Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Guide to Successful Onboarding,
How the Workplace Will Change in 2012,
Congratulations to This Month's Winner,
Oil Prices on the Rise,
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Guide to Successful Onboarding
Onboarding is defined by Wikipedia as “the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders”. Onboarding techniques include orientation meetings, planning sessions, media presentations (video, Podcast, CD-ROM, etc.), printed materials, seminars, and so forth. They are designed to introduce new employees to the organization, their new job and co-workers, as well as ease the transition process. However, many organizations don’t know how to onboard correctly. This ultimately leads to higher turnover and increased recruiting and training expenses.
Successful onboarding includes several key elements. One important thing that hiring managers should remember is not to wait for the first day. There is no reason that the process of orienting a new employee has to wait until their first physical day in the office. Set a lunch date to introduce the new employee to their co-workers. Suggest that current employees make a connection with the new employee through LinkedIn and other business networking sites. Make sure the new employee has all of the benefits information, company literature, and an annual report to familiarize themselves with their new organization. Doing these things prior to the arrival of the employee will save time and money.
Another key element to successful onboarding includes setting a firm plan with detailed goals and objectives to be reviewed at certain timepoints (i.e. 30, 60, 90, 180 days) with the employee. This ensures that the new employee knows what their measurable objectives are and they know where they stand. It also offers a chance to explain the overall business objectives to the new employee and allows them to see how their role and responsibility directly links to the “big picture”.
It is also important to ensure that the new employee has all of the resources necessary to be successful. Do they know the key players in the organization? Do they know where the supply room is? The copier? What about requisition forms and any documentation tools they will need? Do they know the secretary and his or her role and responsibilities? Do they have access to that person? What about tech support? These are all pieces of important information that can help make a new person successful. Leaving them to fend for themselves can make the onboarding process take much longer and also result in critical mistakes.
Finally, keep an open door. Allow the employee to know that they are free to ask the questions necessary for success. Yes, they will need to establish a sense of independence, but patience in the beginning will surely result in a happy and productive employee and will save money in the long-term.
How the Workplace Will Change in 2012
How will the workplace change in 2012? Will it be drastically different than the year 2011? Most experts see several trends occurring in the year ahead.
1. For the past year, workers have been edging towards more flexible working arrangements. This trend is expected to continue into 2012 with more and more people telecommuting for at least part of their job. Other arrangements, including job sharing and flexible hours, are predicted to increase dramatically.
2. While the above trend will create more work hours from home, people will tend to spend more time in face-to-face meetings with intense planning sessions.
3. Retaining key talent will continue to be a challenge. Employees are more conscious than ever of “what’s in it for me”. While the economy has yet to recover, those who have survived the mass layoffs of the past three to four years are beginning to recognize their value. There will be a huge push to retain these employees and ensure their happiness. New strategies will be established that attract and inspire valuable employees.
4. With many companies in the midst of mass layoffs or at the very least in a hiring freeze, many employees will be forced into the world of multitasking. Wearing more than one hat will become commonplace, and more employees will feel the stress of higher expectations.
5. The “cloud” will become less of a buzzword and more of a standard. There will be no need to stress the word because all services and applications will be cloud-based. It will be status quo.
6. Employees will begin using their own personal devices in the workplace. Sure, the company will still provide their own, but employees want to use what they are comfortable with. Employees will use personal tablets, smart phones, data plans, etc. more often in the workplace for business purposes. The more progressive companies will even pick up the tab.
7. Marketing will continue to become more integrated. Branding will incorporate social causes. Technology will continue to become more interactive and in some cases tactile. Many brands will offer price-conscious consumers smaller size options or even stripped down base products without the bells and whistles.
8. More employees will NOT retire. Older employees have been forced to stay in the workplace longer in order to replace lost retirement accounts and/or live in today’s weak economy. Just as companies have to figure out ways to communicate and work with the Millenials, they will have to do the same with the Baby Boomers.
These are some of the areas where businesses are likely to see a change or strong push for change. Businesses will need to be more flexible than ever and adapt to a new way of thinking. The standard operating procedure is changing, and businesses will have to respond or be left behind.
Congratulations to This Month's Winner
Oil Prices on the Rise
Oil prices have risen to eight-month highs as U.S.-Iranian tensions mount. While it is typical to see commodity prices climb in January for the first round of trading of the new-year, this year’s prices were bolstered even further by the heightened U.S.-Iranian tensions.
This increase is beginning to show up on U.S. consumer’s fuel bills. One local Massachusetts fuel dealer boosted heating prices by 10 cents per gallon to a record high of $4.09 as the New York Mercantile Exchange hit $103.96 per barrel. This was the highest price since May. Gas prices also rose with prices increasing by over .25 cents over the same period last year.
Further impaired U.S.-Iranian relations could hurt the world’s economy gravely. Oil supplies are desperately needed as global oil demand is expected to rise to a record 89.5 million barrels per day in the year ahead. Oil producers are expected to meet the demand, but the conflict between the two countries could lead to shortages, increases in fuel prices and turmoil in the world economy.
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