3 Ways to Successfully Onboard Your New Great Talent

You defined what abilities, skills, education and experience are required for your role. You used an intentional sourcing strategy to find candidates who fit your role. You interviewed wisely, using activities and behavioral-based questions to really assess your candidate’s role and cultural fit. You hired the best candidate. They start in a week.

Now, what is your plan to bring them quickly, effectively and personally into the valued talent of the organization?

Onboarding is the critical fourth step in an effective and efficient hiring process (following defining, sourcing and interviewing). Many organizations discount this important step, which leads to disappointing performance and retention results. According to the Gallup Organization, only about 12% of employees agree their organizations do an effective job with onboarding. And, since onboarding is one more place to create an important first impression, poorly delivered onboarding can discourage employee engagement and loyalty.

Here are three things to consider as you assess and build your onboarding approach.

  1. Personalize and customize. Use the period from the date of job acceptance to job start date as your pre-boarding – to intentionally connect with the new employee to get to know them and to start to share information about the company to encourage their enthusiasm for the job and to feel comfortable in their new work environment. Ask about their talents, interests and passions in and out of the workplace, values in and out of the workplace, favorite foods/music/activities/sports teams/coffee. Share information about the culture, energy, values and humanity of the workplace.  Don’t wait for a new employee to arrive to start the onboarding process. Use the information gathered during pre-boarding to develop a first day, first week onboarding plan. It could be lunch out at a favorite restaurant, favorite coffee purchased on the first day or week, a banner of a favorite sports team waiting for them at their desk, or the alignment to a buddy or mentor who shares similar interests. Think about the onboarding “experience.” Personalize it.
  2. Become family. Onboarding is really about taking your unique new hire and helping them find their place right away in your organization. What are your organization’s values, beliefs and mission, and how do you help employees know them and live them? How does the organization value, support and care for its talent? And, how does this new employee’s job add value and make a difference on a daily basis? Onboarding is not about having new employees read company manuals, review documents and fill out forms. It is an intentional effort to help them understand the organization and the value of being part of it.
  3. Focus on first impressions. New employees have heightened awareness. They are watching each of their new experiences. Be intentional in the plan for the new employee’s first day, first lunch, and first meeting with a manager, leader or CEO. Be intentional in who the employee is introduced to, assigned to and supervised by. Think about the employee’s first assignment, first meeting and other firsts. Remember the power of a first impression: is your pre-boarding and onboarding experience creating the impression you want your new employee to have?

Take Action
Getting your hiring right is critical to bringing in the right employees. Keeping your great employees starts with pre-boarding and onboarding that is personal, integrating and intentional. Help your great talent know they chose wisely when they chose you. Accelerate their ability to feel connected, valued and productive. Engagement, performance and loyalty will follow.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading 3 Ways to Win in the War for Talent

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Be On the Disengagement Hunt

There are things in your workplace and life that disengage the people around you.

It could be meetings that run long, have no agenda and don’t seem to get things accomplished. Or working for a manager who has never learned how to be self-managed so they make everything urgent and operate in react mode.

It could be outdated household rules that used to make sense but now don’t. Or it could be conflict between two siblings who just haven’t learned how to respect and honor the feelings of each other.

Regardless, there are things in our days that make work and life disengaging, things that take the wind out of us, tax our energy, challenge our emotions and encourage a feeling to either do just enough or to check out.

Can you think of one of these going on right now?

In these situations, work and life don’t seem either great or productive.

What to do?

Amp up your vision and become more intentionally aware of those things that you and others say and do that deactivate, depress or stress others. Pay attention on purpose to not only what is said and done but how it happens. These moments have information for you from which you can start to make small changes that result in raising the energy and engagement in your situations.

It could be something as seemingly small as saying a positive comment to a coworker on their way into a meeting. It could be sharing how to have a productive argument with your two teens so they learn how to solve problems instead of just aggravating each other. It could be being aware and mindful enough to not say that sarcastic or biting comment because you know the effect it will have on the recipient.

Ask yourself: are you watching, considering and choosing (on purpose) what and how you do things to raise the engagement and make the outcome better?

Take Action
Place a Post-It note in a place you will see it frequently with a message like “make things better” or “engage don’t disengage.” Create whatever word or phrase will remind you to watch for the events, circumstances and things that disengage the people around you, then choose to change what and how you do things to change the mood, energy and engagement level. The change will impress you.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Thank You For What Didn’t Happen

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Maybe We Just Aren’t a Kind People

By Jay Forte

Why is it we pull together when confronted with a catastrophe? Remember how we felt after 9/11. We cared about each other. We loved each other. We helped each other. We didn’t see our differences; we saw our similarities. We wanted to hear each other’s stories and cared enough about what they were going through to really listen and to try to help. We were united.

Now look at us. We see each other as enemies. We can’t listen to people who don’t share our perspectives. In fact, we demean, criticize and hurt those who don’t share our beliefs. We lose family and friends over a variety of hot button issues, like equal rights, free speech, racism, the environment and a variety of other things that fill the news.

I can’t remember a time when we have had so little regard for each other. We are so focused on having what we want that we forget we share the country with others. This realization could incite a range of emotions, but for me, it’s disappointment.

I’m disappointed with the churches that support and condone hatred and disrespect of anyone. I’m disappointed with anyone in a political office who disrespects any part of our population. I’m disappointed with anyone who thinks some of us are more valuable or more important and treats others poorly as a result. I’m disappointed with people who don’t have room in their heart for those who are suffering, homeless or in pain just because they don’t look like, act like or live like we do.

This behavior is seemingly so apparent that it makes me wonder: maybe we just aren’t a kind people.

But, we weren’t born hateful and judgmental. We learned it. So, if we can learn it, could we also relearn how to be kind?

Our country is an experiment. Could people who look different, believe different things and live in different ways learn to see what is great in each other, collaborate with each other and find a way to peacefully live with each other? Could we show the rest of the world that we don’t always agree but we commit to solving our issues fairly and respectfully? Could we show the world that when we are kind, caring and respectful of each other, we unite to do remarkable things both at home and in the world?

I believe we can.

If we are mindful enough, we can learn to shift from seeing what is different with others to seeing what makes them remarkable (because there are remarkable attributes in all of us). And as such, they deserve our respect, care and support.

Our founding fathers’ intention in creating a country committed to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness wasn’t about who could have the most stuff, so we could feel more important than others. It was the belief that we must work together to build a culture that allowed everyone to self-realize, to cultivate their potential so they could deliver that potential back to our world. This is how things improve. This is the formula to be our best to make things better for all of us in our country.

And if we can do this within our borders, we could learn to do it and teach others to do it with everyone on the planet.

The result? A kinder and more mindful world where everyone has a life that matters. We all live under the same big sky. Whatever life sends, we have the collective genius to handle it. But to do this, we need everyone. We need everyone to contribute their ideas, support and remarkable abilities. Life is big and complicated, but we have what we need to handle it wisely and well. To do this, we will have to learn – or relearn – how to be kind.

Take Action

Check in on yourself. Are you kind, caring and respectful to everyone? If so, bravo! If not, check in on whatever beliefs you have that give you permission to behave otherwise. Kindness encourages relationships; being unkind discourages them. Relationships drive trust, and trust drives the ability to work together and solve life’s challenges. Maybe it is time for a belief adjustment.

 

Consider reading Your Personal Board of Directors

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Learn To See The Good

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

Despite the challenges we may face – whether it’s at home, at work, with our family, at school – does it seem hard to believe that there’s more right in your world than wrong?

As a coach and speaker, I find that most of my clients and audiences are tuned in to what’s not working instead of what is working. Why is that when there is clearly so much more right than wrong?

First, our brains are programmed to watch for danger. Our fight or flight response is designed to help us survive. That part of the brain isn’t interested in loving life, doing great things, seeing the best in others – it is just there to help us be aware of anything that challenges our survival.

Try this: change your mindset. Though you may have been programmed to watch for the negative, learning to be more self-aware helps you start to notice your emotions and energy. You can’t control or change what you don’t notice.

During your day, start to ask yourself, “What am I feeling?” If the answer is a negative, unhappy or unproductive feeling, know that you have the ability to change your mindset just by noticing the negative. With this awareness, shift your mindset to being more open, optimistic and opportunity focused.

It takes practice but it can be done. You choose your emotions and energy level. You choose how you want to relate to that challenging boss, that upset customer or the long line at Starbucks. You don’t have to be upset. You could be calm, happy, content. Tap into these emotions by being more aware.

And second, we are surrounded by negative news. Terrorism, politics, conflicts, hacking, security, divorce, reality TV, wars. We are confronted with a 24-hour stream of negativity because, as the media outlets know, bad news sells.

Try this: control what you listen to. Remember, you are the owner of your life. It is your choice to tune out when you need a break. Switch it out for something that is empowering, engaging, supportive, entertaining and educational. Replace it by spending time doing what you love and enjoy. Limit time on social media, choose reputable and news-focused organizations to stay updated on your world, or listen to music or mind-engaging podcasts.

Just because the world talks loudly doesn’t mean you always have to listen. For a good essay about this, check out George Saunders’ The Braindead Megaphone.

You have to learn to see the good. Your world has made you cynical and part of your brain has made you defensive. The benefit is that life immediately changes when you first look for what’s working and what’s good, instead of what’s not working and what’s bad.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is very negative and 10 is very positive, where are you now? Where were you yesterday? Where are you on the important things in your life?
  2. What is one thing you could do today to change how you look at yourself and the world around you, to watch for the good, the successes and the opportunities?

We can’t always control the situations that life sends us, but we certainly can choose how we see them. Learn to see the good.

Consider reading Tune Out to Tune In

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Are You The Great Pretender?

By Jay Forte

Social media has made us constantly aware of what others have, are doing and are experiencing. We know about their trips, their adventures and their awards. We hear about what great things are happening to their friends, their kids and their grandkids. We hear about job promotions and successes.

But we rarely hear about or see the other side, the real life side – their challenges, failures and disappointments.

It can be tempting to compare your life to what you’re seeing from others, driving questions like: If their lives are so great, what am I doing wrong? What are they doing that I should be doing to be happier and more successful?

These questions rarely have the positive impact you’d assume – many people make big life changes based solely on their interpretation of what others do and find that after making these changes, things aren’t any better.

This is when people are often confronted by The Great Pretender. You think that by doing and being like others, you will have what they have and your life will be great. But it doesn’t turn out that way for two primary reasons:

  1. You are seeing only what others choose to share with you – the highlights. All lives have challenges and obstacles, so you’re only getting a partial view of their lives.
  2. Pretending distracts you away from what’s amazing in your life. When you pretend to be someone else, you step away from what makes you you. You are not others – don’t compare your life to theirs. Instead, focus on knowing, developing and living who you really are – that is the key to your greatest success, joy and happiness.

Being The Great Pretender is one of the greatest wastes of time. It distances you from all of what makes you your best self, and is frequently done just to impress others about something that doesn’t matter.

The way to be the best version of yourself is to be authentic and believe that you have the ability and responsibility to define what a great life is for you. Fight the urge to compare your life to the string of successes on Facebook and other social media channels. Know it is just a snapshot of someone else’s life. Appreciate the greatness and successes in others, then define what belongs in your great life.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. In what areas of your life are you pretending, trying to be something or someone you are not?
  2. How would being more authentic connect you to your greater abilities, interests and values?
  3. How can you be better about noticing and applauding others for the great things in their lives but avoiding comparing yourself, your situation and your life to theirs?

Being authentic is the key to a happy and successful life. Decide who you will be and what you want in life. Leave the pretending to the storytellers.

Consider reading Embrace Your Face

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Create A Personal Report Card

By Jay Forte

So many people have good intentions to make a change in their lives. They think about it. They talk about it. They actually start to do something and then, for many, it falls apart. Why does this happen?

  1. They lack goal clarity. Basically, they aren’t really sure what they want to achieve. A clear goal is required to know which direction is forward, sideways and backward. Clarity is key.
  2. They lack an accountability partner. Sometimes, you need someone to lean on or to help you stay committed to your commitments and goals. This is why many people look to gym buddies at the start of a new workout plan. Whether it’s a workplace coach, a friend or a family member, consider sharing your goal and ask them to help keep you committed to your achievement plan.
  3. They don’t measure or keep track of goals and progress. How will you know what progress you are making if you use generic and non-measurable terms like “do better,” “improve,” “work harder” or provide no metrics or measurements at all? Measurement is critical to the achievement of all goals. It allows you to assess whether your progress is at, ahead or behind expectation.

Before you start to move forward on making any change in your life, think about creating a personal report card to keep you moving forward on your goals.

A personal report card could include a spreadsheet of goals and your current progress or performance on each, tracked on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule. For example, you may have a goal of meditating and taking time to do some self-discovery work every day, so your goal is 30 days for the month. Seeing that you completed this 12 times in the month creates a review point for you. If you only did it 12 times, how important was the goal to you? If it was important, what stopped you from meeting your goal of 30 days?

Regularly comparing your progress against a goal provides information about what’s working and what’s not, giving you information from which to make wiser and better next decisions – to do more of what’s working and to improve on what’s not working.

When it comes to goals, measurements matter.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. How can you create clear and measurable goals?
  2. What method will work best for you to measure your progress on your goals?
  3. What is one thing you can do right now to make progress on your goals?

As poet Mary Oliver asks in her poem, The Summer Day, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” How can creating clear and measurable goals help you have that “wild and precious life?”


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Embrace Your Face

By Jay Forte

You were born with your amazing face. It matches your unique combination of talents, strengths, passions and interests. It goes along with your values, dreams and aspirations. Don’t try to hide it, trade it for another or find fault with it. Embrace it; it is you and represents the real you.

Embrace your face means you accept yourself; you see yourself as valuable, important and just right as you are. No fixing needed. No validation from others required.

The biggest thing I have learned in my years on the planet is those who have happy, successful and amazing lives fully understand and accept who they are. They have learned not to compare themselves to others because they know we are all different and unique on purpose. They don’t see what they have or don’t have as good or bad – they just see that everyone has unique abilities, talents and gifts. No one person is any more amazing or gifted than another, they are just a different type of amazing and have different gifts. They know life isn’t about being perfect, or being like someone else; it is about being real, honest, authentic and committed to knowing and living who you really are – to be the best version of you.

For many years, I lived my life according to the way those around me thought I should. I tried to “change my face” to act more like others, do what they do, believe what they believe, live how they live. It was too easy to see others and want what they have, be like them or live their way. But it quickly became evident that when I did that, I felt further and further from who I was, like I was living someone else’s life.

Don’t let this happen to you

The more you don’t embrace your face, the more you lose or hide the great things in you. You find yourself in places that don’t fit you, engage you or inspire you. You play small. You miss out.

I believe we are each here to do great things, things only we can do. And we can’t do them if we don’t embrace who we are, accept ourselves and develop the gifts, talents and abilities that are inherently ours. Not only do you miss out by not being really you, we all miss out on the great things you were born to do.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. How do you embrace your face – and all of you that comes with it?
  2. What is one thing you could do today to be more authentic, honest and true to yourself?
  3. What will help you develop the courage to live who you really are and not be so worried about what others think and feel about you?

You are you and you were born just right. Stand proud. Discover, develop and live your true self. Embrace your face.

 

Consider reading Tune Out to Tune In

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Tune Out To Tune In

By Jay Forte

It is rare to see someone not connected to a device. We’re constantly gathering information from sources that fill our brains with things others think are important. But there is something this constant chatter can never give you – information about you.

It is obviously necessary to stay connected in today’s world. However, before you can truly understand the impact of the news and information you hear, you need to know you – the you that has to make choices about what’s right for you and what’s not for you in both work and life. This requires tuning out to tune in.

Every one of us has unique and amazing talents and strengths that are distinctively ours. There are no two people on the planet who share identical profiles and, as a result, there isn’t anything the outside world will tell you that will help you identify your talents and strengths to help you find your fit. No one will hand you an owners’ manual or a life guide book; you have to write this yourself.

We can find our particular place and way of living, one that aligns to what we do and love best, because we are all different and unique. It is in this alignment that we can choose how we show up in every moment of our lives, regardless of whether that moment is big or small.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, a mindfulness expert and author, shares that if you are able to be more aware in this moment, then you are able to use the information from this moment to make your next moment better.

Basically, if you can be self-aware in this moment – to you know your talents, strengths, passions and interests – you can use that information to make a better and wiser decision about you in the next moment. True, you need to know what is going on in your world too, but only after you discover who you are to use what you know of you to make wise decisions in your world. Don’t let the world tell you who to be – know who you are and bring the real you to find your fit in all areas of work and life.

To access this critical information, tune out the noisy, opinionated and directing world and tune in to you – the wise, talented and amazingly unique person you are. Doing so will give you access to the information needed to make wiser and better choices.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. What do you notice about yourself when you really pay attention to who you are and what makes you, you?
  2. How can learning about the real you help improve your decisions in work and life?
  3. What can you do today to disconnect from the world to better understand yourself?

You are great and awesome just as you are. Don’t be a stranger to yourself – take the time to discover, develop and live the true you. You are here to do great things.

 

Consider reading Create a Personal Report Card

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