Coaching for successful recruitment

Preparing an immediate superior and work community for the arrival of a new employee is important. Ask the newly-employed person for permission to provide information to the work community that is essential in terms of support, orientation and work. With the help of preparation and coaching, the immediate work community will be more competent and satisfied. If you provide training for your employees, explain how it applies to diversity.

In addition to supporting the work community in welcoming a new employee, new employees can be assigned workplace mentor to help them adjust to the work community. Read more about workplace mentorship.

From tolerating differences to appreciating diversity

The aim is to advance from tolerating difference to appreciating diversity. The effectiveness of the entire work community will improve if its members can understand and utilise different perspectives.

Differences can also provide good synergies or can at times cause conflicts in the work community. Mutual trust is a prerequisite for creating synergies. Improving mutual trust will benefit the entire work community. Good interaction is rewarding and supports productive work.

Good interaction includes two key elements

1) The accessibility of the work community, i.e. the employee is able to participate in the work community’s social culture.
2) The perspective of psychological safety, i.e. the experience that others are interested in me and my opinions.

The elements of good interaction are important for all employees, and these support the attachment of people with partial work ability to the work community.

Coaching to support the work community

During work community coaching, the immediate work community discusses diversity in its own workplace. Any one of us might have partial work ability at some point in our lives. It may be a person returning from a long sick leave, or persons with physical, psychological or other limitations. Whatever the reason for their partial work ability, the person may be uncertain about their own abilities at the start. Their experience in working life may be limited.

The work community’s ability to welcome them is therefore essential, and the aim is to strengthen this through coaching.  It is important that colleagues know how possible limitations can be addressed in practice. The immediate work community is informed about the job description and responsibilities of the person with partial work ability. In this way any possible misunderstandings and ambiguities in how work is to be organised will be avoided in the work community.

People with partial work ability share their experiences

A video produced by the Easy Steps toward Working Life project is part of the coaching and helps members of the work community consider how best to ensure the new employee becomes a member of the group. This type of work can also strengthen the work community.

On the video, three people with different types of partial work ability share their experiences. The video also includes a learning environment coordinator’s perspective on how best to welcome a person with partial work ability to the work community.

You can watch the video with english subtitles.

Workplace mentors support employees with partial work ability

The recruitment of people with partial work ability has been occasionally prevented by managers’ fear that work orientation will take up too much of their time and resources. However, the responsibility for work orientation can be shared between a manager, peer employee providing workplace orientation and a workplace mentor.

The peer employee will familiarise the new employee with concrete work tasks, while the workplace mentor familiarises the newcomer with the work community. If possible, the same person can act as both the peer orientation provider and workplace mentor.

Studies have shown that experienced workers find it rewarding to mentor their new colleagues. As a result, workplace mentorship can promote employees’ experiences of meaningfulness at work.

How workplace mentors have helped share the responsibility for work orientation

A good example of the workplace mentor activities can be found at the Tapiolan Lämpö Oy, of which employees with partial work ability have given positive feedback.  The manager, workplace mentor and a new employee familiarising herself with the job explain which aspects it has been important to consider in workplace mentorship.

HR Director Carola Nores-Joukama comments on the activities from the manager’s viewpoint:

– We aim to ensure that the workplace mentors have the same job as the new employee. If this is not possible, employees closely familiar with the organisation with knowledge of who to consult in different issues can serve as mentors.  Workplace mentors make sure that the new employee becomes part of the work community, for example by asking the employee to join others during meals and familiarising them with other employees in the work community. It is easy to ask the workplace mentor about anything; in fact, we encourage new employees to ask about and question things.

– Workplace mentorship can flexibly adapt to the new employee’s needs Some only need a mentor for the first weeks, while others benefit from the mentorship system for several months. However, the manager is responsible for the success of the work orientation, and it is also his or her responsibility to conduct a follow-up discussion on the orientation. The discussion includes asking for feedback on the success of the work orientation and agreeing on possible measures to supplement the orientation. The workplace mentor can also participate in the follow-up discussion.

How to select a workplace mentor

Päivi’s experience from the workplace mentor’s viewpoint:

– It is good to have a mentor close to the new employee and even if mentors do not have the exact same job as the new employee, they have knowledge of the employee’s job and work area.  It is also easier for an employee to approach the mentor in all kinds of issues by meeting him or her personally.  You should appoint the sort of people as mentors that are easy to approach without having to hesitate about whether you can do that.

– New employees have a lot of questions that you might not even think about if you have been working at the same place for a long time. Finding a place in the group is also important and the mentor also plays a specific role in this.  There is particular need for workplace mentorship if the new employee is, say, shy and likely to withdraw from others.

“Time has shown that my worry was unfounded; I think we have been doing well”

– When I was asked if I would like to become a workplace mentor, I was unsure of whether I was the right person for the job.  Time has shown that my worry was unfounded; I think we have been doing well and Heidi has been quick to become a part of the community.  In this context, we must also pay attention to the fact that we are all individuals with our personal habits and personalities. If Heidi is happy, then the mentor is, too.

– Serving as a mentor has not disrupted my work, so it is something I can recommend for the next mentors and I am also happy that there was no difficulty to approach me.

An easy start in the work community with a workplace mentor

Heidi’s experience from the viewpoint of an employee with partial work ability:

– I received low-threshold support and guidance from the workplace mentor. The mentor has made the transition to the new work community go smoothly. As a new employee, I was encouraged to learn new tasks while I also gained insight. I have also had the opportunity to discuss any work-related issues I have had on my mind. My workplace mentor understood the world of a person with a hearing impairment through her personal experiences. She knew what to do and how to act. Her great sense of humour was a nice addition.

– I very warmly recommend workplace mentorship to other work communities.

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