The Williamson Difference: HR Answers That Work

8 Powerful Onboarding Strategies to Engage New Employees

October 15, 2019

By Talmundo


How many employees worldwide do you think are truly engaged and enthusiastic about their work? 30%? Maybe 50%? Plot twist: it’s just 15% according to Gallup, which is a huge financial drain for businesses considering that offices with engaged employees are as much as 43% more productive.

With all of this in mind (and our own Onboarding Summit almost upon us), we thought it was the perfect opportunity to go back-to-basics with our list of 8 Powerful Onboarding Strategies to Engage New Employees:

1. Lift the Curtain

Think back to your first day at a new job. You probably had dozens of questions floating around your head:

  • What exactly am I responsible for?

  • What does my average day look like?

  • What do my managers/colleagues expect from me?

Your new hires are thinking those same things. Don’t let them go into their first day blind; set them on the right track by explaining the scope of their role and your expectations.

Need a hand? Start addressing expectations and questions BEFORE day 1 with our free Newbie Profiles and FAQs Manual.

2. Plan for Performance

Speaking of expectations, it’s never too early to start talking about performance reviews!

Share a sample performance review sheet and walk your new hire through setting one performance target, one development goal, and a job essence objective.

Don’t know where to start? Try our step-by-step recipes for crafting successful employee objectives.

3. Lead with Inspiration

Championing sustainable-tech, revolutionizing the aviation industry or banking with a purpose - your company probably has an awesome, unique mission. Explain it to employees and then hone in on how their individual work will contribute to the company’s mission.

When employees work toward a purpose that isn’t just “making the company money", they are more likely to stay engaged.

4. Power Up

Equip new hires with the gear they need to succeed right off the bat, whether that means a lightning-fast computer, login information for the company’s resource center, or pristine business cards.

Nothing kills your buzz like having to wear a visitor badge for the first week because no one thought to request a security pass.

5. Axe the Admin

Don’t send your new hire home with a headache from signing one too many forms. Have them sit down with HR (or you!) to walk through a handful of the most pressing documents, and leave the rest for later.

6. Get Face-time

According to a recent Reflektive study, 94% of employees prefer that managers address performance issues and development opportunities in real-time. So, begin cultivating a great relationship on the very first day by setting aside quality time to connect with new employees.

Then, use our New Hire Milestones Checklist to stay connected all the way through their first year - the make or break point for most employees.

7. Break the Ice

In their Relationships @Work study, LinkedIn found that:

  • Nearly half of all professionals worldwide think that work friends contribute to overall happiness

  • 50% of 18 to 24 year-olds believe that workplace friendships make them feel motivated

Facilitate workplace friendships or at least positive team relationships by organizing a team lunch. Your newest employee may leave day 1 with a best buddy.

8. Wind Down & Psych Up!

First days can feel like a whirlwind. Set aside the last minutes of the day for a calm debrief. This is the perfect opportunity to answer any questions that may have come up throughout the past few hours and summarize the schedule for the rest of the week. New hires will leave engaged and excited to come back rather than thinking “Abandon ship!” as soon as they walk out the door.

Want to learn how YOU can reinvent & deliver your world-class onboarding journey? Join the Onboarding Summit powered by Talmundo in beautiful Nice!

Creating An Inclusive Workplace For Disabled Employees

October 15, 2019


There is no one-size-fits-all proposal to create a workplace that’s inclusive of all people with disabilities. Yet there are lessons we can draw from companies (such as Esurance) that have successfully created an environment and culture inclusive to all employees.

Employee resource groups are the backbone of Esurance’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Employee resource groups, also commonly known as business resource groups or affinity groups, are gaining popularity as more companies see their potential. In fact, 90% of Fortune 500 companies utilize employee resource groups because they have a strong track record of success.

The purpose of these groups is for employees with similar backgrounds, experiences, or priorities to come together to address common concerns and support one another. They provide employees with a place they feel safe. This sense of wellbeing can boost job satisfaction and productivity. Resource groups also advocate for disability-related issues, including educating employees and making them aware of the support and resources available to them. 

Esurance Uses Employee Resource Groups to Recruit Diverse Candidates

Esurance has a number of employee resource groups, including eBility – a group of dedicated employees from all levels of the organization who either have disabilities themselves, or family members with disabilities at home. The success of these groups is a point of pride for Esurance, whose leadership team is completely bought in on the program.

The group’s aim is to create “an inclusive, barrier-free workplace that's physically, technologically, and culturally accessible.” In addition, the group promotes leadership and professional development opportunities, with the goal of helping members “reach their full potential.”

Employee resource groups, such as eBility, are also a boon for recruitment. As Kristi Robinson, head of talent acquisition at Esurance says, “We value diversity, and we just don’t say we’re inclusive, we live it. Our TA team is currently partnering with our Employee Resource Groups to get them involved with helping us recruit top talent. We want to have our passionate associates front and center at our recruiting events.” 

How Your Company Can Recruit with ERGs

According to research conducted by LinkedIn, the biggest barriers to companies focused on improving diversity are finding diverse candidates to interview and retraining diverse employees. If your business has the same challenges, there’s good news: Esurance’s success with diversity recruitment is replicable.

1.       First, promote information about your company’s ERGs on your career portals. The existence and active presence of employee resource groups sends a clear message to people with disabilities that your company is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment for all employees. Job seekers with disabilities may feel more comfortable working for your company with the knowledge that they’ll have support from their peers and leadership. 

2.       Recruiters should also be prepared to talk with interested candidates about the history and focus of employee resource groups at your company, along with benefits experienced by current employees and the organization overall. This includes talking about mentorship opportunities. Members of employee resource groups can make excellent mentors to new hires with disabilities, improving retention by offering advice on everything from career moves, to team dynamics and even how best to navigate around the building. 

3.       Finally, don’t assume existing employees know about these programs already. Partner with leaders from around your organization to spread awareness by word of mouth. Employee referrals are an excellent source of candidates. The more employees know what groups exist, the more likely they’ll share that information with people in their networks. 

Getting the Most Out of ERGs

Employee resource groups can be beneficial to employees and your business overall. But the existence of these groups doesn’t guarantee results. Employee engagement and leadership support are the biggest indicators of how successful your company’s ERGs will be. To get the most out of ERGs, employers need to be bought in. That means supporting resource groups by:

•   Providing resources to groups, including dedicated meeting areas

•   Encouraging interested employees to carve out time for meetings

•   Promoting leadership training to group members

•   Actively listening to proposals made by groups

iCIMS Inc. is a leading provider of innovative Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) talent-acquisition solutions that help businesses win the war for top talent. To learn more about how iCIMS can help your organization, visit

Keep the Human in HR

October 15, 2019

By Ira S. Wolfe

To learn more, please join us on Thursday, October 24th at 1:00 EST (10:00 PST) for a Live Webinar with Ira S. Wolfe (Keeping the Human in HR – There’s No App for That!) This webinar is valid for 1 PDC toward SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recertification and has been pre-approved by HRCI for 1 HR (General) recertification credit hour. Click here to register. 

The future simply came too fast for HR. As new technology is increasingly introduced in the workplace, HR faces an existential moment–it’s time for HR departments to stand up and fight to keep the Human in HR. But that doesn't mean HR should resist technology adoption.

HR won’t win the race for talent fighting against the accelerating pace of technological disruption. On the contrary, HR needs to embrace technology. It needs to step up its game and assume its role as a human advocate in this digital world, and stop hiding behind the masks of administrative and compliance cops. If HR doesn't respond–and do it fast–Human Resources will quickly become the High-performance Robot department.

Before we can talk about how to keep the H in HR, we need to think about ways that technology impacts HR. Let's start with a few.

New Definition of Work

Technology is disrupting how work gets done. It changes workflows and redefines jobs. It automates some of what we used to do and opens up new opportunities. It affects how we find jobs and when we work. Technology enables us to be not only always-on but also highly productive thanks to our increasingly powerful mobile devices.

In my book, I wrote about the rework of work: "We’re all novices when it comes to navigating the new labor markets and workplaces. We would have to go back to the invention of the wheel, the printing press, steam engine, and electricity to find comparable disruption in how work gets done."

New Organization of Work

Thanks to the rise of the gig economy and remote work, the freelance workforce is growing three times faster than the overall U.S. workforce, and the majority of workers will be working independently by 2027. Physical offices and headquarters are still the norm but a growing number of companies are going fully virtual.

No longer must work be organized by location because it can be completed anytime, by people located almost anywhere in the world. Workers are getting hired by skill sets, not job titles. Project teams are dynamic and fluid. Managing people and teams requires leaders who can master both face-to-face and remote communication using an ever-changing menu of apps and services.

Personalization and Microlearning

Amazon recently announced it was investing $700 million dollars to "reskill" one-third of its workforce. That's a drop in the bucket of the time and money that must be invested to ensure companies have employees skilled enough to work and workers have the right skills to get jobs. Even if machines don't replace humans, automation impacts almost all of us. It is estimated that nearly two-thirds of all jobs will be one-third automated by 2030. That means humans who still need and want jobs will need different and better skills.

Unfortunately, companies are still stuck using weapons of mass instruction. Employees are herded into a classroom or forced to sit in front of a computer screen for hours, days and even weeks to learn new skills.

Thankfully, microlearning technology is blowing up that approach. Employees need new skills and answers to how-to questions. Platforms like YouTube and TED are massively popular not because people are bored with nothing to do, but because they deliver answers and engaging learning experiences with a few clicks in short increments. Technology allows companies and schools to deliver what people need, when they need it, in a way that both engages and fits the way we learn. Technology helps make learning fun, more personal, and maybe most important of all, more effective.

Data Explosion

A list like this couldn’t possibly ignore the impact of data on the future of HR. HR collects massive amounts of data beginning with the job application and screening, then continuing with onboarding, performance management and even termination. But as of now, HR just hasn’t used this data effectively to help the business predict more accurate outcomes, be more responsive, and engage both candidates and employees in a more meaningful and productive way.

People analytics is no longer taboo. It fact, it’s one of the most sought after webinar and conference educational programs. Of course, the collection, analysis and application raise all sorts of red flags regarding privacy and ethics. To date, legal and ethical concerns have become HR’s battle cry against the use of technology–and yet we continue to collect more and more of it with few safeguards.

H Is For Human

What do these technology-driven trends mean for HR moving forward? In my 2019 SHRM Annual Conference presentation, I recommended two fundamental principles for Keeping the Human in HR.

1. Act Responsibly

Yes, technology poses enormous risks to jobs, privacy and even humanity. But it also presents enormous opportunity to improve everything from productivity to better quality of life. Slow adaptation to accelerating change only means HR will act less responsibly more often. Likewise, purchasing and using HR technology requires intense scrutiny.

You may not understand people analytics. You might not even like math. You might not understand how data is collected, stored and shared. But if you’re in HR or the business of hiring and retaining people, you must understand that we are at a crossroads.

2. Consider These Unintended Consequences

What happens to all this data collected? Is anyone in your organization asking, “what data should we be collecting?” and “which data should be off-limits?” While the great debate is focused on advanced technology like wearables and surveillance technology, there has been less consideration given to something as basic as the job application. When should you be requesting personal information from a candidate that you might never engage with? Where is this data stored? How should it be used? What happens when unnecessary data unintentionally introduces unconscious bias into a screening algorithm?

It’s your responsibility to understand the issues (even if you don’t understand the technology) and get involved in the conversation. Make sure your voice is heard.

Today, it's not technology that humans should worry about. It's how HR responds to that technology in an effort to keep the human in HR.

Ira Wolfe is a nationally recognized thought leader in workforce trends and an expert in employee and career assessment testing.  Wolfe is president of Success Performance Solutions, a pre-employment and leadership testing firm he founded in 1996. A prolific author, columnist and business blogger, he forecast what he called "The Perfect Labor Storm" in the late 1990s. Over 15 years later, many of his predictions about the future of the workforce have become reality while other changes are unfolding.

Wearable Safety Technology in the Workplace

October 15, 2019

By Strategic Human Resources, Inc

So, what is wearable technology? Wearables can include any type of “smart” personal device.  In our everyday lives, we think fitness trackers and smartwatches. In the workplace, that definition expands to include all types of “James Bond-esque” type equipment.  EHS wearable tech could include such things as:

  • Devices with radio-frequency identification (RFID) used to determine someone’s location;

  • Devices that conduct any type of measurement gathering – air quality for example;

  • Hard hats with sensors;

  • Glasses with displays;

  • And really any other device that provides information to assist in the safety, health, and well being of employees in the workplace.

Health and Safety professionals continue to expand their use of these items and are intrigued at the potential of these items to reduce workplace accidents and injuries and promote safety.  While using such equipment, employees could be alerted to potentially hazardous conditions. For example, employees could be alerted if they are lifting an item that is too heavy or they are using unsafe movements.  In the event of catastrophic events such as fires or explosions, RFID equipment could allow employers to locate staff who may be trapped. The devices could also prevent injuries by providing job activity simulation for difficult tasks, allowing time to practice and avoid potentially harmful mistakes.  Using wearable technology, employers may be able to predict hazardous situations and enhance accident prevention measures.

With all of this great opportunity, why not move forward with these initiatives?  There are a few things to consider. The first being cost. Wearable technology varies in price from a simple $40 fitness tracker to $5,000 smart glasses and beyond.  An ROI must be considered when investing in this type of equipment, keeping in mind the value of worker safety. The second consideration is worker privacy. In 2017, the National Institute of Safety and Health published a white paper regarding the ethics of the use of wearable sensors.  The study reviewed the delicate balance between safety and the obvious concern, worker privacy.  NIOSH suggests that employers be transparent on what data is being collected/observed, how the data is being used, and allow for employees to opt-out of a program.

Technology is great!  Consider cost, use, and benefit before implementation and be sure and clearly communicate with staff if you decide to take the dive into the world of wearable tech in the workplace.

Strategic Human Resources Inc. is a national full-service HR management firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Its president and founder, Robin Throckmorton, can be reached at

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