15 Questions to Ask Employees in Their First 60 Days

I have had several conversations lately with HR Managers and their toils and troubles in the hiring, on boarding and the acculturation of their new employees. It seems we went a long time between the feast and the famine, so its important that our hiring and retention activities are intact.

I saw this article in the February 2019 Issue of “The HR Specialist.” It gives some pretty good advice and questions to ask your new employees.

Improve the On-Boarding Process

on-boarding new hiresWith the economy on the rise, employees are finding it easier to leave jobs in which they’re not completely comfortable. That’s putting more pressure on HR and managers to improve the on-boarding process for new hires. (Also see the article on: “On-boarding: The First 90-Days.”)

The last thing an organization wants to do is restart the expensive hiring process because a new employee walked out after a couple of months.

Most Important Step

Talk with new employees soon after they arrive to uncover potential problems that can cause turnover. Don’t wait until performance or behavior shows problems – or for an official performance review. By then, the employee could be halfway out the door.

Make it a point to meet with new hires within the first 60 days. Start by reminding them that you are glad they’re part of the organization and you value their input. Then, ask some of the following questions:

1. Why do you think we selected you as an employee?

2. What do you like about the job and the organization?

3. What’s been going well? What are the highlights of your experiences so far? Why?

4. Do you have enough, too much or too little time to do your work?

5. How do you see your job relating to the organization’s mission?

6. What do you need to learn to improve? What can the organization do to help you become more successful in your job? (Be prepared. These questions may require follow-up.)

7. Tell me what you don’t understand about your job and about our organization.

8. Compare the organization to what we explained it would be like.

9. Which co-workers have been helpful since you arrived? (Goal: Pinpoint which employees can be influential in retaining the new hire.)

10. Who do you talk to when you have questions about work? Do you feel comfortable asking?

11. Does your supervisor clearly explain what the organization expects of you?

12. How does it go when your supervisor offers constructive criticism or corrects your work?

13. Do you believe your ideas are valued? Give examples.

14. How well do you get along with co-workers?

15. Have you had any uncomfortable situations or conflicts with supervisors, co-workers or customers?

Tip: Finish the discussion by asking employees if they have any questions for you or suggestions on how the job can be managed better.

The practice of asking these questions, once started, should be continued. Also, this process should be discussed with the other leaders within the organization so there is little to no fear you’re trying “to get them.”

Could Sexual Harassment be a Problem?


It will be happening not just in Hollywood but in workplaces across the country. The movement spawned a Twitter hashtag, #MeToo.  More than 1.7 million people have used it in 85 countries, speaking out and naming their harassers.



Over the past five years, 5.3% of CEOs globally have been forcibly removed due to ethical lapses. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, these lapses include harassment. In the United States, that’s a 102% increase from the previous five years.


Last year alone, harassment cost U.S. companies more than $160 million in EEOC settlements — an all-time high. That was before the #MeToo revolution. (Fact: The EEOC saw a fourfold increase in visitors to the sexual harassment section of its website after the Harvey Weinstein news surfaced!)

Harassment Accusations

Today, employees feel unrestricted about harassment accusations, sometimes with decades-old allegations. You may possibly have a serial sexual harasser on your payroll. The first complaint opens the floodgates to a PR, social media, and legal disaster.

Seek the Answers

Now your HR should seek the answers to these questions: Is your organization vulnerable to a bombshell complaint? What’s the status of your anti-harassment training—are you just going through the motions? How about your complaint procedures and response planning?


Experts say the #MeToo movement is generating more harassment victims out of the shadows. The EEOC receives about 30,000 harassment complaints each year.  It estimates that only “6% to 13% of individuals who experience harassment file a formal complaint.”

How should you respond? Here are four tips:

Rethink your Training

1. Rethink your training. There is one main reason most harassment training fails. It’s because both staff and managers see it as a corporate check-the-box exercise aimed at limiting liability. Make clear, through training, communications, and modeling by leaders, that yours is a culture of equality and hands-off respect.

Tip: Swap your online training video for face-to-face role playing that truly explains what kind of behavior is tolerated.

Our expert attorney walks you through today’s new legal risks in plain English, not legalese. Discover the new best practices for preventing, investigating, and remedying sexual harassment in the workplace.

Most importantly, learn how to develop a program that not only meets compliance requirements, but also changes employees’ behavior. Behavior change is essential. Consequently, your boring check-the-box training and slow investigation processes aren’t going to cut it anymore.

Provide Avenues to Report Harassment

2. Provide multiple avenues to report harassment. Many companies fall down when it comes to giving employees several different ways to voice complaints. (Examples: Notify HR, contact a designated senior exec or call a third-party hotline.)

Remember, an employee who is being harassed by her boss is unlikely to file a complaint if your policy requires people to talk to their supervisor.

Don’t Pull Punches

3. Don’t pull punches with a CEO or top executive. Explain the complaint, but also discuss your executive’s actions in light of protecting the organization from an expensive lawsuit. Courts will likely hold your top brass to a higher standard.

If you know what’s going on and fail to stop it, you’re opening the organization—and possibly yourself—to corporate (and even personal) liability.

Enlist the Help

4. Enlist the help of outside investigators and counsel. They will be able to better handle the investigation, explain the legal risks and give you guidance on how to proceed.

How to Treat Women at Work

In many areas of business, research shows that women at work receive an average of 4% less pay than men.  Therefore, they are passed over for promotions.  Why is that?  Your business could suffer dire results if women at work aren’t treated fairly.

Women at Work

Because one study suggests that women unhappy with situations in their workplace just “suck it up.” The study sited one reason for this lack of action. Therefore, women fear being fired, and they usually cannot afford to lose their job.  If your company doesn’t promote women worthy of a task, you hold your own company back and lose money.

Are women being treated fairly in your company?  Do they face sexual harassment or abuse?  Do you promote them if they deserve it?  Pay close attention to your managers and other employees.  Be aware of workforce situations.


If you ignore the women in your workforce, then you lose an opportunity to capture a fantastic talent pool.  Women usually think better, are more peaceful, and apply better decision-making skills than most men.

Women don’t stay when they feel unfairly treated. Therefore, you lose quality staff.  You could face a sexual harassment or discrimination case.  The costs associated with these include embarrassment in the marketplace, legal costs, and settlements.


Never be afraid to make a change.  Pay attention to developments within your company.  See employees by their talents and work ethic.  Re-organize.  You’ll find that by running your business better, your employees and customers are more satisfied.

Don’t just treat women at work fairly.  Offer fairness and quality employment to everyone who works for you.

Mediation for Small Businesses







Small businesses, like corporations, can find themselves in conflict with neighboring businesses, employees, customers,vendors, and even with their business partners. Therefore, unlike corporations, small businesses often do not have the resources to deal with these conflicts.  Thus, the question then becomes: When there is a dispute, does a small business mediate, or go to court?

What is Mediation?

Mediation involves the use of an independent third person, or mediator. Who works with both parties in the dispute to informally negotiate their agreement.  Because this is different from arbitration where a third person hears the evidence contested between the two sides. Therefore, by acting as a judge, renders a legally binding agreement.

Mediation Can Be Effective

Mediation can be an effective way of resolving disputes, eliminating the need to go to court.  And for a small business, a cost effective way. Above all, as much as it can be an efficient and flexible process for resolving a multitude of disputes such as:

  • A result of employee conflict.
  • A contract performance disputes.
  • A disagreement between owners.
  • A dispute with neighboring property owners

In the end, mediation only works if the two parties want it to work.  It is purely voluntary, and the option is always open to go to court if one side or the other still feels that the issue remains unresolved.

Why Not Just Head to Litigation?

Litigation is costly and takes considerable time.  It redirects resources that could better be applied to running the business. Add the interruption to the “quality of life” for the small business owner who is often a member of the local community. Where the vast majority of conflicts arise, and conflicts taken to court can become a nightmare.

Also, a court decision will be “black or white”.  There will be a winner and a loser, probably resulting in long term damage to personal and business reputation. Furthermore, going to court should be a last resort, and that is where Don Swift and Associates come in. Offering high quality and professional mediation services to help weave your way to a solution in an amicable, positive environment.

A Case In Point with Mediation

An employee claimed pay through a contract,which was contested by the employer.  Termination of the employee will not settle the conflict, nor does the employer wish to lose who is an excellent employee. And the employee wants to resolve the issue in a positive environment. Therefore, they agree to head to mediation, and that is where Don Swift and Associates came in. As a skilled negotiator and mediator, Don Swift follows a robust and respectful process for resolving disputes Listening to the arguments of both parties. Don Swift and Associates is able to sort out what is the intention of the contract, what the contract says, and what both sides believe. 

Knowing Facts

Knowing all the facts, it became apparent that the contract did not clearly outline what the parties had said was their belief of an agreement, mediation won. Coming up with a solution in this situation was clearly done on the basis of what both parties wanted.  They wanted to carry on with what was agreed and resolve the issue on the basis of their original agreement. Though the contract was not exactly clear in that effect.And that is the value of mediation.  It is purely a voluntary process that allows the parties to come to an agreement on the basis of what they want and may be happy with.  In this case, the dispute was settled, the employer kept the employee, and the employee was glad to continue to work.

Don Swift and Associates

Call on Don Swift and Associates to help you with leading-edge mediation services in the Wichita Falls, Texas area.   Don Swift is involved in bringing the parties to a positive resolution in many disputes. Discussing his role in mediation, Don Swift states, “A large focus is allowing the emotional energy to take the parties to a positive resolution.”  Don continues with, “There is a tremendous amount of emotion that gets built up between parties.  My approach is to let people express themselves openly. I peel back the layers of the onion and reconstruct the story in a thoughtful and logical way to expose the issues and possible solutions.”In his work, Don remains the thoughtful mediator, not taking sides. Building a path to resolution that respects the businesses.



Don Swift

P.S. If you find this newsletter helpful, please consider sharing it with your friends, family, and colleagues. If you need assistance, call 940-228-0550. You can visit my website for more information at www.donswiftandassociates.com.


New Beginnings



If you prefer to read this online, click here.


New Beginnings

I have always thought of the end of the year and the beginning of the new year as an opportunity for new beginnings.  This goes way back with me and helps me make sense of the new year’s resolutions we all tend to make and break.

I feel the same way about managing HR activities.  The new year is a perfect time to begin thinking about how to re-iterate those aspects of your HR plan that are so important to overall and continued growth.


I think one way to do that is to review those aspects of your company’s culture, values, and rules of engagement that are expressed in your on-boarding training.  In general, when we bring a new employee into the company we want to ensure they understand the aspects of the company that make it “tick”.  I am sure you go over the following (at least) with a new employee:

  • Handbook policies and HR procedures;
  • Company values;
  • Rules of conduct;
  • Discrimination and sexual harassment;
  • Workplace violence philosophy and rules;
  • Health and safety;
  • Time off rules;
  • Ethics
  • Conflict and conflict resolution


  • Understanding the Rules

You may say to yourself, “Why is he trying to make more work for me?”  I’m not.  I’m actually trying to save you work down the road and to strengthen the general understanding of those things that often become a burden when employees don’t understand all the rules.  And, even long-term employees forget the details of these things from time to time.

So, what have you got to lose?  Put together some brief, but complete, training which lets your employees know there are rules to engagement.  Keep these things in front of them and create a common understanding amongst your work force of the rules and regulations of being one of your employees.

Good luck and happy new year.


Don Swift

P.S. If you find this newsletter helpful, please consider sharing it with your friends, family, and colleagues. If you need assistance, call 940-228-0550. You can visit my website for more information at www.donswiftandassociates.com.