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I’ve now had some time to reflect on my first World Economic Forum, and I am already looking forward to returning to Davos next year. I wonder if that makes me a “Davos Man?” Regardless, I can say that my overarching emotion about the conference has been one of frustration. Not with the event’s likelihood to “improve the state of the world;” actually, not that at all. My frustration stems from how many great sessions were running concurrently. How am I expected to choose between “Faith in Religion” moderated by Tony Blair and “Cloud Computing” with Marc Benioff? Or “Managing Complex Systems” and “The Politics and Economics of Water”? And what does one do when they need to decide between spending time speaking to the BBC or attending “A conversation with [my hero] Bill Clinton.”

I went with the BBC in the end (and fortunately was able to catch-up on the Clinton speech on YouTube later.) After all, I am keen to do my bit and try to promote and accelerate a positive outcome to the current crisis. (See “Davos: Let’s hear it for the optimists”) This brings me to one of my major observations from Davos: It was an incredible catalyst for me (and countless others) to experiment with Twitter, blogging and other forms of social computing. It enabled me to share how I felt about a number of intriguing sessions in real-time, and how they relate to some of the IT management issues I see our customers facing.

It was also interesting to note how the onslaught of social media triggered a number of questions around privacy; risks to the Internet, risks to social computing, risks to Davos itself.

Apparently, it has always required a judgment call to appropriately interpret the ‘on the record/off the record’ rules at Davos. This is more the case than ever with Tweeters, bloggers and brandishers of Flip or Kodak HD video devices lurking in every session, coffee stop or shuttle bus. I must admit I’m not sure if I was part of the problem or the solution myself, but I will say I heard a great deal of positive feedback about the “openness” of Davos this year.

Non-attendees who wanted to follow the action could easily do so, which I think led to great dialogue between attendees and non-attendees alike. This was just one of the many positive themes that ensured I left Davos with my optimism intact.

As expected, there was a great deal of drama in the Gaza session, and the typical avoidance of blame and/or critical questioning from various politicians was a thread throughout many sessions.

For me, one of the most important topics was around leadership and tools that will help us shape the post crisis world. Specifically, how can we demonstrate the values of leadership and perseverance that will help us emerge on the other side of the financial, poverty and (eventually) environmental crises stronger and more principled than before? The resounding answer was that the Internet, social computing, technology innovation and boldness will have a key part to play as we work toward a model of transparency, collaboration and trust. (See “Building a Values-Driven Organization: A Whole-System Approach to Cultural Transformation,” by Richard Barrett).

Happily, there was a notable confluence of activities from Social Entrepreneurs and World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers and Young Global Leaders. Perhaps these innovators had already realized it is both good for your venture and good for the world you live in to incorporate social components into your technology startup, and leverage innovative technology for your social projects.

I was lucky enough to run into Cameron Sinclair, WEF 2008 Young Global Leader of Architecture for Humanity fame. Cameron has focused on getting more efficient, human designs for homes into the lives of the developing world -and doing it with a couple of laptops and a website, plus sourcing the designs from a crowd of architects and designers across the Internet! The lesson here: When we look at the core units of society and the amazing work that’s being done around the world, notice how all of these are now being empowered by social computing and the Internet.

According to an article in Virtualization Journal, an HP executive reported from Davos that “HP Thinks Cloud Computing Means Selling Ink on the Web.” Much of the technology industry has a slightly different handle on the subject of cloud. They understand that the movement towards cloud computing is an opportunity for greater efficiency and has the potential to unlock the stranglehold on computing power that is still held by government and large corporates. Call it the democratization of server-side computing or whatever you like; it was a hot topic at Davos.

is a good webinar that touches on the challenges we’ve seen when customers try to migrate IT infrastructure and applications into the cloud.

In the US, investment in green technologies is being promoted by the new administration as a key part of the response to the financial crisis. In the United Kingdom, renewable energy hopes to create at least 160,000 new jobs. Yet as countries around the world look to stimulate economic growth and employment, what green initiatives and technologies should be prioritized?

One way to think about it is in terms of the current financial crisis and proposed solutions. During his session, Mr. Clinton noted that bank lending is more of a concern than stimulus spending at the moment. It might be difficult to compare $880 billion in stimulus versus theoretical lending capacity of $6 trillion, but designing a way to get banks lending again is key to recovery – for a number of reasons. Clinton was very much in favor of the idea of a “bad bank.” This institution would exist “for the orderly re-pricing and selling of the assets that are causing the seizure of the credit markets.”

As he and Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, noted, perhaps “Intensive Care Unit / Rescue Bank” would be a better name for it. Regardless, it’s important to remember that it’s not just the standard business issues that are being affected by the dearth of bank lending. Without bank lending, there will be bigger problems confronting us – all of us.

As Clinton discussed, a recent report from an international panel (see National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) pointed out that even if we cut greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050, it will take 1000 years for the world to cool back to its historical average. Suppressing global economic growth and technical innovation is not the answer to reversing this trend. From the poorest to the richest companies and countries, we need to establish economically beneficial ways to dramatically change the energy use and patterns of the world. If we can get bank-lending going again, there will be more jobs per dollar in energy efficiency related projects than any others by far – and more technology innovations to support them.

We can’t ignore energy efficiency issues and environmental impact related to IT. A recent McKinsey report indicates that, left unchecked, the carbon footprint of the world’s data centers will exceed that of the aviation industry – and indeed that of the entire country of Brazil – by 2023. The way to address these issues is not to stop IT in its tracks; rather, it is to acknowledge the power for good IT can represent, better understand the purpose and applications it has in both society and business, and invest in innovation. Only then can we optimize the hardware, software, power and people in our growing, merging and incredibly complex data centers to deliver these applications.

Despite the sobering sessions and sometimes air of gloom and doom, I still most certainly left my first World Economic Forum as an optimist. The US has a new president, a great support in the Clintons, and the force of change behind him, which gives me hope that we optimists will be able to meet the global and burgeoning economic, environmental and social challenges that face us. I am inclined to take heed of Mr. Clinton’s final words: “Don’t bet against yourself, don’t bet against your country, don’t bet against humanity’s future. It’s still a good time to be alive.”

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Cubot X11 Review: Good Mt6592 Devices Are Still Possible, Indeed!

But what if we now tell you that recently we had our hands on a device that still runs on such an old 32-bit SoC yet have been very impressed by it? Well, you probably would be curious which device it is and why we have been impressed. And that’s what we gonna talk about here and now: the Cubot X11 and why we believe that this beauty still is a good phone. Enjoy the read!

Cubot X11 Review: Unboxing, Design & Build

All of you who know Cubot should be familiar with the business policy of this manufacturer. They always try to create devices that just work, are well thought out and do not come loaded with unnecessary features and stuff. Usually that meant a very simple packaging as well, but they somehow changed a bit there. While they still keep packaging simple, they managed to throw in a tad of elegance, which leaves a very positive impression right after unboxing the device. It isn’t only well designed but comes with quite some accessories that includes a wall charger, USB cable, silicon bumper, screen protector, SIM tray opening tool and even a user manual which is very detailed with lots of pictures and professional multi-language translation into German, English, Spanish, Italian and many other languages.

Design-wise the Cubot X11 is an extremely impressive device and immediately makes the (at the first look) high price-tag of $180 seem less expensive immediately. Really, you probably haven’t seen a sub $200 MT6592-powered phone before that offers such a high build quality and nice design. It is entirely made from metal, and not just a thin metal frame, but a real CNC crafted chassis that is one part with the frame which itself is several millimeters thick. Along two glass panels on the front and rear, this doesn’t only make the phone look beautiful but very sturdy as well. Cubot even managed to retain a certain slimness at 7mm (other dimensions are 150 x 71mm) yet haven’t been able to reduce the weight. All the metal makes the Cubot X11 end up with 178g of weight. The best part is yet to come however: the Cubot X11 will survive contact with water! Drops, water jets and even short dips into water are no problem for the device, which we tested ourselves numerous times. We even managed to get one unit through a 7 minute under water test, which unfortunately it didn’t survive after one day because a tiny amount of water managed to get in. Anyway, for an IP65 certified device this is very impressive and is a proof for how good Cubot did there as well as the high build quality of the device.

Cubot X11 Review: Display

We’ve been satisfied with the quality of the Cubot X11’s display since it delivers exactly what you expect from a brand display. Colors, contrast and sharpness are on a level we cannot complain about. The brightness unfortunately is just OK, a tad more wouldn’t have hurt them. Also, the automatic brightness control should be improved since it doesn’t react properly from time to time. The viewing angles could be a little better as well since we noticed a slight change in colors and contrast from extreme angles. The touch screen works like a charm for a device in this price range but the glass could be a little smoother.

Cubot X11 Review: Specs & Performance

Initially we mentioned that the Cubot X11 specs-wise isn’t as impressive as it does look in terms of design and build. Indeed, a MT6592M clocked at 1.4GHz, a Mali 450MP GPU, 2GB of RAM, no LTE support and no 64-bit might not exactly be what you are looking for in a phone today, but we simply cannot deny that there are people who actually are catered well with such specs. Not everyone needs LTE and not everyone needs the best performance available. Let’s face it: a MT6592 still is enough for your social media apps and e-mail clients. The only thing it won’t handle too nice anymore are games. And yep, that actually has been our experience with the Cubot X11 as well. So if you are not into massive multi-tasking and gaming, the MT6592 still is good for you – period.

Cubot X11 Review: Software

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The Cubot X11 like the majority of MT6592 devices runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Cubot apparently did a very good job optimizing the software since this is one of the smoothest Android experiences we ever had on this chipset. Unless you throw some massive multi tasking at the chip you won’t get any UI lags at all which is very nice. The ROM offers a pure vanilla Android experience with no customizations except a slightly modified launcher which you can replace in case you don’t like it. The software gets updated through OTA frequently, which we appreciate. There’s one thing we miss though and that’s support for off screen gestures, which have been left unsupported for whatever reason.

Cubot X11 Review: Audio

The internal media speaker built into the Cubot X11’s frame surprised us with a decent quality. It sounds quite clear and doesn’t distort even at the highest volume. Together with a slight playback of bass it sounds good enough for enjoying some music without any demands for superior hi-fi quality. A little disappointing was the output through the headphone jack, which sounds kinda flat. Luckily this isn’t caused by some hardware issue and can be sorted out by installing an audio enhancer of your choice. Phone call quality is ok as well, not overly clear and there is no noise cancellation, but still it’s good enough to be usable.

Cubot X11 Review: Reception Quality

Now for a phone that doesn’t support 4G LTE in the age of fast mobile Internet we expect such a device to at least offer reception quality near high-end level. And yes, the Cubot X11 indeed delivers. Despite all the metal around and inside the device the reception quality is very good across all network types. Even GPS is working outstandingly well, which indeed is surprising since those older Mediatek chipsets usually mean bad GPS. Anyway, with a good antenna you can get the magic to happen. Even though the chipset doesn’t support GLONASS we managed to reach an accuracy of 2 meters and got fixes outside within just a few seconds. Signal strength was way above average, on-par with some Qualcomm powered devices. This means that navigation works just find and the only flaw left is some tracking apps that go nuts on 32-bit MTK chipsets – that still hasn’t changed to date. Google My Tracks works fine though.

Cubot X11 Review: Camera

The Cubot X11 comes with a 13 mega pixel rear camera with an (officially) unspecified Sony sensor and a 8 mega pixel selfie shooter. The rear camera can be interpolated to 16MP if you wish to do so. We asked Cubot which sensor they use for the X11 and they claim it is a Sony IMX214. While we can neither confirm nor deny that,we can indeed confirm that this handset has the best camera we’ve seen on a MT6592 device to date. It creates crisp and sharp pictures with lots of details and very nice colors. The shutter time is decent and so is the focus time. It even performs well in low-light and HDR mode, which is anything but usual within this price-range. We especially loved the dual LED dual tone flash, which is one of the brightest we have seen on phones to date. It has no issues lighting up large rooms and retains the colors as they should be. The only part we have to complain about is, that the flash is too bright for macro shots. It will overexpose the preview, preventing the camera from focusing properly. Another thing we dislike is the video quality, which in no way does reflect the picture quality. Videos just don’t look good and tend to lag. This might be a software issue that will be sorted out with a future update. The front camera is capable of taking good-enough selfies on daylight but sucks in low light.

Cubot X11 Review: Battery

The Cubot X11 comes with a built-in, non-replaceable Lithium Polymer battery that offers a capacity of 2,850mAh. This is fairly enough to get you throughout one day and if you stay away from GPS usage or games you will be able to get into the night as well. More however isn’t possible since those old MTK chipsets aren’t the best when it comes to energy efficiency. Still, the Geekbench battery test managed to suck out more than 8 hours of screen-on juice of the cell. Charging the phone takes about 3.5 hours with the charger Cubot ships with the device.

Cubot X11 Review: Verdict

The Cubot X11 is probably the best proof for what still is possible to do with an older SoC those days. Obviously, it isn’t a phone for those of you who want to get as much performance as possible and the latest specs, but for those who only run basic apps, don’t need LTE but pay a lot attention to build quality, sturdiness and who need a phone that doesn’t have any issue with water contact the Cubot X11 seems like the way to go. We have been impressed in a very positive way with this device after being very skeptical about it at first. Now there’s one question left: If Cubot are able to create something like this at $180, what can they do with a decent processor and a higher price-tag of let’s say $249? We really hope they will show that to us soon!

We want to thank Cubot for providing us with a review sample of the X11.

Spiders In Your Fruit: A Good Thing


Grapes on the Vine

Last month, at a grocery store five minutes from my house, a TV reporter bought a container of red grapes that also held a black widow spider. It became local and then national news, and the Aldi supermarket issued a refund and pulled the grapes from the shelves. Then a month later, the same thing happened at Aldi and Kroger stores in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. And then a British family was told to evacuate their house after a Brazilian wandering spider, the most toxic arachnid out there, stowed away with its hatchlings on a bunch of bananas. What’s going on? What are all these spiders doing in our breakfast fruit?

These spiders are not spiders you would want in your house, for sure. But spiders’ presence in fruit is generally not a bad thing. It’s a result of pest management practices that aim to use fewer chemicals on our food, allowing natural insect enemies to help out.

“From a pest management perspective, spiders are beneficial. They eat a lot of pest insects,” says Rick Foster, a professor of entomology at Purdue University who studies arthropod pests of fruits and vegetables. “We want to keep them there in the field, and what we don’t want to do is bring them into the grocery store and into your homes. But it’s kind of hard to have it both ways.”

Grapes provide nice secluded spots for spiders to hang out and build their webs, Foster says. They’ll eat just about any type of insect, and plenty of insects eat grapes and grape leaves, providing spiders a bounty of possibilities. And grapes are harvested in the field, usually without any washing or other processing that might remove the arachnids. (One of the black widows was spotted while a Pennsylvania woman was washing grapes in her sink.)

Female Black Widow

It wasn’t clear where the grapes were grown, but black widows are native to Missouri and California, where many grapes come from. Both the spiders and the grapevines prefer temperate climates. But plenty of other spider species set up shop in fruit trees and bushes, not just black widows, Foster notes.

In the case of the bananas, a Brazilian wandering spider had built a nest on a bunch of bananas that were sold at a Sainsbury’s in southwestern London. The fruit had been imported from Colombia, according to the Mail.

In years past, growers would spray their crops with broad-spectrum insecticides, which kill not only crop pests but also their predators. But using integrated pest management, a relatively new philosophy of pest control, growers might not use insecticides or they may spray selectively, sparing the spiders.

“It’s one of the little negative side effects of doing a better job of controlling insects,” Foster says.

Brazilian wandering spiders, also called banana spiders, are in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most dangerous spider. Their venom is a potent neurotoxin, but like other spider venoms, it’s being studied for therapeutic use — in their case, for erectile dysfunction. They’re aggressive and can grow up to 6 inches long. They live in banana plantations where they can feast on other creatures, like lizards, crickets and katydids, and tree frogs.

Brazilian Wandering Spider

Black widows are also venomous, but they’re far less dangerous. A bite will cause chills, nausea, cramps and abdominal pain, and general achiness. While they can be harmful to young children, the average adult doesn’t have much to worry about, according to Foster. Antivenin is available, but in most cases, it’s not even worth going to an emergency room, he says. Rather, black widows are frightful because of their sleek, obsidian appearance and their cultural importance.

“They’re even in movies; there’s a whole mythology along with black widows,” Foster says.

I asked him what would have happened if the grape stowaways had been a different species. “I think if it was a jumping spider, no one would have noticed,” he says.

Honda Has Realized Its Ev Transition Plan May Not Be Good Enough

Honda has realized its EV transition plan may not be good enough

Honda is preparing to accelerate its EV roadmap, considering pulling forward the launch of new electric models after talk in Europe about much stricter regulations around internal combustion vehicles. Honda has so far been targeting 2040 for EVs making up its entire range, but freshly proposed rules in the European Union could make that unfeasible.

Revealed last week, the EU’s European Green Deal cranks up the pressure on anything that emits carbon dioxide, with transportation a particular focus. “The roadmap to our new target of at least -55% of greenhouse gas emissions until 2030,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said of the new rules. “We chose carbon pricing as a clear guiding and market-based instrument with a social compensation.”

While everything from air travel, haulage, and shipping are in the EU’s sights, for consumers it’s likely to be the cars they can buy which represent the biggest change. If the proposals are passed, newly-registered cars must reduce emissions by 55-percent – compared to 2023 – by 2030. By 2035, they must reduce emissions by 100-percent, effectively making every model sold a zero-emission vehicle.

Although not specifically framed as such, it’s basically a ban on internal combustion models. That the EU is weighing such a step isn’t new news to automakers, of course, but the timeline for the transition may be more aggressive than many were hoping for.

“If the rules change, we’ll have no choice but to respond,” Toshihiro Mibe, President and CEO of Honda Motor, said of the prospective EU regulations. The transition to electrification-only “could be expedited,” the exec added, Nikkei Asia reports.

“We’ll assess the suitability of our company’s electrification plan, and we’ll make adjustments if necessary,” the CEO said. Despite the scale of the EU, it’s actually only responsible for around 2-percent of Honda’s global automotive sales each year. Still, the automaker is seeing it as a weathervane for EV intentions more broadly.

“The regulations will become stricter by the day,” Mibe pointed out, flagging that Canada has also said it will ban sales of combustion engine-powered vehicles by 2025. “Of course, we won’t be able to do business if we don’t match international trends.”

Honda’s strategy for electrification includes both in-house development and partnerships. Its first all-electric SUV for the North American market will be the 2024 Prologue EV, and built atop GM’s Ultium platform as the two automakers collaborate on two models. The Prologue will be followed shortly after by a new, as-yet-unnamed Acura luxury SUV, also built atop Ultium technology.

However, Honda has also been developing its own platform, dubbed Honda e:Architecture. That won’t be ready until the second half of this decade, however, and is initially earmarked for the North American market. Broader sales of EVs based on the platform will follow.

It raises the question of just how rapidly Honda can accelerate its European EV offering. At the moment, the company only has one all-electric vehicle for sale in Europe, the Honda e; the compact urban car isn’t available in the US or Canada, where its range is believed to be uncompetitive. The automaker’s other European electrified options are all hybrids, potentially acceptable under the first transition step the EU is considering making mandatory, but certainly not for its 2035 goal.

Although Honda recently announced it would end sales of the Clarity Fuel Cell, its hydrogen-powered car, that doesn’t mean the automaker is giving up on fuel cell technology altogether. There’ll “definitely” be another hydrogen-based model, Mibe insists, despite lingering questions around factors like fueling infrastructure and just how green hydrogen power actually is.

Key Questions To Ask New Hires To Ensure A Good Start

New-hire surveys help you assess employees’ experiences during their initial few months on the job and identify necessary changes to the onboarding process.

Among other benefits, a new-hire survey increases employee retention rates as well as the odds that employees have the skills and support they need to succeed at your company.

A new-hire survey should be conducted more than once and should cover a variety of areas, including the quality and duration of onboarding and the obstacles employees face.

This article is for business owners who are interested in creating and using a new-hire survey to improve their onboarding process. 

As a responsible business owner, you probably think your company does a good job of onboarding employees. However, your onboarding practices and procedures may not be as welcoming and effective as you think.

Gallup research found that a mere 12 percent of employees believe their organization does a good job during onboarding. But a quality onboarding process is essential because it can improve employee performance by as much as 15 percent, according to research from Gartner. Plus, committed workers like to stay at their jobs and are nine times less likely to pursue other opportunities.

With this in mind, conducting a new-hire survey is among the most positive steps you can take for the long-term health of your business.

What is a new-hire survey, and why should businesses conduct one? 

A new-hire survey, also called an employee onboarding survey, is a questionnaire that businesses use to obtain insight into employees’ experience during their initial few months on the job. Conducting a new-hire survey allows you to do the following:

Learn which aspects of your onboarding procedures are and aren’t working: The insights you glean make it easier to refine the onboarding process and ensure it is as efficient as possible. An effective system will impress future new hires and increase your retention rates.

Identify issues interfering with employee productivity: These issues include disconnects between employees’ expectations and their actual experiences, the caliber of training, and relationships with managers and colleagues. Unmet expectations can foster dissatisfaction and attrition.

Bolster team morale: A bad onboarding process can make employees feel unsettled, thus dampening morale and impeding your company’s growth. A new-hire survey reverses the tide by sparking improvements in onboarding procedures, said David Cusick, director of SEO at Three Ships, House Method.

Pinpoint and accommodate individual employees’ needs: Assess each employee’s overall experience during their first few weeks and months on the job, and address any negatives.

“A survey allows you to identify each new hire’s needs and address them,” said Reuben Yonatan, founder and CEO of GetVoIP. “The personalized attention will help you hold on to top talent.” [Read related article: Are You Using Buzzwords Your Employees Are Sick of Hearing?]

Did You Know?

A new-hire survey helps to increase retention rates and employee productivity by allowing you to identify parts of the onboarding experience that require change.

How do I create and distribute a new-hire survey?

Here are the two main methods for creating and distributing new-hire surveys:

Paper: This is the less-expensive route. However, you’ll need someone to manually compile the employee feedback and put it into a form you can easily review and use to make decisions based on the findings.

Software: Companies such as DecisionWise, Qualtrics and Limeade Listening offer software that can help you design and customize new-hire surveys. The software also emails the surveys to employees and provides comprehensive reports about the findings. The technology requires a financial investment, but it has an upside: It may be easier and faster for employees to complete a new-hire survey online than on paper. That means they’ll be more likely to provide detailed and more-useful responses. Respondents also may be less apt to skip questions to save time.

Key Takeaway

You can develop and distribute new-hire surveys on paper, which saves money rather than time, or via software, which saves time rather than money.

How often should I conduct a new-hire survey, and what questions should it include?

The business owners and human resources (HR) experts we spoke with said the ideal times to conduct a new-hire survey are at the end of the new hire’s first week and first month on the job, as well as at the conclusion of the formal onboarding period.

You can format questions to require yes-or-no answers or ranked responses (for example, rating an element of the onboarding experience on a scale of 1 to 10). You can also use open-ended questions that call for detailed feedback. Many businesses combine these types of questions.

Regardless of which format you choose, base the questions on your goal for the survey. “Ask yourself what you’re trying to do with the information,” said Cate Galeza, HR manager at productivity software firm Formstack. “Do you want ideas from employees on improving the onboarding process, or are you trying to measure an employee’s experience at a certain time period?”

Here are some sample new-hire survey questions. For simplicity’s sake, we put them in an open-ended format. You can tweak some to accommodate a simple negative or affirmative response or rating scale. Remember that specific questions will vary based on your business’s needs.

Questions to ask after the first week:

How effective do you feel your training has been so far? What would you change? Are you having to ask a lot of questions about topics not covered in your training? If so, what are those topics?

What, if anything, seems unclear about your role?

Do you feel you have the proper tools to do your job? If not, what else do you need?

What aspects of your role do you like and dislike so far?

What, if anything, seems confusing to you? Do you feel you’re starting to master your responsibilities?

What were your initial expectations of the onboarding experience? How do they match the experience you’re having?

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve encountered to date?

What’s still unclear to you about your duties and our company’s policies?

Did you feel welcomed to the company? Why or why not?

How well do you feel you fit into the company culture? 

Questions to ask after the first month:

Has the training you’ve received been relevant to your specific responsibilities? How so or not so?

How often have you felt you’ve been without direction and unsure of what to do or where to find the answers?

What have you learned since your first survey that you wish you had learned earlier?

Do you feel a sense of work-life balance? If not, what might need to change?

What did you wish you’d been told before you started your job?

What delighted you that you didn’t expect?

Do you understand the expectations for this job in detail? If not, what is lacking?

Did we meet your expectations during this first month? If so, how? If not, what was missing?

How would you rate your satisfaction in working with your co-workers?

How would you rate your level of productivity at every shift?

Questions to ask after the onboarding has wrapped up:

Have you forged a good working relationship with your manager? If so, how? If not, why do you think that is?

Have you forged a good working relationship with your co-workers? If so, how? If not, why do you think that is?

Was the duration of the onboarding process too long, too short or just right?

Did your onboarding make you feel more or less confident that you can do your job? Why or why not?

Did your onboarding meet your expectations? If it fell short, how?

What information/training/practices should we add to our onboarding program, and what should we eliminate?

In general, was your onboarding successful? Why or why not?

If there were a job opening here, would you recommend that a friend or family member apply for the position?

Additional questions to ask remote employees at the end of the onboarding period:

What would help you feel more connected to everyone else on the team?

What types of resources do you need to do your work better?

What additional information do you need access to?

What communications issues have you had that need fixing?

Key Takeaway

Conduct a new-hire survey after an employee has been on board for one week, again after the first month and then again after the onboarding process is complete. Questions will vary according to your company’s individual needs, but in general, include questions about the quality and length of the process, challenges employees face, relationships with colleagues and managers, and what may be missing from your onboarding program.

How do I make sure I get the best survey responses? 

Asking the right questions at the right intervals will help your business benefit from conducting a new-hire survey, but it won’t guarantee high-quality, actionable responses. Business owners and HR experts offered several strategies for ensuring you get the most out of your new-hire survey:

Keep it brief. 

Being asked to complete a new-hire survey with more than 10 questions can be overwhelming for many employees, especially if they’ve just completed their first week on the job. The more overwhelmed new hires feel by the survey, the less thoughtful and actionable their responses will be. 

Mix it up. 

Some experts we spoke with said a new-hire survey should contain only questions that require a yes-or-no answer or a ranked response. Others said they prefer open-ended questions. But most of our sources said they favor a hybrid approach. Business coach Dave Labowitz said he likes to use numeric rating scale (NRS) and open-ended, text-based questions. 

“NRS questions allow you to track averages over time, which is important to measure whether you’re getting better or worse at your onboarding process,” Labowitz said. “An NRS question can also help you identify an outlier who had an extremely positive or negative experience. This person may be worth following up with individually.”

Open-ended questions are equally crucial because “they’ll tell you what you need to work on, not just that you have work to do,” and may elicit concrete ideas for improvements to onboarding procedures, Labowitz said.

“Sometimes you’ll see patterns across many team members, and other times a single team member will throw a brilliant idea your way,” he said. “Either way, these answers are absolute gold.”

Watch your wording.

Avoid wording that makes it easy for new hires to skip open-ended questions. “For example, don’t ask them if they feel anything was left out of the onboarding process,” said Phil Strazzulla, CEO and founder of Select Software Reviews. “Instead, ask what was left out of the onboarding process.”

Encourage honesty.

Most new hires fear doing or saying something wrong when they first join a company. They haven’t developed long-term trust in their employer and may be afraid you’ll use negative feedback against them. That’s why it’s vital to reassure employees that they won’t suffer any consequences from answering survey questions honestly, said Jeff Skipper, of Jeff Skipper Consulting.

“Depersonalizing” some questions also makes it easier for employees to be candid in their responses to a new-hire survey, Skipper said. For example, instead of asking respondents to list what they didn’t like about the first week on the job, phrase the question this way: “If you were going to prepare someone else for their first week on the job here, what would you caution them about?”


Brevity, carefully worded questions, a mix of questions that require short and long answers, and reassurance that offering honest responses won’t cause respondents any trouble are essential elements of any new-hire survey.

How can I maximize my investment in a new-hire survey?

It takes time to develop and use the results of a new-hire survey. It also requires money, for the labor to administer the survey and analyze the results and, if you choose to use it, the software to create the survey. Maximizing these investments over the long term makes good business sense and can be achieved by following these best practices:

Publicize and act on employee feedback.

Periodically publish the feedback and findings — anonymized, of course — on an internal platform. “That way, new employees know that the information is read, and that their thoughts are meaningful and valid,” said Cory Colton, principal executive coach at Inflection Point Coaching.

Some businesses schedule regular reviews of new-hire surveys to identify appropriate changes that should be made to the onboarding process — for instance, extending training times or improving training programs. 

Revisit and revise the survey periodically.

The most valuable new-hire survey isn’t put together just once and presented to new hires for years and years without further consideration. Instead, it’s reviewed and altered periodically to reflect the changing needs of the business and its employees, Labowitz said.

Combine feedback from the survey with other employee feedback.

Aggregating various types of employee feedback can help you monitor and assess the effect of your business’s onboarding program at other stages of employees’ tenure with the company. For example, comparing information shared in new-hire surveys with information provided during an annual engagement survey helps to determine whether new hires’ experiences during the onboarding process affect their level of engagement after a year of employment.

Similarly, viewing the contents of employees’ annual performance reviews alongside feedback shared in new-hire surveys lets you know if employees’ initial impressions of your organization and their onboarding experiences affect their job performance. You can then initiate any necessary changes, such as improving training during the employee onboarding process.

Key Takeaway

New-hire surveys are the most valuable when the feedback is shared with employees and later analyzed along with feedback from other surveys, such as annual engagement surveys.

How To Be A Social Ceo

As the CEO of your startup, you should already be promoting open communication within your company, as well as increasing engagement with your customers. While most startups are already social media-savvy, it’s important for you as the CEO to promote a social environment for your company.

A recent study by DOMO and chúng tôi revealed 70 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are not active on social media. To take an even closer look, only 28 of these CEOs have Twitter accounts, and only 19 are active. Now, although your startup is on a smaller business scale, it’s important to see how there is a need for more social media engagement from CEOs. Social media is changing the way businesses increase revenues; therefore, as the CEO and public face of your startup, you yourself — not just your startup — need to be known in the social media realm.

Whether you already have a social media strategy in place or you’re looking to become a more social CEO, here are some ways you can engage more with your employees and customers online:

Create a brand for yourself. As the CEO of your startup, it’s important for you to create a personal brand for yourself so your employees and customers can interact with you on a more personal level. When you create a brand for yourself, use it to make your interests outside your company known so you can better relate. Whether it’s your passion for surfing or traveling abroad, do something to show your audience you are a real person, just like your customers and employees are. By creating a personal brand for yourself, you will be able to attract the type of customers you want to engage.

Start blogging your journey. As you begin to brand yourself, use this as an opportunity to share your journey with your employees and customers. By starting a blog, you can write about your successes with your startup, as well as your lessons learned. Your blog can also be a great way to share news about your company as well as stories from your personal life.

Whatever you can do to make yourself more relatable to your employees and customers, the better. These people want the opportunity to know who upper management is. By blogging, you will be able to inspire more of your employees and provide an outlet for your employees to interact with you.

Use social media to build your culture. Social media is more than just tweeting about your opinions or sharing industry content. It’s also more than just a tool to promote your product. If you are active on Twitter or LinkedIn, use these social media platforms to build a culture for your company, engage with your employees, and connect with your customers. By sharing your company’s news and an “inside scoop” of the culture, you will be able to give people an inside look at what your passion is all about and provide real-time conversation with employees and customers.

Make yourself known on your company’s website. By making yourself visible on your company’s website, you can enhance your startup’s credibility. This can be done by promoting your blog on the company’s website and even posting links to your social media accounts. The purpose of being a social CEO is to build engagement with your employees and targeted audiences. When you make yourself available on your company’s website, you are improving the reputation of your company and making your company more personal for customers.

By building your reputation as a social CEO, you will be viewed as good communicator by your employees, as well as your customers. As the CEO of your startup, it should be your goal to promote positive and open communication between yourself and your employees. When you open your connections and allow yourself to be available to your employees on social networks, you will see an improvement in the inspiration, innovation, and culture of your startup.

What are you doing to become a social CEO for your startup?

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