March 18, 2012

Starting off on the Right Foot

A great number of organizations have hired new staff or moved current staff into new positions.  This hiring has been completed at a time of great change and upheaval for the program delivery of the organization however it is important not to forget the key areas that keep new employees engaged from the start of their new job.  A good Employee Orientation Program is the key to the completion of a successful hiring process!

A good employee orientation program will include the following items:
  • A New Employee Checklist for the pre-planning that goes into being ready for a new employee’s arrival.  A Sample New Employee Checklist is included here for download
  • On the first day of employment, the new Employee is provided with the following:
o   A tour of the space they will be working
o   Introduction to all the staff including their team members and their manager
o   Forms for completion for payroll and benefits (even better – email to them ahead of time and have them bring them in completed and ready with questions!  Saves time on the first day!)
o   Show them their office/work space and computer. Take time to do an orientation of how the computer is set up and what further set up is required.
o   Assign the new employee a buddy/mentor so that they have someone to go to with questions and for clarification. This also helps builds a person’s sense of community and belongingness early on in the process.
  • Arrange for lunch to be brought in for the team to give people a chance to get to know each other or arrange for them to all go for lunch together.  At a minimum, the manager and one or two others should spend the lunch hour together so that the new person isn’t left alone to fend for themselves.
  • Within the first week, be sure to cover these areas of learning with the new employee:
o   A presentation of the organization overall with a focus on the mission, vision and mandate of the organization, linking where the new employee’s program and their specific role contributes.
o   A presentation from each program about the elements included in their specific program with an overview of what type of client they serve
o   A meeting with the Executive Director or Owner of the organization to build rapport and to develop a sense of belonging to the great organization
o   A check in meeting with their manager to make sure that all learning needs have been or will be covered
o   A review of the organization’s Policy Manual with an opportunity to ask questions
  • By the end of the first month, a new employee should have a professional development/learning plan and a clear sense of goals and objectives that they will be measured against at their 3 month evaluation. The date should be set for the meeting at the end of the first month.
We all know the power of first impressions and the first impression for a new employee comes from the power of their experience when they first start their new job. Make a great impression and bring the new employee into the fold early on and create every opportunity for success.  You will reap the rewards!

It's Time to Make Time

On March 8th, I had the pleasure of presenting to the Executive Directors of Immigrant Services Agencies from all over BC.  They were together for a professional development event hosted by AMSSA (  I presented on the topic of Staff Development and Motivation and focused the concepts towards retention strategies in times of change. 

What resonated for me in the discussions was that Executive Directors and Program Managers are working so hard right now that many of the typical retention strategies that have been in place in an organization are falling  by the wayside.  They are no longer doing things like offering flexible schedules, providing ongoing feedback or consulting for input as much as they could.  All things that contribute to a high morale and an engaged workforce! Instead, we are heads down, focused on getting the job done and not paying attention to the messages that are going on around us. And then we wonder why people are unhappy or why people aren't stepping up to go the extra mile at this time of intense workload demands.

It is clear from the morale around us sometimes that it's time to make time.  There is a cost to forgetting to do the things that keep people engaged and it's time to remember what those are and to make room for them again.  The cost of not is just to high.

I will be blogging about these various retention strategies over the next few weeks so stayed tuned!  And if you want more on this, give me a call and I can share my presentation with you or I can come in and discuss with your staff/managers.

March 05, 2012

Thought for the Week

I am getting ready to attend the 2012 Career Development Conference this Monday and Tuesday, hosted by the BC Career Development Association (BCCDA).  The conference is always a great way to catch up with people and to get a sense of how people are doing and I am looking forward to seeing everyone! It is going to be a smaller group this year and yet still a powerful time together.

Note a change to our plans!  We have decided to change my presentation from a CDC session to a webinar.  In discussion with BCCDA, and based on feedback I have been getting from the field, we felt that the topic - Creating Significance - Leading Teams in the New Employment Program - is something that managers and supervisors from all over BC would benefit from so we decided to open it up to a wider audience through the webinar format.  Watch for upcoming details on this!

I am also speaking at an AMSSA event on March 8 in Vancouver  - again on motivating staff in times of change.  It will be great to have an opportunity to discuss this topic with leaders from the immigrant service agencies from around BC.  A big thank you to AMSSA for including me in their day.

This is obviously a challenging time for organizations and for leaders. I am available to present a variety of workshops, lunch and learns or webinars for organizations and their leaders on how to manage during these times.  Just give me a call or email to discuss!

Thanks to all of you for subscribing and enjoy your week! 

March 04, 2012

Where do clients come from?

ETHOS Career Management Group is hosting a Get Clients Now! workshop in Nanaimo and Victoria this spring (more information) and it got me to thinking....

Are we thinking about where clients are going to come from?  For the new employment programs in BC, client flows are a big area of focus in the new model - you won't make enough money if you don't have enough clients.  Having said that, have we actually thought about HOW we are going to get clients or just IF we are going to get referrals of clients from government?  It is an interesting shift in thinking about where clients come from.  Are you comfortable with government being responsible for your client flow? Are you marketing the same way you always have in this new climate? Does being the only employment program in town mean you are guaranteed an adequate client flow?

I don't have the answers to these questions - they are just ones that come to mind when I think about the link between client flow and revenue generation. It is a new world and this link has never been so strong so it makes me wonder - will the same client attraction techniques of today work in the future?

I also thought about Career Practitioners who are moving into self-employment - either for the short term while they continue to look for work in the industry or in the long term as they move away from employment in government funded programs and they embark on a journey of private practice.  What kind of marketing will work for these entrepreneurs? How will they find clients? How will those of us who can refer to them, know about them?  Hmmm, maybe there is a service I can offer to support that..... 

Regardless of how you learn to get clients, whether it be this workshop or something else, it is important to think about and to address early on in the game.  Your revenues depend on it.

What new techniques have you put into place to bring in clients?  If I could offer a service that would help you market yourself as a self-employed Career Practitioner, what would it be?