Category Archives for "Ramp"

Onboarding…why it’s worth it

“Every time I see my Onboarding reminder pop up on my computer, I get anxiety.”

Those were the exact words a leader with an upcoming hire said to me last week.

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon response from leaders I speak to about Onboarding.

Managers usually figure it out as they go along.  That produces results, but comes at a risk.

They risk productivity, engagement, and ultimately retention.

Not only does it not have to be this way, creating an Onboarding plan is simpler than you think.

Simple, not easy.

Let’s start with a definition for Onboarding.

Onboarding is a 2-4 month plan that guides, enables, and empowers a new hire and their direct manager to navigate critical elements from “big picture” to “exactly how”, in service of the employee reaching full productivity as quickly as possible.

Now, this is where I could begin to share statistics produced by the Society for HR Management or Gallup to prove my point.

Instead, I’m going to share a few things that explain why this is true, based on my experience creating Onboarding plans and leading others through it over the last five years:

  1. When a new hire starts, they’ve just left the comfort of their old company and if they receive a roadmap that outlines key elements needed in order for them to be successful in their new role they FEEL excited. Why does that matter? Because we’re emotional human beings and believing your company cares about your success goes a long way.
  2. Managers are equally set up for success when they have a roadmap that helps THEM understand (and think through) what they need to manage their employees to, (Jedi tip: if they commit to regular 1:1 meetings they are able to proactively address concerns versus reactively).
  3. An Onboarding plan helps new hires understand not just the fundamentals of the business, but their role and how they can impact the bigger picture.  When people see how they can do that, they tend to work harder and when they work harder, they grow with the company. Over time, what does that lead to? Retention.

When you consider that the cost of starting over with a hire is 1.5 their salary, it only takes simple math to see how the effort to create and manage an Onboarding plan impacts your bottom line as a business owner, and directly impacts the energy and productivity of both manager and new hire.

It’s a pretty awesome win/win when you look at it like that!

Now, let’s discuss the five key elements of building a successful Onboarding plan.

  1. The direct manager MUST be enrolled in the creation and management of the plan. They will manage/lead this individual and are an integral part of the work.
  2. Depending on level, the plan needs to cover the first 2-4 months.
  3. It needs to capture from “big picture” to “exactly how”. Think fundamentals of the company: industry, competitors, key clients/relationships, systems/processes. If you have a 50 page employee handbook or you send new hires 10 emails about the various systems, know they won’t read it all (or at all).
  4. It must capture regular milestones, and those milestones must be measured.
  5. It must also contain agreements/expectations that need to be managed via regular 1:1 meetings with the direct manager (in-person whenever possible).

Onboarding is not drinking from a firehose, a DIY website or only an HR checklist.

Remember: you can put the best race car driver in the world in a car, but if you blindfold them don’t be surprised when they eventually crash.

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Why Good Hiring Isn’t Enough

Recently, I worked with a company that had been awarded “best place to work” by a national magazine.

While their hiring process had worked well to that point, they were looking to double headcount within the next year.

In addition to this ambitious goal, they had recently uncovered a serious problem.

Attrition was on the rise as indicated by several key individuals exiting the company

The founder shared his desire to increase the quality of candidates.

As we dug deeper, we uncovered a surprising statistic. The founder was spending upwards of 13 hours of his time for each hire.

Adding an additional 17 resources using the existing approach would bring business development to a standstill.

Working closely with the founder and his team over the course of 90 days, we implemented a new process that reduced his time per resource to less than four hours per hire.

Here’s how we did It.

Phase One: Intention

Setting an intention includes deciding who, when and why to hire.

It’s front-loading the critical aspects of the process before you kick things off.

Think about it, you’d never set out to make an amazing meal by turning on the stove, finding a recipe and then running around your kitchen looking for the ingredients.

Yet this is the way most companies approach hiring.

Phase Two: The Hiring Process

We established an effective hiring process that:

  • Brought objectivity to the table across critical aspects of hiring: selection & interview.
  • Created a formal, documented consistent experience for everyone involved.
  • Helped determine the necessary and important levers throughout the process.
  • Together it increased the statistical probability they would hire a person with the needed skills and cultural DNA.

Element #1: Job Posting:

I created a compelling and engaging job posting that brought to life the story and journey of the company.

It wasn’t just a list of responsibilities and requirements with a marketing blurb about “who we are”.

The goal was two-fold: to have the applicant’s ‘why’ resonate with the companies’ and help them clearly see if they are a fit for the role (skillset and culture) at the start of the process (versus interview or later).

Element #2: Brief Survey:

I added a brief (4 question) survey that was sent to all applicants.

It served as an assessment and filter.

It assessed critical experience and filtered out applicants that weren’t serious about their job search.

A recent Gallup poll shared 85% of people hate their jobs so it’s a safe assumption that 100% of applicants aren’t running towards a new job, they’re running from their current one.

Phase Three: Onboarding Plan

If you’re hiring a human, it’s not enough to hire well, you need to support their success post offer as the first 90 days are critical.

On Onboarding Plan doesn’t need to be comprehensive, but it does need to be thought through and contain a few critical aspects: milestones and expectations.

Milestones are measured and laid out in a clear and simple way.

Expectations are managed through weekly meetings during the first 90 days and real-time as needed.

A Gallup poll found that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their employer does a great job of Onboarding new employees!

When you add that SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) estimates that it will cost a company six to nine months of an employee’s salary to identify and onboard a replacement you quickly realize you can’t afford an ineffective and/or subjective hiring process that is absent some sort of Onboarding Plan.

An Onboarding Plan creates a roadmap for success that launches the new hire’s journey with the company while also allowing the hiring leader to objectively see if things are, or are not working out (quickly!)

Final Thoughts

Today, my client has a repeatable process for hiring that saves him and his team time, while increasing the quality of their hires.

They have a process for assessing key skillsets and filtering out individuals who aren’t intentionally looking for a new job.

They have a roadmap in place for launching the success of a new hire that also allows them to quickly identify and address concerns as they arise.

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The Case for Onboarding

“We recently hired a few folks and we’re struggling with their performance. It’s so frustrating.”

This is something I hear from clients quite often.

The solution is quite simple. 

No matter how skilled or experienced a new hire may be, they all need: 

– An Onboarding plan that outlines the vision (‘where’) of the company, their role, sets expectations and captures 30/60/90 day milestones.

– Their manager to walk them through the Onboarding plan and test for understanding. 

– Their manager to meet with them weekly (15-20 mins) for the first 90 days to support their integration into the business and manage to expectations set forth in the Onboarding plan.

– When something isn’t happening that should be (or vice versa), it’s discussed and another meeting is set to review progress.

– If you follow this process you know within 90 days if the new hire is working out or not.

#TalentMatters #Onboarding #Newhires #Hiring

Mastery is a Life-Long Practice

Six months ago, I left the (relative) safety of the corporate world to try and make it as a solo-preneur.

At least once each week I catch myself telling a story about how I’m “not getting it fast enough” or how I should be “farther along.”

Today I visited a glass blowing factory in #Murano Italy.

The men were all in their 30s and 40’s.

I asked Francesco (our guide) how long it takes to master their craft.

“Oh signora, a lifetime” he responded without hesitation.

“Some of these men spend their whole life as assistants…they hold only the tongs but never are allowed to blow the glass.”

He went to explain they begin their journey as early as 11 years old.

They were taught by their fathers and hope, someday, to pass their trade down to their sons.

I left Murano with two profound insights:

  1. Mastery does not happen overnight and…
  2. Even a lifetime of effort does not mean you are entitled to ‘blow the glass.’

Make sure you enjoy the journey!

Breaking the Cycle of Email Follow Ups

It happened this morning. I realized my second follow-up email had been ignored.

Maybe it was the third. My mind searched for an explanation.

“They said they would but never really intended to.”

“I thought the meeting went well but must have gotten it wrong.”

“People are such jerks!”

We ALL experience this and…

– Let it go

– Think “better luck next time.”

– Blame ourselves for screwing something up (yet again).

In truth, the flow of email is endless…it never stops.

Email consumes more time than we are willing to admit.

We are overwhelmed with commitments, requests, and to-do’s. Maybe it’s not that our request/action wasn’t important to the other person.

Perhaps they are trying to keep their head above water.

Here’s something you can try: The next time your follow-up email goes unanswered, pick up the phone and call the person (or send them a text).

Don’t be surprised if Fear tries to tell a story about you being a pest or ‘pushy.’

Ignore Fear and tell the story about saving them from having to categorize and read yet another email.

Pretty cool right? (a win/win if you ask me.)

Does email consume you at times?

Has an important email slipped through the cracks despite your best intentions?

Would love to hear YOUR comments below.