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Stop Playing “Catch Up” With Your Employees

Stop Playing “Catch Up” With Your Employees

Many employers have lofty visions for their employees... they craft vision statements and values; they long for their employees to be “engaged” and “2.0′′, and spend hours deliberating the company “culture” that each employee should display.

So then why are so many employees not engaged, 1.0, go against the culture, and fail to behave in accordance with the values?

Because too many employers play “catch up” with their employees – meaning they wait to communicate such guidelines (or simply never communicate them) until it’s too late and the employee has been there long enough that their bad behavior is set, and will take twice as long to change.

Imagine saying to an employee who has been at your company for three years, “You are not acting according to our values.” In many cases, the employee’s response? “What values?” or “I’ve been doing it this way all along.” It’s like trying to introduce wedding vows at a 3-yr anniversary. Chances are you’ll be unsuccessful (if the marriage even lasts that long!).

What’s an employer to do? It’s simple actually. Instead of trying to correct undesirable behavior after- the-fact, start the new employee out with the ideal behavior in the first place.

The reality is that all the buzzwords companies talk about today work better if they are instilled the first day the employee walks through the door, in what is known as the onboarding period. “Culture” begins at onboarding; “Engagement” begins at onboarding; “2.0′′ only happens if your onboarding is 2.0.

Yet so many companies do a poor job of onboarding a new employee and – worse yet – set a precedence that projects the exact opposite image than what they are trying to. How can you expect an employee to behave “collaboratively” if you throw your new employee into his or her job with no collaboration.

We’ve worked with companies, improving the way they onboard new employees and invariably what we develop ends up benefiting existing employees as well, because no one took the time when they were new.

A National Study suggests that new employees of companies with highly-rated onboarding programs are:

  • 52% more likely to understand the desired conduct of an employee.
  • 95% more likely to feel part of a team.
  • 48% more likely to feel a strong sense of commitment to the organization. - 23% more likely to remain at the company after six months.

Next time you are considering an initiative whose goal is to change employees’ attitude or behavior, start fresh rather than playing catch-up! By first improving your onboarding, your employees will more consistently live your ideals because they’ve never known anything else. First impressions and precedence do mean that much.

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Robert Bilotti is Managing Director of Novita Training. An award-winning learning developer, Robert has an extensive background in instructional strategy and design and is known by his clients as an “innovative thinker”, someone who can bring fresh ideas to any project. A former Training Director, Robert has developed complex learning solutions in a range of industries. He is a requested speaker on a variety of learning topics, has served as an adjunct professor of writing at the Institute of Design and Technology in Chicago and is a former Advertising Agency Creative Director.

One Comment


  1. Great article, and extremely relevant. Loyalty starts at the interview, and values get clarified on an ongoing basis. You don’t exercise once for life. You do it over and over again…and soon it becomes habit.

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