A new employee’s first day(s) at the office can 1) confirm their feeling that they’ve made the right choice coming to work for you, or 2) make them wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake.

Needless to say, your chance of keeping the new person beyond the first few months goes up when their earliest days with the organization correspond to experience No. 1. So do the odds that the new hire will become fully engaged with your mission.

So what exactly goes into a good first day or three?

New hires need two big things from the onboarding process:

  • To feel as comfortable as possible, as soon as possible, and
  • To make progress in decoding the complex mix of values, procedures, customs, habits and jargon that makes up an organization’s culture.

The right space

Part of the “feeling comfortable” piece, of course, is a new hire’s impression that the employer has prepared an attractive, well-equipped work space for him or her. (read more…)

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It hardly seems possible, but the time has come when high-potential millennials are assuming leadership roles.

If you take the long view, it makes sense to prepare your best, young professionals now for the big promotional step that their predecessors typically had to wait 10, 15 years or longer to expect. They’re already so “up to speed” on so many essential, differentiating aspects of the competitive marketplace that they add value now that renders the typical career maturing process obsolete. You want to keep them. And to keep them often means promoting them at a more accelerated rate than you might have normally.

Here’s the problem: They’re still young. And in many ways — judgment, emotional intelligence, perspective — they’re still immature. Fast-tracking their career path means that they necessarily skip essential skill-building and seasoning experiences that typically helped their older colleagues make wiser choices. To their credit, they know they need that extra support around critical developmental areas. (read more…)

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One of the more puzzling and precarious realities about how owners lead businesses these days is the vast numbers who do so with little to no accountability. Every other employee is subject to scrutiny and performance reviews. Except if you’re the company king, The Boss Boss. But is that truly viable and sustainable?

Kudos are certainly due to owners for having the smarts, vision, courage and stamina to own the company. Many of you actually founded it. Congratulations. But owners would readily admit that nothing automatic comes with ownership. Infallibility, impeccable judgment and vital leadership skills are not “bundled” with the ownership package. And we all espouse the wisdom of continuous improvement — for our staff.

It just doesn’t occur to many of us owners that we need someone to hold us accountable. It’s an honest mistake. After all, we are accountable every day in so many ways to customers and employees and market forces. (read more…)

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

Q. What is one thing I can do to ensure that we are actively promoting and/or recruiting qualified women to higher levels in our organization?

yec_Maren Hogan1. Reach out

With all of the social tools and professional networks at our disposal, you can virtually trip over great talent and reach out to them. A surprising number of the workforce is willing to make a job change for the right reasons. Give them those reasons. — Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media

yec_Travis Steffen2. Be gender-blind

I’m not a huge believer in a gender-balanced workplace just for the sake of having it. As an employer, the most important thing to me is getting the job done as well as humanly possible. (read more…)

How much time each week do you spend making decisions? Likely, many of the choices you make are almost automatic, requiring little thought: Attend that meeting or not? Stay late to finish the report tonight, or come in early tomorrow? And then, there are more challenging choices, such as whether or not to terminate an underperforming employee’s employment.

Your daily work life is made up of numerous tasks, all of which require decision-making. According to Sheena Iyengar, a Professor of Business at Columbia Business School and author of “The Art of Choosing,” the average CEO works on 139 tasks per week. In a TED talk called “How to Make Choosing Easier,” Iyengar reports that scientists who documented the many decisions related to those 139 tasks found that 50% of the choices related to task completion took nine minutes or less. Not all decisions were reached quickly, however; about 12% of CEO decisions required an hour or more of thought. (read more…)