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What is the Best Employee Onboarding Process

The benefits of effective employee onboarding are often overlooked. But, done correctly, onboarding will contribute to your organization’s financial health. When you make the effort to acclimate your new employees to their new roles, they will become productive more quickly and will stay longer.

Finding and training the right people is expensive, and you risk wasting financial resources if you don’t do everything you can to make your new hires successful. By creating an effective onboarding plan, you’re also shaping your company’s culture into an environment that bolsters teamwork.

Onboarding acclimates your new hires to the company and their position within it. The best employee onboarding process will steer new hires toward success in their roles and create alignment with the company’s culture and values.

New Employees and Getting Started

It’s easy to be overwhelmed when considering how to onboard a new employee. You’ll need to create an onboarding schedule that’s unique for each role, even though many tasks will be the same for all new hires. For example, every employee will need to know and understand your harassment policies, but those in management will require further training.

Additionally, there’s pressure to come up with creative new ways to onboard employees. Like most employers, you’re probably experiencing a shortage of qualified applicants. You don’t want to risk losing your new superstar under piles of employment forms and reels of outdated videos.  

COVID-19 has created yet another series of challenges as many human resource professionals wonder how to onboard new employees remotely. You can get started by breaking down the steps to onboard a new employee.

First, consider your onboarding goals. These goals will vary for each position. In general, the onboarding process should transform a new hire into a productive team member.

Determine the metrics you’ll use to measure how long it does take for a new employee to be productive. These metrics will become goals for the new hire. Determine the support your new hire will need to achieve each goal. Armed with this information, you’re ready to create an onboarding process flow chart.

Employee Joining Process Flow Chart

An employee onboarding process flow chart is a powerful visual tool because it creates benchmark deadlines. Your onboarding flow chart should take your onboarding processing from the preboarding stage through to the employee’s first annual review.

A team member should be assigned to each phase of the flow chart and a deadline should be assigned. Goals should be clearly communicated for each item. You can use onboarding software to manage communications and organize important documents.

Onboarding software can help you create a flow chart for the new hire training process. The flow chart you create with onboarding software can assign tasks to your onboarding team. The customized workflow can automate assignments and trigger reminders. Team members will be able to access files and reports from within the system.

Software can help you organize your onboarding process and save you time. Using software, you can easily create an onboarding process flow chart template for every position in your organization. New hires will be able to fill out their employment forms digitally and their information can seamlessly merge with your human resources system. Everyone on your team will spend less time inputting data and managing records.

New Employee Orientation

The best orientation practice will help your new employee understand how his role fits with the company’s larger picture. Orientation is your opportunity to present your company’s mission. This crucial introduction will help rally your employees around the company’s values. It’s a key component to creating a strong team.

Many organizations create games to make new employee orientation fun and memorable. You can create a mock game show using questions about the employee handbook. Or you can create an office scavenger hunt for new employees. To help new hires get to know their coworkers, give them an autograph book. Tell current employees to initiate a short get-to-know you conversation when they sign the book.

The best practices for employee onboarding will incorporate a technology perspective. You can use onboarding software to create training modules for your new hires. Use the triggering feature to avoid overwhelming employees. You can even send automatic reminders to gently nudge employees to complete training modules.

Onboarding software will come with free templates and checklists to make new employee orientation easier to manage. You can create new hire packets quickly and easily.

Virtual New Hire Orientation Ideas

COVID-19 has upended the onboarding process for many companies. If your organization operates in a state that has mandated work-at-home policies, you may be concerned about providing your new employees with the support they need. Even if your employees are able to work onsite, masks and social distancing policies may undercut your efforts at team building.

Now it’s even more critical to make sure new employees are able to build rapport with their coworkers. Advise supervisors and team members to check in with new employees while they learn to navigate their role in a pandemic world.

Many organizations have turned to creative ideas for new hire orientation during the pandemic. Make the most of virtual meetings. You can avoid “Zoom fatigue” by utilizing breakout rooms and doing interactive activities.

Team members can also create a welcome video for new hires. You can also encourage team members to have a virtual “coffee break” during which they can chat and get to know each other. You can use these techniques and others to encourage the socializing and relationship-building that happens naturally in the office.

Ideas for orientation can include a presentation for new hires during which the team can get to know each other with ice breaker questions. These ideas include employee orientation videos and PowerPoint slides that new hires can view remotely.

New Employee Welcome Packet PDF

You can send the digital portion of the welcome pack to the new hire’s email. Include welcome messages from the new hire’s manager and team members. Also include a link to the online benefits portal as well as their digital employment forms.

The welcome pack should include the things all new employees need to know. Include the company’s mission statement and organizational chart with the employee welcome booklet. The new employee welcome packet PDF should also include the company handbook and policies.

The welcome packet is also an opportunity for your new hire to get to know your brand. Throw in some company swag such as a t-shirt or a hat. Mix in professional items with fun items. A personal development book with something fun like a mini basketball net to go over the waste basket will foster productivity and creativity.

Your new employee will grow as she moves through the stages of the onboarding process. The welcome packet, orientation, training, productivity goals and ultimately the first year performance review should all be structured to support your employee’s success.

Employee Onboarding Process Flow

The key to a smooth onboarding process is a checklist. Software can help you easily create and customize a checklist for each position. You’ll be able to assign tasks and deadlines from within the application. Each stakeholder will be able to access the checklist and communicate from within the software.

The employee onboarding process should flow seamlessly from the preparation stage all the way to the first annual review. When you use onboarding software, you can track your progress and data so you can improve the onboarding checklist over time. You can create a questionnaire for new hire’s to complete at the end of their first year to find ways to improve your onboarding process.

If you’re wondering what the phases of the onboarding process are, we’ve broken it down for you here.

Employee Onboarding Process Summary

Strong job growth over the past decade and, more recently, the pandemic have forced organizations to get creative with their employee onboarding process. The talent shortage of the past few years has made hiring more difficult. COVID-19 has made it difficult for new hires to build relationships and acclimate within their new organizations.

The unique challenges companies face going into 2021 mean the employee onboarding process is more important than ever. By using digital tools to foster community and putting extra effort into team building, you can increase employee retention and build a stronger team.

Companies are finding it takes more than converting their welcome packet into a PDF file to meet the digital challenges during the pandemic era. As it becomes more difficult to find and keep talent, more companies are asking what is the best employee onboarding process that will reduce turnover.

But the best onboarding process hasn’t changed in these stormy times. A new set of challenges simply helps you see the solution more clearly. By seeing the onboarding process as an opportunity to support your employee’s success and develop a dynamic company culture, you can bolster your organization’s financial health. 

 

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Photo by Nastuh Abootalebi on Unsplash

How to Create Digital New Hire Forms

Human resources professionals can improve employee onboarding by creating a process to complete new hire paperwork that is easy to follow and manage. Web-based (or digital) new hire forms are a great way to achieve this. Now, you may have people in your organization that can facilitate a process like this by using Excel, Word, or Adobe PDFs. However, the security of personal information should be a very high priority, and those programs often fall short in that area.

OnboardCentric by ExactHire allows organizations to create digital new hire forms that eliminate any security concerns. Our employee onboarding software contains your company’s handbook, policies, Form I-9, W-4 Form, and other new employee paperwork. Here’s how it works:

Implementing Onboarding Software–What to Expect

The process of building a digital new hire form is much more seamless than one might think. First, ExactHire gathers and reviews all the standard forms that you would like to include. If we have any questions about those forms, we will discuss them with you. And we are happy to answer your questions, as well!

Typically, our questions are aimed at understanding who fills out which portions of various forms. We also need to know which form fields will be pre-filled before the employee looks at the form. From there, our team will take the PDF, Word, or Excel forms provided to us and build the questionnaire into the system.

We will assign you an employee-level login to test your newly created web-based new hire forms. As a result, you will receive an email with a username and password requesting that you complete the forms. Then, you will walk through the questionnaire to submit your answers.

After you’ve viewed and signed your forms as a new employee would, you can view your forms as an administrative-level user would, and complete that aspect of the approval process.

Choosing Onboarding Software–Why ExactHire?

Collecting, managing, and storing sensitive employee data is no small task. While there are many online form solutions on the market, few can meet the specific requirements of a Human Resources department.

Our employee onboarding software is designed by a team with professional HR experience and credentials. Beyond simple forms, our system facilitates internal task management and offers features such as integrated E-verify, and push-to-payroll.

Finally, when local or federal governments release new compliance requirements or updates to forms, our team likely knows about it first. We help you respond to changes quickly, and we are always available if you have questions or advice.

 

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Provide your new hires with a secure, digital method to easily complete employee onboarding paperwork. Sign up for a demo to learn how ExactHire can partner with your organization to modernize employee onboarding!

6 Learning Benefit Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank in 2017

It’s the end of the year once again. And if you’re like me, you might be reminded of all the things you endeavored to accomplish in 2016…but just didn’t get around to starting/doing/finishing. Especially if any of them were official new year resolutions. And while I failed at some endeavors, but succeeded to form other productive habits, one thing is clear: my ideas with the best chance of success are the ones that take just a little bit of time, not a ton of money and can be easily turned into a healthy long-term habit. Sustainable learning is one such habit that has every chance of being successful–and not just for me.

“What you see depends on where you stand.” – Albert Einstein

Wise words, indeed. Furthermore, consider Isaac Newton’s statement “if I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Gaining new knowledge to broaden our perspective is a great place to start when considering little habits with potentially big impact in 2017. In this blog, I’ll share six learning opportunities you can encourage your employees to utilize in 2017 that range from free to affordable for small and medium business.

Download ExactHire Company Culture E-book

1 – Feed their brains with Feedly

Does the thought of scrolling your email inbox forever strike fear into your heart? Or…gasp!…having to click to view the next page of emails? If I had you at “scroll,” then imagine the liberation of capturing all the compelling blogs/articles from your favorite e-newsletters (that you never have time to read before they pile up in your inbox) in a separate, easy-to-find spot that can be searched anytime? Enter Feedly – your new favorite RSS reader for all the content you don’t want to miss. While Feedly does have paid options if you really want to get into easy content sharing and annotating, I enjoy the free version on my desktop and smartphone app. Make news of this resource available to your team and encourage them to share the insight they gain from staying up on the latest content in your industry.

2 – Never miss a good read

Once you’ve mastered Feedly, you’re bound to run across book reviews and/or interesting quotes from novels that you might like to read as you peruse the latest blog content. Don’t make the mistake of logging a mere mental note to check that book out next time you hit the library or Audible. Instead, create a profile on the free social network for avid book readers, Goodreads. Whether I keep a tab open in my browser or quickly access the phone app, Goodreads is always there for me to quickly categorize a book as “want to read,” “currently reading” or “read [it].” Better yet, by connecting with my peers on the network, I can quickly find books that may appeal to me. In a business setting, fellow co-worker bookworms can share and inspire ideas for goal planning and/or content for in-office book clubs.

3 – Auditory learners have options, too

Not everyone is the type of person to just curl up with a good book or e-reader; however, many more are willing to give listening to books a try. Especially if you have employees with lengthy work commutes, or those who are looking for a distraction during their next workout session, consider offering an optional subscription benefit for an audiobook service like Audible or Scribd. At ExactHire, we have a partial benefit that allows employees to pay only 50% of the cost of a subscription to ebook and audiobook provider, Scribd. We selected Scribd because it is only $8-9/month for three books and one audiobook, yet has an increasingly prolific catalog of business- and personal development-related books from which to choose. Because there is a cost to the employer for this benefit, we ask employees to do the following in exchange for the partial reimbursement:

  • At least once per quarter, write a blog that either reviews a book, or at least references an idea from a relevant book read during that quarter.
  • Share insights gained from books read to inspire new ideas and actions during departmental and strategy planning meetings.
    So, for only about $13.50 per quarter, I get to read and/or listen to as many as 12 different books of my choice…without any waiting lists. I satisfy my work requirement for the quarter, and then catch up on my personal to-read list, too.

4 – Seize the day – get that certification

While the price of obtaining a professional certification will vary depending on the credential one seeks, relative to the cost of tuition reimbursement for an employee, certifications are an affordable learning benefit that allow your teammates to improve their skill set. Some members of the ExactHire team hold various credentials, including HRCI’s PHR/SPHR, SHRM’s SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP and the Google Analytics certification. In fact, a big congratulations goes out to our very own Darythe Taylor, who earned her SHRM-CP designation last week!

Aside from well-recognized professional certifications, in this world of SaaS software there are myriad providers who certify power users of their own software platforms. So, encourage the administrators of your organization’s key software platforms to explore advanced training and/or certification from your provider(s).

5 – Learn anywhere, any time with Lynda

Need to boost the knowledge base of your white collar workers? Look no further than Lynda.com from LinkedIn to give your team access to unlimited courses about everything from web development to business to design to marketing. Plans start at just $19.99 per month for the basic offering. Or, research and consider other similar services/sites such as Udemy, Codecademy or Khan Academy.

6 – Fingertip fast

Earlier this year, I learned about a free pilot program from Google called Primer. Its promise is easy to digest, marketing-specific training in five minutes or less. While this appeals to me (especially when I’m waiting to pick my kids up from practice and have time to kill on my phone), not everyone is interested in marketing learning. For a broader array of subject matter resources, check out the TED app to catch up on the latest TED talks. With such a wide variety of topics from which to choose, there is bound to be something for everyone on your organization’s team. Who knows, maybe a talk will inspire a rousing debate at the next all hands meeting.

Make accessible learning resources a priority for your workforce in 2017. It’s a great way to engage employees and create a culture that champions development and innovation. Here’s to standing on giants’ shoulders!

Download ExactHire Company Culture E-book

11 Small Business Tips for an Epic Annual Meeting

I enjoy working in the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) space–it’s easy to relate to challenges and opportunities for these employers because I work for an SMB, myself. Having access to impact the entire business from wherever I stand within the organization is an empowering benefit, too. One of my favorite instances of this benefit is the annual ExactHire company meeting. While we do meet as a team on a monthly basis, the annual meeting enables us to retreat off site and do a deep dive into the state of the organization, our long-term product road map and our business strategy.

Having at least six of these yearly meetings under our belt now, I can say we’ve definitely improved our efficiency and meeting outcomes over the years. In this blog, I’ll share our tips for holding an epic annual company meeting to help propel your business forward.

1 – Location is everything

The easy, predictable thing to do is to just have your annual meeting in your own conference room. However, there is something exciting and liberating about changing your venue and assembling in a new space. Yesterday, we were lucky enough to occupy an ultra cool space at the Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery in our hometown, Indianapolis. It was my first time there and it was an excellent space for getting our brainstorming juices flowing and stepping outside the box.

ExactHire Company Meeting Distillery 2016

Hotel Tango was a great, unconventional space – don’t mind Christa’s angelic illumination!

When you select a venue for your meeting, be sure and consider the needs of your employees when it comes to things like accessibility and atmosphere. Do you want somewhere quiet or somewhere full of action and visual stimulation? When I stepped into Hotel Tango, I was reminded of the grain bins and silos on the farm where I grew up…but in a good, nostalgic way. Of course, that’s par for the course at a distillery! Additionally, we took breaks here and there to allow the distillery staff to attend to their spirits and open up the garage door to operate the forklift. Nevertheless, the shiny copper pieces on the stills and the illuminated string lights within the exposed brick building provided creative ambience for our session.

2 – Provide an agenda and assign some homework

What you get out of your corporate meeting will be dependent upon the amount of effort you put into preparing for it–and not just the organizer, the whole team, too. Our Co-Founder, Jeff Hallam, sent a thorough agenda of meeting topics more than a week in advance of our meeting. Additionally, he assigned the entire company the “homework” of thinking about how to answer three primary questions that were tied to our overall short-term objectives of growing revenue and improving profitability.

Agenda Questions Productive Company Meeting

By asking your team to think about solutions in advance, they are more engaged with the discussion topics and likely to be prepared to contribute to the discussion during the meeting. Remember to keep your homework assignment short–having too many to-dos not only dilutes the effectiveness of any one potential solution, but will also most certainly guarantee that you run out of time during the meeting.

3 – Don’t forget the coffee

And snacks are good, too. Our meeting ran from 9am – 1pm, so while people had the opportunity to eat a normal breakfast at home, we still provided fruit/dip and plenty of hot coffee, creamer and sugar. The coffee was of course key to not only our mental stimulation, but also a source of warmth for a few of us while the distillery garage door was open to allow forklift entry. We stayed cozy though!

Also, be sure to take into account any dietary restrictions present among your team members. For example, have some gluten free and/or meatless options available, if applicable, for your organization’s employees.

4 – Make a ruling on electronic device access

At ExactHire, we live on our electronic devices which comes as no surprise since we are in the SaaS product space. I can’t remember the last time I actually printed or filed something in a cabinet. However, having everyone glued to their laptops and/or tablets during a team meeting isn’t always productive as it becomes easy for people to be distracted by email, caught up in IM, etc. It really depends on the purpose of your meeting and whether you need to collectively view or update items electronically during the meeting.

NOTE: It is a good idea to have access to a projector so that everyone can look at a screen together to discuss items.

5 – Designate an official note taker

Especially if you decide that the majority of people will not be using their computer during the meeting, make sure that one person is the official recorder of all important discussion topics and action items. The last thing you want is for all your glorious ideas to be forgotten a week after the meeting.

The notes should be sent out promptly (within one business day) of the conclusion of the meeting. I was our note taker for yesterday’s meeting and opted to bold some of the more compelling team ideas, as well as highlight specific action items (and their owner) in yellow on the notes.

6 – Encourage a variety of presenters

Because annual company meetings tend to be longer than the average monthly update, it would get pretty tedious for the same person to speak the entire meeting. While Jeff and Harlan (our other Co-Founder) did speak quite a bit at the start of the meeting, they also called on many other teammates throughout the discussion to provide a deeper explanation of their own projects.

The extent to which this is successful in your organization will depend on the personalities of individuals (are they comfortable speaking in front of a large group), as well as the extent to which candor is valued within the business. While everyone cannot provide an overview, many can ask questions and probe for greater context within a culture that challenges assumptions and welcomes inquisitiveness.

7 – Have a parking lot…literally and metaphorically

While nearby parking is ideal for your meeting, what I mean by “parking” is designating topics that get into the weeds as something to table and discuss later–put them in the “parking lot” to handle at a future date.

To do so, add them to an easel chart, whiteboard and/or shared file and assign an owner to make sure they aren’t forgotten later. To avoid hurt feelings when one person’s passionate about hashing out a topic, set expectations at the start of the meeting that, at times, some items will have to be put on the back burner in order to get through the entire meeting agenda in a timely fashion. Pass the conch shell, if you will, and move on to the next item.

8 – Don’t forget to order lunch in advance

It’s a nice gesture to order your team lunch during the annual company meeting. We enjoyed some delectable dishes from Chilly Water Brewing Company during our retreat yesterday…conveniently located right next to Hotel Tango.

In past year’s meetings, we didn’t always have the foresight to order our meals before or early on during the meeting, and therefore found ourselves scrambling to figure out food options right at lunchtime. This resulted in waiting a long time to eat and delaying the meeting.

9 – Take pictures

Especially if you head to an eclectic off site location, be sure and snap some memorable photos of the team and what you accomplish during the day. Photographs of events like these are great for inclusion on your branded company careers page, on company social media profiles, around the office and maybe even in an annual holiday video. They just might inspire a blog related to company culture and procedural effectiveness, too.

10 – Respect everyone’s time

Significant, every great once-in-awhile company meetings are typically long already. Make sure you don’t extend discussion beyond the official stop time. If you do, you not only may delay employees’ ability to make other engagements already planned (e.g. sales demos, picking up kids, etc.), but you also will likely forfeit the attention space of those that remain–even with coffee.

Speaking of respecting time, make sure you start your meeting on time, too. A prompt start time is key to a prompt stop time. If this is a struggle within your corporate culture, set the expectation clearly in the agenda email that is sent in advance.

11 – Post-event check in

The work will have only just begun at the conclusion of your corporate meeting. Even when the notes are sent and action items are marked, your leadership team should be sure and schedule milestones to check in with the team and make sure that each task owner is accountable to moving his/her action item(s) forward. This is a great opportunity to offer assistance, vet new questions and schedule follow-up discussion for items that were placed in the parking lot, too.

I hope these tips help you plan an invigorating annual company meeting. While you can’t anticipate every single need or detail, you’re already ahead of the game if you are providing a special opportunity to engage your team and move the business forward–together.

Is improving your company culture a priority in the next year?

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Should I Ask This on the Employment Application?

Useful Employment Application Guidelines

Whether the positions an organization is seeking to fill are temporary or permanent, it is important for Human Resources representatives to reflect on the content included in their organization’s employment application(s) to determine if the content is within the scope of fair hiring practices. In this blog, I’ll identify a few employment application audit ideas to help you determine whether you need to eliminate or rephrase any questions that could lead to discriminatory hiring practices.  Please note: ExactHire does not provide legal counsel. If you are in doubt about the compliance of your employment application, please speak with your organization’s legal team.

Download our hiring process questions guide

Background Check Guidance

Many companies complete background checks on the individuals who have been offered employment. For a background check to be completed accurately, the social security number and date of birth are necessary to properly identify the individual. However, an individual’s social security number and date of birth should NOT be included in the application in any format; this highly sensitive information can be collected from the individual at the time of background check consent. If a minimum age is necessary for employment in a particular position, an organization may ask if the applicant is 16, 18, 21 or older (or whatever the legal requirement may be for that position type). No questions regarding the years of attendance should be asked on an application or in an interview.

Avoid Questions Related to Religion

Religious affiliation is one element that should not be asked or discussed in the hiring process. Even though many religious organizations have events and practices which occur regularly throughout the year, for certain religions, there are increased numbers of worship activities in the winter season. An employer can specify the hours/days/shifts for the vacant position but also include that the employer provides reasonable accommodations for religious practices that do not pose an undue hardship towards the employer.

Language Fluency and Employment Applications

Another component that needs careful phrasing within an employment application involves any questions related to language(s) spoken. If relevant to the position for which the applicant is applying, an employer can ask about language(s) spoken, read or written. If speaking, reading or writing another language(s) are irrelevant skills for the position, there is no need to ask for that information so it is best to omit that question. One of the many features of ExactHire’s HireCentric applicant tracking system is that you may create groups of job specific screening questions where an organization can ask applicants questions focused and relevant to the particular position.

Asking About Prior Military Experience

Military veterans offer a tremendous amount of knowledge and skill that can provide long-term benefits to your organization. These brave men and women are seeking to use their skills to enhance an organization’s growth, and if you are looking to start a veteran-focused hiring initiative within your organization, the Department of Labor is ready to help. Organizations can benefit directly in the social and interpersonal capacity, along with the financial capacity, when veterans are on the organization’s payroll. On an employment application, an employer can ask if an individual was in the military but dates and type of discharge should not be asked. An applicant should include the training and skills acquired through the military as professional experience.

Restrictions on Applicant Criminal History Information

With the Ban the Box movement, many cities and states have enacted some form of legislation that affects how and when an employer can ask an applicant any questions related to convictions. The following states listed below have enacted both public and private sector Ban the Box legislation which means an applicant typically cannot be asked about convictions on an employment application or prior to the interview stage of the hiring process.

  • Hawaii
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Rhode Island
  • Illinois
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Connecticut (Effective January 2017)
  • Vermont (Effective July 2017)

There are exceptions within the legislation that may allow an employer to ask an applicant about convictions early in the hiring process so please consult your organization’s legal team to see if you qualify. To keep abreast of the Ban the Box movement, visit the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

Professional Organization Membership

Many employers view membership in professional organizations as beneficial to the growth of an individual. It is important to encourage individuals to pursue lifelong learning opportunities; however, these opportunities should not negatively impact an applicant’s pursuit of employment. On an employment application and during the interview process, it is important for an employer to seek only job-related memberships and service and avoid asking anything about memberships that could reflect ethnicity, gender, religion and other protected information.

Test Your Own Employment Application

Organizations periodically need to take a moment to reflect on the content of their current employment application(s) and peruse it from a potential applicant’s eyes. We encourage our clients to periodically test their employment applications so they can determine if any changes need to be made. Changes to the content of your HireCentric ATS employment application(s) must be made by a member of the ExactHire Support Team.

ExactHire: At Your Service

At ExactHire, we take pride in doing our best to ensure our clients’ satisfaction.  After you speak with your legal counsel, and if you and your legal team decide changes need to be made to your employment application(s) for compliance, the ExactHire team will work with you to create a new application with the verbiage you specify. Also, one of the benefits of using ExactHire’s HireCentric software as your applicant tracking system is that you can create multiple employment applications, each specific to your needs or hiring practices within a particular state. If you are an existing client looking for more information about updating your current employment application(s) and/or creating additional employment applications, please email support@exacthire.com, and let us know your needs.

Top 6 Moments from Monday Funday: Tailgate Edition

I don’t know about you, but I feel extra spirited and optimistic starting in October each year. Maybe it’s because I’m looking forward to the festivities of the holidays (but not the stress – argh!), or perhaps my year-round fervor for all things pumpkin is more readily addressed in this season. I’ll say that my co-workers seem to share in the excitement of fall (though for different reasons I’m sure), and that was readily evident in our most recent Monday Funday installment. And now…the top six moments of our October Monday Funday!

6 – Well, there was food of course

Ahh…the ever popular fall potluck. This time, the pitch-in theme was all things tailgate, and a bevy of brownish, saucy meaty items were available (e.g. meatballs, chili, pulled pork). And, of course super healthy cheesy things, too. NOTE: I’m bringing salad to our next potluck!

ExactHire Tailgate Pitch-in Sign-up

It’s only natural for a SaaS company to have a paperless pitch-in sign-up sheet.

5 – Themed attire

All employees were encouraged to wear their favorite sports jersey to play along with our tailgating theme. From pro football teams to 9 and Under club soccer teams, the EH team was representing.

4 – Camaraderie and banter

ExactHire recently expanded our office space to include an area down the hall from our existing office. In the process, we turned a large conference room into a big open space. However, at least for the time being, we still enjoy working close to one another and taking advantage of our new standing/sitting desks (woohoo!) in that big open space. So, we crammed ourselves around a long table for our meal and caught up on what’s new in each of our lives. Even though we’re a small team of people who frequently work remotely, it’s nice to grab some face time and skip the work talk now and then.

3 – Pumpkin deliciousness

About the easiest thing you can make for an office potluck dessert is a “dump” cake. As the name implies, you essentially just dump anywhere between 3-5 ingredients into a crock pot and then turn it on for 3-4 hours. I’m sure you’re not surprised to learn that I had a pumpkin-flavored concoction and topped it with caramel sauce and whip cream.

2 – Yet another clever, silly office competition

Our fun committee didn’t disappoint in their continuous ability to generate events that elicit epic battles between employees. This month, in the spirit of football season, they re-purposed last month’s putting green into a mini football field.

Paper Football Field | Monday Funday

Then, they created paper footballs that we were instructed to flick off a desk onto the freakishly narrow football green. If by some insane moment of luck you were able to hit one of the two holes at the end of the field, you earned major bonus points.

Major Bonus Points | ExactHire Funday

Otherwise, just landing somewhere on the green earned you points based on your “yardage.” Full disclosure: I couldn’t even land my football anywhere on the green in four attempts. Wah, wah.

1 – Someone besides Allen won the golden vase!

Our teammate Allen has an uncanny ability to win almost every Monday Funday competition we have at ExactHire. And while it’s not surprising that he was one of the two finalists in this competition, it was super gratifying that Christa was able to pull out the win in sudden death by simply knocking her paper football straight down onto the “X” within the 10-yard line. Only ten points, and kind of ugly, but that’s all it took. Congrats to Christa…display your vase proudly!

Allen Paper Football Finalist

Here Allen is showing us the proper paper football stance.

Christa Paper Football Finalist

Christa is setting her sights on victory!

Christa Paper Football Champion | ExactHire

While Christa basks in the glory of the golden vase, Allen’s devastation is apparent in the background.

Monday Funday is one way in which ExactHire seeks to build and grow a fun work culture. Each month–on a Monday of course–we recognize the work anniversaries and birthdays of our team. We also participate in creative competitions that sometimes turn fierce.

We share recaps of these events on our blog in an effort to spread the word that Monday can be a fun day. But, we also want to know how you have FUN at your workplace. So, tweet your ideas to @goExactHire and include the #mondayfunday hashtag.

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Image credit: Miss Wetzel’s Art Class CC BY-SA 2.0 by Oralia.Marnin (contact)

33 Fall Employee Engagement and Culture Ideas

Pumpkin spice season is here, folks, and that means my favorite time of year is upon us–fall. So many good things happen in the autumn:

  • beautiful fall foliage (at least in the Midwest where ExactHire calls home),
  • tailgating for your favorite sporting events like football and futbol (for all you soccer moms like me out there),
  • new fall TV show premieres, and
  • an early start to the excitement of the holiday season (and more frequent chances to be thankful and celebrate life with friends and family).

At least a few of the ExactHire employees love to celebrate the season, too. Can you tell?

Hey, we worked hard to capture the leaves in motion for this shot!

Hey, we worked hard to capture the leaves in motion for this shot!

The activities our “Fun” Committee plans are great ways to break up the work week and give us more chances to connect with each other. Opportunities for connection are increasingly important for employers in today’s web-based workplace and society.

In this blog, I’ll present thirty-three ideas for using the autumnal season to inspire ideas for employee engagement.

1 – Pick a day each fall month for competition and snacks

It’s easy to let time get away from you when it comes to planning culture-building activities frequently enough. Have a recurring “funday” appointment on your office calendar, and then fill in with surprise one-off activities as appropriate.

ExactHire has Monday Funday the third Monday of every month following our all-hands company meeting. In September, we honored various pro golf championship tournaments with a little putt-putt of our own. Of course the winner, our Co-Founder Harlan Schafir, was able to claim our super classy brass vase (make sure you pronounce it vahzzz to sound fancy). The giant cookies being served didn’t hurt employee attendance to this event, either!

Harlan Putts | ExactHire Monday Funday

Our Co-Founder, Harlan Schafir, putts for the Monday Funday win!

2 – Roast some office s’mores

Don’t try this one inside, friends…unless you opt to use the microwave or remember to blow out your candle afterward. But let’s be honest, a candle probably won’t get the job done. Lucky for you, mini kitchen blow torches are reasonably affordable.

3 – Wear your sweatpants to work day

Don’t you wish you already thought of this idea? “Fall” into comfort by sporting your “dressy” sweats.

4 – Take a group trip to pick apples

Go on an outing to gather up ingredients for some red hot applesauce (a favorite from my childhood) or apple dumplings.

5 – Have a pumpkin decorating contest

Whether you carve, paint or decorate, procure some pumpkins for all employees willing to participate. Have a small prize, display them in your office (make sure to take pictures!) and then encourage employees to take them home to friends and family.

ExactHire Company Halloween Party-Monday Funday

Employee entries from our fierce pumpkin decorating contest last October.

6 – Volunteer for a worthy cause

As the weather starts to cool (depending on where you live), many non-profit organizations, including shelters, will have a greater need for assistance and resources to help individuals fend off the elements. Organize a team or department to take time to serve in a capacity that will assist the recipient organization.

7 – Get lost in a corn maze

Experience some healthy team-building and exercise by navigating a local corn maze. Make it interesting by picking teams in such a way that employees who don’t normally work together are grouped into one team.

8 – Put on the cider

Break out the office crock pot and keep some mulled apple cider heated on low throughout the day. Provide plenty of cups nearby and encourage individuals to have conversation while holding a warm mug.

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9 – Go on a nature hike

Do some research on the parks department website for your geographic area and learn about hiking trails nearby that are accessible to all interested employees and full of interesting sights.

10 – Have a dance party

Does anyone really do that? Yes, I’ve worked for employers who did this periodically to destress employees. Take requests and then put a season-inspired song on the phone system intercom. Here are some tune ideas to get you started:

  • “Thriller” by Michael Jackson (go ahead, channel Jennifer Garner in “13 Going on 30”),
  • “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo,
  • “Toxic” by Britney Spears,
  • “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band, and
  • “Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

11 – Stock the kitchen with fancy coffee creamer

Whether it’s artisanal or just the latest Coffee Mate creation, having access to creamer flavors like pumpkin spice, eggnog, spiced latte and peppermint will perk up anyone’s morning brew.

Artisanal Coffee for Office

Image credit: coffee lover

12 – Who says ugly sweaters are just for Christmas?

You’ve probably already attended a December ugly sweater party, but what about all the other leaf- and pumpkin-inspired wool blends lurking in your closet (or at your nearest Goodwill)? Stage a day where everyone shows off their most fearsome fall top.

13 – Plan an employee hayride

Contact your local community park to check on availability of park shelters and hayrides during the autumn season. Plan an evening event and invite employees and their families to partake in a cookout and cozy wagon ride.

14 – Sponsor an employee team for a 5K

Five-kilometer races abound in the fall in our area. Select a race that benefits a notable cause and sponsor a team of employees who enjoy jogging and walking. Go the extra mile and have a t-shirt design competition, and then produce the winning shirt for all team members to wear during the race.

15 – Decorate the office in fall colors

While you may already deck the halls for the winter holidays, why not bedazzle your working space for Halloween, Thanksgiving and the fall season in general? Pick an afternoon and provide materials for employees to use to spruce up the place (perhaps while drinking apple cider). Materials might include pumpkins, Indian corn, mums, seasonal window clings and a string of novelty lights.

Fall Office Decoration Ideas | ExactHire

Image credit: HHF Indiana Corn

16 – Have a puzzle available in a visible area

There’s something about cooler weather that makes me want to hole up and work a puzzle throughout the week. Consider a monthly puzzle opportunity and encourage employees to grab five minutes here and there to piece it together with others during water cooler breaks.

17 – Board game breaks

Don’t stop at puzzles, schedule occasional “game days” when employees get the chance to spend an hour facing off against other employees to win a game. Hint: Don’t pick Risk–it takes forever! Twister would be a good one to avoid, too. Fun, but relatively short, options might include

  • Uno,
  • Jenga,
  • Qwirkle,
  • Rummikub, and
  • Euchre.

18 – Make caramel apples

If you don’t want to unwrap little caramel candies or don’t have access to a stove in the office, then keep it simple with incredibly convenient caramel apple wraps.

19 – Do a treetop obstacle course

The ExactHire team had a thrilling experience in the early fall of 2014 with a Go Ape Zipline and Treetop Adventure course. While this was a more grandiose outing for our team, it was well-deserved as we had just accomplished a major organizational goal and wanted to celebrate.

ExactHire Team Zip-Line Group Pic

ExactHire team zip-line outing from the fall of 2014

20 – Have a themed coloring contest

Coloring for relaxation is all the rage these days with adults. Capitalize on this trend, while channeling your prize entry from a childhood turkey-coloring contest, by planning an office coloring competition. Or, just encourage people to help decorate the office for the sake of enjoyment.

21 – Celebrate Oktoberfest

Whether you go with a full-on German fare-inspired pitch-in or keep it simple with some Bavarian pretzels and a beer tasting, you can’t go wrong with food. Encourage any employees who are brewing and/or sausage-making hobbyists to bring in their own creations to share.

21 – Office trick or treating

Engage the entire family by holding trick or treating hours during the late afternoon for children of employees.

22 – Feast at a festival

The fall is a time for bountiful community festivals. Here in Indiana, the Covered Bridge Festival is a multi-day, multi-town event that combines crafts, cuisine and crowds into an explosion of autumn sentiment. I never miss it. Check your state festival guide to see if any local events would make a great extended lunch destination for your crew.

23 – Conduct meetings outdoors

Does your building have a patio space, or even a few picnic tables? If so, unplug the laptop and head outside for a group meeting or a 1-on-1 discussion. Employees will relish the fresh air and everyone can soak up some extra vitamin D.

Have Meetings Outdoors | ExactHire

Image credit: Picnic Table

24 – Utilize seasonal email signatures

Provide templates for employees to occasionally update their email signatures to celebrate the season. This could be as simple as a tasteful pumpkin graphic placement or a link to a fall-inspired blog post.

25 – Go on a scavenger hunt outside

Plan an autumn scavenger hunt as a team-building activity and friendly competition. A recent chaperone experience I had with my son’s class field trip taught me that empty egg cartons make great containers for small scavenger hunt items. Or, if you want to go a more tech-savvy route, have participants share proof of accomplishing hunt challenges by tagging your corporate Instagram account (a great tactic for employment branding).

Fall Scavenger Hunt Egg Container

Handy container for collecting fall scavenger hunt items

26 – Plan a spirit week

If you enjoyed dressing up for spirit week during homecoming in high school, then you’re bound to be amused by participating in themed days in the workplace. Solicit employee ideas for themes and consider awarding small prizes each day. Our team had fun with high school day in the past when we showed off our letter jackets, senior portraits and yearbooks.

Letter Jackets Group

Some EH’ers showing off our high school memorabilia.

27 – Have a potluck tailgate

Set up a grill in the parking lot and have employees pitch in by bringing tailgate-themed dishes. Depending on the date and time of the event, consider streaming a favorite sporting event for all to watch while eating. Don’t forget to have everyone wear their favorite jersey, and have a drawing to win a couple of tickets to a college or pro sporting event.

28 – Make some microwave caramel corn

Growing up, the only way I’d eat caramel corn was if it was made in a brown paper bag in the microwave. There’s something about that warm, gooey deliciousness that puts it near the top of my comfort food list. The best part about it is that it is easy to clean up after your office teammates dig into it. Just fold up the bag and toss it in the garbage.

29 – Nerf gun turkey shoot

Looking for inspiration for silly office games? Look no further. Gather up a few Nerf guns from employees’ children, and set up bowling pin-style targets that complement the season on a conference room table. Go for turkeys, pumpkins, ghosts or leaves.

Turkey Targets | ExactHire Monday Funday

All set with turkey targets in place!

30 – Produce a Thanksgiving card or video

This is one of my favorite ExactHire traditions. Instead of sending a winter holiday card to clients, we always send a Thanksgiving note. In the beginning, we sent cards in the mail, but last year we debuted our first collaborative video production to show thanks. We can’t wait to put one together for this year, too! If you’re nervous about getting started with this kind of project, we have some video production tips for you.

31 – Haunted cubicles

If you want to do more than just host an employee outing to your nearest haunted house, then invite departments to spook out their work areas with Halloween decorations and then choose a winner.

32 – Have a costume contest

What would a fall activity list be without a reference to Halloween costumes? Incentivize employee participation with kooky prize categories such as

  • best homemade costume,
  • most tech-savvy costume,
  • best unconventional materials costume (yes, I’m channeling Project Runway), and
  • best pop culture-inspired costume.
Wicked Witch Legs

Wicked witch legs on a previous ExactHire Halloween work day.

33 – Showcase fall creativity

Group interested employees into different teams and give each team a pile of autumn-related items, tape, scissors and a glue gun. Challenge them to create something original that is interesting and/or beautiful, and display the creations in an area highly visible to the rest of the team.

 

I hope you discovered some ideas to inspire your workplace for the fall. If you liked this content, then you’ll love our newsletter! Get it delivered to your inbox every two weeks.

 

Company Culture Ebook Download | ExactHire

Image credit: Time well spent

New Hire Onboarding Success with a SWOT Analysis

The purpose of a SWOT analysis in the business planning process is to make sure you’ve identified all the possible strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your business.  Only then can you create a business plan taking into consideration all these aspects and setting your business up for it’s best chance at success.  The new hire onboarding process should be no different.

Some aspects of the SWOT analysis are designed to act upon.  For example, you want to make sure you capitalize on and take advantage of your strengths and seize your opportunities.  Other aspects are for you to be aware of.  You must be aware of your weaknesses and competitors in the market place.

If you really think about it, doing the same type of analysis for a new hire should be no different. To a new employee, changing jobs is a “new business” operating in a new environment with different conditions. Extremely savvy job seekers will do their own SWOT analysis on the company before joining.  Why?  They want to make sure they are setting themselves up for the best chance at success.

Your analysis of your new employee should occur over the course of his/her onboarding and should be a critical part of the employee onboarding process.  Ideally you would have done most of this during the hiring process.  However, it’s not an exact science and you may have missed some items. Hopefully, at a minimum, you determined the new hire should have a seat on the bus.  Now you just need to figure out what that correct seat is.

It’s not uncommon for individuals to be hired for a certain position then find themselves in another. This happens quite frequently in organizations that focus their hiring efforts on the type of person and their strengths and abilities, more so than technical knowledge and experience.  You can only gain this much clearer understanding of the best fit for the individual once she is on board and you have had a chance to analyze her capabilities against various positions.

 

Strengths

 

This is the single most important aspect of an individual’s SWOT.  If you do nothing else, make sure you thoroughly assess strengths and figure out how to apply them appropriately. Getting a new hire aligned with his strengths is the best way to set him up for success in his new role.  

To properly identify strengths, you must allocate the proper time and training.  Just immersing someone in a new role will not yield the results you need to identify his core strengths.  Step one would be to have a simple conversation with the individual and see what he thinks his strengths are.  Consider a tool such as the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment to assist in this endeavor. Then have him work through various aspects of his role (and other roles if possible) to see where he naturally excels with the least amount of direction.  By doing this, you can identify where his best opportunity for success may be.

 

Weaknesses

 

Awareness of weaknesses will avoid early failure and miss-steps for a new employee.  It is critical that he be given every opportunity to succeed, build confidence in his new role and gain confidence of his coworkers.  This doesn’t mean you don’t want to challenge him, but you want to make sure you are challenging him utilizing his strengths.

Once you’ve identified potential weak points, note them and work to avoid them.  The last thing you want to do is try to change someone or improve his weaknesses.  It’s much easier to focus on the strengths.  There’s also a tough leadership decision in this step of the process.  If it so happens that his weaknesses actually need to be his core strengths for the position, you will have to find this employee another seat on the bus — or another bus.

 

Opportunities

 

This is the fun step.  After your analysis of strengths and weaknesses you should have a pretty good idea of the direction(s) the individual can go within the organization after his onboarding.  These are his opportunities.  By the time you get to this step, the individual has probably started to see his opportunities as well and may have expressed some desire towards those.  

Don’t forget to have this important employee development conversation.  This will likely be the difference maker between an engaged long-term employee or a short-term employee.  Most employees will look for their next opportunity within the organization fairly quickly and if they don’t see one they’ll plan their next move — out of the company.  Your job as a leader is to make sure the opportunities they are seeking within the organization align with their strengths and avoid as many of their weaknesses as possible.

 

Threats

 

Typically addressing threats in a SWOT analysis takes into account competition.  We don’t want to think of competition in terms of an individual’s employment SWOT.  Rather, you want to look at what potential roadblocks stand in the way of his success.  The roadblocks you should try to identify are resource issues, process and procedural issues and potentially other individuals.

Ever wonder why they sweep the ice in front of the stone in Olympic curling?  They are grooming the ice and creating the best possible conditions for the stone to travel further and straighter.  As a leader you must continue to sweep the ice in front of an employee to ensure his optimal onboarding experience and continued success.  What you are doing is eliminating or mitigating the threats you know will stand in the employee’s way.   

 

If you’ve properly integrated a SWOT analysis into the new hire onboarding process you will be setting the stage for initial and continued success for the employee and your team/company.  It takes a little bit of discipline and practice to master, but really isn’t that difficult.  The most difficult part is evolving to the point where you only focus on aligning his strengths within the role, or a different role, and completely avoid any assignments that will draw on his weaknesses.

Done correctly, and applied correctly, a SWOT analysis will ensure a business stays on course, remains competitive in the market and services customers profitably.  This directly correlates with the same success of a new employee, his level of engagement, productivity and length of retention.

Looking for tools to improve your employee onboarding process? Contact ExactHire to learn how our employee onboarding software can automate your new hire paperwork and workflow.

 

ExactHire Announces Company Growth; Adding 12 New Employees in Indianapolis

ExactHire, a rapid-growing HR technology company based in Indianapolis, Indiana, announced today it will hire 12 new employees to fill its growing demand.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – April 7, 2016 – Announced today, ExactHire, an Indianapolis-based HR technology company that was founded in 2007, will be hiring 12 new employees to join its existing team of 10 full time staff. Between ExactHire and its sister company, Human Capital Concepts, 35 new jobs will be created. Combined, the two companies will invest up to $250,000 in support of the hirings as part of Indiana’s Economic Development Corporation’s conditional tax credits.

ExactHire offers technology that helps companies automate and improve the hiring and employee onboarding process, and despite starting at a time just before companies tightened their hiring belts during the economic slow-down, the company continues to expand its client list on a nationwide scale. ExactHire serves small and medium-sized employers across the nation.

“We are thrilled at the growth ExactHire is experiencing and are ready to exponentially grow our team and the services we provide to help make our customers’ experiences with our solutions even better,” said Harlan Schafir, Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of ExactHire. “With the incredible growth Indianapolis and its surrounding communities have experienced, there’s no better place for our team to grow. We’re grateful to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and Invest Hamilton County for their support in making the hires and extensive training possible.”

“Hamilton County’s tech community is growing rapidly, and companies like ExactHire make us incredibly proud of the talent we have here in our county,” said Tim Monger, president of Hamilton County Economic Development Corporation. “The tech community that Hamilton County is continuing to build is something special and we’re excited that ExactHire is investing further in the talent we have right here.”

“Indiana is a state that works for business, with more Hoosiers working now than ever before in our state’s 200-year history,” said Jim Schellinger, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. “In recent years, companies like ExactHire have added more than 5,000 tech jobs throughout Central Indiana alone, with most Hoosier tech positions paying wages well above the state average. As more tech companies continue to locate and grow in Indiana, Hoosiers will continue to see this trend of quality job growth.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered ExactHire (in conjunction with its sister company, Human Capital Concepts) up to $275,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. ExactHire employs individuals in the areas of: customer service, software development, sales, marketing and administration. Interested applicants should apply for future job consideration at: http://exacthire.hirecentric.com/.

ExactHire is also a 2016 TechPoint Mira Nominee for the category of “Innovation of the Year.” Winners will be announced at the TechPoint Mira Awards Gala on April 23rd at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis.

This article first appeared on IBJ.com.

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