Creating a durable commitment to the organization and the work itself.
Immersion focuses on your most costly and potentially your highest payback investment:
Your People. Now, and in the future.
Immersion of new hires is not a human resources fad. It is a proven business strategy that saves money, increases productivity and can generate a more profitable culture.
The Immersion process creates a COMMON FUTURE and COMMON PURPOSE for all participants by aligning Expectations, Values, Purpose for the customer, Mission and Goals to the participant’s talents and aspirations. It engages intellect and emotions.
Immersion is not a quick fix for organizational issues. It does not come in a box, nor can it be learned at a luncheon seminar. It is a professional tool that needs to be custom fit to your organization and your desired future.
Champion uses the term “Immersion” in place of Onboarding. It better describes the desired results.
The basics of Immersing a new hire(or re-immersing an existing employee) to create a common “now” and future:
- Your organization: The what, how and WHY you are. The history, founders, changes, reasons, customers then and now. What shaped the organization? What were the Ah-Hah moments. Every organization has a story. Stories have meanings and become the core of where you have been, and WHY you are now and where you are going.
- Values, Purpose, Mission, Goals. “Values in action” create your Culture and desired Culture. What behaviors drive your expectations? The expectations of your customers? Values drive the behaviors of your staff, management and vendors. Purpose is your ultimate reason for being in business. Mission is where you want to go. Goals are the prescribed steps to get there. These together provide a Shared Future with which to engage efforts. Knowledge of these core components creates the FRAMEWORK for everything else.
- Expectations of employment. What outcomes and behaviors cause a person to be of value?
- Career Future? Is there an opportunity to do more later than at the beginning of employment? Is there a path? What does it take to achieve that future. What others have done this. Is it okay to NOT want to achieve moving up?
- What is the job to be done, really? Describe the actual duties to be done, how, why and with what. Describe it so that a new person can visualize actually doing it. What are the challenges? What is the environment?
- What are the performance expectations? What are the metrics, the ramp-up. Why? How? Time? Who keeps the metrics. When are they shared. What meaning do they have. Are the metrics tools for training and development or are they only punitive.
- What are the hours, days? When is overtime? Voluntary or mandatory? When will the person know about overtime? What if overtime CANNOT be worked due to an outside circumstance? Lunch, breaks.
- Benefits: Time to qualify. ALL of the details, all of the plans, choices to be made and when. Want to really bring the value of benefits home? Explain the cost to the organization for each plan. Most employees can see “benefits” as only a cost to themselves or as an entitlement.
- What are the tools employees will be given? Who will do it, why that person. How will it be delivered. WHY? How long? How often? How does it relate to expectations and metrics? What physical tools are needed? Are they available now.
- (In any job, but especially on the shop floor) How is it trained? How is safety measured. How does safety pair with job duties? Equipment. Procedures. Standards. Dress. What happens when safe work practices are NOT observed?
- General work rules. Every organization has “work rules” that are meant to create an efficient and safe environment with mutual expectations. Do’s and Don’ts.
- Quality Standards. It is one thing to have total output rules. Quality standards that are understood make the work have meaning for the product or service. Quality standards set a level of Pride.
- Have them chat with the CEO, Owner or a C-Suite Executive. Good people are attracted to Visible, Tangible leadership. This is one simple component of boosting the new person’s esteem.
- Assign each person a “Mentor” or “Work Buddy”. This person is not a supervisor, but a person who is considered a great employee. Let the Mentor help the new person navigate the daily grind, answer common questions and keep the new person learning.
- Train the Mentor. Make Immersion part of their job description and a new accountability for that person’s career development. The accountability factor has to be tied to the overall progress of the organization. Not all current employees will get this. Choose and train carefully.
- Open up the relationship between existing and new staff members. This introduces a reality to your talks about the organization’s Culture.
- Written and Verbal communications. These cannot be made up on the fly. If you want to have a productive staff that endures and is realistically passionate about their work, your first impression with them needs to be thought-out and consistent. It needs to be part of the storyline all employees know and forward throughout the team.
- I.I.F.M. ? What’s in it for me (the employee). How do I fit in? Why do I want to do this job, at this company?
- As a new hire begins acclimation to the organization, they need to have open and honest feedback opportunities with supervisors and Mentors. How am I doing? How is what I have been told about the organization and opportunity comparing to reality? What questions does the new person have that have not been addressed? What input/ suggestions does the new person have that could foster a better immersion program? A better overall productivity for the organization? New hires can have “the eyes of a child” and see possible improvements that others do not. Being listened to will create an engagement beyond the norm.
- What you tell a new hire and what that new hire sees and experiences as “real” can be different. Putting context (where the future goals and reality meet) is a critical component of practical immersion. What things need change? How can the new hire help?
- Immersion as a path to changing a culture. The influence that a new hire and Mentor can have on an existing culture can be a way to change the future. As more new hires are brought on through well thought-through Immersion, you will begin to see and feel a change in the work culture. It is a great way to start a management “do-over” of the issues that have seemed to be roadblocks.
- WHY? Immersion is founded in answers. There is always a WHY to everything that is done within an organization, right down to the smallest detail. WHY can separate tasks from strategies and provide all participants a reason for what they are doing or not doing. Keeping your staff in the dark will certainly produce the proverbial mushroom.
- Your employment “Brand”. An in-place, working Immersion plan that is executed and updated in a fluid fashion can create or recreate your recognized employment Brand in the potential worker community. What is your Brand now? Do you know? Is it attractive? Is it correct? How can it be improved?
- Your entire Immersion program is meant to generate trust between the organization, management, employees and the new hire. A Culture of Trust generates a 76% increase in engagement. (Dr. Paul J. Zak, Harvard Business Review January 2017. The Neuroscience of Trust)
These are ONLY the basics.
When should Immersion start? First day on the job? NO!
Immersion starts the absolute first time you speak with or communicate with a prospective employee (or Vendor or Customer).
Put it all in a printed manual and let them read it ? Or put it all ONLINE and suggest they read it? NO!
Written manuals should be reference material. The same with online manuals. Reference only.
Engagement is best left to people connecting with people.
Put an entire follow up system in your HR software. Follow up with Managers, the employee and use it to preschedule all involved. The follow up is critical.
How and when to begin Immersion:
Let’s start with “the first time you communicate with a prospect”. Perhaps that means a fully Immersed Staffing or Recruiting firm. Or perhaps that means a well-constructed website that is full of your organization’s “story” for prospective employees. It needs to be communicated in an ad, print or online. A phone pre-screening call that goes beyond just a boring “have you done X …”. Immersing a customer prospect is also a part of full onboarding or Immersion, as is Immersing a Vendor. A top vendor will need to know YOUR purpose of being in business to be of value to you. Keeping any asset in the dark about what makes your organization special is being lazy, not productive. Employee prospects are also vendors. Of their talent and engagement.
- Traditionally, a prospective employee’s interview process has been a lot of “question and answer” and questions designed to count someone out. There has been very little “sell or tell”. By using selective parts of your organization’s story, expectations and the “Why we do what we do, the way we do it”, you will better prepare the prospective employee to understand the big picture and make decisions about “fit” on their own (Context). If you want real answers to important questions, don’t hide the target. It does however, require you to go a little deeper with the person than “sure, that sounds good to me” as answers to your questions.
- The interview needs to be part of a continual process of creating a Common “NOW”, a Common Future, and Common Purpose that binds employee, employer and customer together.
Champion's IMMERSION Advisory Practice is headed by a 40 year veteran of HR, Recruiting.
Need basic or in-depth assistance? Call Robert Schepens, CPC at 216-823-5900
Implementing IMMERSION will absolutely reduce Hiring Issue, Increase Productivity and increase Retention, adding to your bottom line.
Chapter 11 in the book: The Great Workplace 2.0
15,000 copies in circulation.