investment in your organization’s success isn’t already a part of your People team’s budget, it’s time to factor it in. But for most organizations (who don’t quite have Google’s lavish allowance), they don’t know where to begin making affordable investments in company culture. Luckily, there are cost-efficient, incremental changes that can make a big impact.Here are 7 inexpensive ways to invest in company culture. 1. Recognition and Reward According to Gallup, organizations with above-average levels of employee engagement enjoy 147% higher earnings per share.As a basic human desire, employees need to be recognized for their efforts and achievements. Building authentic and meaningful recognition into your company culture is a low cost, high impact way to drive performance, retention, and engagement. Encourage teams to recognize their members’ efforts, ideas, and victories on a daily basis to reap the benefits of a recognition-rich culture. Thriving tech company, Motley Fool, makes everyday ‘Recognition Day’ by using company-wide peer-to-peer recognition to regularly congratulate employees on a job well done.With purpose-built technology, staff appreciation programs don’t have to strain your People budget. Affordable platforms like Bonusly foster a culture of appreciation through timely, frequent, and visible peer-to-peer recognition. Positive reassurance and frequent displays of confidence create a strong culture of motivated, engaged, and happy teams.2. Team-Building For an organization made up of highly talented individuals, the value of team-building is enormous. Thoughtfully investing in team-building tactics encourages collaboration, increases open communication, builds trust, and promotes employee engagement.33% of employees say the ability to collaborate makes them more loyal, and building strong teams is essential for a collaborative work culture. Team-building shouldn’t be a one-off activity, but must be embedded into the day-to-day. Zappos is one people-first company that takes teamwork seriously, with its employees reporting to teams rather than managing individuals. This work style instils total trust in the team and its ability to effectively collaborate on, produce, and monitor its own projects. If you’re not quite ready to ditch management, consider encouraging your organization’s teams to set regular, formal team goals, then give teams the freedom to make their own decisions on how they carry out projects. Strong peer relationships are essential to a healthy company culture, and working towards common goals is one of the best ways to strengthen them. 3. All-hand meetings Regardless of your organization’s size, all-hands meetings are a great way to strengthen company culture. 97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project. Regular all-hands meetings offer an opportunity to build that alignment across not just individual teams, but the entire organization.Zappos hosts quarterly all-hands meetings in which the entire company - of over 1,500 staff - shuts down and gathers off-site to communicate transparently, celebrate victories, drive engagement, and inspire its employees. The organization’s willingness to put a full halt on all operations each quarter shows just how important all-hands meetings are to their strong company culture. 4. Employee Onboarding Founding a strong company culture begins with setting employees up for success. By delivering a great employee experience at the start of the active employee lifecycle, you lay the groundwork for a consistently strong company culture. An effective, repeatable employee onboarding program breeds engaged employees who will continue adding value to your culture. Invest the time in building scalable, repeatable onboarding plans for your new hires to foster a culture of learning, engagement, and success. Want to find out how Sapling’s Employee Onboarding software can help strengthen your company culture? Download Sapling’s Essential Guide To Employee Onboarding Success, or schedule a product demo! 5. Environment As detailed in Ron Friedman’s The Best Place To Work, researchers measured a 32% increase in performance among employees who were allowed to customize their offices compared to those who were not.Allowing employees to choose when, where, and how they work leads to higher levels of satisfaction, innovation, and job performance. This freedom strengthens the work culture by fostering happier, higher performing teams. The folks at Square, the mobile payment and financial services company, discourage their employees from sitting in a single chair all day, viewing it as anti-collaborative. In an Inc interview, Square’s office manager explains, “We have a completely open floor plan. It creates this really open, comfortable environment where people can just walk up and engage one another in a way that wouldn't happen with a typical office.” One inexpensive way to invest in your employees’ environmental freedom is to introduce the concept of hot-desking to your office — a method in which employees use a desk as required on a rotating system, rather than have their own dedicated desks. You don’t have to pay an interior designer to thoughtfully design your workplace — just make sure your office encourages regular movement, provides quiet work spaces, open areas for collaboration, and appropriate space for work breaks.6. Learning and Development A strong company culture is one that fosters continuous engagement and improvement. 68% of workers report professional training and development as the single most important workplace policy. For these employees, an effective development strategy must be part of company culture. Cross-training employees is a great way to make a low-cost investment in learning and development. Consider moving employees across different functions, giving them a chance to take on another role or responsibility for increased learning, development, visibility and understanding of the entire business. Learning about how different parts of the business function will in turn strengthen company culture, as employees will make decisions based on the organization as a whole.This doesn’t just apply to employees — for a better work culture, managers can also be swapped into an employee’s role for a comprehensive understanding of the daily challenges and victories their teams face. 7. Communication A strong company culture is a culture of communication. A tell-tale sign of unhealthy organization is one in which peers, managers, People teams, and executives don’t communicate effectively. No employee should feel like they can’t voice their concerns, thoughts, or ideas. Arranging regular one-on-ones between managers and employees, frequent team brainstorms, and scheduled employee feedback catch-ups are all crucial in founding a strong, communicative culture. If you haven’t already, try introducing an employee intranet like Slack into your workplace for accessible, frequent communication. Online audio giant, SoundCloud has even built its own employee intranet, called Opus. This platform allows all employees from their 4 offices across 4 different time zones to chat, post team priorities, and provide and receive regular updates. But SoundCloud doesn’t neglect the importance of face-to-face communication. Its employees are also highly encouraged to travel to other offices, as these visits ensure effective communication and visibility across the entire organization. Making transparency the norm is the goal of an effective communication strategy, so foster a culture in which total candor is welcomed and expected on a daily basis.

Posted on 
Mar 27, 2017
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

Best Practices for Onboarding Internal Hires

Whether you’re promoting an existing employee or coordinating their lateral career move — internal role transfers are a powerful way to build up your talent pipeline, drive engagement and reduce turnover.According to Gallup, employees who are given the opportunity to continually develop are twice as likely to say they will remain with their current company. An effective way to offer these employees the growth opportunities they are asking for, while increasing retention and saving on hiring costs, is to help develop them to a new position within your organization. The benefits of internal development are clear — providing employees with meaningful opportunities to grow within your organization, and filling hard-to-find senior roles with proven talent. Internal candidates are already strong culture fits and possess the valuable institutional knowledge that comes from being in the company.And when internal employees shift roles, providing them with an effective onboarding experience in their new team can often determine their overall success in the new position — meaning we must put as much thought towards setting an internal hire up for success as we would an external hire. A new role often means a different team, a new manager, and a change in work culture — factors that need to be thoughtfully and strategically addressed by your People function. Instead of appointing your employees to a new department and wishing them luck, it’s essential to map out the steps that will guarantee a smooth transition and ensure high performance quickly. Here are some best practices for setting your employees up for success in a new internal role: 1. Formally transition managers along with the employee. Connecting the employee’s former and new manager is an important step in preparing for an internal role change. The People team should organize a session with both managers and the transferring employee to discuss the changeover and provide new managers with critical knowledge about their newest team member. At DigitalOcean, we facilitate these conversations to ensure that the important discussions are discussed candidly and openly.Topics that are covered should include:- What are the employee’s strengths and development areas? How can the new manager continue to support the employee’s growth? - How can the manager and employee best work together? What do they both need to be successful? - What is the best way to drive the employee’s performance and ensure his or her success?Create a standard checklist of items to be covered to ensure a fluid transition from one leader to the next, and document the takeaways in your HRIS or performance feedback and goal-setting tools. 2. Set new 30, 60, and 90 day goals around the new role. Everyone knows how important goal setting is to a new employee’s success. Formal goals create priorities and focus, ensuring that there are tangible ways to measure progress, and pivot if something is not working. That’s no different for a new internal role! Even if an employee was the most productive member of their former team, when changing roles, they’ll once again need to be ramped-up to full productivity. To set your employees up for success, implement a strategic plan to teach them the right processes, tools, and responsibilities for the role during their first 90 days.Create an onboarding roadmap to detail 30, 60, and 90 day goals for your employee’s new position. Building this roadmap as you would for a new hire is an essential part of internal onboarding — providing employees the direction they need to take full ownership over the role throughout the first 3 months. Make sure that the manager is meeting with them as often as they would a new employee to check in on what’s working and make adjustments on what’s not. 3. Ensure social and cultural acclimation. Though an internal employee isn’t new to the organization, a role change often comes with a change of team, new leaders, team members, and cultural norms. Preparing employees with the connections, confidence, and support they need to be successful in the new role is a key part of internal onboarding. In smaller companies, most people will already know one another. But in larger ones, a new team may as well be a new company.Don’t underestimate the power of shared norms and behaviors within teams, and be intentional about naming the salient aspects of team cultures and acclimating new transfers into them. Detailing employee profiles in a central onboarding portal is a great way to help employees familiarize themselves with new teammates leading up to a role change. Employee profiles should include basic information (such as name and title), a headshot, and a simple ‘About Me’. This will help the new employee learn more about his or her team, and give the members information to get to know their newest member and welcome them with love! A week before the role change, organize a lunch with the new team, so that everyone can get acquainted before Day One. Taking early steps towards social acclimation will help give employees the network they’ll need to collaborate with and succeed within their new team. Encourage candid and open conversations on how the new team’s members communicate, collaborate, and work with one another; and what type of informal and formal behaviors are rewarded. Just like with company M&A’s, success or failure often hinges on cultural assimilation as much as technical, so don’t neglect this important part of bringing new people and teams together. 4. Assign a new mentor. A new role comes with new unknowns. Regardless of how knowledgeable an employee was in their previous position, every hire needs some level of guidance when taking on a new role.For internal hires to quickly reach full productivity, provide the professional coaching and support of a dedicated mentor. A mentor offers a safe sounding board for employees to troubleshoot any questions that arise when starting their new position, which is critical in supporting their early engagement and productivity. They can help with learning some of the team cultural and behavioral norms described above, and provide a safe space to supplement the People team’s role in successfully supporting a new transition. 5. Create a new Development Plan. In a 2016 Xerox study, “new career development opportunities” was reported as the number one step organizations are planning to retain talent. We've discussed how Employee Development Plans are fundamental for new hire retention, growth, and engagement — and the same applies to internal hires.Building a fresh development plan around a new position will drive engagement by helping employees visualize their continued career progression within the organization. Even though someone may be new in their role, it’s never too early to begin thinking about continued development as part performance improvement and career growth. While it’s likely personal developmental goals will remain consistent, the employee and new manager should co-create this plan with updated professional development goals relevant to the new role. At DigitalOcean, our People team actively supports creating formal development plans so that employees know what they need to be focusing on for their personal and professional growth, and managers have a clear roadmap and action plans on how they can support their employees.In a healthy, engaged organization, both feedback and employee development are “always-on” processes. While there may not always a chance to promote existing employees into more senior roles, you always be encouraging your employees and managers to look at how they can grow through new experiences and opportunities across the organization.Oftentimes there may be unexplored options to provide development opportunities through cross-department hires. Gaining experience and exposure to different parts of the company is an effective way to continue development and drive engagement, and providing internal hires with the tools, support, and path they need to be successful in those cross-functional opportunities begins with a strategic onboarding plan.What best practices have you seen or used to ensure the success of people in new roles within the company? Please share them in the comments below. Sapling helps companies build structured onboarding programs with best-in-class technology. To learn more about delivering your employees an effective onboarding experience, download Sapling’s Essential Guide To Employee Onboarding Success, or schedule a demo below. Author Bio:Matt Hoffman is VP, People at DigitalOcean. If you’re interested in learning more about DigitalOcean’s unique development-focused culture, check us out here. We are hiring!

Posted on 
Mar 2, 2017
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Culture & Engagement

Planning for Success: First Day Ideas for New Hires

The first day sets the tone for a new hire’s Employee Experience. But without investing time in designing the right first day plan, you risk making the wrong first impression.A new hire’s first day should provide validation on their decision to accept the job offer — meaning no overloading them with information or leaving them at their desk with nothing to do. Though organizing team introductions and providing essential company information may be the primary focus of Day One, there is more to planning an effective first day experience than tracking down an old employee handbook. So what does an effective First Day Plan look like? With a flood of new faces, introductions, and information, the first day onboarding for a new employee can be overwhelming.First day interactions and experiences are always amplified, so People Operations should have a plan to manage every part of the day. Shannon McAlister, Office Manager at Zumper, provides an excellent first day experience that both excites and prepares new hires to start making meaningful contributions.“When heading into their new role, new hires are usually full of energy and enthusiasm — which should be channeled into learning and socialization,” Shannon says. “We have a repeatable plan in place to make their first day awesome and welcome them to the Zumper family.”What can we learn from Zumper’s first day plan? 1. Coffee, donuts, and lunch are far less intimidating than a formal conference room introduction. Calm a new hire’s first day nerves with relaxed team meetings. Zumper encourages early team building by scheduling two informal first day gatherings between new hires and their new teammates. Though relaxed, Zumper ensures that these key introductions are well planned for — meaning no impersonal hand waves as the new hire is being toured around the office. 2. First day energy is channeled into learning about company culture and key information. New hires aren’t assigned to a desk then left alone to read dated handbooks — they’re first made comfortable, introduced to their new team, then guided through the most important aspects of the company. 3. No time is wasted on setting up a new laptop or downloading software. The first day is short — instead of spending it taking care of groundwork, Zumper makes the most of each hour. Providing new hires with everything they’ll need from Day One equips them for early success. 4. It’s all about presentation. Company Swag is waiting for new hires the moment they reach their desk.Taking the time to prepare a welcome spread shows new hires how excited you are to have them join the team. Put in that extra bit of effort to make a ‘good’ first day a ‘great’ one.5. There is a balance between one-on-one and group meetings. Team meetings begin acclimating new hires to Zumper’s collaborative work culture, while individual meetings with the office manager ensure a firm understanding of the basics.End-of-day one-on-ones answer any pending questions to make sure the new hire is confident, informed, and prepared to move forward in the onboarding process. What else can People Ops do to ensure a great first day experience?1. Prepare managers by making sure they have their Onboarding Plan in place. 2. Map out the first few items of attention for both a new hire’s buddy and manager 3. Provide managers with a quick checklist of key items to discuss in a First Day meeting, such as:- Goals and objectives for the role - How the new hire takes feedback - How they can best work togetherThere isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to first day strategy. Take the time to figure out what a meaningful first day experience should look like at your company, and build a base plan.An excellent first day onboarding experience begins aligning new hires with company mission, teams, and culture from the moment they enter their new office. With a strategic onboarding incorporating paperwork and admin into pre-boarding, People Ops can focus their attention on giving new hires a first day experience that fosters early alignment, engagement, and success. Want to learn more about how to deliver a great Employee Onboarding experience to your new hires? Download Sapling’s Essential Guide To Employee Onboarding Success or schedule a demo below:

Posted on 
Feb 14, 2017
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

8 Best Practices for Onboarding Technical Employees

If you’ve recently recruited an IT, Web Development, or Computer Systems guru, you’ve landed some of the most sought-after talent in today’s job market. With a contract signed and start-date set, it’s important to recognize that you’re now onboarding a special kind of new hire — a technical one. Though the goals of Employee Onboarding remain the same — accommodating, assimilating, and accelerating the new-hire to full productivity — there are some particular things to consider when onboarding technical employees. The roles, skills, and backgrounds of technical hires are different to those of a marketing or sales employee. Catering to your technical hires’ onboarding needs can ensure that you provide a great employee experience and achieve full ROI on hiring plans.According to the BLS, U.S. employment of computer and IT occupations is projected to grow 12% from 2014 to 2024, increasing from 3.9 to 4.4 million jobs. With the recruitment battle for tech employees forecasted to grow fiercer - it’s important to build effective onboarding plans to ramp-up and retain that prized talent.Here are 8 best practices for onboarding technical employees. 1. Focus on the technicalities Tech work focuses on specific techniques, skills, and processes. Technical hires tend to value organization and detail, so show them you do too by taking care of the specifics in employee preboarding.Beyond paperwork, payroll, and benefits, you can use preboarding to show new tech hires how much you value them, encouraging their engagement early on. Netflix, for example, likes to show their new hires how much they care by asking their preferred laptop choice and configuration, so that it’s all set up on Day One. Attention to detail, along with organizing access to any resources they’ll need, can ensure a strong start to onboarding.2. Align technical employees with the mission behind their work With a heavy focus on tangible skills, it can be easy to let company mission and values fall to the sidelines during a technical hire’s onboarding. But mission alignment is a critical part of any onboarding program.Try getting personal with new tech hires to convey your organization’s mission, like the Customer Experience software company, Medallia, who hosts intimate "Getting to Know the Business" sessions as part of their onboarding program. In these sessions, leaders across the organization encourage new hires to ask in-depth questions so they can “dig in and understand the people who have built the company and help formulate its mission and vision.” 3. Give them a challenge (and an early win) Early, manageable projects are a great way to help technical employees put those tangible skills to use, get comfortable with their new work culture, and gain a confidence boost. Give them an initial goal to achieve with an engaging first project.For example, a new Apple employee receives an iMac on their first day, and are tasked with setting it up themselves — creating an accomplishable, constructive goal for new hires to tackle right away. 4. Focus on the social, not just the technical Technical hires often move cities, even countries, when starting a new role — which means they might not know anyone in town, let alone in the office.Assign a buddy to serve as a personal welcoming committee and to introduce new tech hires to the rest of the office. Encourage buddies to go out of their way to get new hires acclimated, like the Marketing Software specialists at Percolate. According to Percolate, all new hires are assigned a “Percolator”, whose buddy responsibilities include introducing new hires to everyone at the company as a part of onboarding (over 100 employees!).Introductions between new tech hires and their teammates, technical leaders, and various stakeholders can help provide them visibility into all parts of the organization.5. Appoint a mentor With a can-do attitude, technical employees might sometimes shy away from asking for help. But in such a specialized area, it’s important to let tech hires know that it’s always available. Appoint a formal mentor to your technical hires so that they have someone knowledgeable to approach with work-related questions. Different to a buddy, a mentor is an employee with more applied experience than the new hire, whom they can trust for professional guidance. Quora offers a great example of onboarding mentorship for new tech hires. They respect that onboarding mentors sacrifice about 25% of personal output during the first weeks of training. Dedicated mentoring helps to quickly ramp-up mentees, making up for lost output in the long-run. 6. Develop your developers Technical employees are passionate about what they do. Focusing on Career Development can help engage your eager new hires and encourage them to grow professionally within the organization. When it comes to making development plans for your new tech hires, don’t be afraid to get creative. CyberCoders, the innovative recruiting firm, recognized the value of early Career Development, creating their own Associate Recruiter Incubator Program. This development program takes driven, competitive individuals and “teaches them to apply technology to a diverse marketplace.” Regardless of your development strategies, new tech hires’ personal goals should be detailed and aligned with business objectives for strategic and scalable employee growth.7. Fulfill their personal interests Becoming a great technical talent is often a result of a personal interest in the field. Beside formal Development Plans, you can engage technical hires by entertaining these interests. Set time aside for your tech employees to work on or share what they love most.Dreamworks, for example, hosts company gatherings during which employees are encouraged to share their personal projects with coworkers. Use onboarding as a chance to display a company culture that values personal innovation to engage your new tech talent. 8. Choose direct over digital communication Technical employees can sometimes fall out of the communication loop. It’s easy to get lost in the latest project, and fall to digital rather than direct communication. But set aside time for checking in to ensure that onboarding goals are being met and employees are receiving the feedback they need, so they can continue moving forward.Employee Onboarding is the foundation for employee success. An onboarding solution can deliver a great experience and a faster ramp-up time for not only your technical hires, but for every new hire that joins your team. Want to learn more? Download Sapling’s Essential Guide To Employee Onboarding Success or schedule a product demo below:

Posted on 
Feb 1, 2017
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

The 5 Elements of Great Onboarding for Remote Staff

If you’re going remote, you’re in good company. Growing organizations such as Basecamp, Gitlab, Elastic, and Buffer are all thriving on remote work. With 45 percent of US employees now telecommuting to work, it’s time to concentrate on how we onboard remote staff.Onboarding virtual employees might seem like a challenge, but with the right tools and techniques, remote staff can quickly become engaged, high performing employees. Of course, the traditional office tour and deskside introductions aren’t an option when it comes to an out-of-office worker. Instead, we’ve got the 5 elements needed for a great onboarding of remote staff. Prepare with preboarding and a structured game plan Deal with administrative details early on by integrating all paperwork into pre-boarding. With services like Sapling enabling remote workers to complete paperwork in a click, they can focus their time and attention on what’s important. Along with access to accounts or physical equipment, aim to take care of all necessities during employee preboarding for a smooth and organized start. Ensure their manager has a structured onboarding plan in place so that the new hire has clear direction and can focus on the right things. Don’t let remote workers feel remote Although they’re not physically with the team, remote workers should still feel like part of it. When it comes to their new colleagues, new hires need to put a face to a name. Fortunately, in the realm of Skype, Google Hangouts, and Slack, this is easy.Welcome remote hires onto your team with a “getting started” video call. Introductory calls will encourage new hires to reach out and collaborate with coworkers as they move forward. Using regular virtual meetings throughout onboarding will support open communication. While time differences might make regular check-ins seem tricky, there is always a time that can suit everyone.Assigning remote workers a buddy is another great way to build friendships and confidence. Making a friend, even if it’s a virtual one, connects your remote workers to the organization in a more personal way, leading to better engagement. Teamwork is key in any business, so foster an onboarding experience that encourages collaboration, not isolation.Plan for productivity and follow through Don’t let onboarding tasks fall through the cracks just because a new hire isn’t in the office. Failing to set milestones and goals can lead to confusion and feelings of purposelessness. Onboarding goals, milestones, and timelines should be easily accessed, maintained, and checked off in a central location.With effective onboarding, companies can experience an ROI of $6,044 – $11,799 per new employee onboarded. Be clear about responsibilities and objectives with structured timelines for remote onboarding success. Breaking down goals and learning plans into achievable, manageable steps with explicit due dates helps remote employees stay in-check and accountable.When creating your new hire onboarding program, don’t ignore employee development. Discuss career development so that remote workers receive development opportunities that will encourage them to stay engaged, productive, and onboard. Make information accessible Remote staff don’t have the option of quietly asking neighbors who’s who or where they can find a document. Don’t let this detract from productivity — make all information apparent and accessible. Organizational structures, information about coworkers, and company resources belong in onboarding. Don’t bottleneck remote employees when it comes to access — detail where they can find any information or resources they might need in their role. As for teaching and learning, utilize screen-sharing features in video conferencing to teach new hires any platforms, tricks, or tools they’ll need. Mission and culture for aligned employees Remote employees can’t experience company culture in the office, so it’s important to weave it into their onboarding experience. Company culture should be introduced to remote workers from day 1 through storytelling, presentation, and communication.Express company mission, values, and strategy so that new hires understand what’s important. As remote hires become more productive, their tasks and goals should clearly align with organizational values, supporting company culture and mission. Continually improve your onboarding experience with regular feedback from remote staff. Asking the right questions will explain what is and isn’t working so that you can continually strengthen your onboarding program. Effective onboarding for remote staff helps engage, retain, and ramp-up remote employees. Want to learn more about how Employee Onboarding can enhance engagement and performance in your teams? Schedule a demo below. <a style="text-align: center;" href="/get-demo/">Get Demo</a>

Posted on 
Jan 12, 2017
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

Buddying Up for Great Employee Onboarding

In starting a new role, have you ever wished you could fast forward through the first few months, skipping over those awkward moments of confusion? Unfortunately, with every new job comes new uncertainties.When it comes to settling into an unfamiliar company, new hires don’t want to go it alone. And with the help of a Buddy Program in employee onboarding, they don’t have to.Strategic Employee Onboarding is about making great hires great employees. By buddying up with a seasoned employee, new hires gain insight to inside information and receive the encouragement they need to get comfortable in a new workplace. Quickening this transitional period leads to a faster ramp-up time for new employees.Employees who have a best friend in the office are 7 times likelier to be engaged at work. A Buddy Program that encourages workplace friendships helps to achieve onboarding goals sooner and raise levels of Employee Engagement for new and existing employees alike. Here’s the run-down on why and how you should include a Buddy Program into your Employee Onboarding process. A Buddy, Defined The role of a buddy is different to that of a mentor, manager, or coach. This relationship is far less formal, with its core purpose being encouragement and friendship. Zappos, a company winning the Employee Onboarding game, promotes workplace friendships. As CEO, Tony Hsieh expressed, “Once you have that level of friendship, there’s higher levels of trust.”A Buddy Program should be supportive, casual, and private. Highlight the factor of trust and confidentiality between buddies. This way, new hires will feel comfortable asking questions without the fear of details getting passed around the office.Buddies are not responsible for a new hire’s Employee Development — goal setting and formal training are responsibilities exclusively for a mentor or manager. Instead, general office-related questions are directed towards the buddy, so that manager-employee time is saved for more important matters. Buddy duties include more than offering directions to the bathroom and printer. They should share useful, socially-focused information to help with the new-hires cultural acclimation, such as:The best nearby coffee shop Great after-work happy hours Unspoken kitchen rules (Ben’s soymilk is not communal… don’t find out the hard way!) The nearest pharmacyFavorite lunch spots Weekend access hours Just how informal are Casual Fridays? (Leopard print leggings — Yea or Nay?)Looking for a head start? Use Sapling's Free Buddy Program Template. Playing Matchmaker in a Sustainable Buddy Program A strategic Buddy Program will breed new volunteers to welcome future hires. During their first week, 56% of new hires want a buddy. Once these employees’ Buddy Programs end, they’ll be eager to help out the next newbie. A positive experience encourages employees to pay it forward. Pair up buddies within the same department so that more relevant information can be shared. A Buddy should be an engaged employee who is wholly understanding of organizational values and goals, and can translate these to new hires.As volunteers, Buddies genuinely want to contribute to the onboarding process, boosting Employee Engagement levels for both themselves and their new hire counterparts.Having trouble rounding up volunteers? Create simple incentives for joining the program, such as license to splurge at that (overpriced) gourmet coffee shop during Buddy meetings. The temptation of an almond croissant is more powerful than you might think.Arrange the buddies to have their first meeting before the new hire begins work. This will calm first-day nerves and offer new employees a familiar, friendly face straightaway.Make the Most of the Buddy Program with Routine Meetings and Feedback The structure of a Buddy meeting should be relaxed — coffee, lunch, or a sit-down in the common area. For remote workers, a simple Google Hangout or Skype session will do the trick. Depending on how long your Buddy Program lasts (we suggest 3 - 6 months), the meeting calendar should look something like this,1x/week for first month 2x/month for months 2 - 3 1x/month for months 4 - 6 1 end of program meeting to recap and explore the new-no-more hire’s interest in becoming a BuddyA time allocation isn’t necessary, given the relaxed nature of these meetings. It’s fully up to the duo whether they’d like to grab a 15 minute coffee, or enjoy 2 hours of after-work drinks. To gain valuable feedback on what is and isn’t working, implement short, monthly surveys. Survey questions to consider: New HireIn your own words, how would you describe the business’ goals and vision? Do you feel comfortable around your new coworkers? How would you describe the organization’s overall attitude? Have you been comfortable asking your buddy any questions that arise?BuddyDo you feel the new hire has a solid understanding of company goals and vision? Do you think the new hire is adapting to company culture?How has the new hire’s confidence progressed? Over the past month, have the new hire’s queries increased, decreased, or remained constant?The end of program survey should review overall satisfaction and effectiveness, with compulsory comments on program strengths along with suggestions for improvement. Candid feedback will guide you in polishing your program so that new hires are getting the support, information, and friendship they need to excel. How Apartment List built their program? Apartment List, a San Francisco based Technology company (and partner of Sapling), has found great success with their new hire buddy program, or PEEP (personal employee experience person) program. The PEEP Program is run by their Director of People - Lauren Burris - and is a structured experience for new hires that promotes new hire relationships and informative conversations, and includes regular social events.At a recent Buddy Happy Hour event sponsored by Sapling, they had 25 new hires and their PEEPs (personal employee experience person) come to bond, chat, and celebrate joining Apartment List. We asked them a few questions such as "What's the most important thing you learned from (or taught to) your new hire?" - the results were not surprising, covering the softer sides of new hire onboarding. Ranging from how to use internal systems: "Small improvements (a performance management tool) isn't a huge essay for performance reviews." Understanding employee benefits and stock issuance: "Reinforce the importance of the GoNavia transit benefits and how they work" and "How shares work, covering stock options, grants and tax items." And most importantly: "The culture of the company", and "Definitely a lot of historical or background information about our clients, business and product"When we asked attendees the importance of the PEEP Program to new hire success, all agreed it had played an important role and see it has a significant value add from the People Operations team. Want to learn more about how employee onboarding can foster engagement and productivity? Download Sapling’s Essential Guide To Employee Onboarding Success or sign up for a product demo below.

Posted on 
Dec 19, 2016
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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Onboarding

Propelling Business Performance through Employee Development

Employees and organizations alike are in search of that special someone to engage in a successful long-term relationship. For organizations looking to attract and retain top talent – founding a happy and healthy alliance – an Employee Development Plan is essential.Development Plans are owned by the employee and align their interests and areas for growth with business objectives. A well-manufactured Employee Development Plan outlines an individual path for career progression, steering employee progress through goal setting, identifying growth opportunities, and developing skills. A cost-effective tool in building loyalty, decreasing turnover, and promoting employee engagement, Employee Development Plans should be top priority on your HR agenda. Integrating a strategy for Employee Development into your onboarding program has the added benefit of displaying your commitment to a new hire’s learning, growth, and success early on. So how exactly can an Employee Development Plan strengthen your organization? Millennial Career Values and Increased Retention Imagine you’ve recently started a new season of your favorite Netflix series. You’re 4 episodes in and you can’t work out where the season is heading – the show has lost its direction. The plot line is lacking, your favorite character has fallen flat, and 10 minutes into the episode you call it quits. You’re back on the home page, browsing for your next series. Employees want to understand where their careers are heading – they demand direction. Without a clear course for career progression, they will land back on their job search engines, browsing for their next role.87% of Millennials report professional development or career growth opportunities as very important in a career. A plan of action to meet your employees’ Career Development goals will prevent them from ultimately looking for opportunities to progress elsewhere. This is particularly in character with Millennial workers, who are progressive, driven, and focused on their career values. With Millennials compromising the largest share of workers in the U.S. workforce, it’s imperative to concentrate on their needs from day one. Collaborating to develop a clear Development Plan with all new hires can be the difference between retaining and repelling Millennial talent. When attracting new talent, highlighting Career Development opportunities draws in the right breed of candidates who are focused on contributing to and progressing within the organization.Two-thirds of Millennials hope to leave their current companies by 2020, 71% of which are reportedly dissatisfied with how their leadership skills are being developed.A powerful employee development plan encourages the evolution of leadership skills from the time of a new hire’s onboarding. Systematically increased responsibility and accountability are fundamental in Employee Development. Employees should be given the opportunity to gain influence and add value to the organization through achieving self-delegated goals as outlined in their Development Plans. This offers professional and personal growth while preparing employees for future internal leadership roles. Planning for Engaged, Promotable Employees A Career Development Plan not only satisfies your workforce’s needs, but it meets HR’s requirements by creating promotable employees. Preparing your employees for their future positions within your company prevent HR from spending time and resources on making external hires.Showing your employees that you’re invested in them by indicating future opportunity for advancement, encourages them to stay on board and progress their careers internally. Through developing and promoting existing employees, Development Plans can contribute to greater Employee Engagement. Using internal promotions to reward employees for their past performance signals to coworkers that internal progression is not only feasible, but it is favored by the organization.Encouraged by their coworkers’ progress, employees will be motivated to actively contribute to their organization’s goals, values, and success, seeing opportunity for advancement as an occurring and achievable prospect. An engaged employee feels involved, valued, consulted, and supported. With 68% of workers marking professional training and development as the single most important workplace policy, an effective Development Plan is a key tool to promote Employee Engagement.As for HR, there are many benefits to fostering promotable employees:- Existing employees will not need to be onboarded and trained. - They already have a clear understanding of the company’s organizational structure and culture.- Management is familiar with the employee’s capabilities. - The organization’s investment in the employee is retained.Employees don’t become promotable by chance – a deliberate progression plan and the right developmental tools are essential in priming your workforce to fill upper positions down the line.The Dollars and Cents of Employee Development Employee turnover doesn’t come cheap. Beside the negative effects turnover can have on Employee Engagement, company reputation, and company culture, employee turnover costs 21% of the departing employee's salary. With employee retention and engagement reported as the number 1 issue employers faced last year, steps to successfully retain and develop internal talent are vital to an organization’s success.An Employee Development Plan drives individual performance, which in turn, drives overall business performance. Besides increasing your bottom line through improved employee retention, Development Plans equip employees to meet strategic organizational goals. Realizing these goals results in continued business performance enhancement.Setting initial expectations for employee performance in a Development Plan drives employees to meet and exceed expectations as they work towards tackling a clear set of self-appointed goals. As employees work towards achieving their Development Plan’s mapped out objectives, their performance and capabilities develop, increasing the organization’s total ROI. Strategically Implementing a Development Plan Chances are, you’re familiar with the importance of setting SMART goals when it comes to an Employee Development Plan – but what’s smart when it comes to its implementation?Follow through on your employee’s Career Development Plan with strategic tools such as:Roadmaps – help your employees visualize their development, then enable them to take the wheel in managing their own career path – providing essential tools and support along the way.Milestones – recognize and celebrate achievements in your employees’ Career Development journey to boost morale and drive motivation in meeting their next career goal.Timelines – allocate and track time spent working towards each goal to manage productivity.Early and Ongoing Communication – keep the lines of meaningful communication open with your employees who value transparency, feedback and candor.Career Development Plans are just one important element in Employee Onboarding. Interested in learning more about how onboarding can help you build better connected, more engaged, and higher performing teams? Sign up for a free demo with Sapling below.

Posted on 
Dec 7, 2016
  by
Mariya Finkelshteyn
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