Effective Onboarding of New Employees

Employee Handbook, Effective Onboarding of New Employees
An employee handbook can be a valuable tool used to communicate company culture.

Think back to your first day at the job you currently have…and the first day of the job you had before that…what was it like when you started? Who was the first person to greet you and say hello? Were you required to spend some time with HR or did you dive right into the work? Was your desk or office ready for you? Were you given some sort of employee handbook to review, outlining various organizational operating policies? How about an office supplies catalog from which to order whatever you need?

What was the rest of your first week like? Your coworkers friendly and asking you out to lunch to get to know each other? Clients calling you to meet about what they have going on with their current/next campaign? Vendors stopping by to say hello? Other department members with whom you’ll be working stopping by to introduce themselves?

I hope you had a pleasant first day, first week, that set the tone for things getting started on the right foot. If not, hopefully you’re doing what you can to make it better for all of the other employees that start new at your same employer…trying to make things better for them and improving what wasn’t great for your first day and week.

Recently, I came across the blog of the CEO of Gibson Insurance, an insurance agency in South Bend, IN. Here is a link to that post: Strategies for Effective Onboarding. First of all, I think it’s great that someone at that level actually maintains a digital presence and secondly, actually considers the company culture, especially as it pertains to onboarding new employees. The way your company operates and treats its new employees says a great deal about how employees are valued, new as well as established and tenured.

At the very least, here are few ways to make sure your new employees have a great first day.
– Make sure their desk or office are completely setup with appropriate furniture
– Make sure their phone, voicemail and email accounts are all ready to go live, once the employees passcodes and passwords are set manually
– Assign someone (if not the hiring manager) to greet the new employee when they arrive; this person should also show them their new work space and introduce them to the other employees in the office or building(s)
– Arrange for a tour of the building or campus, if necessary
– Provide them with access to all necessary and critical software, hardware and other programs that require credentials to access (including special access badges and proximity cards)
– If your organization has an employee handbook, this should also be presented on the new employees first day (ideally this is a living document that is regularly updated, but not so exhaustive that it covers every detail, except where appropriate)

I know that the readers of Bill’s Sports Business Blog are in constant search of improvement and seek to be the change they want to see in the world, so I hope you take time to consider the image your organization is making with its new employees. You only have one chance to make a first impression, so make sure it’s a good one.

Go Forth and make a difference!

How to Use Data Analytics

Sport Data Analytics Example
Data Analytics in Sport – Start with Yourself

Data analytics seems to be getting a great deal of press lately. The emergence of “tech” as a social norm, the evolution of the internet and the attention of the big four social networking giants (Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…although I’ve seen some good arguments about who that last one should be) has brought data and its study (data analytics) to the forefront of our attention.

So what’s the buzz about data analytics?

Well, for one, it’s been around as long as math – pretty much since the beginning of time; and we’re just now starting to realize how “cool” it is to actually look at math as something fun because let’s admit it – that’s what data analytics is – statistics…and statistics is math.

Definition

Data analytics is the use of information that can be broken down and compared and contrasted in different ways from which, once analyzed through different lenses or perspectives, conclusions can be drawn about whatever it is that’s being studied (that’s my own definition). Hhmm, that sounds dense. Let’s say that in a different way. Data analytics is the analysis of data for better outcomes.

Let’s Try Something Together

Look at it in terms of your personal finances…do you track your monthly expenditures? This is the easiest way to use data analytics and to learn on your own. Open up MS Excel (yes that program that can with your copy of MS Office with the “X” on it that you haven’t used since college) or whatever spreadsheet software you have, Google Docs is a great alternative, and start by making a spreadsheet that looks like the screenshot above. (When you do this on your own, replace the “X’s” with actual positive or negative numbers where appropriate)

Label the first column Assets/Liabilities, the next 31 columns labeled consecutively from 1-31 and the last column TOTAL. Below those columns enter everything that you spend money on and everything that puts money in your bank account under the corresponding date that the money enters/leaves your bank account. For most of us, our “assets” are our day jobs – call this “work” or “salary” in your spreadsheet. Each asset or liability gets one row and each transaction goes under the corresponding date. If you get interest on your bank account, call that “interest”. Do that for everything you could consider an asset.

Then, whatever you spend money on, track that on your spreadsheet as a negative balance, since those are liabilities or things that cost you money. Do this for an entire month and, WA-LA!, you have data! Do this another month and POOF!, you have some real information for data analytics. And guess what…this stuff actually matters to you (or at least it should)! If you have no idea how to do analytics, just think of it as the digital version of balancing your check book. I realize I shouldn’t take for granted that most people know how to do this, but for the sake of argument I will. Once you’ve built up a couple of months of expenses and income, you can begin to make some real data comparisons regarding your money situation.

Now think about this exercise in terms of what your sports business is doing…probably something much more complicated with many more variables – that’s ok. Statistics takes some time to learn and data collection and analysis doesn’t happen overnight. Also, just like this example, data collection must come before data analysis. You can’t analyze what you don’t have!

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

Also important to remember is that your data must be “clean”. By that, I mean that you must use the same nomenclature, phrasing, listings, and categories for every piece of information. Everything MUST be consistent. You can make this is as complex as you want, however this goes both ways; the less information you track the less work this will be, but also less meaningful – the more information you track, the more complex and challenging the analysis will be, but also the more meaningful the conclusions will be in your final results. Now this is not something to be intimidated by, but this is how to use data analytics in a very simplified example.

Data Analytics in Sport

In a sports business setting, the work you are using data analytics for is much more complex. For example, you’re using data analytics to figure out athlete health and performance, you’re using it in the box office to track sales and customer buying activity, you’re using it the marketing office to track advertisement and online engagement and effectiveness, you’re using it in the concession stand to track what items are selling the most and at what particular venue locations on what days and at what points during the game and so on and so forth. If you want to learn to use data analytics, I strongly suggest you start by tracking your own financial situation. Once you’ve gotten a few months of worth of data and figured out everything you can on that front, it’s time to advance to more complicated avenues.

If you want help or have any questions or comments, drop me a message on Twitter or LinkedIn and let’s work together and start a conversation. I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new. My challenge to you is to actually start tracking your own finances. By doing so you’re both taking control of your financial future and learning a useful professional skill! If you’d like to support Bill’s Sports Business Blog, please sign-up for the newsletter and consider using my Amazon Affiliate link. At no additional cost to you, I’ll make a small commission on your purchase. The proceeds from your use of my affiliate link directly offset the costs associated with this blog. Thank you for your support.

Go Forth!

Suspense

Suspense in sports storytelling
Use suspense with sports related storytelling.

I’m sitting here writing this blog as I am my wife is watching the Bachelor and I must say one thing they do really well is build suspense (well actually this was last night since I’m posting this on a Tuesday). The entire show is built on suspense. They keep teasing you with little clips and sound bites of the different characters saying different things that keeps you on your toes and keeps you guessing about what the outcome might be and who is going to end up in a romantic relationship and who isn’t.

Even though some of the feelings we’ve see these people feel and hear them say this season are very obviously pointing one direction, the producers of the show have fed us enough other stimuli to make it anything but a sure thing.

Have you thought about that?

Well if you’ve ever seen a sports broadcast or pre-game TV report that’s exactly what they’re doing. So how does this play out in sports in general? Well, that argument can go one of two ways…

1 – Perhaps some teams or organizations refuse to indulge in that sort of drama and therefore don’t allow any comments. I’d be willing to be that most sports organizations spend enough of their time keeping their athletes and staff in line that they don’t need or want to to “feed the trolls.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing athletes, I’m only relating the fact that most teams probably prefer to be private and keep their matters closed to the public…doing everything they can to gain a competitive advantage. By keeping things close, these organizations are either unheard of and not often reported on or always in the news because they are so exclusive that any information that comes out is “news”.
OR
2 – On the other hand, some teams probably have a PR staff that is constantly pushing something out, whether that be good or “nothing” at all. They’ve got daily or weekly deadlines that must be met and they’re doing everything they can to be on the front page or on the headlines that night or the next day.

Either way, regardless of where your organizations stands between these two ideas, it’s important to remember that your audience likes a good story, whatever that might be. Suspense doesn’t have to be a bad thing, you can use suspense to build anticipation about how awesome you are…who’s in the starting lineup today? What’s coach going to do when we score this time? What’s that crazy fan in row X doing to do for the Kiss Cam this time? What does the student section have planned for their team’s rivalry game during the conference championship?

No matter who you are or what you do for your sports team, remember that suspense is good storytelling which makes for good business. Don’t make something up just for the sake of filling dead space, but remember this tool used in good story telling; and sports is good story telling. There’s a beginning, a middle and an end. There’s the good guys and the bad. And they’re both trying to overcome some sort of odds in order to be the one to claim victory at the end.

Build suspense. Tell better stories. Engage your fans.

Go Forth.

The War of Art: Break Through Your Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Steven Pressfield's book: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Steven Pressfield’s book: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

“Do You:
-Dream about writing the Great American Novel?
-Regret not finishing your paintings, poems or screenplays?
-Want to start a business or charity?
-Wish you could start dieting or exercising today?
-Hope to run a marathon someday?”

What a list of questions to put on the back flag of a book! Did you answer yes to any of those questions? If you did, you need to read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. This is without a doubt one of the best books on personal development I’ve ever read. And to expand on what “personal” development means, that is spiritual, physical, mental and self-development in every form…whatever makes you better and more of that which you already are.

If you’ve ever struggled with something you know you should be doing or procrastinated at whatever it is that you feel like is calling you, that feeling that holds you back is what Pressfield calls “the resistance.”

The resistance holds you back, it wants you to fail, it wants you to not be all you can be or do all you can do or sell all you can sell. The resistance doesn’t care who you are or what you want to do, it just wants to keep you from doing and wants you to go down hard.

The War of Art is a book that helps bind you to the strength you need to fight through the resistance and move ahead. It helps give you the perspective you need to understand that you can overcome whatever it is that is holding you back.

I highly recommend Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art because buried in its pages are insights I’ve personally never encountered before. It’s one of those books you should buy to keep on your desk at work or at least on a bookshelf that you’ll regularly look at and be reminded of your inner strength. This is a book I plan on reading at least annually if not more regularly than that.

If you create, you know the struggle that work can bring. Whether it’s a business plan, painting, a piece of music, a proposal, or difficult conversation with someone else, whatever it is, you undoubtedly know what the resistance is, even if you didn’t have a name for it before.

Do what’s difficult. Fight the resistance and do what matters. Buy Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art and support Bill’s Lifestyle Blog at no additional cost to you. I appreciate you reading…and please subscribe to my newsletter for unique and inspiring content not found on the blog.

If you’re interested in further reading on this topic, I wrote about this subject nearly two and a half years ago on my sports business blog – a post titled, Do What’s Difficult.

All of the Amazon links on this page are affiliate links, which means that I’ll make a small commission on your purchase at no additional cost to you. Your support is very much appreciated – thank you so much!

Seattle #SBWeek 2015 – Sports Business Networking Night

SBWEEK Seattle
Seattle #SBWeek – Sports Business Networking in Seattle, WA

Do you work in sports?
Will you be in or near Seattle, WA on Thursday, April 16th, 2015?
Do you want to work in sports?
Do you do business with or work for an organization that supports the sports industry?
Do you like “talking shop” with cool people?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should register for and attend the Seattle #SBWeek Sports Business Week networking event! Register here. This year’s #SBWeek will be held on Thursday, April 16th, 2015 at Henry’s Tavern across from Safeco Field (same as last year).

Your registration fee is encouraged and will support the V Foundation. If you cannot afford the registration fee, please send me an email or direct message on Twitter so I can still account for how many will be attending. Thank you!

More information about on this year’s event will be available as we approach the actual date, but for more information now, you can read more on my post from last year,Seattle Sports Business Networking Night, or on Russell Scibetti’s blog, The Business of Sports.

Thanks for reading – please register early and subscribe to my newsletter for more information!