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7 things your new hires wish you did differently

Have you ever played Two Truths and a Lie? It’s a great team-building activity where someone says two true statements and one false statement, and the group has to guess which is which. Perfect for breaking the ice with new team members, but not so great for building the foundation of your HR role.

Unfortunately, HR frequently works off outdated assumptions, making your job like an epic game of Two Truths and a Lie at some points. In our groundbreaking study conducted with Vlerick Business School, Talmundo discovered that there’s often a gap between what HR professionals think new hires want and what employees actually want. Are you falling prey to these common HR misconceptions?

HR Misconception 1: Employees understand what you do

You know what you’re responsible for but that doesn’t mean everyone else does, especially new hires who may come toting their own misconceptions about HR. Some may believe that HR is just the “office police,” doling out reprimands and watching out for the company’s best interest. Other employees might think that HR is supposed to help them with salary negotiations and performance goals.

In reality, the typical HR department has a finger in a lot of pies, from recruiting and onboarding to managing employee benefits and resolving conflicts, but each team is a little unique. Make sure that employees understand HR’s purview and can take full advantage of your awesome resources.

HR Misconception 2: Managers need less coaching than entry-level hires

Consider this: your typical middle manager oversees 50% more employees than a decade ago and spends approximately 15% less time with each. That’s a lot of pressure for managers, especially in the first several months after hire when they’re still battling the learning curve themselves.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing that managers need less coaching than entry-level hires. It can be lonely at the top (and middle), and team leaders require just as much of your attention as entry-level new hires.

HR Misconception 3: Recruiting great employees starts with interviewing

Glassdoor reports that more than 3 out of 4 job seekers want more details regarding what makes a company a great place to work. Job seekers want a sneak peek of your company’s brand when deciding whether to apply—meaning job descriptions are the place to snag great employees. The interview stage is too late to start wooing them.

If you’re using a standard job description template for all positions or a template pulled from another company, revamp to highlight your unique brand and company culture. Goodbye, blegh. Hello, hell yeah.

Tip: Check out these 6 job description fails that could be alienating your best candidates.

HR Misconception 4: Employees can navigate their benefits without you

Employee benefits are one of the most important elements of recruiting and retaining great talent. In fact, four in five job seekers would rather receive additional employee benefits than a pay increase. Some benefits can be difficult to understand, though, like retirement savings plans, tuition assistance, and health insurance.

Even something as supposedly straightforward, like your company’s unlimited vacation policy, may be opaquer than you’d think. Does unlimited really mean “take time whenever you want with no strings attached”? Is there a process for vacation approval or notifying coworkers and managers about absences? Does your company culture truly support unlimited vacation or do employees feel guilty when trying to take time off? You’re darn right we’ve got questions!

Rather than assuming employees know how to best use their benefits, act as captain of the ship and help guide them through the portfolio of perks.

HR Misconception 5: Keeping salaries a secret is the way to go

Making salaries open knowledge: talk about an HR nightmare! Well, not so fast. While many companies and their HR teams shudder at the term “pay transparency,” this growing trend can make for a happier, more engaged workforce.

In a study performed through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform, researchers found that those who received open salary information performed better and worked harder than those without access to salary information.

Other studies have shown similar positive effects. Although many companies have yet to switch to pay transparency out of fear for employee riots, these studies are a sign that your HR department may want to rethink that strategy.

HR Misconception 6: All employees should be treated identically

Don’t worry, no favoritism or nepotism here. What we’re saying is that today’s HR professionals have to consider the unique needs of not just traditional full-time, in-office workers, but remote workers and freelancers as well. One study found that:

  • 70% of employees worldwide telecommute at least one day a week
  • More than half of all employees telecommute at least half of the week

Treating these team members the same as in-office employees will miss the mark, causing what might be some of your highest performers to become disconnected from the company culture. Designing an onboarding program specifically for remote workers and implementing strategies to keep them engaged are key.

HR Misconception 7: The performance goals and rewards of yesteryear still work today

Management approaches have changed a lot over the past few decades. Even the past few years have seen a switch from emphasizing IQ and hard skills to EQ (emotional intelligence), among other things.

Then why have so many performance metrics and rewards stayed the same? You know what we mean: the same carrot-and-stick bonus structure, the same much-hated annual performance reviews that don’t do a dang thing for improvement. Talk about old school.

If those “standards” have been collecting dust for years without anyone giving them a second thought, it’s a good sign that you might need to reassess employee goals—particularly for burnout-prone new hires. Start by exploring our simple 3-step recipe for creating successful employee objectives.

All in all, what you think your new hires need and what they actually need are very different.

Download our FREE onboarding research study—conducted with Vlerick Business School—to understand exactly what new hires want in their onboarding program. It’s that simple!

Topics: Onboarding , Reinvent
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