I’m writing this post on March 22nd. The specific date matters, because by the day – if not the hour – our reality seems to shift as the Coronavirus Pandemic changes everything. Perhaps the workplace is one of the pillars of modern life most affected. Of course, for many the workplace is a hospital or doctor’s office, grocery store, water or power plant, or another essential location where workers don’t have the option to work remotely. To all those people – thank you.
But for those of us who can work from home, an extreme experiment has begun very suddenly, and on a massive global scale. While tech giants like Oracle, Apple and Google were some of the first to urge all employees who can to work from home to do so, it’s now the norm, if not a requirement. Banks are installing trading equipment in employees’ home offices. Lloyd’s of London has closed its underwriting room for the first time in its 330-year history. Universities have moved to online learning. Netflix yesterday held its first video conference table read for an upcoming production. Things that might otherwise have been piloted and cautiously integrated are suddenly mandates. It can feel overwhelming, even disorienting.
So at a time of such uncertainty (and, let’s be honest, anxiety), how can you harness the power of your remote workforce? Not just to ensure productivity, but to help your employees through this time. I’ve been working remotely for the past two years, and am exploring this and other questions in a Remote Working Blog Series over the coming weeks.
At the best of times, working remotely can be incredibly effective. It can even be fun. But there’s one major challenge. Loneliness. Soon after the invention of the computer, thought-leaders of the time predicted that we would all shortly be working from home. It did not happen. A 2016 study in China gave employees at a travel agency the option to work from home. 50% volunteered to take part. At first, it proved a huge success with high employee engagement, productivity, and reduced costs from reduced office space. But when the initiative was rolled out to the whole company it ultimately failed because of one major complaint: loneliness. For the same reasons, shared work spaces such as WeWork have seen success in recent years alongside the rise of remote working in the US. In the words of my hero Brené Brown, “We are hardwired to connect with others.” That’s why even in the perilous times of a global pandemic, we must fight the very human instinct to find comfort in being physically close to others.
None of us know how long we’re going to be working in these new ways. And loneliness poses very real risks to productivity, creativity, engagement, and ultimately the mental health of your workforce.
So my advice to employers at this time is to over-communicate. With your internal communications and realigned culture, make loneliness the enemy. Make health and happiness the goals. Business maintenance and productivity cannot follow without these.
How do you do that? The human brain is a complex thing. But it helps to think about the things that matter to us. The things that help us to feel healthy and happy. So here are some tips, aimed at promoting different aspects of employee wellbeing.
1. Be social As someone who has worked remotely for two years, let me tell you what I miss most: random office interactions. Chatting at the coffee machine. Morning catch ups with my team. Yes, even those awkward moments in the elevator making small talk about the weather with the guy who sits on the third floor and you can’t remember his name. Recreate those moments. I encourage you to turn on video for work talk and meetings, but make some rules about times when there must be “no work talk”. Schedule regular catch ups to check in on how everyone is doing and talk about what you’ve been streaming, any anxieties people have, good things that have happened, strange things that have happened, and – yes – even the weather.
2. Encourage physical health OK, OK, it’s not your place as an employer to mandate an exercise schedule. But there is a direct link between physical activity and mental health. And right now some of us aren’t sure what to do when our favorite workout class shuts down (I miss you, Orangetheory!), or you can’t go to the gym or play in your regular sports league. What can you do as a community of employees? Coming together to take on a running challenge, taking part in a video yoga class, or checking in on everyone’s Fitbit steps are all ways you can unite your people while giving them a healthy outlet. Camaraderie and team-building should follow. Have your people post their workouts or results on a social or internal channel. Build a community that gives people a meaningful and healthy resource.
3. It’s an emotional time There’s no point in ignoring the very large and scary elephant in the room. We’re all feeling new kinds of stress right now. I’m currently wondering how my work schedule now includes the care of my 9-month-old baby. I know I can make it work and Havas will support me to do so, but I’m definitely feeling more emotional than usual. As an employer, you must acknowledge these emotions. Help your colleagues to work through their feelings, because productivity and wellbeing can be real struggles otherwise. Managers should regularly check in one-on-one with their people. Remind employees of any additional support that is available. Allow people to be vulnerable and honest by creating a culture where they feel they can be. That can start with simply asking people, “How are you feeling today?”
4. Over-communicate In times of uncertainty, give people more information than they need. Reduce anxiety by not letting them wonder or worry about anything they don’t need to. Be honest, be clear, and be informative. I recently read a paper about the 1918 Flu Pandemic (yes, it’s been a time of unusual reading choices) which showed that cities in the US where social distancing was best observed were those where communication was constant, clear and above all honest. At times that might mean telling employees that you simply don’t know the answer. But don’t be afraid to say so – anxiety creeps out of the cracks in communication.
5. Celebrate the good times COVID-19 might feel all-encompassing right now. But, good things still happen. Work projects continue and get completed, new business can still be won, people successfully navigate new work styles and learn new things, acts of kindness are everywhere. Call out your employees who have done a great job, shared a success, or just done something nice for a colleague. Right now would probably be a good time to thank your HR, internal communications and operations teams. If you don’t already have an internal recognition and reward initiative in place, start one today. Give your people a platform to thank and congratulate one another.
While times are strange, there are so many simple things we can do to make them less so. And remember – nobody is single-handedly responsible for their organization’s culture. It’s a living thing. Turn some of these ideas over to people or groups within your business and let them get involved setting exercise challenges or virtual Friday night office drinks.
Most importantly – stay home, stay safe, and wash your hands.
Director of Creative and Strategy - Havas People North America
In just a few short days, the mood in our country has changed. Our reality has shifted. And, amongst a myriad of “new normal” practices, many people are working remotely for the first time – or for the first extended period of time.
Fear not, friends. I’ve been working remotely since I moved across the country from New York to Austin two years ago and I am not alone. In 2015, 3.9 million Americans were working remotely. In February 2020, that number had reached 4.7 million. 3.4% of the population.
Why does that number matter? Because – aside from the comfort during crisis of knowing you are sharing this experience with people across the country (and the world) – working patterns and practicalities have already been adapting for the past few years. Technologies have developed to keep us in touch with our colleagues in the most human and authentic of ways. In other words, remote working was already an area of focus for many employers. Which means we have established best practices to learn from, and personal advice from remote workers everywhere – including me.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share insights and advice for those working from home, and those enabling their employees to do so in this 'Remote Working Blog Series'. For many of you, I know this is the first week of this new normal. And so – for now – I want to share my five top tips for productivity when working from home becomes your new normal.
1.Maintain as much structure as you can. Shower. Dress for the day. Set yourself a time when you will stop for lunch. Decide when you’re going to finish work for the day and try not to let the working day creep into your evenings. When you’re stuck within four walls, the more separation you can create between your work and life, the better. That also means giving yourself every opportunity to focus on work during working hours. I can’t stress this enough right now – do not turn on the news if you need to be productive. Also (and I speak from personal experience) do not sit down to watch “just one episode” of a binge-worthy Netflix show at lunchtime. This will not end well.
2.Know when to turn off. And how to do it. When you’re busy, it’s all too tempting to keep working. Conference calls run into each other and before you know it, 6pm has passed and you still have things to get to. That’s why structure is so important. You must set yourself a cut off – even if you come back to work later in the evening. Right now, without so many of our usual beloved activities and gatherings, that could mean getting in a home workout, stopping to cook something for dinner, or finally letting yourself catch up on that Netflix show. Whatever it takes, find a way to unwind and punctuate the end of the working day.
3.Communicate, communicate, communicate. Chances are you still have the same team of colleagues. You’re just connected through technology now. Without a doubt, feeling isolated is one of the biggest challenges for remote workers. Just because you aren’t sitting down next to them or bumping into them at the water-cooler doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a little time every day to catch up with colleagues. Instigate a daily Google Hangout, or catch up on Slack. Make phone calls. Text. The more you communicate, the more normal this will feel.
4.Get outside. If it is safe to do so, go outside. Take a walk to the end of your street. Go to the park. Go for a cycle. The health benefits of being in nature and fresh air are important. According to a study at the University of Melbourne, even staring at a screensaver of nature can help your productivity. In the weeks ahead, I plan to replace my crowded morning workout with a walk outside before the working day begins.
5.Create a dedicated office space. Find a spot where you can be productive. Perhaps you have a spare room in your house. Perhaps you’re in a studio apartment and a clear, dedicated surface will have to do. Whatever the circumstances, find a spot that feels good. Consider the lighting. Our brains need good lighting, and you might be doing a lot of video calls. Is your chair comfortable? What can you do to make it feel more like a work space? Personally, I like to keep a calendar and weekly schedule posted to my wall, and have some photos of my son and my husband on my desk to make me smile during the day.
It’s not easy to switch a routine that you’re used to. It’s even harder to do so and maintain your productivity and motivation – especially in times of stress and worry. But with so much changing in our world right now, there are easy steps you can take to make the working day easier, and more enjoyable.
As a final note, my cat keeps me company every day while I’m working. Our animal shelters are struggling right now, and many animals need short and long-term foster care. Consider giving shelter to an animal in need. They’ll likely become your favorite colleague.
- April Bryce, Director of Creative and Strategy - Havas People North America
Last week team Havas People traveled from New York to San Francisco to attend the 2020 Talent Acquisition Week. During the two day conference, we got to hear from leaders in the talent space including our client, Jenna Sandker, from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Here are three key takeaways from our time there:
START WITH EMPATHY
During her presentation “Creating and Optimizing Content to Connect with Candidates”, Allison Kruse discussed how empathy is going to be the next big trend for 2020. Empathy is going to serve as the biggest differentiator for employers - those who understand talent and their needs will be in a position to better serve them and ultimately that is going to be shared through content. By focusing on creating content that shows your brand as more human, you are going to appeal to an audience you may not have engaged with before.
EMPLOYER BRAND vs. RECRUITMENT MARKETING
It seemed like a no brainer, but during Carrie Corbin’s session Structuring an Internal EB Team: From Costs to KPIs I was reminded that not everyone may be familiar with the difference between employer branding and recruitment marketing. This is especially true for those stakeholders who sit outside of the Talent Acquisition. Because of this, we find that some of the clients struggle with selling employer branding projects into the business. But like Carrie mentioned it’s imperative that you work with your internal stakeholders to get on the same page about what employer branding and why it's so important to the success of a business as a whole. Want to learn more about who we help build employer brands? Get in touch!!
TECHNOLOGY CAN BE YOUR BEST FRIEND
Last, but certainly not least, we were blown away by Jenna’s presentation on Integrating Tech Tools to Scale Your Hiring Process. The work that MSK has done to bring a paper-based application and hiring process into the 21st century is no small feat. While almost doubling in growth since 2013, MSK works with a select group of tech partners that allow them to stay engaged with their candidates and keep up with demand.
Is a four-day workweek in your future? As we look at the ever-changing landscape of the future of work and what “normal” looks like, four-day workweeks have come to the forefront of the discussion. What has long been a hot topic of conversation amongst drained and tired employees has recently had new life breathed into the conversation, with features on the idea in The New York Times, NPR, and politicians like Bernie Sanders, including the idea in his policy discussions.
What led to the resurgence of the debate on the four-day workweek? Microsoft. And statistics. Microsoft Japan tested a four-day work week this summer, giving employees a three-day weekend to enjoy every single week, while still receiving their normal paychecks. What was the result of this test period? A productivity boost of 40%. And the efficiencies don’t stop there. Here are just a few benefits of a four-day workweek:
Happier, more engaged employees – It’s no surprise people enjoy free-time. It’s also should be no surprise that Friday is the least productive day of the workweek. Giving employees more time to do things they enjoy increases their overall happiness, and likely loyalty to a company – without impacting outputs. It’s win-win.
Reduced meeting time – When Microsoft tested their four-day work week, they held less meetings and reduced most meeting times from 60 minutes to 30 minutes. It makes sense, as less work time equals less time available for meetings. This also leads to less wasted time. As HBR discovered in a recent survey, 71% of those surveyed said meetings are unproductive and 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking. Less time in meetings means more time working on things that matter.
Energy conservation – To start, shifting to a four-day work week would eliminate 20% of overhead expenses, like electricity and air-conditioning. A shorter workweek also lessens paper usage as less items are being printed, reduces water consumption and overall energy consumption.
It makes sense as the world of work changes, and the way we think about work changes, organizations become more flexible in their working hours. Traditional models of a 9-5, Monday through Friday gig are dying. It is all about flexibility in the workplace, and a long weekend not only benefits employees – but company’s bottom lines as well.
Moz defines Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results”. As recruitment marketers working within the talent space, that is exactly what we’re looking to accomplish – an increase in the quantity and quality of applicants coming to our website.
Let's pause and do a quick test. Open Google and type in any of the open roles you have + jobs, an example being, “mechanical engineer jobs”. Does your company come up as a top result? What if you add a location “mechanical engineer jobs NYC” …Anything?
Unless candidates are including your company name in their searches, they are going to have a very hard time finding you through search. By not showing up in those results, you and your organization are missing out on all those candidates. The good news is, you can help fix that with SEO. While a proper SEO strategy may require time, resources and back-end website work, here are three quick tips you can start with to help make a difference:
Blogs are a great resource for talent teams. They give you an opportunity to provide answers to questions your potential candidates are searching for and share more details about your organization’s culture. For example, someone may search: “What companies in NYC offer relocation assistance?”. If you work for Company X and Company X offers great relocation resources, this would be a great topic for you to blog about! By doing a bit of research (even using Google auto-complete) you can create a list of questions job seekers are asking, then create blog posts that directly answer those questions! When creating content for your blog you should always refer back to The Content Marketing Honeycomb and make sure whatever you are writing ticks off at least 3 areas of value.
2. Job Descriptions
The job descriptions on your career site are a great resource for you when it comes to improving website traffic. With Google’s enhanced jobs search results, its important to make sure that your jobs are showing up in those results. Check out our other post for more SEO tips on improving your job descriptions for Google.
You may have noticed them throughout this post, but what are backlinks? Backlinks are when a webpage links to another page. Backlinks are essential to SEO and will help drive traffic to your site. While it’s easy to add back links to your own content, it takes a bit of work to have someone back link to your content. Here is how you can start receiving backlinks:
While a good portion of SEO relies on technical optimization, you can apply these tips to help you get ahead. And remember, great content provides real value to your candidates!
Recently, there was a short article in the Wall Street Journal regarding the monitoring, tracking and data-mining companies are doing with their employees. It’s a natural response to be alarmed, but in my humble opinion this isn’t anything new. The tools to collect employee data and Large Company Corp’s ability to interpret that data have evolved, but the act of making sure your employees are using their time on the clock effectively, efficiently collaborating, and/or not breaking the law has been happening for a long time.
Stoking some nervousness around the potential police-state you’re working in makes for a great story and cute animation, but there is another way to interpret organizations having all this data that errs much more on the positive side. One that relates to our thoughts around the ‘Consumerization of the Employee Experience.’ The move by companies to treat their employees (and their data) with the same intent as brands do. Personalizing, customizing and aligning the working experience to the individual’s expectations (stated or unstated).
Interestingly, there was a recent post on the app, Fishbowl, about a similar situation where IT flagged to a manager that their newest hire was actively searching for jobs a month into their new role and on company time - the manager was looking for advice on how to broach this with their employee. Not surprisingly a large number of comments on this post were about the IT team’s actions (most employers make it quite clear that they are monitoring you and make you sign a contract in acknowledgement - IT is just doing their job). But there were also a handful of comments directed to the manager trying to understand what may have caused the employee’s unhappiness in their new role, asking why they wouldn’t use this information from IT to turn what might be a negative experience into a positive one.
That’s the key shift that employers, managers, leaders in companies need to make and need to prioritize. If we only use this new, rich employee data to contain, monitor and homogenize our people, we’re creating a terribly unbalanced relationship that fundamentally has no trust built into it.
However, if we use this data in ways to anticipate wants and needs, address nagging issues, build better processes and enhance experiences, we’re showing our people that they can trust us with their data, that we understand them on an individual, human level, and that we care about their experiences and well-being.
Last week I attended Culture Amp’s second-annual Culture First Conference. I had high expectations based on reviews of last year’s event and was not disappointed! It was a great few days of community, thought-sharing and strong thought leadership from speakers like DeRay McKesson, Josh Bersin and Simon Sinek.
Here are some of my biggest takeaways on how to put culture, well, first!
It starts with hiring
To operationalize culture, attraction and hiring are your starting points. If your organization gets hiring right, the rest is easier - and pieces begin to fit together. This is not to say hire for culture “fit” to make everyone homogenous. Hiring for culture includes sharing your culture externally, discussing it in initial conversations, and asking questions during interviews that are not directly related to job processes. These questions should explore how the individual thinks, what they value and what truly matters to them – and then examine how that adds value to your organization.
It’s important to note questions about culture shouldn’t be treated like a test. There is not a right or wrong answer. People have different priorities, values and are not all seeking the same thing out of their career. That’s okay, because organizations also have different values and priorities as well. Apple is not hiring the same kind of person that Southwest is. The key is clearly articulating and raising awareness of what your organization values, so individuals can self-select and see if they envision themselves being successful and happy at your organization - and your hiring managers should be enabled to do the same.
It’s bigger than you
Culture is defined as the values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization. Culture is unique to each organization. It’s not something you can copy and paste from another organization or build out of thin air.
Many companies fail to build a strong culture, as they see culture as a check-box, and not a priority. An organic culture is not something you can give a tagline and half-heartedly implement. It’s invisible to the eye, as it exists in the heart and minds of those who live it. When a culture is good, its seamless and hard to pinpoint. Its only when a culture is not working that you can feel it.
So, what are some things that can weaken culture? Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer at Vaynermedia identifies secrecy, micro-management, negative bias, cynicism and fear as leading contributors to a weak culture. Many of these negative experiences can be tied back to one thing - a lack of a clear purpose.
People want an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves. As Simon Sinek shared in his inspiring talk, people need a just cause. “A cause so just that not only do people feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, but they are willing to sacrifice in order to advance that cause.” The just cause has meaning, Sinek shared. It’s what makes employees work hard, give their best ideas, sacrifice time away from family to travel, and builds trust and meaning amongst teams – a key part of a positive culture. What else promotes a positive culture of belonging? Transparency, communication, possibility and inclusivity are commonly identified traits.
You have to live it
Building a culture of belonging as described above requires leadership to walk the walk. If you say leadership is open, what does that actually look like? To be authentic, organizations must put their values into action, and engineer them into processes and employee’s day to day.
It's easy to say you want a great culture, it's another to actually build it. Leadership is just one piece of the equation. You can have a poster of your values on the walls, but if that’s not the lived reality of your employees, it’s not an authentic culture. Your people are already exhibiting behaviors and engaging with each other in ways that can help you uncover the values of your organization. It’s those experiences and beliefs that become the blueprint for your expression of your company's culture.
That’s where Havas People comes in. We’re passionate about helping organizations build thriving cultures by empowering people. We have resources to help enhance all points of the employee experience to maximize the performance and happiness of your talent, including recruitment, on-boarding and internal engagement.
Business Development Manager
People wouldn’t care if 77% of brands disappeared!*
A startling statistic, but one Havas Group has been exploring for close to the past decade. Through a proprietary study, we’ve measured the quality of benefits brands bring into people’s lives – and given the statistic above, many brands are still coming up short in the value exchange with their audiences. They’re missing the opportunity to add meaning to the experience.
And we’ve found that there are three key areas brands should focus on to address that gap in the value exchange: deliver the products and services they say they’re going to deliver, improve people’s lives and play an active role in the communities they touch. Only brands that create meaningful connections with people will prosper.
One of the major elements a modern consumer expects from a brand is tailored content that’s specific to their wants/needs/hopes/dream/fears – the whole range of human emotion.
Great content is an enabler for building meaningful connections and adding meaning to an experience. In today’s world, people expect brands to provide content that inspires, entertains, educates, informs and helps them.
So, what does this have to do with employees and their experience?
It’s time to stop focusing on the world of employment as a siloed experience – a compartmentalized aspect of someone’s day-to-day. Companies are now seeking to create value for their employees – beyond the traditional means. Just as people are expecting brands to provide meaning and value in their lives as consumers – they’re expecting the same, if not more from their place of employment.
They want something more than a job. They want to be understood as an individual. They want personalization. They want interactions to matter. And they want employers to live up to the purpose and culture that’s been promised on career websites, in job descriptions and in interviews.
In short – they want us to value their experience as employees as much as we value their experiences as consumers.
The good news is if we can deliver on those promises and provide an engaging, meaningful experience we’ll be able to cultivate an environment of trust and engagement. A huge benefit to us all because when employees are engaged, they are 39%* more likely to become an advocate for the organization and 38%* more likely to remain loyal to their company. What’s more, inspired employees are two times more productive than just satisfied employees.
So how do we get there? At Havas People, we specialize in building meaningful employee experiences and believe employee experiences should be designed as thoughtfully as customer experiences. When we approach our communication strategies, we look at it as an infinity loop. Candidate and employee experiences should not be looked at as separate actions, but instead holistically to ensure meaning is being built into every single touchpoint. This means using data and research to provide a meaningful recruitment process, onboarding process, and even offboarding process. And building programs to keep employees engaged while they are at your organization.
It’s translating the principles we’ve used so successfully in the consumer world to employment. Take onboarding for example, typically a one-size fits all, templated, tick the box exercise.
But we’re all different and have different experiences and expectations. We carry different histories and have different needs when starting a new job. The level of information, training, support needed all varies.
Now think of buying a brand-new piece of tech. Your level of comfort ability to naturally use it, understanding of the potential will vary compared to your neighbors. Does the company selling you that product treat you as an individual and do their best to tailor their content and guidance on your behalf? Or do they just leave it to you to figure things out on your own? Do they give you really generic advice that’s not applicable? If they did the latter, would you consider buying something from that company in the future?
That’s the essence of adding meaning to your employees’ lives. It’s combining employee and customer experience principles to better understand what matters most to your people. And using that information to identify pain and gain points for the journey you’ll take them on in your organization so you can be sure you’re adding meaning where and when it matters most to them.
Source: Meaningful Brands powered by Havas
Source: The Edelman Trust Barometer 2019
On Thursday, June 6th I had the opportunity to attend and speak at the Wellbeing @ Work event in New York. It was an eye-opening day filled with exceptional speakers and interesting perspectives on wellbeing were shared.
Havas was invited to talk about Meaning in the Age of the Employee and how the consumerization of the employee experience is intrinsically linked to your people’s overall wellbeing.
Stay tuned for my next blog post where I’ll highlight some of our top-level thinking around that subject with some key thought starters worth mulling over!
Today, I want to share a few thoughts from the day that I keep coming back to. Things that were mentioned across a few of the different speakers’ topics that I believe are fundamental to employees feeling ‘their whole self’ at work and for employers to concentrate on when looking to build an environment where their employees’ wellness is a priority.
Homogenization isn’t just about looks.
As keynote speakers go, we were extremely fortunate to have Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer at VaynerMedia kick off the day. Claude shared personal anecdotes about her journey with VaynerMedia and the steps she took to forge a career that matched her principles and allowed her to lead and build in the way she wants.
A lot of great content and advice was shared, but I keep coming back to Claude’s point about a homogenized workforce. It’s natural for a company that was founded by a few friends to grow and employ friends of those friends – then friends of those friends, but as growth increases that friend network can become very harmful to company culture, morale, and ability to innovate.
Now, if we park the inevitability that these employees will all most likely resemble one another and look at some other issues of ‘going with who you know’ we can see that all of a sudden you have a workforce that has a relatively similar profile. They have all the same reference points, they approach opportunities and problems in the same manner, and probably view the purpose, meaning and value of work in a pretty uniform way.
For a current employee, is this environment going to give them the confidence or freedom to shake things up and try something new – to be who they are, not just another version of everyone else? For a candidate, are they going to feel like they can add anything to your company, or that they’ll need to compartmentalize elements of who they are to fit in?
Essentially, it’s another way to look at the move from hiring for cultural fit to cultural add, but I would say we need to go a step further and begin to start hiring for cultural miss. What types of people are you missing in your culture, what types of skills, approaches, ways of working and thinking will unlock your people’s potential further? Every new hire is an opportunity to add a little bit of a change agent to the mix to keep pushing your culture further.
Rethinking indicative proof points for future performance.
I’ll preface this by saying, I’m not sure how many of us are ready to ditch degree requirements from our job roles, but when Annette Alexander of WP Engine and Ann W. Marr of World Wide Technology spoke in their session about removing degree requirements from a large chunk of their jobs, it made me wish that we could!
This is something that’s been on my mind for quite a while. I’ve been talking with friends and colleagues and asking them if they could do it all over would they have gone to their alma maters and studied the same subjects, gone elsewhere to learn something else, or even skipped school and just gone into the workforce sooner. Very unscientific, but these conversations have been interesting. Very few people would have taken the same path they did. Most would have gone to different schools to study different topics, but a few (like me) would have been happy to just get right into the working world.
When I was looking for a job in advertising, the thought of getting an opportunity anywhere without a degree or some internship experience was crazy to me. But in the (relatively) short time I have had a career the whole landscape of advertising/media/content has shifted. Some high-school aged students have a better grasp on branding and forging meaningful connections with people than folks who’ve spent their lives doing that work.
And this is something we’re seeing across industries. There is this massive pool of self-starters out there who are being ushered into a 2-4 year holding pattern before corporations deem them worthy of contributing. This seems like a huge waste to me. Capturing their passion for work, for creating things, for building communities bigger than themselves shouldn’t be put on hold.
Every aspect of the working world is transforming today and will transform again completely in the next decade or so. If how we evaluate people, identify who can contribute, or even where we look for the next big hire doesn’t completely change too – we’re going to be training and hiring people to enter a workforce that no longer exists!
Walking the floor matters so much
Interestingly, this point was mentioned by a handful of speakers at the Wellbeing event – and it’s something I’ve certainly heard at other events and from some of my mentors over the years. Yet, it’s so important when creating a meaningful environment where your employees can feel healthy that it’s always worth mentioning again and clarifying what this is and what it should not be. As a leader, a colleague, a new joiner, or even someone who thinks they are the lowest rung on the ladder ‘walking the floor’ is one of the greatest things you can do. It’s about stepping outside of your work for a moment and appreciating your environment, your coworkers, and your place. It’s a moment to build camaraderie, to check in on a human level, and to celebrate, commiserate and experience all the wonderful emotions that come with being a human being!
It has nothing to do with making sure people are working, are at their desks, are getting their job done. We have other ways to measure and observe that. “Walking the floor” is the opportunity to foster community, to humanize yourself and your teams. To check in and show you care – and maybe get a little care back in return. It’s building that connection between others and yourself. A chance for everyone to show they’re not just automatons working away, but that we’re all people looking for a little extra love in a crazy world.
And this just isn’t about the people you are in the same physical location as. ‘Walking the floor’ with your remote workers is just as, if not more, important. Are you checking in with them in the same way? Are they able to virtually ‘walk the floor’ If needed in other locations or departments?
It only takes a few minutes to check-in with someone and wish them well – to show them you appreciate them. It’ll take much longer to invoke that appreciation if all you’re ever doing is asking them for work or work-related updates.
Agency Director, Havas People USA
Onboarding can be a tricky task – boiling down every bit of a person’s career into a consumable experience without overwhelming them is quite a thin line to balance. Even deciding where to start can be overwhelming for the *lucky* soul in charge of the onboarding process!
But onboarding doesn’t have to be a challenging mountain to climb, so long as you stick to the three bones of onboarding:
Your new hire is coming into your organization with a unique background and experiences, which will shape their experiences and interactions with your organization. Gather information about their background and how they may apply their experiences to understanding your organization. Once you do this, it will help you position the onboarding process in a way that’s specifically relevant to them.
2. “Just in Time”
Now that you’ve boiled down a person’s career into one L&D platform with 30 hours of compliance training loaded, compiled a 100 page PDF of resources, and set up 15 meetings with key stakeholders for new hires, you’re done right?
This is way too much information for anyone to absorb, much less apply. But it’s all critical information, so what do you do? You deliver the information when it can be utilized. This method of learning is shown to be more effective – applied knowledge is stored and remembered more easily than unapplied knowledge.
Getting your team involved in the onboarding process not only takes the pressure / onus off you, but it also creates a more immersive experience for your new hire. With the full team involved in their onboarding, the new hire will feel like they’re part of the team more organically and, ideally, faster.
This also helps the team empathize with the new hire’s experience, and allowing everyone to be accountable for the new hire’s success.
These three bones are the foundation to an effective onboarding process, but there’s much more that goes into fleshing these out to build an experience that is relevant to your people.
Interested in learning more? Contact us!