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10 Effective Ways to Train a New Employee

effective-ways-how-to-train-new-employees
Training a new employee the right way matters in many more ways than just having them start to be productive. The costs of not training your employees can add up quickly; from poor morale to lack of production to employee turnover, not setting up your new employee (or newly promoted employee) for success has consequences.

You also will want to consider the costs and the time required to train your new employee. You will want your new employee to track their training time (and what tasks they spent what amount of time learning), as well as you will want to know how many hours it took away from a manager or team to train the new person. This kind of training data will be invaluable to you in order to grow your business, increase your employees’ production, and improve employee retention from continually improving your training programs.

We will discuss the following 10 ways to train a new employee:

  • Way #1: On the Job Training (aka OJT)
  • Way #2: Mentoring Program
  • Way #3: Employee Coaching
  • Way #4: Culture Training
  • Way #5: Job Shadowing
  • Way #6: Webinars & Online Resources
  • Way #7: Mobile Training Apps
  • Way #8: Third Party Training
  • Way #9: Gamification
  • Way #10: Use Social Media

Before we start, let’s also talk about the various ways and the commitment and amount of time they take in an easy table:

Let’s start with the most important way to train the vast majority of employees, from a waiter to a real estate agent to a lawyer:

Way #1: On The Job Training (OJT)

What It Is: OJT is a hands-on method of learning that uses existing equipment, tools, and resources to teach job specific duties and competencies. Training takes place within the job environment so that the employee can learn by seeing how the work is performed. This is especially important for roles that clock in and clock out; one of the first OJT training duties should be teaching your new employee how to clock in and clock out effectively and in alignment with company policy using your OnTheClock system. After all, this small function is where businesses lose thousands… to millions… of dollars!

Why It Works: OJT is considered to be one of the most effective training options because it is normally performed internally by those who already understand the job and the company’s values. It’s like having a real life training manual, where the current employee can also teach the new employee the idiosyncrasies of policies and systems, as well as caution them about company policies. On the other side, it is also time consuming and requires an actual person to be training the trainee.

How You Can Try It: Let’s take a quick look at how OJT works. A retail store cashier is an excellent example of a role where OJT is very relevant. Let’s take a step by step approach at Sam’s Hardware Shop and how OJT might be used for “New Hire Nelly” with long time “Employee Eric”.

Step 1: Nelly comes in for work on her first day. Eric is assigned to be her trainer (or sometimes, companies call this a “buddy” to promote camaraderie). Eric greets Nelly when she arrives and, once she fills out her paperwork (i.e. tax forms, etc… which Eric might do, or someone from HR might do), Eric brings Nelly onto the floor.

Step 2: Eric walks Nelly through a typical start of the day, where he shows her how to clock in, and shows her how to do it (as well as she should do it so she can be paid for today!).

Step 3: Eric then shows Nelly where his register is and starts the day. He counts down the drawer and ensures that it matches the night prior’s totals, and then asks her to try it.

Step 4: Eric then opens his register and lets Nelly watch him take care of actual transactions and customers while she takes notes. This should go on for an hour or two. Then, Eric could let Nelly try to do some transactions while he watches and provides feedback.

Step 5: Eric should then debrief with Nelly at the end of her day, help answer any questions, and help her to clock out.

The steps should then repeat until Nelly starts to be able to do all of the actions on her own. As Nelly becomes more functional, Eric’s time with her will decrease, likely each day, and eventually will likely be only for unique questions like a price check or a rebate.

Next, let’s look at mentoring, which can be a large component of On The Job Training.

Way #2: Mentoring Program

What It Is: Mentoring is a form of training that involves pairing a senior, experienced employee with a new, less experienced employee in order for the new hire to adapt quickly to their role. It is very similar to OJT, but usually takes the relationship to the next level (i.e. think of a senior level attorney being paired with a junior associate).

Tip: You might want to consider using a specific amount of mentoring each week, or even each month, for team members to get the most out of this time. 

Why It Works: Establishing a mentor relationship has been shown to enhance the speed that a new employee learns their new role and adapts to company culture because of the one on one interaction. It also has numerous other positive benefits such as increased positivity at the workplace and higher retention rates because it builds both social and professional bonds.

How You Can Try It: No need to reinvent the wheel: some of the top Fortune 500 companies and successful small businesses implement great mentoring programs. Here are a few of their stories:

General Electric

  • Newly hired graduates go into their Experienced Commercial Leadership Program where they will complete 8 months rotating within areas of their particular business.

Google

  • For the past 9 years, Google has offered a global program featuring stipends for student developers. Summer of Code pairs students with mentors to gain real-world software development experience and has boasted over 8,500 successful participants.

4 Point Consulting

  • 4 Point Consulting offers its associates and staff consultants the opportunity to trade ideas, request trainings and learn from senior management with monthly “Coffee n Convo” hours, dedicated entirely to the development of its employees. Group mentorship allows for camaraderie and the building of essential communication skills.

Caterpillar

  • Caterpillar devotes the first 2-3 years of a college graduate’s employment to professional development by implementing a rotation program wherein the new hire can gain exposure to all aspects of the business, from building basic technical skills to engaging with senior management.

Mentoring in a less formal sense, and when usually done by the direct manager of a new employee, is usually called:

Way #3: Employee Coaching

What It Is: Coaching is used to provide guidance to employees so they can work through challenges and strengthen their skills. Coaching is also usually somewhat less formal than mentoring, and can take less time (and thus cost less money, inhibit employee production less) than mentoring. However, both can have value when some structure is in place around them, and employee coaching can be formally structured (for example, in a weekly 1 on 1 with an employee’s manager).

Why It Works: Coaching is effective because it empowers employees to take their training into their own hands and encourages high performance in a setting and pace that helps personal and professional development. It also can serve as the basis for performance management and documentation of performance, which can be important in promotional and termination decisions, as well as in performance reviews.

How You Can Try It: This method can be effective when you have an employee who could benefit from performance improvement because it helps guide them towards solving problems and improving skills. It can also be great for management or senior employees to consult a business coach who can help provide guidance, focus, goal-setting, accountability, personal development, and business profitability.

Way #4: Culture Training

What It Is: Company Culture is the personality of an organization and it describes what values and goals a company has. Training new employees on company culture is equally important as training for skills because it puts emphasis on being part of the team.

Why It Works: Studies show that employees who are in alignment with their company’s culture and mission are more dedicated to the success of the organization. Teaching your company’s culture and values can also drastically reduce the chances employees will inadvertently engage in discrimination or harassment. It also promotes increased communication and promotes positivity. Howard Stevenson, of Harvard Business School faculty, notes: “Maintaining an effective culture is so important that it, in fact, trumps even strategy.”

How You Can Try It: You can start by creating a list of core values for your company, decide what characteristics new hires will have to be successful in your culture, and continue ongoing training with existing employees. Perhaps employees can contribute to or vote on your list of values, if they are not already stated. If your mission, culture and values exist, make sure you’re living by them. Post your values where team members can regularly see them. Hold your management team and yourself accountable to fulfilling those values daily. If your organization has grown, pivoted, or has experienced a change in its strategy or goals, consider whether the values you put in place at the outset still ring true today. In order for culture and values to work, they have to be felt, so they have to be unique and applicable to your company and employees, specifically.

Next, similar to On The Job Training, there is job shadowing.

Way #5: Job Shadowing

What It Is: Job shadowing involves a new hire working directly with an employee to become immersed in the day by day requirements of the job. In fact, some people even use job shadowing as a part of the recruitment

Why It Works: This method works well because it allows new hires to see the nitty gritty details in real time, without having to figure it out along the way. Simply telling a new employee what to do is not as successful as showing them one on one.

How You Can Try It: Job shadowing works best for jobs that require a lot of detail or those that are heavily task-based. Even if the role would not benefit from solely job shadowing, most roles have some aspects that are well suited to this type of training. In some cases, it can be essential, such as for internships or promotions.

A great example in general is the food and beverage industry. It is fairly unique in its job shadowing (“stage”) concept. But allowing potential (or new) employees to immediately receive the opportunity to work hands-on, side-by-side with more tenured teammates for a whole day can give them a real glimpse into on-the-job realities and skills necessary. One of 4 Point Consulting’s clients, Hu Kitchen in NYC, actually does job shadowing (a “trail” they call it) in their recruitment process for all restaurant roles to make sure that their top candidates understand exactly what their new job would be.

Way #6: Webinars and Online Resources

What It Is: Webinars and Online Resources are both virtual training sessions, with the former being a live presentation, and the latter being pre-made virtual training materials that can be accessed at any time.

Why It Works: This method is extremely cost-effective and convenient, especially if you have employees in different locations. You can take away cost for commuting, venues, and food by utilizing online training. It can also increase employee engagement because people are less likely to be shy about asking questions online. It can also be useful to have resources available for later times because it allows employees to access online information around their busy schedules.

How You Can Try It: For effective execution, start by breaking down material into intuitive sections, incorporate lots of visuals and interactive media, take time to answer questions and encourage collaboration, and set aside time at the end for participant quizzes and feedback.

4 Point Consulting finds success in such trainings from new-hire on-boarding material to systems implementation by leading with agendas, keeping material strictly to the point, and leaving apt time for Q&A at the end of the webinar (so that participants can avoid disruptions and stay on mute throughout the training!). One 4 Point client, SAFEbuilt, was rolling out a new HRIS system in 2018. 4 Point Consulting hosted live webinars (which were also recorded) for employees to attend to learn functionality of the system in real time. We also held webinar Q&A sessions on a daily basis to make sure people felt heard and understood in a smaller group setting. It worked wonders and, better yet, people retained what they learned!

In a similar way, mobile training apps take the webinar concept to the mobile level.

Way #7: Mobile Training Apps

What It Is: Mobile apps designed specifically to provide training sessions and materials straight to an employee’s phone.

Why It Works: Millennials are a lot different from previous generations because they were raised on technology and the workforce in general has become more on the go and remote than ever before. Mobile learning allows employees to learn wherever or whenever and it can be delivered in smaller, more manageable-sized chunks.

How You Can Try It: Find an app service that works for your business, often apps will work with other HR software. Have your new hires gain access even before they begin their first day so that all necessary paperwork is completed in advance and energy levels are kept high from the very beginning. For some app recommendations, visit this article from SHRM.

Way #8: Third Party Training

What It Is: Using outside sources, such as vendors, to provide training to your internal employees.

Why It Works: This method is great when a company may not have the resources to efficiently train new hires or when specialized training is required such as OSHA (Occupational Health & Safety) and you do not have qualified team members available to teach. Other options are using vendor training for any software or apps you use. This can also be useful for training that happens to prevent liability to an employer, such as Diversity & Inclusion training, Sexual Harassment training, HIPPA training, or the like.

How You Can Try It: Determine the needs of your business and decide if it will be more efficient and cost-effective to outsource training.

Need help figuring out your training strategy or don’t have enough time to write your new policies out? Training & development is one of our core practice areas! Get in touch to find more about our hourly HR consulting services.

Way #9: Gamification

What It Is: This new buzzword involved turning training into something fun like a game where people are motivated to succeed through incentivizing the process with rewards.

Why It Works: It promotes friendly competition, gives a sense of achievement to participants, and engages and motivates learners to make behavioural changes.

How You Can Try It: Modify your existing training materials to include a gaming element such as changing format to be levels with winning one level being mandatory before reaching the next step. You can also include an awards system to motivate employees to succeed. More suggestions for implementing gamification techniques can be found here.

Doug Kirkpatrick, of Beyond Empowerment: The The Age of the Self-Managed Organization found that with his project, Morningstar, in which he was instructed to create a state of the art manufacturing plant for tomatoes, he was able to organize the team with a simple scorecard. The gaming element created collaboration, harmony and prosperity for the project: Morningstar produced 90 million pounds of tomato paste for the world market, changing the course of the industry.

Way #10: Use Social Media

What It Is: Using Social Media for training can be a great, easy way to share training materials with your employees because it is easily accessible.

Why It Works: It engages employees on platforms they are already familiar with and active on.

How You Can Try It: Try creating YouTube training videos to share with your new hires. You can also create a private Facebook group where employees can exchange information and materials directly with one another. Another great resource is an instant-messaging service, like Slack, that can be used amongst employees for easy collaboration and sharing.

In conclusion…

Investing in training for new employees helps attract AND retain great talent. Taking the time to coach a team member into the role demonstrates your organization’s commitment to their personal development, endearing them to the company in return.

Spending time with employees in training programs can help managers identify strengths and areas of development right off the bat, ensuring that each new hire can add their specific value to your company. Effective training programs improve overall employee engagement and translate into savings: employees with diversified skills can transition to projects, clients and varied workloads throughout the organization.

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Letting Go – Employee Termination Letter Template and How-To Guide

Letting Go - Employee Termination Letter Template and How-To Guide

While terminations are unpleasant, they are sometimes inevitable or necessary for the betterment of the company. This article will walk you through how to know when termination is the right option, and how to then execute the  firing of an employee with the least amount of risk.

We’ll discuss:

  • How to Know If It’s Time to Fire Someone
  • The Laws Around Terminations
  • The 5 Steps of an Employee Termination

o   Step 1: Compiling Documentation

o   Step 2: Create a Termination Plan

o   Step 3: Prepare for the Termination Meeting

o   Step 4: Termination Meeting

o   Step 5: After the Meeting

Plus

  • The Top 10 Termination Tips
  • Free Downloadable Termination Letter Template

But first, let’s backtrack for a moment and decide if firing someone is what actually needs to be done.

How to Know If It’s Time to Fire Someone

Remember, firing or termination should be the last resort for any employee as it causes stress to a business and even risk, as well as of course the negative impacts on the team, the actual employee in question, and overall office morale. Techniques like progressive discipline, coaching, and a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) should be exhausted prior to termination, unless a particularly egregious offense has been committed (i.e. stealing, workplace violence or threats of it). These steps also can serve as documentation for the termination, which is crucial for mitigating risk and avoiding a lawsuit.

Prior to termination, ask yourself:

  • Have I exhausted all options for trying to get this employee to comply to policies, perform, behave better, etc…?
  • Have I tried coaching, feedback (both direct and indirect), and have I been absolutely clear that their behavior or performance is unacceptable?
  • Will this person be surprised at being terminated? (Hint: NO ONE should ever be surprised at being fired if you have exhausted all possible ways to keep them as an employee.)

Now, especially if you are moving forward with the termination of the employee, you need to make sure your actions are in compliance with your state’s laws.

The Laws Around Terminations

In the end, every state except Montana is subject to what’s calledat-will employment. In its most basic element, this means that an employer has the right to terminate someone with or without cause, as long as there is nothing else at play (i.e. discrimination, retaliation for a sexual harassment complaint). On the flip side, it does also mean that an employee can walk away from an employer without recourse. However, most people think of it for the employer’s right. Again, remember- it still does not make an illegal act like termination for discrimination, for whistle-blowing, or other retaliation legal.

We recommend you also look here for more detailed laws around termination in your state specifically.

The 5 Steps of an Employee Termination

Once you have made the decision that you will be moving forward with terminating an employee, here are the 5 steps you should take. If you find these steps hard to follow, there is a chance that you should consider a better documentation process of performance or behavior issues, or an implementation of a more formal feedback or performance system.

The 5 steps we will go through are:

o   Step 1: Compiling Documentation

o   Step 2: Create a Termination Plan

o   Step 3: Prepare for the Termination Meeting

o   Step 4: Termination Meeting

o   Step 5: After the Meeting

Need help creating a better performance management system? Send us a message.


Step 1: Before terminating, get your documents together.

First and foremost, compile documentation on performance and behavior for the employee. You may need to involve other team members in this process to collect information or documentation (i.e. an email exchange or something similar). Ensure that team members involved in this process understand the confidential nature of your request.

You’ll also want to compile any documentation you can regarding past actions your company has taken in an effort to rectify the employee’s performance or behavior issues, and consider writing out a timeline of events (especially if a number of verbal warnings or meetings were had). Include dates, times, and who was in attendance. Stick to the facts. 

Here’s a good vs. poor example of how to document employee issues:

GOOD:

“December 12th, 2018, 9 am- Sally was an hour late for her shift. Mark, the manager on shift at the time, had a meeting with her immediately about it in his office. He provided her with an additional copy of the employee time tracking policy, which includes tardiness procedures and outlining the policies of who and how to call in the event that you’re late.”

POOR:

“December 12th, 2018, 9 am- Sally was an hour late to her shift and showed up looking disheveled and looking like she was going to say that her kids made her late again. Mark, the manager, had a meeting with her and informed her that children are not a reason to be late to work.”

When you are creating your documentation, read it back to yourself as if you’re an outside 3rd party (like an attorney). Stick to the facts, and be straightforward with your language – eliminate opinions and hypotheticals.

Now that we have our documentation, let’s create a termination plan.

Noticing you don’t have very much to document the termination? Hint: you might want to wait until you do to avoid risk or other issues.

 

Step 2: Create a termination plan.

Your termination plan should read like a blueprint for the action:

Logistics: Who will be there? When? Where? You will want to answer all of these questions and write down the answers. Think about who else should be present — your attorney? Another of the employee’s supervisors? You should always have a 3rd person as a witness and for safety purposes (as silly as this may sound, it’s a good rule to follow). You may also need to have to provide them with their last paycheck at the end of the meeting. Make sure to check your local legal website to make sure you’re compliant. 

Who else needs to be involved? Make a plan for who needs to know about the termination prior to your meeting, how work will be covered (or shifts), and make sure that the management team is looped in. You will also need to loop in IT in order to cut off passwords, if relevant.

Meeting Agenda: You will need a termination letter, and potentially a separation agreement if you are using severance. which we’ll cover in the next section. 

Have a Termination Checklist: To make sure everything is covered, consider using a checklist.

 

Step 3: Consider all elements. 

Lastly, before the meeting  make should consider the “human” elements of termination. Is this a long-time employee who you might even consider a friend? Think of how you feel about this termination, and take time to consider how management, other team members, and, of course, the soon-to-be-terminated employee might feel about things.

Everyone’s adrenaline will be rushing, so you’ll want to be completely prepared and ready for anything.

To prepare for the termination meeting:

  • Check, and then double check, your termination checklist.
  • Make 2 copies of all documents. 1 for the employee, 1 for your company’s records.
  • Consider creating a script and practicing the meeting. If you have a trusted colleague who knows about the termination, consider some role play and test out three scenarios. The good (the person leaves peacefully), the bad (the person flies off the handle), and the ugly (the person resorts to violence or legal threats).
  • Create an exit plan. You or your witness will need to escort this person off premises for security reasons. Will the person first need to clear their desk, or could you box everything for them and ship it overnight to their home? Think of what’s best for everyone involved, even if it means a few hundred dollars in shipping charges.
  • Consider what else needs to occur, from IT password blocking to collection of company property like a cell phone, laptop, or door key/ FOB and company ID. Have your trusted colleague who is also going to be your witness go over items as well; s/he might think of something you haven’t.
  • You will want to make sure you get the employee’s personal email address and/or phone number if you don’t already have it in order to make sure you can reach them just in case (i.e. a returned W2).

Step 4: Termination Meeting

The time for the meeting is here. Take a deep breath, and gather your preparations and trusted colleague/ witness. Invite the employee to the location, and get to it- deliver the message, provide real reasons (if it’s well documented and not a risk), and then ask the employee if s/he has any questions. Provide them their paperwork, and escort them off the premises (don’t forget to gather that company property!).

In most cases, employees who are terminated actually behave in a way we’d not expect… think of the tough guy you thought would scream at you start to cry. Be sensitive, and allow a person a minute to gather themselves, but continue to iterate that it’s time for them to get going off premises.

If emotions start to run high, invite the employee to leave and that you can answer questions once emotions have died down. If someone has severance, it is advised that they process things for a time period anyway (and if they are over 40, they have 21 days by law). Setting up a follow up meeting or conference call in a secure space with witnesses can be best for everyone once emotions have mellowed.

Once the employee has been safely escorted off premises, you will need to deal with the aftermath.


Step 5: After the Meeting

After the termination meeting, ensure that you:

  • First, inform the team of your actions either via a meeting or an email to the company. Don’t over-dramatize things or go into reasons — and don’t make light of it; this is a big decision that deserves a direct message and then an action plan to how this employee’s work and/or shifts are being covered.

Good Example: “Today we had to let go of Darryl from working at our company. We appreciate his service while here and we will be covering his Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm shifts with a temp employee we hired from an agency. If you have any questions, please do ask your manager. We appreciate your support.”

Bad Example: “I am sure if comes to no surprise to anyone that we fired Darryl today. Hopefully, this will all help you guys to realize what we mean when we give warnings. We will have each of you pick up a shift of his this week to cover his time while we start to recruit for someone to replace him.”

  • Double check that you have suspended all IT access – email, office, passwords etc., as well as gathered all company property. If you forgot something, carefully consider if there is any risk (i.e. do you need to change a door lock?) or if it can be considered a loss.
  • Remember to terminate the employee on internal systems like payroll, benefits, etc.
  • Remove the employee from the website or marketing materials. You will also need to inform clients, if that’s a part of your business, and introduce them to their new account or company contact. We recommend doing this by email to keep things from being too over dramatic, but if you feel a call is warranted, go ahead and do so. Remember to stay succinct and direct about the events, just like in the company meeting/email.
  • Monitor review sites like Glassdoor or social media, just in case. It’s always good to keep an eye on your company reputation in any case.
  • Do the things you said you were going to do. Mail them their belongings and documents (if applicable) in a timely manner, clean up their desk or workspace so that it doesn’t feel like a “ghost” is around, and move forward with a new hire or temp.

Termination is an unpleasant, but sometimes necessary, experience/thing to do. With the steps above, hopefully you can come to a peaceful, albeit not easy, termination situation, and move everyone at the business forward.

Termination Letter Template

Company Header

Address

Full Date (Month/Day/Year)

[INSERT PREFIX] First and Last Name

Full Address

Dear Employee,

This letter confirms our discussion today that you are being terminated from your employment with Company effective immediately. [Optional: In thanks for your service, we are offering a severance of insert amount. Severance details are provided under separate cover in a longer severance agreement document.]

Your benefits packages will expire on full date.

You are required to return company property via source.

You will receive your final paycheck on date. This includes:

  • Bullet list items such as wages, PTO payout, etc..

You will need to keep the company informed of your contact information so that we are able to provide the information you may need in the future, such as your tax form.

Thank you for your service to the company.

Regards,

Name of Employee’s Superior or HR

Title


Top 10 Termination Tips

 

  1. Confirm and double check all documentation. Gather emails, dates of events and meetings, and physical documentation like paperwork should all be kept in 1 place (consider printing emails).
  2. Check your company policy and ensure everything is consistent and aligned with policy.
  3. Check your local and state laws, even if you are at-will. You will want to make sure you are completely prepared.
  4. Review if you have exhausted every option possible to prevent termination.
  5. Create and practice your termination script, especially if you have attachment to the employee or have not done many terminations before. You might be surprised that you have as much emotion as the person on the other side of the table.
  6. Consider a second opinion, be it another manager, a trusted colleague or fellow business owner, or even your attorney. It will help you to feel at ease with your decision and any risks that might be present.
  7. Always avoid a hasty termination; you never know how you might feel about things in 24 hours (especially if this is a performance termination). If policy is crystal clear (i.e. 5 tardies in 1 month = termination and you have documentation of the tardies), then you can move forward with less caution.
  8. Don’t be afraid to change your mind BEFORE the meeting. While you should never change your mind during the meeting or at the employee’s please (it creates risk and a potential legal situation), don’t be so bullish that you consider giving someone one more warning or coaching session to get them back on track.
  9. Trust your gut…within reason. If you’re gut instinct is sending you one way or the other, trust it… and then support it with documentation.
  10. Consider how to avoid this situation in the future. Is there something that could have been done with training? Management style? How you hired this person? Reflection is key to making your business better, and consider involving other people in this reflection process.
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How Startups Can Leverage Recent College Graduates

Recent graduates grouped up after graduation

One of the greatest challenges for startups and small businesses can be growing and staffing your company with top talent. If you’re prepared to invest your time, patience, and resources in fresh-out-of-college hires, recent college graduates can be a viable solution to this challenge.

Pros of Hiring Recent Grads:

  • Trainability. A lack of experience in your college graduates isn’t always a negative. These hires are less likely to have habits instilled in them from other employers making them a blank slate and easily coachable on your company’s processes and policies.
  • Fresh ideas. Not only are most college-age hires tech savvy, they can also contribute innovative ideas and often provide insight and knowledge of the freshest technologies and techniques they may have learned in recent school courses. New perspectives on how your industry is changing can sometimes make an enormous impact on your growth goals.
  • Experience-based salaries. If your salary structure is based on experience, hiring a recent graduate with little-to-no experience means onboarding will be less expensive for your company compared to hiring an employee with more experience. Always keep in mind, however, that offering clear opportunities for growth and the potential for salary increases will always boost your talent retention rate.

Cons of Hiring Recent Grads:

  • Increased training efforts. Fresh out of college, most recent grads have limited experience outside of internships. This means that you’ll have to invest more time and energy into creating and executing a comprehensive training program that covers everything from general work policies to specific job requirements.
  • The transition to a full-time position. Since recent grads have likely never had a full-time, 40-hour per week position, there’s a natural transition that needs to take place that could affect the quality of the work they produce — at least at first. As an employer, it’s necessary to take the time to support your new hires as they navigate working a full-time position.
  • Potential for turnover. Younger generations aren’t staying with their companies for as long as their generational elders. According to a recent Gallup report, 21% of millenials have switched jobs in the past year — higher than any other generation.

Attracting and Recruiting Recent Grads

In the digital age, your website, social media, and overall online presence define your brand — not only to your clients but also to potential future employees. As you begin your hiring process, take an audit of your company’s online presence. Make sure your website and social media channels are consistent with the same logos across platforms, consistent messaging, regular social media posting (it’s important just to show that “the lights are on”) and an accessible career page that potential candidates can use to apply for your open positions.

Once your digital presence is established, start networking with the career center at local universities and professional organizations relevant to your industry. Many colleges offer career guidance, networking events, and job fairs that your business can utilize to get in front of soon-to-be college graduates.

Leveraging Your New Talent

With a less money spent on hiring and the introduction of fresh industry perspectives, you can leverage these new hires to hone in your hiring process and refine your company-wide and role-specific trainings. For your startup to scale successfully, your onboarding process needs to be top-notch, and there’s no better way to zone in on an effective training process than receiving the feedback of employees who are new to the workforce. Once your new team is onboarded, your company can begin to scale by bringing on more business now that you have a team of highly-trained recent graduates to take on the extra workload.

If your company is committed to thorough training, constant support, and patience in the process, recent graduates can help you achieve your goals and transform the way your company looks at the hiring process.

Has your company had success in hiring recent college graduates? What pros and cons have you experienced? Let us know in the comments below.

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How To Support Your Employees’ Resolutions

Employees talking about their resolutions around a table

New Year’s resolutions aren’t always easy to follow, but the healthier your team is, the more productive, engaged, and positive they’ll be. Full-time employees spend nearly a quarter of their lives at work, so why not do something to help? Here are some easy ways to get started towards developing a happier, healthier, and more productive workplace in 2019:

Offer Incentives

Incentivizing wellness is a great way to get your employees to participate. When there’s a reward for healthy behaviors, those behaviors will become habits and those habits in turn will ensure that your team is happy, healthy and ready to take on the day.

Smaller businesses/smaller budget: Offer your employees a small amount, say $20 per month, to use only for wellness purposes. Consider it their “me” fund. Ask them to use it towards products or services they wouldn’t normally splurge on — a relaxing massage, an exercise class — or cater a healthy lunch for the team once or twice per month.

Larger businesses/budget: Gift your team a FitBit or AppleWatch to help them track their fitness goals, or provide your employees with a gym membership.

Take Advantage of Existing Resources

Office space alone can be an easy way to encourage wellness. From taking the stairs instead of the elevator to converting the breakroom to hold fitness classes after hours, supporting your employees’ healthy habits can start right within the office.

Smaller businesses/smaller budget: Instead of having your team meeting in the conference room, suggest having a meeting at a nearby destination that everyone has the option to walk to, or survey your team to see if anyone has a background in fitness or wellness and would like to offer classes before/after work or at lunchtime.

Larger businesses/budget: Find someone in the community who does on-site yoga or fitness classes, and offer your team a free class once a week.  

Make Your Wellness Initiatives Convenient

The more convenient your wellness initiatives are, the more likely you are to have employee participation. Making changes around the office or offering free resources can support your employee wellness engagement.

Smaller businesses/smaller budget: Providing bowls of fruit for your employees to snack on, rather than the typical suspects like chips and donuts, makes making a healthy choice easy for your team.

Larger businesses/budget: Consider bringing in a wellness expert or providing free in-office flu shots for your team to take advantage of.

Bonus: If you’re offering health insurance to your team, look into the free health initiatives offered as part of the plan and relay that to your employees so they can take full advantage of their healthcare policy.

Get Everyone Involved

Wellness works best when it’s a team effort and your employees have others to hold them accountable and take the journey with them. Getting everyone on the team involved not only offers up the opportunity to build strong working relationships, but also encourages socialization and the chance to get to know coworkers better.

Smaller businesses/smaller budget: Consider sponsoring an intramural sports team for your employees that you also participate in. This will encourage getting up and active, friendly competition and bonding between you and your staff.

Larger businesses/budget: For larger companies, the CEO isn’t always as accessible to employees. When upper management joins in on the fun this not only inspires your team to get healthy, but also allows you to get to know better the various people who help your business thrive.

There are a multitude of ways you can encourage wellness in your workplace, but it all comes down to the initiatives that work best for you, your business and your team. The first step to creating any great wellness plan is to simply ask your employees what they would be interested in participating in, and start building from there.

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4 Point Consulting invited to join Forbes Chicago Business Council

4 Point Consulting invited to join Forbes Chicago Business Council

We’re thrilled to announce that 4 Point Consulting’s CEO and Principal Consultant, Christy Hopkins, has been asked to join Forbes Chicago Business Council! 


Chicago (January 9, 2019) — Christy Hopkins, CEO and Principal Consultant of 4 Point Consulting, a quality-driven professional services, human resources, and talent acquisition firm that works with startups, SMBs, mid-market companies, VC firms & their portfolios, has been accepted into Forbes Chicago Business Council, an invitation-only community for successful business owners and leaders in Greater Chicago.

Hopkins was vetted and selected by a review committee based on the depth and diversity of her 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 Christy and 4 Point into the community,” said Scott Gerber, founder of Forbes Councils, the collective that includes Forbes Chicago 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, Christy will connect and collaborate with other respected local leaders in a private forum and at member events. Hopkins will also be invited to work with a professional editorial team to share her expert insights in original business articles on Forbes.com, and to contribute to published Q&A panels alongside other experts.

“It’s an honor to have been selected to join this community of business professionals,” said Christy. “The professional services climate is rapidly changing, and we’re thrilled to be on the forefront as the industry evolves. I look forward to contributing with the best practices from 4 Point Consulting as well as learning from others on the council.”

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.

For more information about Forbes Chicago Business Council, visit forbeschicagocouncil.com. To learn more about Forbes Councils, visit forbescouncils.com.

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Christy Hopkins Featured in an Article on Ladders!

Man holding his hands up in a bully-free workplace

Ladders interviewed 4 Point Consulting’s CEO and founder, Christy Hopkins, about bullying in the workplace. Read the full article to find out how Christy recommends people address a bully in the workplace.

Click here to read the full article.

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Finding Talent in a Competitive Market

Two men shaking hands after recruiting top talent in a competitive market

The competition for high-quality jobs has always existed, but today’s historically low unemployment rate is causing a new set of problems for companies searching for skilled workers. These top-tier candidates are in high demand but are difficult to acquire amidst the legion of competing companies. With the trends tipping in a new direction, how can companies stand out amongst the competitive crowd to attract their desired top candidates?

They’ll need to be creative and make improvements to their internal processes and external messaging to stand out. A few practices businesses can implement are:

  1. Develop and promote an employer brand
  2. Define company culture and values
  3. Refine the onboarding process
  4. Perfect hiring procedures

Without an employer brand, prospective employees will be unable to find your job openings. Additionally, if they are unfamiliar with your company, they will be less likely to apply. Taking a strong stance on company values will act as a beacon to attract candidates that match the company’s culture in a crowded job market.

While courting potential employees, maintaining consistent communication to create a seamless onboarding process will keep the new employee engaged and excited to join the team. When these core practices are polished and implemented, top-tier candidates will be a lot easier to attract, hire and maintain.

If you’re interested in learning more about 4 Point Consulting’s services, click here to get in touch!

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Defining OKRs (Objectives & Key Results)

A woman defining OKR strategies to another male coworker

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a process that has gained momentum across international companies like Google and AirBnB, helping these powerhouse brands connect with and unite their teams through tangible objectives that guide the business in a unified direction. OKR research and creation has become an integral part in successful human resource management to such benefits as stronger communication, faster adaptation and even workforce scalability plans.

What is an OKR?

At its core, OKR is a system of setting objectives and tracking the outcomes. While this isn’t a new concept, it was popularized by Google co-founders John Doerr and Larry Page when they implemented the process and credited it with the company’s incredible success. Google and its parent company, Alphabet, continue to use the system across all functions.

How it Works

OKR finds its best success through setting objectives, measurable results and grading the success of the efforts. To create an OKR,

  1. Start by defining key objectives for the business on a company, team and individual level.
  2. Under each of the objectives, outline a few measurable results to track and analyze progress. Avoid setting too many objectives, as this will fragment your workforce and keep the process from doing what it is designed to do, focus the organization’s efforts.
  3. There are multiple systems to use when measuring the success of OKRs, each with its own benefits and reporting systems. Once the objectives have been established, work backwards to uncover the best ways to grade success.

Remember, OKRs are not a one-time process — they should become an integral facet of the company culture and revisited on a consistent basis.

Benefits

A well-executed OKR program can result in a more coordinated and focused company. It creates clear objectives and expectations of employees, so they know where they should focus their efforts to complete the goals set for themselves, their team and the company as a whole. OKR also aligns employee and company goals, which allows an individual’s effort to forward the progress of a team, effectively moving the business towards its goal in a larger coordinated endeavor.

Growing a long-lasting company with sound internal structures and a strong culture is difficult. In addition to the many challenges innate with building a business from scratch, coordinating the workforce to accomplish the company’s goals adds another layer of difficulty. Implementing and executing an OKR process will ease the growing pains of the business and set it on the path towards success.

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6 Steps to Provide Effective Employee Coaching

6 Steps to Provide Effective Employee Coaching

Coaching is defined as an ongoing approach to managing people that creates a positive and motivating climate for performance, improves the match between an employee’s actual performance and an employee’s expected performance, and increases the probability of an employee’s success by providing timely feedback, recognition, clarity and support. Coaching is an alternative to discipline by passing the ownership of performance improvement to the employee rather than the manager. Coaching also works to frame the “issue” as an opportunity to grow and improve rather than the employee “getting in trouble” for something they did wrong.

In this article, we will be focusing on coaching, what effective coaching looks like, and the 6 steps to providing effective employee coaching:

  • What Is Effective Coaching?
  • Why/When Should Effective Coaching Be Used?
  • Step 1: Create Ownership In The Process
  • Step 2: Get On The Same Page
  • Step 3: Remove Barriers To Success
  • Step 4: Collaborate And Brainstorm Solutions
  • Step 5: Write It Out
  • Step 6: Make A Time To Follow Up

What Is Effective Coaching?

Effective coaching not only provides positive feedback about employee contributions but also lets employees know when they are effective contributors to the workforce. By providing this positive feedback, the employee’s actions and contributions are reinforced so that they continue to perform in this way.

Why/When Should Effective Coaching Be Used?

Effective coaching can also be utilized when there are performance issues with an  employee. Employee coaching feedback assists the employee to correct minor issues before they become significant detractions from their performance. The goal of coaching is to work in a collaborative way with the employee to solve performance problems and to improve the work of the employee, the team, and the department.

Coaching & Performance Management

The first step in any effort to improve employee performance is counseling or coaching. Counseling or coaching should be part of the day-to-day interaction between a supervisor and an employee who reports to him/her. Done well, coaching can help an employee continuously improve their skills, experience, and ability to contribute.

Here are some steps that management can take to provide effective employee coaching:

Step 1: Create Ownership In The Process

Show that you have confidence in the employee’s ability and willingness to solve the problem. Ask them for help in solving the problem or improving their performance. Create a common goal to increase the employees’ effectiveness as a contributor to your company.

Step 2: Get On The Same Page

Describe the performance problem to the employee. Be sure to focus on the problem or behavior that needs improvement and not on the employee themselves. Provide concrete examples of the behavior so that you and the employee share a common understanding and meaning. Ask for the employee’s view of the situation. Do they see the same problem or opportunity that you do?

Step 3: Remove Barriers To Success

Determine whether there are external issues that exist that may be limiting the employee’s ability to perform the task or accomplish the objectives. Four common barriers are time, training, tools, and temperament. Find out if these barriers exist and how to remove them. Does the employee needs your help to remove the barriers? Are they able to remove them by themselves?

Step 4: Collaborate And Brainstorm Solutions

Collaborate with the employee to brainstorm potential solutions to the problem and create action items to create improvement. Identify the core goals and achievement markers that the employee must achieve to reach the level of desired performance.

Step 5: Write It Out

Core goals and achievement markers can be put into a formal written document between the employee and manager so each party is held accountable to the process and the results.

Step 6: Make A Time To Follow Up

Set a date and time for follow up, whether this is internally made by the manager to check in with the employee at a later date or a mutually agreed upon time to revisit the employees progress. Following through to check on improvements and progress is an important part of coaching.

What Else Can A Great Manager Do?

As a supervisor, offer positive encouragement and express confidence in the employee’s ability to improve. Recognize, however, that the only person who is in charge of their performance improvement is the employee. They are ultimately the one in charge of their own progress.

Conclusion

This process allows your employee to take ownership of their own growth thereby creating an employee who is fully engaged in their own performance. Investing in your employees’ development and growth by communicating your commitment to their success through effective employee coaching will help you build an engaged, skilled team for your business. By following the steps above and maintaining positive reinforcement and follow up, your employees will be well on their way to owning their experience!

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Wellness Programs & Team Building: What 4 Point is Up To

Wellness Programs & Team Building: What 4 Point is Up To

At 4 Point Consulting (4 Point), one of our central beliefs is that people are the core of every business. That is why we take a comprehensive approach to wellness. Christy Hopkins, the Founder and CEO of 4 Point, incorporates wellness into the everyday life of her team members. This should come as no surprise given her background. Over the course of her career, Christy realized she wanted to merge her love of business with her love of helping and supporting people. Lucky for her employees and clients, this love does not exclude them.

4 Point recognizes the demands of the consulting lifestyle and the challenge employees can face to strike a balance between life and work. This is why she began to incorporate wellness and team building exercises during the tail end of 2017. But what does Christy do to foster a culture of collaboration, teamwork, and cohesiveness amongst our group of remote workers? Let’s take a look at the support she offers our team.

Our wellness initiative follows a holistic view that respects all areas of employee life. So far, we have enjoyed a variety of team building activities that reduce stress, promote mindfulness, and build resilience. These activities include hosted lunches, off-site socials, yoga, pilates, boxing, interval training classes, and barre workouts. And if you think it ends there, we have news for you! Each employee’s compensation package includes wellness reimbursement to help lead a healthy lifestyle. All of these initiatives result in employees feeling truly cared for and translates into the quality of our service. But enough about us! How can you nurture wellness to support your employees? Let’s first talk about what wellness is and how team building can help your organization.

WELLNESS PROGRAMS & TEAM BUILDING

Multiple organizations have followed the trend of offering team building activities and implementing wellness programs. In fact, according to a survey administered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), approximately 25% of companies increased their wellness benefits between the years of 2006 and 2017. In this article, we will provide insight on what you need to know about wellness and team building to improve your organization:

  1. What is wellness and team building?
  2. How can wellness programs and team building improve the life of your employees?
  3. What kind of activities can promote wellness?
  4. How can you incorporate wellness into your organization?

WHAT IS WELLNESS?

The term wellness not only refers to the absence of illness. It also refers to maintaining your body in good condition, with proactive and preventive measures. With this in mind, organizations have been taking wellness to a higher level by adopting a more holistic view that treats the employee as a whole person. This all encompassing wellness approach considers the physical, social, mental, and emotional needs of employees and provides support so they can overcome and/or prevent issues related to the four aforementioned needs.

The degree to which wellness is integrated into employees’ day-to-day life varies across organizations, and so do their benefits. On an organizational level, these benefits include increased productivity, lower healthcare costs, and higher retention. However, in this article we are going to shift our focus to explore how employees and teams benefit from wellness programs. Wellness programs are intended to improve the health of the workforce by helping employees perform at their peak as individual contributors and as members of a team, and one way to do that is through team building exercises.

WHAT IS TEAM BUILDING?

Team building has become a hot topic in recent years and for good reasons. The success of most organizations depends on their ability to build effective teams. Team building activities are a great way to provide realistic experiences that empower employees to contribute to common goals. Programs or activities that foster team-building provide an upbeat and powerful team experiences that allow companies to compete effectively by enabling their employees at all levels to work as true team players.

The main goals of team building are to improve productivity and motivation. Structured exercises, especially when done outside of the workplace, help break down political and personal barriers, eliminate distractions, and not only encourage individual development but also brings all members together for a common goal.

Team building exercises are important not for the immediate experience of the activities performed by the team, but also for the group skills, communication, and bonding that result from them. Team building exercises work to boost a company’s bottom line, reform a company’s culture, and also have many wellness benefits for individual employees.

HOW CAN WELLNESS PROGRAMS AND TEAM BUILDING IMPROVE THE LIFE OF YOUR EMPLOYEES?

Team building and wellness programs can improve the lives of employees in the following four areas: physical, social, emotional, and mental.

Referring to things that are of nature or the body, physical wellness:

  • Allows employees to release and manage their stress.
  • Instills healthy habits to create a better lifestyle.
  • Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.

Having to do with employees working together as a group, social wellness:

  • Encourages communication by breaks down communication barriers.
  • Allows employees to develop and discover their strengths.
  • Increases collaboration.
  • Gives employees the ability to draw on and develop team process skills to complete group-oriented tasks successfully.
  • Mitigates conflict.

When it comes to employees’ internal state of being and involuntary physiological responses, emotional wellness:

  • Builds organizational trust.
  • Fosters engagement.

Related to employees’ ability to cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and make contributions to the workplace, mental wellness:

  • Gives employees time and tools to develop skills.
  • Promotes creativity.
  • Encourages mission focused behaviors.

WHAT KIND OF ACTIVITIES CAN PROMOTE WELLNESS?

Exercise classes.

Provide opportunities for your employees to try running, yoga, pilates, boxing, barre,…you name it! Choose something unique and slightly outside of people’s comfort zones can encourage teams to come together in new ways.

Hosted lunches.

Host an on-site or off-site lunch for your work team, department, or the entire company. This can give coworkers the chance to unwind and get to know each other outside of the work environment.

Professional development activities.

Create opportunities for development where employees can share their learning experiences and have the opportunity to discuss their newly acquired knowledge and skills, and how these can be applied at work. Taking employees to an off-site training workshop or conference fosters learning and provides an opportunity for employees to interact.

Hobby clubs.

Encourage employees to form clubs, such as a book, article, or podcast club. Employees can take turns leading discussions about articles, chapters, or podcast episodes, the implications of what they are learning, and how it applies to the company and their work. This can encourage cross-departmental interaction and allow employees to share different viewpoints and gain a better understanding of each department’s contribution to the company’s overall goal.

Volunteer opportunities.

Pay it forward by having a volunteer day or afternoon once a quarter. This gives employees the opportunity to give back and learn about the community they are in and how to serve them. Companies can also partner with a local charity or nonprofit organization and generate volunteering opportunities internally by offering resume building workshops, tech courses, or various other activities.

HOW CAN YOU INCORPORATE WELLNESS INTO YOUR ORGANIZATION?

Ask employees what they want.

Survey employees to learn about their interests in health promotion and related activities. Involving them in this process can increase participation and the sustainability of the program.

Make it convenient, practical, and accessible.

It is important that wellness facilities and activities are readily accessible. You and the company leaders should encourage employees to take a break during the day, use the gym, go for a walk, or attend a yoga class.

Integrate wellness into the company structure by leading from the top.

Make sure to have buy-in from the top before launching your program and have management lead by example during the program. Provide training for managers on new wellness initiatives so they can best understand and communicate them.

Make the program a key focus by incentivizing employees.

Advertise the benefits constantly to make the program a part of your corporate culture and provide ongoing incentives for employees to care about becoming healthier. This could be a small monetary incentive, a raffle for a fitness tracker or gym pass, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership, etc.

Invest in the program.

While companies do not have to spend an excessive amount on trips or experiences, they should not skimp either. Some low cost ideas include offering flexible work arrangements, coordinating volunteering days, and arranging group socials.

The Final Word

In all, team building activities and wellness programs can maximize profitability by allowing employees to better combine their skills to achieve more, meet cross-functional challenges, and be able to respond quicker to rapid change. Implementing a wellness program and having regular team building activities will instill a greater sense of involvement and belonging in your employee population. It will also empower teams to become more mission focused and achieve more with less direction. By investing in your employees, you will make your organization a place where they want to be, saving time and money.

We encourage you to follow these tips to transform and engage your organization. Work towards sustaining them and you will see the results!

Be on the lookout for Glamour Magazine’s April issue to find an article on mental health in the workplace by 4 Point’s Founder and CEO, Christy Hopkins!