Episode 14: Importance of Proper Onboarding

Podcast Guests

photo of Leighann Lovely

Leighann Lovely

SITE Staffing, Inc.

photo of Wendy Terwelp

Wendy Terwelp

Opportunity Knocks of Wisconsin, LLC

Setting the right tone from day one is so important. Join Leighann Lovely and Wendy Terwelp for another amazing conversation about the importance of setting your employees up for success on day one.

Leighann Lovely 0:06
Welcome to HRables: HR In Bite-Sized Pieces, presented by SITE Staffing. I’m your host Leighann Lovely. Today companies struggle not only to find employees but to keep in place, we are seeing all kinds of incentives being offered in order to get employees to stay, as well as show up on time, or just show up. One of the most time consuming processes and expensive processes is onboarding. So I have Wendy Terwelp with me to talk to me about this today. Wendy Terwelp is a certified career management coach and personal branding strategist who founded Opportunity Knocks of Wisconsin LLC, a boutique career development firm that provides training and development services to organizations wanting to enhance their brands up level networking results, and attract top talent. She also works with individuals who want to take their careers to the next level. Wendy’s previous experience includes recruiting and news reporting. Dubbed a LinkedIn guru by Washington Post, her career advice is quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the Business Journal, Fast Company, Inc, the Chicago Tribune, CTDO magazine, and more. She appeared on ABC, NBC and Fox among other media. Her books include Rock Your Network, Rock Your Job Search, and Jumpstart Your Job Search and Get Hired Fast, which was included in the Association for Talent Development’s Best on Career Development Anthology. Wendy also served on the board of Professional Dimensions Charitable Fund, and the Wisconsin Association of Staffing Services. Welcome back, Wendy. It’s so great to talk to you again.

Wendy Terwelp 2:13
Excited to be here. Thanks for welcoming me back.

Leighann Lovely 2:16
Yes. So onboarding an employee is an expensive and time consuming process. Today we are seeing turnover hit an all time high, with both long term employees and employees starting at companies and only staying for a short time. What do you think that we have to do differently in today’s world when onboarding an employee to streamline that process, but also make sure that the employee is not feeling like a you know, a simple number?

Wendy Terwelp 2:44
Well, I think sometimes what happens and you mentioned this, kind of in our pre meeting, really was that people are so short handed, that they feel they have no time to do training, right, or onboarding, or they want someone who’s not accountable to do the onboarding. And, and we’re getting that across the board, not just in manufacturing, but in other types of professions as well, where they’re so swamped and so busy, that they’re not taking the time to properly onboarding people. And I can say, from my early experience, when I worked in staffing, they were like, check out the files, boom, and that was my orientation. Now, I’m a person who is not afraid to ask questions. But if I’m newbie, I may not be comfortable asking questions. So what can a company do? First of all, there’s some many simple ways that you can onboard that doesn’t have to be so complex, even if the job is complex. You know, what is your knowledge base? It is doesn’t necessarily have to be accessible like a knowledge database, although that’s preferred, because it’s super easy and person doesn’t have to ask anyone questions, they can just go to your knowledge base and enter in a term and find out information. But you can still go old school and have binders of readily available information, you can do something as simple as create a job guide. This is not an employee handbook, although you need that for HR purposes, I’m talking about a simple one sheet that just outlines some of the basics. And you can give that to a person that might take you one time to create, which Yes, it’s going to take longer because you got to get buy in from your leadership and, you know, create it, but then it’s one and done until the process needs modification. And that could be a simple way to onboard someone. What else can you do? Keep in mind that if you help someone get what they want, you’ll get what you want. Right? People need to get up to speed faster, and they’ll stay longer and be retained. So you’re going to get that little bit production time, or little bit of time orientating someone, you’re going to get that back tenfold if they know exactly what to do. And you can onboard them 30% faster by doing these simple things.

Leighann Lovely 5:11
Yeah, that makes sense.

Wendy Terwelp 5:13
Right? So it’s not going to be lost, it’s going to be in fact, accelerate your production by doing this. Small tweaks can have big impacts. I know some manufacturers, what they do is they have a buddy system. And you mentioned a really good analogy to that, if you would like to share about the buddy system with your experience in the military?

Leighann Lovely 5:36
Well, yeah, I mean, well, in the army, Army National Guard, I was Army National Guard. But I mean, for the longest time, you, you couldn’t go anywhere without a buddy. And that was a matter of, Okay, you got to go somewhere, take your buddy, because you know, if you’re doing something wrong, or they’re going to correct you, but it was also a safety thing in the beginning to it, but that’s just kind of a, you know, training, it’s just kind of, you know, ingrained in you, you know, when you start out in in the army is everywhere you go. For training purposes, it’s for safety purposes. And you know, like you and I were talking about, they train hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people a year, right, and they’re successful. Exactly, doesn’t interrupt their process, it makes it more successful.

Wendy Terwelp 6:30
And that’s what we can do here in manufacturing, right, streamline the process. If you have a training and development team, I know some places are smaller and may not have that. But if you can get buy in, or you have a training and development team, or you can bring in a consulting firm to help you streamline this, do it, because it might be a one time expense that can save you 1000s later, right? If you can get your people up to speed 30% faster, what kind of money is that going to save you? And not only that, it’s going to up your production.

Leighann Lovely 7:04
Yeah, absolutely. Well, and you had mentioned earlier, too, that, you know, so often people or companies will bring an individual on and three months later say we have to let this person go. They’re just not working out. And so easily or so often, it’s easy for the company to say, Oh, it was just a it was a bad hire.

Wendy Terwelp 7:29
Yeah. In fact, somebody just posted this on LinkedIn, the same thing, different field, it’s the same problem. Oh, you know, we, we, we did all the screening, and they spent hours and hours and hours of time screening the person to ensure there was a culture fit, ensure they knew the job duty, and then left, nothing to do any onboarding, no orientation, whatever. And the person quits A few months later. Well, how much money is that losing you by doing that? When instead you can take a couple of weeks, or set up a buddy system with your experience rockstars. And do that in two weeks, get that production going so much faster, have the job aid that they can refer back to that just has the basics. So they’re not asking you the same questions over and over either, right? Because that gets a little bit grinding. Right. So if you have that some of the basic, you know, frequently asked questions as they say the FAQs. That’ll save you a ton.

Leighann Lovely 8:35
Yeah, absolutely. So many companies have that I have spoken with how because of the enormous turnover that they have. They have said, Well, we don’t want to start doing the onboarding process until the employee proves that they’re going to show up consistently. And this seems to be part of the issue that we’re running into. How would you coach in a company on this?

Wendy Terwelp 9:16
Well, I think that is an excellent statement that you’ve made, because it’s a very catch 22 scenario, right? We don’t want to train anyone because they might quit, except if you don’t train someone, they’re going to quit. That’s like a guarantee they’re going to quit because you haven’t oriented them. They don’t know where things are. They don’t know what your expectations are for the role, right? So how can they succeed if they don’t even have the basics? And that doesn’t mean that they’re not qualified for the job because they are because you already gave them the test. You hired them you made a sound decision. Let’s make let’s ensure the soundness of that hire by training them and beginning the process immediately upon hire.

Leighann Lovely 10:02
Right, yeah, absolutely. So by doing the buddy system, kind of going back to that. Do you think that that truly is going to help? Or do you think that could ultimately interrupt some of the production?

Wendy Terwelp 10:18
I know that sometimes companies will say, in manufacturing, oh, this is going to take too much of our time, and we’re going to lose our best people because they’re doing this buddy system. But remember that this newbie, this new hire is going to be right alongside that person doing the job. So think about it a different way, change the mindset here. This is actually an investment not only in that new hire, but the person who you’ve chosen to buddy, you’ve just elevated that person’s status. Right? Because now they’re the expert, and they get to mentor someone. So pitch it that way. Don’t pitch it like, Oh, we got this new hire Joe, you gotta orient this person, they’re gonna follow you around. I know, you don’t want this. No, that’s not how you pitch it. pitch it different. Right? Joe, this is gonna be awesome. We’re bringing on you know, Jane. Jane is really excited to be here, she needs to learn from an expert, that’s you, you’re the best on this line. And we really need someone who’s the best to be showing the ropes to this new person, it’s only going to be a couple weeks till they get oriented. And by the way, let’s not forget that job aid. Right? So just give him that. So some of the stuff you don’t have to worry about saying over and over Joe, because we got this job aid now. And you can just give them that. But they need to see how you’re doing things. Because you’re the best at what you’re doing. You’re consistently 20% over production goal. We want Jane to be like you. That’s what we want.

Leighann Lovely 12:00
And that is an excellent way to pitch it. I mean, you have me smiling here. Somebody pitched it to me that way. I’d be like, yes, alright! You pump them up and give them that that extra, you know, excitement to come in and every day and train somebody. That’s I mean, yeah, it makes a difference. It absolutely makes a difference, because my husband’s in manufacturing. And when he has to train somebody, he automatically is like, man, I have to train this guy. But if it was pitched differently, I’m sure that he would have a different reaction.

Wendy Terwelp 12:38
Yeah. So it’s all on the pitch.

Leighann Lovely 12:41
Yep. So many companies have begun to handout sign on bonuses. Do you think that this is a solution to getting people back in the workforce?

Wendy Terwelp 12:52
Well, it’s interesting that you say back into the workforce, and people don’t want to work here and so forth. We’ve got to change that mindset, too. And that’s a big job. But let’s talk about signing bonuses. signing bonuses have been happening well before the pandemic. Certain roles are hard to fill. And so the sign on bonus is an incentive. But, you know, if you’re concerned about doling out the dough, right, and then going well, now, you know, we hired john and he didn’t show up. Well, instead, what if you do your incentive a little bit differently than the norm? Okay, it’s sign on bonus is 500 bucks, or whatever you decided is, I mean, I’ve had clients get signing bonuses of $20,000. You know. So it really depends on what your objectives are, right. But if you give an incentive, let’s say it’s a sign on bonus, your signup, bonuses, X, a smaller amount. And if you stay with us for 90 days and complete our, you know, preliminary contract and onboarding, you get another bonus. So what if you incentivize your bonus structure? And within those 90 days, they got to show up on time every day, they got to come into work, no excuses, and they got to complete whatever your orientation program is, or your onboarding program is right? And then they get boom, an extra bonus for doing it.

Leighann Lovely 14:22
Right. And, and there have been companies who have said, and I’ve seen them say it, you know, $1,000 signing bonus, you get 500 for starting, you get 500 at 90 days. There are different structures that are starting to happen out there. So do you think that ultimately this is going to push more people to get off the couch?

Wendy Terwelp 14:50
It’s so interesting that you feel that they are on the couch in the first place because that’s not necessarily the thing.

Leighann Lovely 14:56
You’re right. And I guess you know, I guess it’s it’s the feeling that from a staffing, you know, agency we just don’t see the numbers that we did before the pandemic.

Wendy Terwelp 15:12
Yeah. And that gets into a lot of different reasons, right. It’s not necessarily signing bonus. But we just talked about a few moments ago that a company is paying under what the feds are recommending. Right? And that, I know, was a big effort to get to 13 bucks an hour. However, I worked in staffing a long time ago, and they were doing 14 an hour. So I think you got to reevaluate your positioning. How is your How is your company brand being perceived? And it’s not just about pay, but you do need to be realistic and what’s being offered now. So that’s important. What else does your company doing beyond the paycheck? How are they involved in your community? What type of career plan do they have? If someone starts at x level, is there an opportunity for them to grow inside the company? Because younger people want that. So it’s not about the couch, I think we got to get over that mindset, and really take a look at what is it that the person wants? And if you’re not sure, ask your employees, they’re going to want to help you and they’re going to take ownership of it. And maybe by the way, do you have an employee referral program? Because I can tell you that that’s very incentivizing to get new staff, you know, so not only are going to have the staffing firm, working and really drilling down to the nitty gritty, hard to fill roles, but you can also incentivize your employees to find people as well. So with that one, two punch like that. Come on. You know?

Leighann Lovely 16:56
Well, this has been another amazing conversation. I really appreciate you coming in again and talking with me.

Wendy Terwelp 17:04
Thanks so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure. Great topics.

Leighann Lovely 17:09
If you are interested in reaching out to Wendy find her at her website at www.knocks.com. That’s www.knocks.com or grab your free personal assessment at bit.ly/RYCEvaluator. Thank you for tuning in. If you have a comment, or you’d like to just join the conversation, please reach out to us on LinkedIn. If you are a company and you would like assistance with your open positions, I’d love to hear from you. Or if you are looking for a new position you can apply at our website at www.SITEStaffingInc.com. And finally, if you enjoyed our podcast today, share us, like us, or leave a comment. Please tune in next time. I’m Leighann Lovely with SITE Staffing and this is HRables: HR In Bite-Sized Pieces. We are now available on Apple podcast, Google podcast, iHeart Radio, player FM, or wherever you get your podcasts.