Whether you are a Christian For-Profit, Ministry, Church, Camp or Higher Education Institution, recruitment can be difficult. Even before Covid-19, employers had difficulties finding qualified candidates. Many organizations did not know where to look for candidates or could not find employees skilled to match available positions. Many organizations face the same situation, the problem is less a dearth of potential suitors than knowing where or how to search for an ideal match. I believe the best way to find qualified candidates is to focus first on establishing long-term relationships. Only then will your network proactively refer candidates to you because they know of and trust your organization. We believe having a great strategy in place will pay dividends in the recruitment of exempt and non-exempt staff, regardless of your organizations, product, or service.
Consider your favorite brands and businesses. Maybe they include a clothing company, a coffee shop, or perhaps a particular hotel or car. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve developed a relationship with these brands. Think back to when you first discovered that brand or business. For example, you chose a random coffee shop one day. What drew you in the door? Was it the aroma of the roasting beans? The cozy ambience, the savory scones? Or the friendly employees? What made you choose to return, again and again? What made you rave about this place to your friends, family, colleagues? Subconsciously, we develop relationships with the things we care about, just like we do with the people we care about. Relationships are the key to the success of any organization.
Now more than ever organizations must break out of mediocrity. Organizations have an obligation to their people to strive for excellence, to be world class, and to be high performing. Far too many organizations, ministries, churches, and nonprofits fall victim to a defeatist attitude, thinking no one wants to work anymore, we can never find candidates, Covid-19 has ruined our chances of growing, often giving up before they’ve hardly begun.
IN HIS NAME HR believes an organization should strive to become—and maintain—excellent; and will remain intact no matter the storm. People can become discouraged, even disillusioned, by the slow deterioration of service or quality they witness within organizations. Leaders must become focused to allow organizations to grow versus failing. We should do everything with excellence, or not do it at all.
If you, as an employer, have drifted from your organizations vision, try recalling what initially ignited your excitement and passion for that organization. How did you feel when you gained your first big client or made your first big sale? Elated, no doubt! Inspired! How did you feel when you got the keys to your first office and saw your nameplate on the door?
If you’ve lost your pizazz at your current organization, can you recall when things went awry, or your enthusiasm began to fade? How can you gain that excitement again? Simply put, if you as a leader, are not excited about your organization, chances are employees won’t be either. To attract excellent employees who will experience that same initial enthusiasm, you might have to do a bit of housecleaning first. Let’s look at what that might entail:
- First, create an awesome workplace. Create the kind of work environment where you would want your loved ones to work. The best way to attract people is to first make the people who currently work for you and agree your organization is a best place to work! Create a process and check in regularly with your employees to make sure they are satisfied with their working environment. When employees feel encouraged, noticed, and heard, they’re much more likely to be productive and perform well. Take time to listen to them. Find out what motivates them and makes them tick. Go out of your way to make each employee feel recognized. Learn their favorite coffee flavor, their pet’s name, or their favorite hobbies. If they’re due a raise or a proper bonus, give them one. Make sure that if an employee were to run into a future employee on the street who asks about their work environment, they’d have nothing but stellar things to say about you and your company.
- Next, develop a clear employer brand. Organizations should be marketed to candidates. Given that the competition for quality candidates is fierce, you want your organization to look its best and stand out. Create a recruitment benefits fact sheet that affirms to your potential employees why they would want to work for you. List the benefits, but also include employee testimony. See an example of a recruitment benefits fact sheet here. Create only job posts that reflect the culture of your organization—that’s critical. Build excitement. (Creativity and humor go a long way.) Do you have a cool coffee bar in the break room, annual employee barbecues, team building events, or an onsite gym? Perhaps you’ve got a great city view, offer flexible working hours, or host an annual super fun holiday party. Asking employees why they love working for you also reminds themof the reasons and renews their enthusiasm. You can see why taking the time to take this step is a real win–win.
- Lastly, create your network. Most organizations, because of turnover among or an absence of HR professionals, do not have a formalized network through which they can broadcast vacancies. And that’s a problem. Organizations should consistently mine for talent, and the surrounding community should be aware of the organization and have a general idea of what they do and what their hiring patterns and processes are. At any given time, you should ideally have a pool of candidates to choose from. No one wants to find themselves scrambling at the last minute, searching frantically for employees the way folks did during the 2021 COVID-19 employment crisis Having a reserve of candidates to call on, and a robust network, ensures you hire only the top, sought-after candidates.
In high-performing organizations, the community knows who you are and what it is you do. If they don’t know, you have a community relations problem. To succeed, organizations must spend time marketing themselves as a great place to work. Doing so is also an effective form of marketing to potential customers. People want to buy products and services from organizations that treat their employees well. The problem is that many organizations do not create such a network list. Ask yourself: “Does every one of my friends and family know what I do?” If those closest to you are not aware of your company or could not easily tell someone else what you do or what you represent, your networking may need serious work. Network today, and it will pay dividends in years to come.
Due to developing relationships takes years, it’s imperative to start as quickly as possible. To begin, have your person that is responsible for HR set up appointments and start meeting and networking with organizations in your area, such as these listed below, to improve awareness of the opportunities you offer.
Colleges – Many have student work and career centers. Consider creating internships, which are the perfect opportunity to showcase your company and assess potential employees with little risk to you.
High Schools – Get to know the guidance counselors, as many can be very helpful. If certain schools offer career days, consider setting up a booth and speaking with students. Make sure you bring adequate marketing material to pass out.
Vocational and Trade Schools – Forging relationships with these will provide you the technical employees you need.
Refugee and Immigrant Placement Organizations – This is a wonderful opportunity to help people start a new life. Just because someone is a refugee or immigrant doesn’t mean they don’t possess desirable skills and expertise.
Other Local Nonprofits and Organizations – Seek out ones that match your organizational values. Check LinkedIn and other social media platforms and/or make a list of friends you know who are involved in or have started a nonprofit organization.
Agencies on Aging – Many organizations help our seniors find meaningful work.
Churches – This is a logical place to connect with people. Start with five churches in your area and grow this network over time. Some churches host career or networking events; consider setting up a booth there. Many churches also offer mothers groups, like MOPS (Mothers of Pre-schoolers). As stay-at-home moms transition back to the workplace, they will be looking for an ideal environment. Consider speaking at one of these groups free of charge to put your name out there.
Radio Stations – Many (Like WJTL) have job posting programs to help the community.
Local Veterans Groups – A great way to connect with men and women who have served our country. Many will have extensive training and education. Nationally, the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation has an extensive list of resources that organizations could support and develop relationships with.
As you tap into all your networking communities, create a checklist with the contact information of each organization’s contact person and be consistent in sharing vacancies/opportunities when they come available. You can easily create an e-mail blast to let people know when vacancies are posted. Also, in the checklist, include all the regular places you post the ads or send the vacancy info.
At the end of the day, you want your workplace to be excellent and a great place to work for all employees. By ensuring you are creating an ideal work environment, and make your branding known to your community, you’ve already taken the first important steps. Networking may take some initial effort, but in the end, it will be more than worth it. Relationships are priceless. Start creating them today!
If the pandemic, has you stressed out, let our 10 years of serving clients nationwide benefit you. We are the leaders in human resource consulting and outsourcing services from a Christian perspective. Let our experts assist you in in developing a plan for you to help in these hard times and save yourself unnecessary pain and stress!
In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance human resource programs. E-mail us here.
Mark A. Griffin is president and founder of In His Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter
Post-Covid-19, workplaces are now settling into a new reality.
For nearly 80 years, Wycliffe has helped people around the world translate the Bible into their own languages. Wycliffe believes that the Bible is God’s Word to us, and something that everyone should be granted the opportunity to understand in a language and format that speaks clearly to their hearts. Nearly 2,000 languages around the world are still awaiting a translation project to start. Once people receive Scripture in their own language, lives often change in amazing ways. People are transformed as they discover Jesus Christ and enter into a right relationship with God. That’s why Wycliffe Bible Translators exists: to help speakers of these remaining languages experience the Bible for themselves.
Finding organizations with professionals who are doing an excellent job in this area can be difficult. But with God, divine appointments happen to me often. I had the opportunity to meet with Jennifer Holloran, Chief Operating Officer for Wycliffe Bible Translators. During our discussion it became very apparent that Jennifer’s leadership, as it relates to employee development and engagement, would benefit us all if it were shared.
Mark: Jennifer, thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me. I think what strikes me upon reading the culture of Wycliffe is how intentionally you are working to integrate your MVVs into your HR practices. As you know, we have built our firm, In HIS Name HR, on this practice. That’s because an organization with a well-crafted MVV always seems to keep its employees focused. Can you tell me how you have ensured your employees remained energized and focused in the face of this chaos we call Covid-19?
Jennifer: Thanks for asking, Mark. In many ways, Wycliffe was particularly blessed in the timing of the start of Covid-19 regarding this issue. We had completed an update to our mission, vision, and core values in March 2020, a process that involved gathering feedback from our global staff and working with our Board to craft wording that would serve us for this next season of ministry. So, as we entered the Covid-19 pandemic, we had already developed these guiding statements before finding ourselves in lockdown.
However, even that good timing would not have been enough to keep people engaged over 2020 and into 2021, especially given the many dividing issues that have come up on top of the pandemic. While we consider all of our guiding statements important, we have given particular attention to our core value of Loving God and Loving Others in response to this difficult time. We put out regular content to our staff through a spiritual formation series we call Deeply Rooted, we talk about this value frequently in our staff meetings, and we bring our staff back to the core of who we are and what we do, regularly.
While we would not say that we have done this perfectly, and the hybrid work environment makes alignment more challenging, we strive to help our staff stay unified and focused on what matters most.
Mark: We know that some of the ways in which we now do our work in our organizations, given the pandemic, have persisted and become normalized. What types of changes do you see to what we might call the “new normal?”
Jennifer: I think we have all realized that the hybrid work model is here to stay. Similarly, for organizations like ours that work in a global space, many questions remain about the future of work travel for face-to-face relationship building and problem solving. We have all found ourselves stretched by finding ways to build and maintain relationships, and to grow and strengthen our community and culture with our staff, in this season. We all have to become better at clearly defining our organizational culture in this kind of environment, because we can no longer rely on some of the methods we have used in the past.
I also believe that we will continue to wrestle with the challenge of staff engagement and staff retention. I recently had the opportunity to attend an HR conference where much of the discussion was about “The Great Resignation,” as the impact of the pandemic is causing people to think about how they want to spend their lives. This reality creates both a challenge and an opportunity for us. It means we need to become even more intentional about building trust and instilling purpose in our staff.
For nonprofits and Christian organizations, we have the opportunity to attract and retain staff in this environment because we offer meaningful work that makes an impact on the world. We can do this much more effectively when we have clarity about our mission, vision, and values. When we know who we are, and what we do as an organization, and we can articulate that clearly, it helps people to opt in and stay committed.
There’s one other aspect I want to mention here: The last 18 months has taken a real toll on people. Burnout, stress, anxiety, and depression are realities for many people, including ours, as they adapted to a changing work environment and shouldered concern for their families, friends, and churches. We have an opportunity to shine here by showing care for our staff above and beyond what they do for our organization. Let’s remember that our staff are more than just their work. If we can get into that habit now, it will serve us well today, and into the future, beyond the pandemic.
Mark: Were you able to establish new work patterns that promote engagement to help employees effectively deal with and overcome feeling isolated?
Jennifer: For many years, Wycliffe has had a combination of staff who have worked remotely from headquarters and staff who have worked completely in-office. So, we had some patterns established before the start of the pandemic to help people stay connected. Instead, what the pandemic has taught us is that we had a lot of work to do in the area of staff experience. We have always had staff who participated in events virtually, served on virtual or hybrid teams, and primarily stayed connected with organizational information through digital means. However, it was humbling and beneficial for those of us accustomed to an in-person experience to discover what it felt like to participate in the organization remotely.
Today, we talk more about how to make sure that any organizational event or activity has the virtual experience in mind. We see the work of connectedness as a two-way street. As leaders, we have a responsibility to make accessible pathways for virtual connection and make those pathways as inviting and inclusive as possible. At the same time, we need our staff’s commitment to show up, read the information that’s sent out, and participate, so we now talk about that with our staff more.
Mark: How are you building team cohesiveness when many employees work remotely?
Jennifer: One way we work on team cohesiveness is to emphasize the importance of teams with our managers. We see teams as one of our most important avenues for culture building. For us, that includes asking our managers to host weekly times of team prayer and devotions and encouraging our managers to attend and debrief organizational events together with their teams.
Team cohesiveness involves helping teams work effectively together and binding the team together, from top to bottom. We see that as a combination of top-down and bottom-up: cascading communication down through our layers of leadership and encouraging feedback up the supervisory chain to invite thoughts, ideas, and concerns from multiple levels of the organization. Now, I realize that accomplishing this always sounds easier than making it an ongoing reality. Still, we believe it is a goal worth striving toward to help us operate together effectively as a team.
Mark: Did you find it necessary to revamp most of your employment policies due to Covid-19? How were policies and procedures added or changed to reflect current practices?
Jennifer: The policies and procedures we have found most impacted by Covid-19 include those that have to do with workplace safety and flexible work arrangements. Immediately upon the initial lockdown, we instituted many safety practices to help our essential workers come into the office safely. In addition, we have continued to adjust our policies and procedures around workplace and public safety as needed, based on CDC guidelines, local Covid-19 community transmission numbers, and the advice of medical professionals keeping an eye on the latest research findings.
On the flexible work arrangement side, we have found that Covid-19 has served as a catalyst for good conversations about what matters most to us regarding in-person vs. remote participation. For now, we have settled on a 60/40 policy for staff at the headquarters (60% of their FTE in-office and 40% remote). Alongside that policy comes new expectations for managers as they learn to measure productivity and hold people accountable while creating a sense of community in a hybrid setting with their direct reports. We still have much to learn as we see how these policies and practices work in real life.
View this post on Instagram
Mark: How have you been able to develop programs to support leadership in its ability to manage a distributed workforce?
Jennifer: Like many organizations, this area is heavily a work in progress for us as we continue to learn more about effectively managing remotely. We have tried to provide support through technology like Zoom, Slack, Google Workspace, and other connectivity options. Additionally, we have encouraged healthy rhythms in the life of managers with their teams—regular one-on-one check-ins, team meetings, etc.
Our leaders oversee very different kinds of teams—some have entirely in-person teams because of the type of work they do, some have hybrid teams, and others work with globally situated teams that have to manage significant time-zone and connectivity differences along with the everyday challenges of remote teaming. Rather than establish one kind of program to fit those different scenarios, we have worked toward guidelines within which managers have a lot of flexibility to address their unique situations. We want managers to be part of the creative problem solving needed to create workable solutions for the future.
At the same time, we also see the need for a stronger focus on leadership development. We cannot expect leaders to thrive in increasing complexity if we have not helped them build a solid foundation in leading themselves and leading others, and, for senior leaders, leading the organization. So, we give attention to developing a leadership development program that will ensure our leaders have a solid platform of leadership principles on which to stand.
Mark: I meet with many executive leaders who, in private, admit they are really worn down, losing steam. All of the divisiveness and emotions that have permeated the world in the past 18 months are a lot for many of us to take. What one piece of advice would you share that has helped you motivate key leaders as we try to navigate toward what may become our “new normal?”
Jennifer: Mark, I wish more executive leaders would admit this openly! It shows that executive leaders are human too. But, seriously, my advice is: Don’t feel alone. I believe most executive leaders are feeling the fatigue of the past 18 months. We have been called to lead during a very challenging season.
Two pieces of advice have been beneficial as I have worked with leaders during this time. First, give yourself grace. Take the steps you need to take to lead from a healthy place, not just for you but also as an example to your organization. That could mean examining your energy level and your priorities and applying what you learn to your calendar.
Second, view the changes that have happened around us as an opportunity for creativity and innovation for the future, rather than as a temporary stopping place before going back to “the time before.” We cannot go back to the world as it was before. Instead, we have an opportunity to rethink some of our past norms and practices that have not have served us well—maybe upon reflection, those practices weren’t healthy or well-aligned with our mission and values. Instead, we can institute new ways of working that truly reflect who we want to be and how we want to reach our mission and vision.
Mark: We at IHN HR believe that the most successful organizations have their MVV integrated into their HR practices, ensure it is used in recruitment, build it into their annual goal and review process, and also make it a focus within career development. Can you tell us how you are accomplishing this?
Jennifer: I agree with you, Mark. I would take this statement broader, in that our mission, vision, and values must drive our strategic priorities and our supporting operations, with HR serving as a critical player in helping our people encounter our guiding statements repeatedly. Now, I can tell you—we don’t do this perfectly today, but we are currently in the process of reviewing all of our HR policies and practices to make sure we have designed them to support where Wycliffe needs to go in the future.
When I say “all HR policies and practices,” I would encourage HR practitioners and leaders to think beyond the obvious ones, like recruiting, onboarding, and performance management. We need to look for alignment in the less obvious aspects, too. For example, when we have to help our staff resolve conflict, do our methods reflect and reinforce our values? If we have to conduct a layoff, can we do it in a way that communicates our values in the process and potentially leads the former staff person to stay committed to our mission and vision, even if they no longer have the employment connection?
Mark: Thank you, Jennifer, for taking the time to meet with me today. We will pray for continued blessings over Wycliffe Bible Translators’ employees, their families, and all who meet the Lord through their efforts. May the Lord continue to bless you, so you prosper in all you do.
Mark A. Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In HIS Name HR LLC. He has over 25 years of HR experience. In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance human resource programs. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance human resource programs. E-mail us here.
Knowledgeable, experienced, skillful employees are crucial for any organization to stay ahead in a rapidly growing competitive economy. With several recruits lined up, hoping to be hired, choosing a promising candidate is a big task for any human resources department.
After a time-consuming recruiting process, even if HR does find the right candidate, the next big problem arises: How to retain those new hires with the organization?
The simple answer is by formulating a strategic, systematic, and well-tailored employee onboarding program. You may not know this, but a great onboarding program ensures that about 70% of employees stay with an organization for the next three years.
If, being an HR manager, you would welcome updating your next onboarding strategy, let’s look at some quick tips and unique ideas on this.
Purpose of an Employee Onboarding Program
The Society of Human Resources Development (SHRM) defines employee onboarding as:
“[T]he process of helping new hires adjust to social and performance aspects of their new jobs quickly and smoothly.”
A practical and organized onboarding program helps new employees to feel they’re a part of the organization and helps them to understand your organization’s culture in an encouraging environment. Moreover, effective onboarding experience helps recruits gain knowledge, develop skills and feel connected to your organization. This makes them more enthusiastic and enables them to perform their jobs to full capacity.
So, the positives of onboarding include:
- Helping new recruits acclimate to the organization
- Facilitating relationship-building between employees
- Goal setting, recurrent manager check-ins, and employee development programs, which educate them as to what’s expected from them and where they can improve, to bring the changes
An organization only faces disadvantages if the onboarding plan is ineffective or executed poorly.
Elements Contributing to Successful Onboarding
Incorporating crucial elements of success like these can make your onboarding strategy a defining tool to preserve quality employees.
- Interview recently onboarded recruits and ask what they think is missing from the current process. The best advice comes from people who have experienced the process.
- Determine the goals you want to set for new employees and devise a plan to communicate those objectives to recruits.
- Avoid overburdening new employees with tasks; instead, the HR department should work as a team with the recruits.
- Assist new employees with the settling process. Help them feel welcomed; have their workstations prepared; organize weekly meetings to fill any communication gaps.
- Consider implementing a mentorship program where new hires can access proper training and have a go-to companion, helping them feel comfortable while asking questions.
- As an employer, connect with new employees to guide their careers and support them in making career advancements.
Strategies to Improve Onboarding Practices
When deciding to join an organization, potential new employees give strong consideration to the employer–employee relationship, the working atmosphere, and the organization’s concept of teamwork. With a productive onboarding plan in progress, human resources departments can gain a favorable return on their time and investment in the form of qualified and dedicated employees.
Employers lose an estimated 17% of new hires within the first 90 days due to ineffective onboarding. It’s time to upgrade and modify your onboarding program with these proven strategies.
1. Reach out to new hires before their first day
Neglecting new employees after the appointment letter is issued creates a negative impression of your organization. Instead, for a successful onboarding process, take a visionary approach. Don’t wait for them to join your organization. Communicate with them in advance of their first day, through a phone call or a welcoming email.
If you set up an online onboarding portal for them, where they can access organizational information and perhaps complete their paperwork, delivers a positive, encouraging image of your organization.
2. Be welcoming
New employees are understandably a bit nervous, and want to feel at ease on their first day, so a nice welcome may do just that. You can involve all the new hire’s respective colleagues in the greeting process and perhaps provide them supplies embossed with your organization’s logo, along with a welcoming card, to create a positive first impression of your organization.
At Twitter, new employees are welcomed enthusiastically. New employees receive their email IDs upon arrival and are greeted with a t-shirt and a bottle of wine at their desk. New employees enjoy breakfast with the CEO, and their desks are placed right beside those of their teammates.
3. Create an onboarding timeline
Instead of overloading your new employees with tons of work, HR can create a proper timeline, scheduling work for their entire week. This keeps them engaged and busy and both gives them a sense of direction and signals what is expected from them, allowing them to merge with your organization far more smoothly. Successful organizations document processes and monitor their effectiveness. Make sure your program has a mechanism that tracks its effectiveness.
4. Provide help in socializing
While the current pandemic situation has suspended many in-person activities for applicants, new hires, and employees, hopefully this will soon pass. Enhancing your employee onboarding process by transforming it into a social experience generates a positive image of your organization.
New employees can find it difficult to mingle, so by introducing them to the workers and team around them, you help them feel at ease and reduce their anxiety. Plan a lunch, perhaps, with all the team members the recruit will be working with, or arrange a team-building event where the new employee can get to know their colleagues better.
5. Set clear goals
Another strategy to improve your onboarding process is to map out realistic goals for your new employees.
According to Global HR Research (GHRR):
“The number one thing your new hire will be interested in when they onboard will be learning about their role and what will make them successful.”
By outlining short- and long-term career goals for employees, you give them a clear overview of what is expected from them and what milestones they must achieve. This is also an effective way for HR managers to discern the strength and weaknesses of new employees.
6. Solicit employee feedback
By keeping all means of communication open in your onboarding process, you encourage new employees to furnish valuable suggestions and point out potential areas for improvement. A good way to achieve positive reviews from new hires is to send them a confidential survey asking them to provide an anonymous review of the organization’s onboarding process.
Selecting the Right Tools for Your Onboarding Process
To make your onboarding strategy more impressive, you can use employee onboarding software to ease things for you and your recruiting team.
Here is a quick review of some onboarding tools that can contribute to your effective onboarding process.
- Origanimi: Create organization charts and internal structure of your organization to help new employees learn its hierarchy.
- KissFlow: An easy-to-customize onboarding tool to help HR create impressive presentations and visual representations. The real-time dashboard enables your HR team to keep a close eye on the onboarding process.
- Bamboo HR: Best for small organizations, this is a cloud-based HR tool, a complete software package for managing your onboarding operations, including ATS, onboarding apps, time-off management, advanced reporting functionality, and much more. Easy to use, consistent software to smooth your onboarding activities.
So, now you know all about onboarding new employees with excellence. Make use of our employee onboarding tips and see your organization prosper through improved productivity.
In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance human resource programs. E-mail us here.
Mark A. Griffin is President and Founder of In His Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.