Rethinking Employee Engagement: Strategies that Start on Day One

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MICHELLE STEDMAN: We’re going to talk about the top challenges: how to recruit and hire top talent, how to find those top, ideal team members, and starting with onboarding. We really need to get to it right away, right when they get in the door, and bring them in in a positive style. We’ll talk about leadership styles to motivate goals and long-term career planning. We’ll talk a little bit about BirdDogHR and then go over some questions — so just like Ann said, if you have any questions throughout, please feel free to type those into the box and I will be happy to answer questions at the end.

So, to start: People Management is really changing. From the Great Recession a few years ago until now, we’ve seen a real shift in what’s going on in the recruitment process, as well as the challenges of keeping people, the retention of people and employee engagement. It’s becoming a lot more competitive. With the Millennials, we have a much more mobile workforce. There is a lot more need for collaboration, for aligning people and giving people the opportunity to have career planning and succession. It’s very important now that we’ve come out of the recession and we’re in a much better place. It’s becoming harder for us as HR professionals to keep the best employees, to recruit the best employees and to do right by them so that they stay with us for a very long time.

We’re going to start with recruiting and how you can recruit your best people and some of the challenges that we’re seeing. This year — and I think we’ll continue to see it — is definitely the growing levels of employee turnover, which goes hand in hand with number two, which is competition for talent — especially for those niche positions. The best candidates are being called all the time by recruiters and other companies — your competitors — to try to steal your people away. Because of that, it’s definitely affecting recruiting because we’re having a bigger market gap and trying to get people in. There has also been a shift from us as employers being able to hire — you know, everybody was looking for jobs — there’s definitely been a shift where now the candidate is in the position of power, because they’re getting multiple offers. I’m going to talk a bit about how you can combat that. And then, it’s definitely difficult finding qualified applicants with the skills to succeed. So, there is a gap there, and we'll talk a little bit about Millennials and how to combat that gap. And how you can bring in the best people, and how you can *keep* those people once you have them.

So, the first thing — and if you’ve ever been on another webinar of mine — I always talk about employment brand. I can’t stress enough about how important it is to have an employment brand, especially with the landscape changing to be more candidate-focused and having to really sell yourself — because, when you strip away the pay and the benefits, you’re left with the company itself. So, companies with poor brand images before could hire employees because employees needed work, but now that has changed and companies really have to work to improve their brand image. It’s very important, and you can see on the slide here — talking about what is important to CEOs and HR up until 2020 — about how important it is to invest in your employment brand.

Your employment brand really starts with your company career page. 80% of jobseekers are now using company websites to find out more information. So, they might be going out and finding your job on Indeed or CareerBuilder or SimplyHired — wherever it may be that they’re finding your job — but they are now going and checking your company career page because they want to work for the best company. So, it’s so important that your career page reflects your company and culture in the best way. Make sure you’re telling your jobseekers what makes you great, and having all of the things on there to sell yourself is very, very important. Again, this is all about recruiting the best people. If you don’t have the best possible career page that you can have out there, you’re never going to be able to bring in the best people that you need for your company.

Mobile recruiting is also something very, very important. If you could, today when you leave, check your application process from a mobile phone and just see what that is like from an applicant experience. If it’s difficult, you’re missing out on the top hires you could be receiving. You need to test from your mobile application to make sure that it is working well for the candidates so you’re not missing anybody out there. There are a few different things that you can do: Make sure your ATS supports a mobile application, or if you don’t have an ATS that’s something you should look into. There are job boards that have mobile application apps to help support that. And, again, your career page — making sure that it’s optimized for mobile use — because, as I just said, 80% of people are looking at your career page, so you want to make it really nice and easy for them. There are about 1 billion job searches performed on mobile devices each month — so, they’re going out and Googling it, and Google is reporting about 1 billion — and we’re seeing 87% of companies are not investing adequately in making their application mobile-friendly. Make sure that you have so that you can bring in those best applicants and you’re not missing out.

I want to do a poll real quick and see where everybody’s at. Finding out how you’re able to find candidates today — what your number one source is — so we can talk more about that. So, Ann, just go ahead and lunch that poll.

ANN TORRY: Very good. Yes, please go ahead and submit your feedback o we know what’s going on with our audience today. As we’re going through this webinar and talking about the different functions of employee engagement, it may seem interesting to the audience that we’re starting by talking about recruiting, but it’s so important with employee engagement that you’re actually defining who those people are that you want to recruit as a reflection of having a great employee, and then being able to recruit, onboard and engage to be a really valuable member of your team.

So, it looks like we have gotten a great majority of the attendees have voted, so I’ll go ahead and close the poll and share out the results.

MICHELLE STEDMAN: Great, thanks Ann. It looks like it’s pretty split down the middle with employee referrals and job boards. That doesn’t surprise me at all. That is right along with what we’re seeing industry-wide and what is being reported by all of the big names out there. For the 6% who don’t know: make sure that’s something you’re able to see, so you can really see where your investment is. I’m actually going to talk about employee referrals because I had a good feeling that would be one of the top things that you’re seeing.

I want to talk about how you can increase your referrals and, if you’re not getting employee referrals today, how important that is. You want to hire people that are like the best people you have working for your company, and referrals are your best bet. People tend to hang out and are engaged with people that are like them. It’s important that you have a very good referral process in place, and that it’s really easy for your employees to refer people they know to you — and, if you’re able to, to give bonuses based on that because the key to referrals is making it worth their time. If you want to get great referrals from your employees, especially in the competitive landscape that we’re in right now, it’s good to offer something. It doesn’t have to be huge, but just offering *something* is going to help you increase your referrals. And don’t think of referrals just as employees. There are all kinds of things — all kinds of different people that you can include in your referral program. Think about the vendors that you’re working with. Previous employees. Candidate referrals. One of the things here at BirdDogHR that we do a lot is, when we’re interviewing potential candidates, we’re asking them if they know anybody else that might be a good fit for BirdDogHR. Being able to offer a referral bonus to them can help. And customers know that you’re a great company to work for because they work with you, so offering them something if they know people that are looking for work is a great way to really expand your referral program to bring in more great people to you.

With the change in the landscape, the competitiveness, a company really must spend time selling themselves to the candidate in an interview. No more can you just ask questions and get information YOU need from the candidate. It’s important you’re focusing on your company and what you have to offer the candidate. So, focusing on culture, the career paths that you can offer and what makes you great throughout the entire hiring process is important. Make sure that you keep your hiring process transparent as well. The biggest thing that applicants complain about is not knowing where they’re at, or knowing fully what your hiring process is. If it’s going to be an hour-long interview, make sure that you’re telling them that. If you’re going to have three people that are going to be interviewing this one person, tell them that so they know how many resumes to bring and they know who’s going to be in the room. Think of them as customers — offering them a really great customer service experience is the same as a great applicant experience. It is very important in the competitive landscape that we’re doing everything we can to pull people in. And the last bullet I have there is: Know what the candidate needs to accept the job. This is very important.

I’m going to skip down to the next one here: Offers must also be compelling now. I had a conversation just last week with the COO of a company regarding a top candidate who had turned down an offer from them and they were really shocked and confused about it. They had offered the candidate the compensation she requested. They had thrown in some different perks, but it wasn’t enough to seal the deal because the candidate had multiple offers on the table and had accepted another offer. So, it’s very important that you really understand exactly what it’s going to take and you’re asking questions — if they’re interviewing with other companies or if they have other offers on the table — so that you don’t lose out on those great candidates. Moving quickly is a very important part, because that can stop them from getting more offers. So, you want to move as quick as you can once you get that great applicant and you’ve discovered that it’s somebody you want to move forward with. I think the average we’ve seen with our customers here at BirdDogHR is anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks that it takes to make an offer to an employee once they’ve been identified as someone they want to make an offer to. Because there are so many different pieces of that hiring stage — with background screenings and maybe a second interview with leadership and that sort of thing — you need to make sure that you can move quickly with that and that your recruiters are in tune with the process and can keep it going for those top applicants.

I did leave off one of the challenges, and that is: Retention becomes very important. All the reasons above are why retention is becoming very important. It’s important to retain those top candidates from the very beginning. What we’re hearing a lot now is — the “buzz” — is that retention is the new recruiting. Replacing an employee is super expensive and if you bring in this great employee, they start and you’re not giving them a good experience and they leave within the first 30-60 days, you’ve not only wasted all of the training costs but you’ve also wasted your recruitment costs, so it’s so important to keep those strong employees because losing them is really a sure-fire path to mediocracy.

I’m going to do another poll here just to find out where everybody is with their onboarding program. Ann, can you go ahead and open that poll?

ANN TORRY: Yes, I sure did, so please go ahead and give us your feedback. While you’re doing that, I do want  to just share some really interesting information from the Society for Human Resource Management because they’ve published a lot of research about the importance of great onboarding, and it really speaks to the importance of setting great first impressions of the company. As much as 20% of employee turnover actually happens within the first 45 days of employment, and 86% of employees report that they make their decision to stay with a company long-term within the first 6 months of employment, so those very first experiences are very, very critical. We’ll give just a few more seconds for a few folks to vote. Alright, we're up towards 90% so I'll go ahead and close and share.

MICHELLE STEDMAN: Great, thanks Ann. It looks like 69% of you do have some sort of onboarding process, so that’s great — and even more that have a good, active long-term onboarding schedule. I’m going to talk about how important that is, just like Ann said about keeping that. You may have noticed that the name of our presentation today is “Rethinking Employee Engagement: Strategies that Start on Day One.” Day One is the day that you engage with the applicant, whether it be on a job board or through a referral. It doesn’t even start at onboarding, it starts with how you treat that candidate through your application process. Once you’ve spent all of that time on that applicant and getting them in, there is nothing worse than coming into a company, and on the first day they don’t have your computer set up; they don’t know what they’re going to do with you because — I know, even for me, when I’m bringing on new people — it’s hard to come up with that onboarding plan and it’s challenging to bring in all the resources because we’re so busy. But it’s really protecting your recruiting investment, and the more you put into onboarding, the faster the employee is become productive. It’s going to inspire them to become more productive; they’re going to know what’s expected of them early on; they’re going to have a clearly defined picture of all their duties and all that good stuff that is so important. Even though it can be very time consuming, it’s important to add all of that. Retention statistics show that almost 50% of new hires resign from their jobs within the first year, so just think about that: 50% of people leave in the first year. If we do a better job of onboarding them from Day One — the day that they start in our company — if we can even just change that to 50% to 40%, that’s going to be a big win for us. Anything that we can put into place to make that easier and make that a better experience for our new employee can really help our productivity and our bottom line.

Some easy suggestion to get started: It sounds like a lot of you are already doing some stuff, but here are some other ideas. For those of you that aren’t doing *anything* today, just some different ideas.

Sending a welcome note to new employees, such as a promotional item. Maybe something that your Marketing department is giving out a tradeshows and things like that. Put it in a box and send it out with a note saying you’re excited — that can make all the difference in the world to somebody; knowing that your culture is great, that you’re excited that they’re coming and that you value them already.

Sending them the first week’s orientation schedule and their new-hire paperwork so they feel prepared coming in on Day One. We all know that we have anxiety; everybody has started a new job. You know how stressful it is: you don’t know anybody, you don’t really know what the expectations are of you for that new job. It’s important that you’re giving them everything they can have to start off on a good footing.

Share the responsibilities among HR and other departments. If you’re an HR professional, make sure you’re helping your hiring manager in any way. If you’re a hiring manager, getting other people involved. One of the things I have worked with, with different customers here at BirdDogHR, is just having their coworkers send out an email before they get started, introducing themselves and telling a little bit about themselves, so that new employee has that first — they already feel like they’re getting some connection with their teammates.

Another thing is to send a survey to get to know them so that you, as a hiring manager, have some knowledge into what really drives them, what types of hobbies they have, that sort of thing.

Going paperless is what forward-thinking companies are doing to automate their new hire administration. A web-based employee onboarding system is going to streamline your process because it going to eliminate all that data entry that HR is having to do, or accounting. It’s going to improve your accuracy so you don’t have to worry about having payroll issues because it’s what your employee has actually entered into the system. That’s going to, again, provide a positive experience for your employee — and it also can be a tool that your employee can consult long after the initial orientation, if you have a good onboarding system in place.

Definitely spend some time concentrating on onboarding. The number one reason people leave jobs is because of poor management. It’s been this way for decades: people leave because they don’t like their supervisor or manager — so it’s important, within your company culture, that you have leadership that motivates. If you’re in HR, being able to do some different leadership training. If you’re a hiring manager, make sure you know that’s the reason people leave. I think this is a great way of looking at things: Great leaders know that people are naturally motivated when they understand why they are doing something. The best leaders put the correct conditions in place to ensure people gain this deeper connection.

There was a fascinating study done not too long ago that worked with a call center and the call center employees. They had a group of employees go and meet with some of the people they were trying to gather money from. It was for a scholarship fund, so they were going out and asking alums to provide scholarship money for scholarships. They gave this group of employees the opportunity to go meet with the people that were receiving the scholarships, and they had a huge — like 100% more — productivity based on just knowing what they were doing for these people that were gaining the scholarships. They were able to talk to those people that they were trying to get money from, the alumni. That was a great study that was done. I think this really shows how important the “why” is to people.

Over the last three decades, the vast majority of Americans have identified meaningful work as the single most important feature they seek in a job. It's not money. It's not having a career path. It's nothing like that. It's just that they're doing meaningful work.

So, what are some things that you can do to help them understand the “why?” If you’re doing performance reviews today, it’s important that you’re linking that to the “why” of their job, so they really understand that it all connects together. One time per year reviews are really a thing of the past, especially with the Millennials coming in. They need more feedback than that, and we’re seeing that even the other generations are doing better with more feedback — so it’s definitely becoming a thing of the past. We’re seeing people do more and more reviews or even calling them different things.  It's important to have a collaborative approach to how you are doing your reviews, aligning the employee activity with the business goals. The “why.” How are you affecting the business as a whole? Have valuable business discussions about how they’re affecting it, what they may be missing the mark on, what they’re really helping the business with and clarifying expectations.

I don’t know if any of you have done a performance review where an employee comes in and says, “I’m doing awesome. I’m the best employee we have and I do everything right,” and you’re sitting there thinking, “That’s not what I think at all. You are not one of our best employees.” By doing reviews multiple times a year and getting frequent communication with that employee, you can make sure that you’re setting expectations clearly. Build employee commitment by involving them in the process. Having them do self-reviews is really helpful with gaining insight into how they feel they’re doing as well.

Some other employee engagement trends that we’ve seen coming up and that we’ve seen have been working very well for companies — and it’s all a part of, again, keeping your employees engaged. Pulse Surveys: a real-time measurement of employee satisfaction. Hopefully you’re doing a yearly employee survey where you’re asking a lot of questions to kind of understand how your employees feel about their work environment and what they’re doing. A Pulse Survey is like that, but just a smaller chunk — asking maybe just one or two questions, rather than a very large employee survey, so you can have that real-time measurement of how things are going and allow for analysis improvements over time. Maybe you’re checking with them and seeing how they feel about one thing this month; you can check four months from now, after you’ve done some things, to see if that has impacted it at all instead of waiting a full year to see if that comes back.

Peer-to-peer recognition is something that I really believe in, and I think it really can make an impact on how people feel about the culture of a company. It really ties into the “why,” because if they're able to talk to a peer that's in a different department and get kudos from somebody else in a different department, it’s helping them understand how they make a difference in the company. Here at BirdDogHR, we do something that has to do with the dipper and the bucket and it's all about “how have you filled somebody's bucket today?” What have you done to give them a positive experience for the day and said “thank you” to the people that have helped you throughout the day? We have a pad of paper that we fill out and we give out. Every day, we take a few minutes at the end of the day and write a note to a fellow co-worker about how they'd helped us, and getting that recognition means all the world and it's been wildly successful. Everybody has loved it and gained into that.

Collaboration is also very important, giving people the opportunity to work together on things and giving them the tools to be able to work together.

Workplace giving and volunteering: We’ve seen a lot of people now starting to do voluntary time off work — VTO instead of PTO — giving them the opportunity to do that. Just like the “why” they want to work for you, giving them even more of a commitment to the community by giving them a chance to give back. It’s something employees really enjoy.

So, why should you do all this stuff? Why should you engage and develop your employees? Why should you put in onboarding practices? Why should you do these Pulse Surveys and more performance reviews? It's about increasing employee performance. If you can put a few things in place and increase employee performance by 40%, it’s kind of a no-brainer. You want to do those things. You want people to be excited.

Decreasing employee turnover by 14%? In the beginning, I talked a lot about how it's a very competitive field out there for recruiting. If you could decrease your employee turnover by 14%, it's going to make the job on the recruiter a whole lot easier. If you are recruiter, not having to fill positions over and over and over is a great thing. It's going to increase your customer satisfaction, like the story I shared about the call center. The customer satisfaction had to have just gone way up because they really understood what they were doing and why they were doing it — and all of that, in turn, is going to multiply your financial success.

Some other things that can help really engage your employees and get them going is goal planning. Everybody likes to have a goal and something to work toward. Pulling this into your performance reviews (that you’re doing more often now) is going to help you be able to set expectations as well. A firm strategy of how we’re going to make these goals happen. Really understanding what the strategy is. Making sure clear goals have been identified — whether it’s from the CEO of your company, or something a supervisor wants to accomplish within their department. We have to figure out how to get there. Helping your employees do that is going to increase satisfaction as well.

Your company can’t expect employees to succeed in the long run if they’re not aligned with the company goals. The goals that you’re giving to employees need to align with your company goals. Develop employees to overcome obstacles and prepare them for future roles. Start off with the company — so, hopefully you have a company vision — and push those down to all of your employees. Look at department goals and hitting specific individual goals. When you're developing those goals you want to make sure to keep them S.M.A.R.T. — so that it’s a specific goal; that it's something that can be measured; it’s something that’s attainable, because if we're giving goals are unattainable that's going to do really bad things for our retention; that it’s relevant to their job; and that we put a time restriction around it. “We want to do this in 2 months,” or whatever it may be, is going to help you with the employees making those goals.

All of this comes back around to developing your employees so they can achieve their own career goals and have career paths and, as a company, that you have succession. It’s important that we’re identifying early in the game the people that we’re going to be moving into roles in the future. Baby Boomers are starting to retire in droves and we need to identify who we are going to be replacing the Baby Boomers with in our current workforce. Instead of having to recruit people to come in outside, if we’re taking the time to actually use our current employees and investing in them, they're the best people to move into higher roles within the company because they've already bought into what you're doing. They've bought into what your goals are in the future, and so they're going to be the ones that you want to succeed the people that are leaving.  They may not have the skills that they need to be to be successful in that role, so as a hiring manager or HR or a business leader, it's important that we are defining and seeing what those competencies are that they're missing and having a clear path on how to train them to get to where we need them to be, so that they can go into succession for the next people that are leaving — and it helps on the reverse for the employee because they are seeing that they have a very specific career path and they're going to want to do the things that we need them to do to better themselves and to move into their next career. 

I'm going to move into automation. All of the stuff that I've been talking about today — from recruiting to onboarding to performance reviews to succession and training your employees; all of these things that are going to help your employees be more engaged in what you're doing today — is going to be a lot easier with automation. As you can see, based on a survey done by Workforce Management, managers spend 90% of their time doing administration and only 10% of their time developing people.

How can we be successful if we're having our managers do administration more than they're developing people? How can we lead to success? How can we lead for people to move into their next roles and give our company a step up and retain the employees that we need to retain if we're spending all of our time on administration and moving paper around? Automation is something that is so important and it's going to be a huge cost return. How is it *not* going to help your bottom line to automate all of this? It's going to be simple and fast. It's going to be easy. It's going to help you be able to see everything as a whole. Think about performance reviews: If you're doing them on paper today — unfortunately, most people managers are doing the paper performance reviews one time a year. They're putting that paper in an employee file and they’re never looking at it again. By automating everything, we're able to do something with that information that we’re gaining. We're able to see our team as a whole and see where we're missing the mark, where we need to do more training. If, you know, employees 1, 2 & 3 are all scoring very low on safety, we're able to recognize that and put things in place, but if the performance reviews are being just put away into a manila folder, how are we ever going to be able to see how we need to improve?

How are we, as companies, going to be successful at recruiting the best people if we're not able to provide them with a mobile application? Like I talked about before, it’s important that we're automating everything, not only to save time but also to give a better experience to our employees. They're going to feel better aligned. They're going to have better productivity and they're going to have better performance for themselves, and your managers are going to feel better because they can develop their employees. Then your managers are going to stay, so it's a win-win for everybody to automate from the start of the employee lifecycle, which is recruiting, all the way to the end, which is succession. So, you have an employee that’s retiring now? You've got somebody already in place that you know what you need to do — you can move them right into that spot and you've already given them all of the training and everything they needed to become that next employee, and we're not constantly having to restart everything and restart recruiting because we don't have anybody for, maybe, the COO job or even a manager's position, all the way down to your call center people. Really understanding how you can make the lives easier of your hiring managers and your managers as a whole, because they’re really the backbone of your company.

Strategizing your future. So, all these things that we talked about: Building your employee brand is so important, because, again, 80% of applicants are going and looking at your career page. They want to know what your employer brand is. They want to see what you're doing on Glassdoor. If you haven't ever looked at Glassdoor, go out and look and see how people are reviewing your company as an employee, because Day One does not start at onboarding. Day One starts from the applicant experience and we have to do a better job of creating a positive experience with the change in the economy and the switch from us, as the employer, to candidates now having the power.

Retain, so you don't need to do as much recruiting.

Focus on onboarding. Make sure that when your employees are starting on Day One that they're not coming somewhere where nobody knows what to do with them and we’re training by fire and just throwing them into the mix, but giving them that positive experience from the beginning so they want to stay with your company. Making sure that we're motivating through leadership, that we're telling people the “why.” Why do you do your job? Why is it important? Why are you an important piece in our company? All the way down to the person that may be cleaning your bathrooms and how that affects everything. It's important that we’re motivating through leadership.

Using goals. With leadership, we know “why.” The goals are going to help take them to accomplish the “why,” so we need to set specific goals on how they can accomplish what they need to do and that is going to help productivity if they know what they need to do to make your company better.

Plan for succession. I can't talk enough about how important it is. As Baby Boomers are retiring and people are getting recruited away by competitors and all of the things that we’ve talked about today, how important it is to plan for succession and make sure that you have a few people that you have targeted for each position, and that you're providing them the training that's necessary for them to move into the next career path. That is going to help keep your employees because they know what's coming next and they know that they're not stuck in a dead-end job.

So, with that, I'm going to hand it over to Ann to talk a little bit about BirdDogHR.

ANN TORRY: Thank you. Thanks so much, Michelle. That was a really great presentation and I'm sure that our webinar attendees heard things that really resonated with them as to how they can improve employee engagement in their own organizations. Lots of points to consider, that's for sure. So, while I'm talking a little bit about BirdDogHR, I do invite the audience to submit questions into the Q&A panel and we'll get to those shortly.

Just real quickly about BirdDogHR: in all industries, talent management and employee engagement are very competitive right now, as companies are scrambling to attract and retain top talent. BirdDogHR offers a complete talent management system that includes all the tools that your organization would need to help manage the entire employee lifecycle. We have Recruitment and Applicant Tracking to help improve the quality and quantity of applicants and then also build an online talent community for future opportunities that may open up within your organization. We have Onboarding to start employees off with a really great experience using an automated process for all of their new hire paperwork, including I9 and E-Verify forms. We also offer Performance Management and goal setting to align employee goals with company goals and get everyone moving in the same direction toward success. Learning Management to help develop employees and fill in around those Performance Management goals, and centralize and manage training and certifications to develop your company's future leaders. And then Succession Planning, to help you view talent abilities in real time and really identify who's ready to take the next step.

BirdDogHR has been offering talent management solutions since 1997 and we work with over 900 companies nationwide, including some of the logos that you see here. Our customers most often rave about how easy our talent management solution is to use and that they love to be able to call in directly to Customer Care that's located at our headquarters here in Des Moines, Iowa and talk to a live subject matter expert and product specialist when they have a question or a problem. Another way that we find we can help the HR community is to share expertise and best practices, so we're constantly creating new resources to help you navigate the changing talent management landscape. These are just some of the free resources that are available on our website. In fact, we just released a new a few new infographics on the topics of Onboarding and Performance Management, so you may want to check those out. We invite you to review the whole library.

Let's see, so we've had a few questions come in here.

The first one is: What percent of employers find applicants for their job openings and on average how long does it take?

MICHELLE STEDMAN: That's a great question, and it really depends on the type of position that you're recruiting for — so I'm sorry that I don't have an exact answer for you; I wish I did — because your niche positions are really going to take longer and you're not going to get as many employees for that, whereas if you have maybe a customer care position, you're going to get a lot more applicants very quickly. So, it's important that, if we were talking about a niche position, that we’re doing all of the things that we need to do to be proactive and to bring in the right people. Sorry, I don't have anything more specific without knowing what kind of position that were talking about but it can range all over the board.

ANN TORRY: Okay. Next question that came in is: What automated software do you recommend for performance reviews? Certainly, BIrdDogHR has, you know, performance review software so we would recommend that, but Michelle, just in some broad terms, what, in your opinion, are kind of the key features or functionalities to look for in performance management software?

MICHELLE STEDMAN: Sure, absolutely. The important thing is that your software is able to do what you need it to do, right? So, if we need to be able to create the forms that you need as a company and make sure that, if it's people that are out in the field that need to be doing performance reviews, that they're able to access that from a mobile device or a tablet or whatever it may be. It's important that you can then take the results of what you've done with your Performance Management and see them overall, so that you can take appropriate action and not just, again, like I said, file that piece of paper away into a folder and never do anything with it. Creating something that is going to work for your company and making sure that the software is configurable and is going to do what you need it to do, and then that you're able then to administer that to your employees in a way that is going to work for them, and then round it all off with that you’re able to do something with the result. Your software must do those things for you.

ANN TORRY: Yeah, those are really great suggestions and I'll just chime here too. Really think about implementing software that’s going to get used and be adopted by your users. Something that's really easy to use and isn't too cumbersome, that both the employees and the managers will be able to see as a resource and an asset and something that has value, and not something that the HR department is just requiring them to do.

MICHELLE STEDMAN: Definitely.

ANN TORRY: Okay another question that has come in: Do you recommend a specific Pulse Survey tool?

MICHELLE STEDMAN: There's a lot of them out on the market and I don't recommend any one in particular. There are free ones out there that you can use. I do recommend doing something that you can really track results with and is going to help you with what you're trying to accomplish. There's a lot of different ones out there on the market.

ANN TORRY: Okay, very good. Another question about onboarding: Is the process of implementing our company's new hire documents difficult to set up in the system?

MICHELLE STEDMAN: No, definitely not. I'm sorry can you repeat the question one more time?

ANN TORRY: Yeah, let me just kind of rephrase it: I think they're wondering about how you would actually take documents — like onboarding documents, whatever needs to be filled out — and how you actually get those into the onboarding system, or how you might configure the system to meet a company's needs.

MICHELLE STEDMAN: Yeah, absolutely — sorry. For sure. There’s definitely state documents and all the, you know, tax forms and your I-9 information that should come standard out of the box, but every company has their customized forms that they need sign-off on, whether it be your employee handbook or anything like that that you want to provide through your onboarding process. So, it’s important that software can support that and that you can add those into the software so the employee is able to do, from start to finish, all of their onboarding paperwork. And, yes, our software is able to do that.

ANN TORRY: Alright and then, we are getting close to the end. We've got one more question here so those of you that have been waiting to type them in, please go ahead and type them in — but Kim is asking: How do you recommend handling a new, full-time hire that, when you bring them onboard, they may not actually have the hours each week for the first initial two to three months, maybe due to weather or contract delays? This sounds like it might be something for somebody out in the field, so any ideas that you would have about what to do with that new employee and how to get them excited and get them onboarded?

MICHELLE STEDMAN: Yeah, definitely. I think that the first and most important thing with any employee, no matter what the situation is, is communication. Having open communication with them and them knowing who they need to reach out to for any question that they have. I know that I talk to a lot of different customers and companies around the United States about employees not being sure on what to do is the biggest frustration. They don't know who to reach out to if they have a two to three month wait until they're really getting full-time into things. Do they know who to contact if they have questions? Do they know who's going to call them when they get started? And then also doing all the different things that we talked about with just showcasing your culture and that you're excited about them being part of the company. So, making sure that you have regular touchpoints scheduled with them — maybe it’s an every-other type of thing in this situation, so maybe every two weeks that you're touching base with them with *something*; bringing something so that they're not just out on their own and wondering on an island by themselves about what's to come. I hope that helps.

ANN TORRY: Yeah, I think that was great. Alright, so we haven't had any other questions come in, so I think we'll go ahead and wrap up. Thanks to the audience for really great questions and really great feedback to the polls. Michelle, thanks again to you. You did a really great job with the presentation and sharing some thoughts about employee engagement. So, with that we'll go ahead and wrap up and this will conclude today's webinar.

I hope everyone has a great day. Thank you.

MICHELLE STEDMAN: Thank you.

Brought to you by BirdDogHR

What’s your company’s employee engagement strategy? Do you have one that is working well? Finding top talent based on your company’s core competencies can be challenging, but hiring and retaining the right people will help your company be in a position to grow faster.

Watch the Rethinking Employee Engagement: Strategies that Start on Day One webinar to learn about:

  • Top techniques to recruit and hire quality employees
  • How to appeal to and communicate with different generations of workers
  • Leadership style that will motivate people and create a productive company culture
  • Using short term goals and long term career planning to retain employees

Presenter

Michelle StedmanMichelle Stedman
Vice President of Operations
BirdDogHR