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Three Ways Companies Need to Engage Employees from Day One

by Phillip Scanlon

Oct 12, 2017

Starting a new job is stressful. Learning a new company culture, meeting new colleagues, even small details such as not having a key card or knowing when the best time is to get lunch, has an adverse effect on my cortisol levels. Having worked in many different corporate environments, I was prepared for a stressful first day when I started work at Convergence Consulting Group (CCG). What happened next is a perfect example of how companies should alleviate those first-day stresses, which is why I am writing this blog.

Immediately when walking into the CCG office, I was greeted at the door by one of the founding members of the company. In our initial five-minute conversation, I felt appreciated, important, and confident in my new role. During that first day, my computer was ready for me, I received a tour of the office, and had lunch with members of my new team.  From day one, I felt that this was a place where I could be successful.

You’re probably thinking, “Phillip, every company does that. You can’t claim that the cure for new hire jitters is an executive handshake and a lunch.” And you’d be right, it’s much more than that. Many companies do stop here, which is why so many organizations struggle to engage and retain new employees. In fact, 90% of executives recognize keeping new hires is an issue in their organizations. (Korn Ferry)

How can a company ensure that the onboarding process is a smooth one for new employees? The act of bringing an individual into your circle of corporate trust and commitment requires the correct onboarding, training, and support techniques to develop truly engaged employees. In my experience, the top three most impactful measures that an organization can take to ensure a smooth transition are:

  • Thorough ORIENTATION on the first week
  • Ample TRAINING, both taught and provided through self-learning resources
  • Ongoing individual support through TEAMS or buddy programs 

ORIENTATION:

A 2007 study by the Wynhurst Group found when employees receive structured onboarding, 58% of employees are more likely to remain with their organizations more than 3 years.

Why is this important?

  • Reduced startup costs
  • Reduced employee stress
  • Reduced turnover
  • Develop positive attitudes and job expectations

The new hire orientation for consultants like myself is rigorous, yet engaging, and crucial for success. The structure of CCG’s “Consultant Boot Camp” included two training sessions per day, each session approximately three hours long.  The sessions covered topics about employee benefits, consulting best practices, and business intelligence applications. We completed over 20 training sessions focusing on data and analytics, including scrum, database fundamentals, SQL, data quality, and data science. Most importantly, these sessions were taught by fellow CCG employees who are considered topic experts and taught in accordance with our corporate beliefs. The boot camp concluded with a one-hour presentation by each new hire to a collection of his or her peers. I completed the boot camp with a better understanding of the direction I want to take in my career at CCG and a much stronger foundation of data and analytic knowledge.

Three Ways to engage employees word cloud

TRAINING:

According to CareerBuilder, 60% of employees believe professional development will be learned on the job, but 49% of employers believe that professional development is an equal responsibility.  

Training needs to be an ongoing priority for all employees, but especially consultants or individuals working in the emerging technology field. There are new releases of data and analytic software every 6 months, sometimes even more frequently, so organizations need to design training programs that provide a strong foundation of knowledge at onboarding and embrace the fast pace of software innovation through ongoing training opportunities.

At CCG, we practice strength-based training and leadership development, embracing individual employee skills to develop customized training plans that meet their needs. Although I am new to the company, I am grateful to be part of the Strength Advocate Team, which helps to develop these individualized training programs and ensure the ongoing focus on employee strengths to improve job satisfaction and outcomes.   

If you are just getting started in developing a training program for your employees, try not to reinvent the wheel and instead seek programs and platforms that are already developed. CCG is fortunate in that we can take advantage of training products and courses from our partner companies Microsoft, Informatica, and IBM. CCG also invested in a unified training portal, Skill Port, that provides packaged management and soft skills training, providing resources to its employees on an ongoing basis. Organizations should also champion and share training internally as often as possible through activities like Lunch and Learns, a common practice often planned and facilitated by employees to share training materials as a group. CCG has found recent success by also hosting weekly internal Community Practice events to educate employees on numerous BI topics such as Data Modeling and Advanced Analytics.

Don’t forget to look to the community for training opportunities. Encourage employees to join MeetUp groups and attend community training programs. There should be no shortage of professional development opportunities for employees should you take advantage of all of these training outlets.

For data and analytics professionals in the Tampa area, CCG founded a Data Analytics Meetup, which is open to anyone interested in furthering their knowledge of the latest and greatest advancements in business intelligence and often features external experts from CCG partners like Microsoft or IBM.

TEAM:

Support levels from a team and team leaders will promote positive attitudes among new hires, whereas a lack of support will lead to unhappy and unproductive employees. 

It is important to help employees to quickly find their “fit” within a company. Buddy programs and mentorship programs are commonplace but very effective in encouraging office relationships and reinforcing policies.  Community group volunteerism is also an excellent opportunity to forge stronger bonds with colleagues in an environment that is separated from the work environment, but still productive in nature.

In addition to these standard engagement programs, CCG offers a unique internal structure where they assign individuals to “squads”.  Each squad focuses on a specific industry or line of business. For example, I am a member of the Education squad. The purpose of the squads is to provide an opportunity for employees to develop specialized skills in a specific area of interest. Squads meet regularly to share training materials, present findings and propose new solutions specific to their squad specialization. These squads are another example of how companies can group employees in ways that are beneficial to the business and engaging for employees.    

STRONG FOUNDATION = STRONGER ENGAGEMENT

Diving into a new role can be stressful, but upfront investment in an employee through orientation, training and team support can make a lasting difference in an employee’s engagement level and allow for an employee to be more effective in their role, faster. In the consulting industry, especially where turnover is high and burnout is even higher, it is important to create relationships with employees early and check back in with them often to support the balance of client and employee happiness. I am pleased to report that after five months in my role, the resources and support have only improved.

For a look at CCG Career opportunities and training, click here or contact a business relations specialist at (813) 968-3238. 

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