new hire orientation

Creating a Successful New Hire Orientation Program

You may call the program orientation or on-boarding. Regardless, you are looking for the same outcome: A successful new hire program for new employees. Gone are the days of paperwork laden, boringly exhausting orientations. Welcome to the era of creating a genuine welcome for your new hire.

Begin Onboarding at Time of Hire

Design a system to have required documents completed prior to orientation.

  • This helps to reduce the boredom factor.
  • It allows HR to assure that required documents are filed or to follow up as needed.
  • Use this as a topic during onboarding by:
    • Getting new hires’ feedback about the process.
    • Reinforcing the importance of information in relation to corporate values.
    • Adding touches of humor as appropriate.

Make the New Hire Feel Welcome

Chances are you recall an orientation period from your past that could have gone better. It was days before your computer was set up, or you were handed a packet of information to read, sign, and return. At day’s end you left wondering if the place was the right fit for you.

To help your newest employees feel welcome:

  • Have hiring managers match them with mentors.
  • Liven up group onboarding sessions with interactive games, discussions, and tours of the business.
  • Encourage social networking, inviting other employees to join orientation tours and activities.

Talk About the Job

From date of hire, new employees wonder what is in store. Talk about the position and why each was hired to encourage the security that leads to success.

  • Link roles and responsibilities discussion with the new hire’s abilities and aspirations.
  • Share ways for new hires to contribute to teams and the organization.
  • Use an open, engaging tone that supports dialogue.
  • Be upfront with information about evaluations, timing for reviews, performance bonuses, and improvement plans.

Next Steps: Keep the New Hire Engaged

Managers help new hires to feel part of the organization with informal and formal interactions by:

  • Checking in while touring the department.
  • Dropping an email to inquire how they are doing.
  • Assuring that periodic reviews have timely completion.
  • Requesting them to assess the orientation process.
  • Inquiring what they need to best fulfill their responsibilities.

Check out Employee Perks to Boost Retention to help you hold on to those new hires.

salary negotiating

Salary Negotiation Tips

Maybe you are a current employee and it’s time to request a salary increase. Or you have just had a successful interview and it’s time for the next phase, salary negotiation. Consider these steps and tips as you plan for the meeting:

  • Review salary range for similar positions and qualifications in your region.
  • Review benefit packages.

Merit/Performance-Based Salary Negotiation

You know how hard you work. Your job is demanding. You find yourself working extended hours without additional compensation.
Based on your performance and your contributions to the organization you feel confident about asking for a raise.  Prepare!  One of the biggest issues that can derail a salary negotiation is not having proof that you’re an asset to your organization.

  • Take the objective approach to determine the salary you’ll request.
    • Research salaries for same/similar positions online.
    • Look at benefit packages as this may be a negotiation point.
  • Update your resume/CV and portfolio/work samples.
  • Objectively discuss what you have learned. 
    • Concretely present how your talents benefit the organization.
    • Reveal your work satisfaction and engagement.

Other Negotiating Tips if Salary Offer Falls Short

Regardless if you are negotiating salary for a new or existing position, the salary offer may be lower than desired. You have the option to negotiate for added benefits or perks, including:

  • An educational benefit, such as student loan deferments, or a stipend for courses.
  • Additional vacation time in lieu of the gap between desired and actual salary.
  • Telecommuting hours/days or flex time.

Don’t Do These During Negotiation

Hiring managers advise against:

  • Discussing personal financial woes.
  • Apologizing for asking for a reasonable salary based on your qualifications.
  • Give ultimatums.

Negotiation Tools of the Trade

There are some salary estimating tools online that will support your quest. After all, knowing your worth is valuable information that validates your abilities and knowledge.

Check out Habits Practiced by Highly Successful People

interview questions

Answering Tricky Job Interview Questions

During most interviews, you will be asked some tricky job interview questions. There are several tricky questions hiring managers commonly use to gain insight about job candidates. Asking these questions help them learn about your thought process and and comfort level with difficult tasks.
Read on for ideas to get you ready for these questions.

Job Interview Questions Related to Individual Behavior

These questions relate to how you respond to situations, such as:

  • How do you prioritize a variety of tasks with competing deadlines?
  • What is your reaction to criticism? And to praise?
  • What do you do when you need to adhere to policies you feel are too restrictive?

Job Interview Questions Related to Interpersonal Behavior

These questions are designed to learn about your ability to work with other people. The interviewer may pose questions or direct you to respond to a scenario.

  • Describe a time when a customer or client complained to you about your service. How did you manage the complaint?
  • What actions do you take to resolve conflicts with work peers?
  • What steps would you take if you witnessed unethical/illegal acts in the workplace?
  • What approach have you taken when you have had challenges with a supervisor?
  • Are there changes you would make in the future based on past interactions?

You Can Be Prepared for Tricky Job Interview Questions!

Prepare for behavioral interview questions by thinking about challenging situations from the past:

  • Make brief notes that describe the issue.
  • What was your initial reaction? A reaction is typically immediate and emotional.
  • How did you respond? A response involves deliberate thought and planning.
  • What steps did you take to resolve the situation?
  • What was your assessment of the outcome?
  • What did you learn from this entire situation?
  • Have you applied lessons learned to resolve other situations?

As you review various scenarios, you’ll see your pattern of adaptability emerge. Use what you have learned about your adaptability to prepare your brain for answering tricky questions by:

  • Identifying a challenge you experienced.
  • Describing the actions taken to respond to the challenge.
  • Summarizing the outcomes of your actions.
  • Describing lessons learned and how you use these to address challenges.

For more job interview tips, check out What Not to Say During a Job Interview

out of touch executives

Out of Touch Executives

Are executives really out of touch? Internal communication failures is the main reason leadership executives lose touch with their employees, according to a survey conducted by AMA Enterprise, a division of American Management Association.

A recent Bloomberg Opinion article  poses the concern that U.S. corporations might be required to institute co-determination governance. This would require large companies to allow employees to elect 40 percent of their directors.

The rationale for this proposal is:

  • U.S. income inequality
  • A belief that workers are well positioned to make corporate decisions that place worker, customer, and community interests equal to those of shareholders.

How Does Co-Determination Affect Corporate Function?

The shift in decision-making that occurs with co-determination potentially results in:

  • More power and fiscal interests for workers, with less for managers.
  • Improved income distribution, though the author notes that there is mixed evidence of this.
  • Improved worker engagement and performance related to pride and shared ownership.
  • Concerns that co-determination will:
    • Reduce productivity
    • Make businesses less nimble during economic challenges
    • Affect corporate ability for rapid growth or new product development

Does this Imply That Executives are ‘Out of Touch’?

The Bloomberg article does not state that executives are out of touch. Rather, it makes subtle suggestions of the need for corporate leaders to learn from other countries’ governance experiences.

Here are two:

Germany’s Example

Germany uses a co-determination system that:

  • Is supplemented by a worker council system that represents labor interests; and
  • Has been shifting toward a shareholder value system because of laws implemented within the last two to three decades.

Japan’s Example

Japan has never had a system of co-determination. Instead it:

  • Has had boards with high management presence and low profit margins because of a passive approach to shareholding; and
  • Is now implementing a new corporate code to focus on shareholder returns by improving external control of management.

Steps to Stay ‘In Touch’

The opinion author suggests that as the U.S. and other nations have gone too much in one direction or the other related to governance, there are prudent steps to take now, regardless of legislation. He suggests creation of a government framework that includes the following points:

  • Representation of workers on boards, funded by tax incentives; and
  • Gradual experimentation and implementation by U.S. companies to evaluate and compare performance.

What do you think? Are you ‘in touch’ and ready to move ahead in the direction of increased worker input on corporate decisions, regardless of governmental influence?

Executives, to learn how you can be more in touch check out: Qualities that Make Great Leaders.

intake meeting questions

Intake Meeting Questions

A hiring manager has requested an intake meeting with you. Their team has a new position for which you will lead recruitment efforts.  During an intake meeting, recruiters and hiring managers confirm the job title and job duties, discuss the qualification criteria and interview stages (e.g. screening calls, assessments tests, etc.)

An intake meeting helps recruiters:

  • Reduce miscommunication and back-and-forth emails
  • Clearly establish a position’s requirements
  • Engage hiring managers in the recruiting process

The first question set teases out the role and expected benchmarks of the new position within the department and company.

  • Begin by summarizing your understanding of the job. Are there other points about this position that I should know?
  • How will this position benefit your department?
    • Will it add performance capacity?
    • If so, describe in what ways, framing them as outcomes with timeframes.
  • Do you anticipate this position having specific interactions with other departments?
    • Describe these and if it will affect supervisory relationships.

Specific questions aid learning about the position’s qualifications.

Details assure that recruitment efforts find the best candidates. Guide the hiring manager to separate absolute requirements from those preferred.

  • What are the minimum educational requirements?
  • What technical skills and experiences are required?
    • Note any preferred length of time, such as two years of IT networking serving X number of work stations.
    • Is aptitude required for specific software applications?
      • If so, which and for what length of time?
      • How is proficiency demonstrated?
  • Does the position have direct reports?
    • If so, what sort of supervisory experience is needed?
    • Is there a minimum time length required?
  • Are there must-have interpersonal abilities?

After those questions are answered, return to the preferred qualifications. Reframing the above questions will provide consistency and efficiency for your discussion.

Recruitment Screening Questions

This last set guides your approach to screening interviews.

  • What four questions are most important for me to ask during a phone interview?
  • What should candidates anticipate and prepare for if invited to interview?
  • What companies are competing for this position’s best candidates?
  • Do you know people here or in your network who are suitable for this work?

Follow our blog for more helpful tips


Hiring Strategies to Land Your Best Employees

Beyond Hiring as Usual

When searching for job candidates in 2019, you should be fine-tuning your hiring strategies. With low unemployment rates, supply is down and demand is up, along with the competition for top candidates in the accounting and finance field. This can make it challenging to lure in candidates for executive-level positions.

Hiring strategies that worked in past years simply don’t work with today’s low unemployment rates. Job candidates have the upper hand, meaning you need to retool your efforts in order to attract the best candidates.

Consider these points as you proceed with recruitment:
  • Identify the assets and skills most needed for the position and the organization.
  • Determine past work/personality styles that became a liability for productivity.

Hiring Strategies from a Who’s Who of Leaders

This summary of key hiring strategies comes from a diverse group of business leaders, from those in garments and online retail, to publishing, finance, and entertainment. They include Sara Blakely, Jeff Bezos, Leslie Jane Seymour, Bob Iger, Sallie Krawcheck, and Warren Buffett.

Hire people with skills that complement each other.
  • There can be some overlap although you want to see talent distinctions in your team.
  • Choose people with assets that balance your limitations.
Optimism and positivity pay off.
  • Look for prospective employees who will be a positive influence on others.
  • Add an optimist to your team to help with finding the silver lining amidst gloom. This strength is associated with innovation and rich problem solving.
Focus on what you want to learn during the interview. This is key to discerning which candidate best fulfills your needs for the position.
  • Listen closely to the candidate’s questions. These can be more revealing than their responses to your questions.
  • Identify if a candidate demonstrates qualities you value.
Honesty is the best policy.
  • Don’t sugarcoat aspects of the position that are demanding.
  • Be clear about current business challenges to allow the candidate to determine if they’re up to the task.

Partner With an Accounting and Finance Recruiter

You don’t have to do this alone. In fact, you may want to make this your first step in the process of finding and hiring skilled professionals.

Specialized Accounting and Finance staffing agencies are familiar with current hiring strategies and have large networks of accounting and finance professionals to meet your hiring needs.

Not only do our recruiters vet the candidates, but they also streamline the interview process and help with the offer stage to ensure smooth negotiations.

For tips on how to keep your new hires, check out: Employee Perks to Boost Retention

exit interview

Exit Interview Tips

An exit interview can offer useful information about your organization’s policies, procedures, and practices. They can teach you which policies are working and which policies may need to be revised. For employees, an exit interview is an opportunity to give a review of their experience.

When both the employer and employee focus on constructively learning from each other, an exit interview can end on a positive note. Many times the feedback employees provide is positive, and when it’s not, it gives you valuable insight on how to fix it for other employees.

Determine Who is Best for the Interview

Consider having the HR manager or an outside consultant conduct the exit interview.

  • Although it seems expedient to have the department manager be responsible, doing so can obstruct useful information.
  • That can occur based on relationship dynamics or the desire for a good reference.

Learn Why Employees Leave

Employees resign for many reasons. Carefully crafted questions can help to identify course corrections your organization can consider for improved employee performance and retention.

  • Ask why the employee is leaving. Listen and request more information if doing so adds value.
    • When did you first decide to move on?
    • Was there a particular event that led to this decision?
  • Inquire about key junctures during a person’s employment:
    • As you look back on your onboarding weeks, were there steps in the process that should be changed? Please describe.
    • What, if any, changes should be made in the employee performance appraisal process?
  • Ask questions about the compensation, benefits, and perks of the workplace.
    • What is your opinion about our company’s salary and benefits package?
    • Are there suggestions you have for improving these or company perks?

Conduct an Open-Ended Exit Interview

Allow sufficient time to listen to suggestions and/or complaints the departing employee offers.

  • Inquire about their feelings about leaving the company without letting it become negative.
    • How do they feel about leaving?
    • What are the top two things about working here?
    • What three aspects of this organization would you change?
    • Please elaborate on the most important change we should make.
  • Ask for information specific to their time with the organization.
    • What was your most important achievement at this job?
    • What is one thing you hoped to accomplish and did not?
    • What supported you with the first and limited you with the second?

Closing Thoughts

  • Express appreciation for the employee’s service and contributions to the organization.
  • Close with a simple statement. Thank you for making the time for this exit interview. Add words that are relevant for this now past employee.

Check out How to Keep Your Employees from Fleeing

employee perks

Employee Perks to Boost Retention

Low unemployment, concerns about upward mobility, and a desire for work and life balance are creating new employee demands. On the business side, maintaining a competitive edge means blending innovation and pricing with employee perks and retention. In both cases, keeping valued employees happy and on the payroll is a given. PayScale has released its 2019 report about practices a that promise to guide you in keeping employees during competitive times.

Top Reasons for Leaving a Job

In 2018 a study was done on the top reasons employees left current positions. The top three account for over 60% for the representative sample of over 7,000 respondents. The data is listed from the highest and reveals a vital trend for you to consider as part of retention planning:

  • Personal reasons
  • Professional advancement
  • Better compensation elsewhere

Trends in Employee Perks

This data provides a revealing balance to that of reasons for leaving. Roughly one third of organizations are now offering:

  • Flex time—this benefit permits employees to care for family, pursue advanced education, or other life goals.
  • Remote work interests by some employees is receiving more employer support.
  • Paid family leave supports employees who are caring for a new family member, senior relatives, or a loved one who is ill.
  • 10% of organizations are instituting 4-day work weeks that offer these and other advantages for employees.
  • The report describes a recent doubling in organizations offering paid time off (PTO) that benefits employee well-being.

Compensation Trends and Retention

The report projects increased organizational interest in compensation incentives to boost retention. These include:

  • Increases in base pay rates.
  • More variable pay benefits for high performing employees. One example is the award of bonuses outside of annual salary.

Despite these positive changes, organizations are still reluctant to be transparent with wage scales. One finding of the PayScale research is that employees of businesses that focus on a “strong pay brand” are more satisfied. Yet other businesses have yet to pay branding as one means of boosting retention.

You can download the Payscale report here.

For more information about Ways to Motivate Employees, click here

m&a deals

Weighing In: Do M&A Deals Add Value?

The organization you lead is doing well overall. International trade changes along with on-and-off recession concerns create pricing challenges for companies. Some are interested in pursuing mergers or acquisitions (M&A) to both appease current shareholders as well as attract new ones. To best guide client businesses, we have decided to weigh in on the current pros and cons of M&A deals.

Pros Regarding M&A Deals

A merger involves one company acquiring another to extend its reach and market potential. This happened in 2017 when Amazon acquired Whole Foods. On a more local level, an acquisition may occur when a large telecommunications firm purchases another with more limited service range and capabilities.

In either case there are pros for each company.

  • Existing infrastructure creates expedient expansion and upgrades.
  • Consumers see the benefits of expanded services in the form of improved pricing, as is the case with retail bulk buying and distribution.
  • Each company’s strengths add to overall value.
    • A smaller business gains from large scale management expertise and systems.
    • A larger business gains from the smaller firm’s assets, such as technological innovation.
  • Increased profits contribute to research and development.

Cons Regarding M&A Deals

  • Leadership changes for either company can destabilize operations for months or more.
  • The potential loss of jobs within a sector or region.
  • Negative effects on markets, such as loss of services for local areas.
  • The potential for increased prices and service changes for consumers, particularly if the merger creates a monopoly.
  • Economies of scale may falter if communication, coordination, and efficiency lag.

Shareholder Value: What to Expect

Mergers affect both companies with shareholders seeing stock volatility as the acquisition is implemented.

  • Stock value of both companies is likely to experience alterations until the merger stabilizes.
    • The acquiring company’s stock is likely to dip in value.
    • The merging company is positioned to see a temporary increase.
  • Shareholders experience a period of voting instability related to stock distribution.
  • Board composition will shift in terms of numbers and representation.
  • Successful acquisition of a company within the midst of economic promise is likely to lead to stock gains. 

Click here to find out about DLC’s M&A Due Diligence Support and other services.

habits of successful people

Habits Practiced by Highly Successful People

Our best days are usually the days in which we are highly productive and still able to make time for ourselves.  To make this happen, we need to be mindful with how we utilize the minutes of our day.  Below is a compilation of some of the habits of highly successful people.

Expressing Gratitude

Many successful people, like Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson, express gratitude on a regular basis  Gratitude doesn’t have to be for anything fancy.  Remember the last time you saw a rainbow? Did it make you smile? That’s a form of gratitude. Express thanks however you prefer. Being grateful for everyday gifts is part of the recipe for success.

Being Fearless

This is about the fear of success. It’s real—it causes inaction that interferes with moving toward personal success.

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” —Henry Ford

Being Persistent -There’s No Such Thing as Failure

Not trying is true failure. Take riding a bicycle. If a cycling champion never jumped on a bike, they would never know the thrill and success to be found atop two wheels.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

Successful People Practice Stillness

There’s a saying that “silence is golden.” New ideas flourish in a quiet mind. A good listener knows the gift of being still during another’s story. Nature’s sounds amplify in hushed settings.

Successful People Staying Active

Be physical. Move around. Breathe deeply. Action boosts circulation, clear thinking, and enthusiasm. Each of these is success in itself.

Successful People Embracing Creativity

Everyone is creative. Denying it limits success big time. Honor yours. If it’s playing hide and seek, go out and find it!

Living with Purpose.

Commit to a purposeful life and find something that drives you. 

Listening Be attentive in every meeting.  Don’t listen with the intent to reply; listen with the intent to understand.  

“Efforts and Courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” – John F. Kennedy

Click here to find out about our group of highly successful team leaders