Posts Tagged ‘onboarding’

What do the Boston Swan Boats and Market Basket Have in Common…

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

A deeply embedded company culture!


In a recent Boston Globe article, For Swan Boat pedalers, a storybook ride… the author talks about the Paget Family who has owned and operated the city’s famed swan boats since 1877. What I found so amazing about this Boston icon was the story behind the Swan Boat operators. Most of these folks have worked for the Paget family for generations and are considered a part of the family. These jobs are passed down within families for years and years, however, the younger siblings don’t just get the jobs from older relatives. According to the story: “They have to go through a long training period before they are allowed to take a swan out on their own, a process the Pagets call “earning your wings.” Aside from driving the boats they also consider themselves representatives of Boston.

Now, this is what I call a wildly successful organization based on establishing an awesome company culture, and embedding a strong onboarding practice for new hires. images-1

Then you have the Market Basket grocery store chain, a family-owned business based in New Hampshire that is in crisis. However, let’s look at it from a positive culture perspective. Arthur T. Demoulis, the ousted CEO did a phenomenal job of creating a company culture that was so successful that employees, as well as customers have rallied around him – refusing to go back to work or shop at the stores until he is reinstated in order to show their undying support. For example, last week employees were ordered to go back to work by the new CEO’s or face terminations. Employees chose the latter. And customers are still boycotting the stores while Market Basket employees are rallying their support for Arthur T.

This is what I call a wildly successful organization based on establishing an awesome company culture, and with dedicated employees and customers who will support a leader who showed managerial excellence in leading the organization!   Unknown

So how can you create an organization that can survive through the decades or through a crisis…

It is all about CREATING and CULTIVATING a company culture around a consistent set of practices…

  1. Commit to managerial excellence
  2. Develop consistent and transparent communication
  3. Dedication to hiring and developing the right employees

The Swan Boats and Market Basket hit the nail on the head around practices #1 and #3. Being a great company is not good enough today given the competition, changing economic landscape and emerging technology. Today’s organizations need to be wildly successful, yet many struggle with how to achieve this. The answer lies in a company’s culture, which both the Swan Boats and Market Basket exemplify! This is the key to driving commitments that achieve results.

Download the whitepaper Being Wildly Successful And Three Ways to Make It Happen, and see how you can get started on the road to success. Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 12.11.01 PM

Survey Says…

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

“One in Five Workers Plan to Change Jobs in 2014 …” read more

“Many Employed Workers Haven’t Sought A
New Job In Years …”  read more  


What both surveys indicate is that 2014 looks like the year the job market turns around.  “Twenty-one percent of full-time employees plan to change jobs in 2014, the largest amount in the post-recession era and up from 17 percent in 2013,” according to the survey conducted online by Harris Interactive.  However, respondents expect the effort to challenging.

What does this mean for employers?

Retention and Engagement is critical. Ramp up initiatives that keep employees happy and involved.

  • Review current development programs and make sure they are better than your competitors.
  • Give thanks to employees as a lasting reminder of your appreciation. Make formal rewards and recognition a part of your company culture.
  • Ask employees what they need through surveys, focus groups or one-on-one interviews.

Experienced talent will be hitting the marketplace. Now is the time to review your hiring practices, make sure your recruiting message is effective, and you are prepared.

  • Clear communication should reflect the personality of your organization to attract and connect with the right talent, as well as retain existing employees.
  • Ensure the acquisition and hiring team is in alignment from sourcing talent to interviewing for skills, competencies and culture fit.
  • Use existing employees to act as talent ambassadors.

Take a look inside your organization. This is a good time to complete an Employee Audit. The Audit is an evaluation that identifies how people move through the employee lifecycle from acquisition > onboarding > development > departure.

  • Assess the entire relationship to uncover what is working and what can be strengthened.
  • Take a hard look at systems, processes and development initiatives to clarify strategic priorities, solutions that will address people pains, and talent hurdles that your organization may face in 2014.
  • Create a plan to address challenges to avoid losing key employees.
  • Evaluate your acquisition process to take advantage of key talent hitting the market.

Be prepared for change. Losing employees, hiring new employees or retaining existing talent all require change. With the talent outlook in 2014 changing, it is time for organizations to make smart decisions about investment in the people they seek, hire and retain.

Renewed optimism about the job market can be an asset or a liability for your company. Which will it be?  

Your Talent is Your Investment: Part 1

Monday, March 19th, 2012

By Jill Heineck, Focus Relocation, Guest Blogger and WOW! transformations Strategic Partner

Despite the current state of the economy, global companies still need to lay the groundwork for growth. In doing so, planning for an increase in the mobile workforce is a crucial step toward supporting strategic business objectives. This is where it is mission-critical to connect HR’s efforts with talent mobility. After all, without a cohesive, talented team, a company cannot thrive.

Capturing Top Talent

The competition for top talent is a motivating factor for many companies to focus on shoring up internal talent. Momentum for talent mobility appears to be building with companies recognizing its mounting relevance in the workplace. What are the risks if an organization lacks a comprehensive engagement strategy? Top talent may disconnect, or worse, resign if they do not see a clear career path. According to a 2011 Taleo Research white paper, “Australia Talent Mobility,” the growth of the business is jeopardized if the talent pool is clogged with employees lacking the appropriate mix of skills and experience to step up into key roles.

“One of the cornerstones of our philosophy is that we promote from within; so we have a robust annual career development process in place,” said Gina Haesloop, GMS, global mobility manager at UPS in Atlanta, GA. “Our career development process helps individuals continuously grow, learn, and improve throughout their careers. It is more than just promotions or lateral rotations; it is accomplished by combining the individual’s needs with UPS’ current and future business needs. People grow, learn, and improve best when they are given work that provides challenges within their potential, opportunities to use their strongest skills, opportunities to do what interests them, and opportunities to be involved in activities that they value, and to which they feel a strong sense of commitment.”

UPS is not the only company with this attitude. It is becoming the mantra of growing companies as well as global giants, as talent has become a valued asset and critical to continued growth. Turner Broadcasting has several programs in place to excite and engage talent once they have accepted an assignment.

“One way we make a difference in workforce integration is with our community involvement group,” said Jacqueline Welch, senior vice president of international HR at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta. “The group sits down with each employee to see how quickly they can be involved in the greater community outside of Turner.”

This is part of Turner Broadcasting’s Total Rewards program. In addition, Turner Broadcasting offers a unique program in which the relocating employee is paired with another employee who has had a similar role and/or mobile assignment to provide support and a sense of community. “We do a pretty good, precise job of matching up Turner colleagues,” said Welch, explaining the success of the program.


Click here to read the full article in Mobility Issues: March 2012 Issue

To Contact Jill:
Jill Heineck, CRP l Chief Relocation Officer

Phone: 877.550.RELO
Twitter: @jheineck

New Members Will Benefit From beyondboarding™

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012


When we first started looking at the process of beyondboarding™, we focused on developing a process for the workplace.  Beyondboarding™ is an onboarding initiative that goes beyond orientation and takes a strategic approach to employee and organizational growth and development.

As we discussed beyondboarding™ with customers, prospects and colleagues we realized additional audiences can benefit from WOW! transformations’s beyondboarding™ approach. Beyondboarding™ is not just for employees.  This series explores initiating a beyondboarding™ approach with the following relationships:

Our focus today is on the final audience, new members. Everyone can think of a time when they were a new member of a networking group, civic or business organization, church or synagogue, committee or the PTA … You enter the room and don’t recognize a soul. Everyone is talking to someone and you want to look busy.  You grab a cup of coffee, and search the room for a friendly face or someone not engaged in a conversation.  It’s not easy to blend in and feel comfortable, and you want to make a good first impression. But this organization is new to you and taking the first step is not easy. 

Organizations that take a beyondboarding™ approach to help orient new members can benefit greatly by creating a new member onboarding initiative.  Considering the following steps and benefits when beyondboarding™ a new member:

  1. RIGHT:  Any good partnership needs the right person, on the right team, with the right experience.  Pre-boarding helps new members assess what they need to do to fit into or become active, and benefit personally and professionally from their membership investment. It also helps the organization identify strengths and competencies that the new member brings to the organization.  It is all about creating a great match and ensuring both the organization and the new members get a return on investment.
  2. KNOWLEDGE:  As important as it is for you to know the new member, it is just as important for them to learn about your organization and all it has to offer. This may include a new member onboarding program, matching a new member with a buddy or mentor, introducing the new member to the board or committee heads, providing a tour of the facility, explaining information on the organization’s history, mission, values and structure, and inviting the new member to events and ensuring someone introduces her to existing members so she can feel comfortable and confident that she has made (or will be making) the right choice to join.  Image the ROI when your new member has strong organizational knowledge from the start and wants to play an active role from Day 1.
  3. CULTURE: Every organization needs members who mesh with its core values— the principles that define who you are as an organization and that shape the organizations mission and vision.  When you are marketing your organization and seeking new members it is imperative there is a culture match as well.  Both the new member and the organization are both looking for a ROI and the culture and goals of the membership organization are critical for both parties.
  4. COMMUNICATION: A new member must be in the loop from Day 1.  Make sure she is signed up to receive email notifications and event invitations, and help her navigate the website to gather information. Have board members call to welcome her to the organization and answer questions.  Ensure the new members’ buddy or mentor invites her to meetings and events that may be of interest and attends to ensure she is comfortable and meets the right people.  Gather a group of existing members together and meet the new member for coffee or lunch to communicate opportunities and get her involved.
  5. CLARITY:  Like any good employee onboarding program, a new member needs to have focused clarity around her role and expectations as well as the role of the organization and the goals they are aiming to achieve.  Establishing alignment from the start ensure everyone is focused in the right direction.
  6. LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP:  It is easier to keep an existing member and have them grow and develop (post-boarding) within your organization than having to continue to market and bring new members on board.  Image the impact an beyondboarding(tm) initiative can have for a new member and the how you could kick-start your relationship by helping them to get to know your organization from Day 1.

To make your new member an active participant in your organization, begin with a beyondboarding™ mindset.  Consider the key steps above, but remember it’s only the beginning.  There are many other things that you can and should be to ensure success with your new membersClick here to read more about beyondboarding™.

Vendors Will Benefit From beyondboarding™

Thursday, March 1st, 2012


When we first started looking at the process of beyondboarding™, we focused on developing a process for the workplace.  Beyondboarding™ is an onboarding initiative that goes beyond orientation and takes a strategic approach to employee and organizational growth and development.

As we discussed beyondboarding™ with customers, prospects and colleagues we realized additional audiences can benefit from WOW! transformations’ s beyondboarding™ approach.

This series explores initiating a beyondboarding™ approach with the following relationships:


Vendors today play many roles.  They may be selected to provide products or services; support our organization’s infrastructure, repair something that is broken or fill a gap on your team.  We may not think of vendors as partners in helping us to reach our goals, or as a team member.  But if you change your mindset and follow key steps to beyondboarding™, a new vendor can boost your ROI:

  1. RIGHT:  Any good partnership – especially one with a new vendor, requires the right fit with products and services the vendor is offering or providing.  When selecting a vendor through the proposal process or pre-boarding phase, you must ensure that they are the right people or organization to help you reach your goals and to work with your organization.
  2. KNOWLEDGE:  As important as it is for you to know the vendor you are working with, it is just as important for them to know your organization.  This may include a tour of the facility, key resources to contact or inform, tips and tricks for working with the team, billing process and network access.  Image the ROI when your new vendor has strong institutional knowledge from the start.
  3. COMMUNICATION: A good manager will also discuss with her new employee the best way to for ongoing communication.  This is important as well in a vendor relationship, especially at the beginning to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks, information is clarified or received in a timely fashion, and knowledge is processed in a timely manner.  Discussing your communication strategy right from the start is a great way to set the foundation for how you work together.
  4. CLARITY:  Like any good employee onboarding program, a new vendor needs to have focused clarity around her roles, responsibilities, deliverables, expectations and goals to eliminate misunderstanding and establish alignment from the start.

To make your vendor relationship a success, begin with a beyondboarding™ mindset.  Consider the key steps above, but remember it’s only the beginning.  There are many other things that you can and should be to ensure success. Click here to read more about beyondboarding™.

Automation: The key to successful onboarding

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Here are the answers to a numbers game: 30, 45, 4 billion.


What are the questions?

  • How many steps are involved in the typical onboarding process? (30)
  • How many days does it take a typical new employee to reach full productivity? (45)
  • How much do North American companies spend annually on new-hire orientation? ($4 billion)

A recent whitepaper from Enwisen used these numbers to emphasis the realities of bringing new employees onboard: It’s expensive and time consuming.  What’s more, there’s risk that the money and time will be wasted on inefficient or ineffective processes. The solution: Automation, ranging from basic form-and-task automation to “orchestration” and “integration,” options that integrate all the learning and performance systems beginning with the first interview.

The whitepaper first deals with several “myths” of automated onboarding:

1. Blue-collar workers won’t use online tools: Not true.  Only one in five adults don’t use the Internet regularly, and they tend to be over 65 or without a high school education.

2. Automation removes the human touch: In traditional systems, much of the orientation time is spent filling out forms, reciting rules and policies, and reviewing benefits.  Automated systems perform all these important functions before the orientation, reserving time for the HR reps to have more substantive conversations about the company’s culture and work environment and the employees’ unique needs.

3. Automated onboarding isn’t a priority in a down economy when fewer people are being hired.  Actually, it’s even more important in lean times to have a system that is cost-effective and reduces expensive turnover.

All automated systems save money through more efficient administration of onboarding, lower orientation costs, reduced turnover, and more dependable compliance procedures.  What other benefits do these systems offer?

  • They effectively acclimate new hires to the corporate policies, benefits, and culture.  This is especially true when the system is integrated with a searchable knowledgebase that allows new employees to find personalized answers to important questions about pay and policies before they start work.
  • They can integrate all relevant systems.  Integrated systems can make sure that all the personalized information required for each new employee is complete on Day 1.  The result is fewer processing steps for the new hires and HR, more accurate information, and the elimination of manual data entry.
  • They ensure compliance with policies, laws, and regulations. Automated onboarding can provide for electronic acknowledgment of company policies and verification of compliance, thus reducing risks of costly litigation.

The automation of various onboarding processes will improve efficiency and open up time for HR reps to work with new hires face-to-face on personal questions and issues.  In the end, everyone wins.  Then the question will be another numbers game: How much can the company save in operating costs as it improves its onboarding processes?

Click here to learn more about WOW! transformations beyondboarding™ program.

Hire Superstar Talent Fast

Thursday, April 21st, 2011


A recent blog, Hire Superstar Talent Fast by Bill Taylor, talks about the war for talent raging in Silicon Valley. Taylor asks:  How do companies find, recruit and land the most gifted performers in their fields?

He cites three strategies by human resources expert Dr. John Sullivan that were published in Fast Company’s “How to Hire the Next Michael Jordan” more than 12 years ago. Here are Sullivan’s hiring strategies, with WOW! transformations’ beyondboarding™ twist:

1. Move from coincidence hiring to continuous hiring. “Traditionally, companies get serious about hiring when they have a specific opening: ‘Our vice president of marketing quit, so we need a new one.’ I call that approach ‘coincidence’ hiring: ‘I happen to need a basketball player today. Did Michael Jordan happen to quit his job?’ The odds that he did are not very good. So what are the odds of your landing him?”

From a beyondboarding™ perspective this is so important.  The first step in pre-boarding is to ensure your organization is set up properly so you can source and select the right talent for your needs, not just fill an open position on the org chart. Managers need to constantly look for the best and the brightest out there, building a strong bench of talent to select and develop.

2. Hiring is too important to be left to HR. “Hiring great people is not the responsibility of HR. It’s the responsibility of every single manager. There are lots of reasons for this: If you are the leader of a great marketing team or of a great product-design team, no one outside your group — no human-resources specialist — can understand the kind of superstar who will make a difference in your work.”

From a beyondboarding™ perspective, it is a joint effort between HR and Staffing, and the Hiring Manager.  HR and Staffing can help you in your efforts but it’s your organization that bring the new talent on board. It’s ultimately the responsibility of the hiring manager to ensure new employees will formally and informally fit within the organization, the department and the team.  HR and Staffing is not responsible for this – they are there only to support your needs.

3. If you want to hire smart, hire fast. “Great people usually won’t leave their current job unless there is an external triggering event: Maybe they’ve turned 40; maybe they’ve gotten divorced; maybe their company has been bought. So companies that are serious about hiring will keep track of great people and will be on the lookout for such triggering events. And when such an event happens, they’ll make their move fast.”

From a beyondboarding™ perspective, in this current environment the best talent is not jumping ship yet but just wait!  High potentials are just waiting to the perfect company to come along and meet their needs. You will want to make sure that your pre-boarding process is efficient and streamlined, between HR and Staffing, and the Hiring Manager to ensure you are doing what it takes to get the right people in the door before someone else snags them.

As Bill Taylor proposed … How are you waging the battle for talent? Why do you think you’re going to win?

Acquiring or Acquired: What Do Employees Want to Hear?

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

I have been working with a client that soon will be involved in an acquisition.  This change has prompted a variety of organizational initiatives, including an onboarding project I’m working on and some organizational redesign.

The prospect of a merger or acquisition automatically stirs fears among employees on both sides of the consolidation.  Both companies need to think about messages that address and allay those fears.

A recent Harvard Business Review article, “Three Answers Every Employee Needs,” provided some advice from Betty Jane Hess, the former head of Arrow’s acquisition integration team. “When we make an acquisition,” she said, “every employee has just three questions: 1) Do I have a job? 2) Who do I report to? and 3) How will I get paid? Until they get answers, nothing else matters.”

These questions are especially important if you work in the organization being acquired.  However, the acquiring company has two more questions to address: 1) What are your employees thinking? and 2) What message(s) do you need to send them?

I would love your reaction to these questions, so please submit your ideas below or email them to  Next week I will provide an update of the ideas you have shared and offer some of my own.

Talent Management Trends: Are You Onboard or Drifting?

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

How often have you heard a business executive brag that “our people are our most important asset”?  Sounds good, but how many companies actually work strategically to enhance that asset?

A recent post on The Daily Recruiter reviewed emerging trends in “talent management,” the process of attracting, developing and retaining skilled employees.  The article went to the heart of the issue quickly: A structured talent management process wіll systematically close thе gap between thе human capital аn organization currently hаѕ аnd thе leadership talent іt wіll eventually need tο respond tο tomorrow’s business challenges.

I was gratified to see the article reaffirmed beyondboarding™ – a strategic approach to employee and organizational growth and development – that WOW! transformations has been helping organizations implement as part of their talent development initiatives.  Most onboarding programs for new employees have a short shelf life; they begin with a flurry of activity, but the energy all but dissipates within a few months.  Beyondboarding™ actually precedes a hiring decision by assessing talent needs and continues throughout an employee’s career with the company.  Not only does its duration span through lifetime of service, its strategic outlook continually assesses an individual’s needs for re-orientation, learning and development.

The article suggests several important strategies of talent management, including:

  • Attracting talent. Creating assessment, selection strategies and processes is a critical first step in attracting qualified talent in the current economy and gives you a leg up on the competition.
  • Retaining the best people.  Wіth 75 percent οf employees looking fοr nеw employment opportunities аt аnу given time аnd five million Baby Boomers expected tο retire іn thе next few years, thе war fοr talent іѕ οn.
  • Developing talent.  Providing your employees with opportunities for development such as executive coaching, career development аnd leadership development programs.
  • Transitioning talent out of the company.  Thе benefits οf offering exiting employees quality transition programs far outweigh thе costs аnd risks οf nοt providing thеm.

Beyondboarding™ is an effective strategy because it incorporates all the stages of an individual’s career development within the context of an organization’s needs for the future.  To learn more about how beyondboarding™ can help your company, click here.

Keep Your Best Employee From Jumping Ship

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

A recent article by Fortune contributor Jena McGregor, How To Keep Your Star Employees, reinforces a prolific problem for today’s businesses: Some of our best employees are ready to jump ship.

According to a recent survey by the Corporate Executive Board, “some 27% of employees deemed ‘high potential’ said they plan to leave within the year. That rate of dissatisfaction is rising ‘precipitously’ as the economy stabilizes, says Jean Martin, executive director of the CEB’s Corporate Leadership Council, up from just 10% in 2006 and increasing at twice the rate of the general employee population.”

In her article, McGregor goes on to say, “That’s the bad news. The good news is that perks aren’t the only way to keep your high performers engaged. They want a mix of recognition and challenges that stretch them without completely stressing them out.”

She cites four retention strategies used by top companies to combat this challenge:

1. Start a talent agency

2. Change up bonus time

3. Send them abroad — if it fits

4. Expand the brain trust

These are four great ideas.  Here are my additions to the list:

  • Identify Talent Ambassadors

It’s critical to create an organization that is highly desirable and focused on getting the RIGHT people into the RIGHT jobs. Engagement is much easier when organizations use internal resources to search for and select the right people for the company. One great way to do this is using your “stars” as “talent ambassadors.”  This type of initiative is  a great way to motivate and reward employees — it keeps them engaged and excited about the organization as they speak to potential new hires and helps the organization attract the right people.

  • Get your staff involved in learning and development

Learning and development plays a critical role in keeping employees engaged and productive throughout their lifetime of service.  These types of initiatives are absolutely critical for our high-potential employees, but it also helps the entire talent pool gain new skills, knowledge and competencies.  Get creative and use people already on your staff as subject matter experts to facilitate Lunch-and-Learn programs, mentor and provide new experiences to the rest of the company.

Creating a culture of employee engagement helps you keep your best talent through turbulent times and keeps them onboard, not jumping ship.