Improve HR with a Rotational Onboarding Program and Peer-to-Peer Hiring

One important initiative at ING has been a new three-week onboarding program, also inspired by Zappos, that involves every employee spending at least one full week at the new Customer Loyalty Team operations call center taking customer calls. As they move around the key areas of the bank, new employees quickly establish their own informal networks and gain a deeper understanding of the business.

We have … [ Read more ]

Give Your Employees Meaning to Improve Turnover

At Zumasys, in addition to the typical corporate benefits, every employee gets three to four weeks of vacation, complementary access to the company’s two-bedroom Vegas loft, and the opportunity to qualify for a tenure-based international travel program that, each year, gives four to six employees a week off with pay and a $4,000 stipend to travel to the destination of their choice. The open-book financials … [ Read more ]

Institutionalize an “Astonishment Report”

At the end of their induction period (generally three months), new hires are required to write (and discuss with their boss) a short report documenting anything and everything that they have found interesting or surprising since joining the company.

Why You Should Interview People Who Turn Down a Job with Your Company

Successfully competing for top talent involves both selling jobs to the best candidates and retaining the highest performing incumbents. In order to be seen as an employer of choice with a compelling value proposition for employees, many companies measure turnover and conduct exit interviews with departing employees to gather feedback about the experiences people had working there and the reasons why they’re leaving. But a … [ Read more ]

Learn and Earn

ipd Company, a small auto parts company in Portland, Oregon, pays its employees to read. And, not just business books, but a wide range of self-improvement books. And, not just books, but also tapes and audio/video seminars.

Richard Gordon, president of ipd, started the “Learn and Earn” program in 1988 when he began to wonder, “what would it be like if our people read the same … [ Read more ]

Make Your Remote Team Members First-Class Citizens

If a benefit, perk or experience is created for your in-office team members, find a way to create parity for those who aren’t in person. That means mailing items given to your in-office team to remote workers — or if you cover lunch for your in-office team, send your remote team a gift card or stipend for food delivery. […] If your leadership team has … [ Read more ]

“Rule of Two” for Promotions

When George Halvorson was chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, he instituted a “rule of two” to encourage diversity and help avoid the “just like me” bias that’s prevalent in many promotion decisions. For appointments at the VP level and above, Halvorson encouraged leaders to bring three candidates, and no more than two of them could have a similar demographic profile—for example, sex or race. … [ Read more ]

A Living Archive of “Introduce Yourself” Emails

As outlined in the [company’s] Day One Document, a hire sends an “Introduce Yourself” email at the end of the first day. It’s a scripted greeting to the company from the new hire sharing a bit of background and trivia. “Everyone who starts with the company sends one out. It also includes a photo and a link to three questions on Barista, Percolate’s internal Q&A … [ Read more ]

Hiring Tips

Because you may have a long list of candidates, you should batch calls as often as possible. For example, set aside 15 minute segments in a 3 hour block daily. In a first-pass, I always ask:

  1. “Walk me through your resume”, to understand if the candidate is actually interested in a startup via a clear story, or just shotgunning their resume;
  2. “If you left a

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Stay Interviews

There are many ways to invest in employees you fear may be looking to leave: pay increases, promotions, special projects, etc.  One technique is to use what are called “stay interviews.”  Instead of conducting only exit interviews to learn what caused good employees to quit, hold regular one-on-one interviews with current high-performing employees to learn what keeps them working in your organization and what could … [ Read more ]

Salary Bands

As you think about building out a team, you’ll want market data to ensure you’re making hires within the right salary bands. It’s much easier to have a conversation with a candidate when you have market data vs. what you’ve just heard from your peers. Creating salary bands with multiple seniority or experience levels early on will help navigate tricky internal equity discussions down the … [ Read more ]

A Compensation Philosophy

Why is it so important to have a philosophy around compensation early on? As a company is growing and establishing its culture and values, it needs to make sure that its compensation philosophy is aligned with the company’s overall mission and values. For example, a company that identifies with “transparency” as a value, needs to make sure that its compensations practices are transparent. Anyone involved … [ Read more ]

External Talent Needs Management, Too

The corporate use of external talent across sectors and geographies is more common than ever. Talent can provide companies with access to new capabilities and technologies; it can enable faster and more agile response to markets; it can be used to test new opportunities before making major investments; it can be used to respond to demand peaks and to attain scale quickly; and, perhaps most … [ Read more ]

Have Senior Management Work in Customer Service at Least One Day a Year

Kaizen and the whole process of continuous improvement was, and continues to be, a powerful tool at Amazon. That’s partly because for a long time Jeff Bezos has had all of senior management work in customer service at least one day a year. This allowed executives to see events on the front line, to understand the problems that came up, and to help find solutions. … [ Read more ]

Analyze Your Firm’s Jobs and Activities

McKinsey has been investigating the future impact of automation on the workplace. The firm structures its analysis around roughly 2,000 individual work activities and assesses the requirements for each of these activities against 18 different capabilities (see below) that potentially could be automated. Analyzing your own firm’s jobs and activities with a similar framework would not only help plan for future disruptions, but also could … [ Read more ]

Apply Principles of Customer Experience Design to HR Practices

Applying customer experience strategy to employee experience begins with needs-based segmentation, grouping employees into clusters based on their wants and needs.  Most companies organize employees in standard groupings like job title, rank, department, business unit, or geography. But just as customer experience design requires a more nuanced understanding of customers than simple demographics or economic value, employee experience design should be based on employees’ drivers … [ Read more ]

Make Job Descriptions More Inclusive

You can attract more diverse applicants if you avoid using male pronouns and stereotypically masculine words or attributes when outlining desired qualifications. Tools like Textio can help identify if language in job descriptions is potentially disqualifying.

Nurture Your Talent Pool With Drip Email Marketing

Most of the time we can only hire one person for a position. That means we may have to turn down some really talented people. Don’t let the work you did finding that talent go to waste. They can become a stable of potential employees ready to fill your next position.

One easy way to make this work is through drip email marketing. Once you’ve made … [ Read more ]

Assign New Employees an Early Win

Consider giving new recruits a small project they can accomplish during their first month on the job. Have them all spend five minutes presenting whatever it is they did at the next All Hands following their first day. It’s an opportunity to make immediate impact and introduce themselves to everyone in a positive light. It’ll also build camaraderie between folks who started within the same … [ Read more ]

Test Drive New Employees

Not sure if an employee can “hack” the startup environment? Try freelancing first or do what companies like Automattic do – figure it out by having potential employees do real (paid) tasks with the team before making it official.