Cathy Reilly

Cathy Reilly is the founder and president of Onboardia, an award-winning web-based new hire orientation and employee training platform that provides organizations with a customized, efficient solution for onboarding and engaging new hires from Day One and beyond.

Recent Posts

How to Ensure New Hires Stand on Their Own

Posted by Cathy Reilly on Mar 2, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Boy Standing on his Own w.wings.iStock-471920301.jpgAs children, learning to walk, talk or eat on our own for the first time, were happy milestones for us and for our parents who taught us these skills. It meant we were becoming less reliant on others and were moving towards self-sufficiency and independence. We were learning to stand on your own. Literally, baby steps in the beginning, they were still critical personal successes that would help define our growing sense of self.

But, one person who seems to have foregone the baby steps (thanks to his mom) and rocketed to standing on his own, is Richard Branson. To rid him of shyness, his mother stopped the car a few miles from their house and made him find his own way home across the fields. To get home, he would have to talk with people to find his way. It worked in turning around his shyness.

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Topics: Human Resources

Make Way for More Coaching in Your Culture

Posted by Cathy Reilly on Feb 7, 2017 9:00:00 AM

iStock_Coach wcredit.jpgDuring one of my job transitions, I went from a 30-person local firm to a 5,000+ employee-sized global company. It was an adjustment to say the least. I was hired by Debbie S., my new manager. Although we had an immediate rapport during the interview process, little did I know how lucky I was to have landed with Debbie as my manager. It turned out that Debbie spoke to me a lot on a regular basis, she was accessible, she provided guidance and readily shared valuable insights and knowledge with me. It’s one of the best work experiences I’ve ever had in my career. At the time, I didn’t term it as such, but she was my coach.

One of the predictions this year is that coaching inside companies will spread. Human Resources can help make way to creating a coaching culture by helping managers become better coaches. What’s propelling this trend?

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Topics: Management, Human Resources, Coaching

Why You Need to Add “No” to Your Work Vocabulary

Posted by Cathy Reilly on Jan 26, 2017 9:00:00 AM

iStock-Yes.No signs wcredit.jpg The word “No” is one of the most powerful of words, yet one of the hardest to say. That’s because no one wants to hear it. People would rather say and hear “Yes”. The pressure to say “Yes” starts early. Children are expected to say “Yes” to people in authority. Children want to say “Yes” to parents, coaches and teachers. We are instinctively eager to please.

The Stress of Yes

Saying “Yes” can be easier in the short term, simply because it is the response of least resistance. But in the long run, it can make things harder. All of us have experienced the stress of “Yes”. Too many “Yes’s” and the tasks pile up, frustration mounts, resentment builds, and relationships suffer. Lauren Mackler, life, relationship and career coach, and author of Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life, notes that while we often say “Yes” to preserve a relationship with a boss, spouse, or friend, an unwilling “Yes” actually has the opposite effect. “Not communicating your needs weakens the relationship.”

The Power of NO

One develops muscular strength by pushing against something – resistance. In the same way, a person develops a strong sense of self by exercising resistance when it’s needed. Saying “No” is one way to do that. “No” is a word of resistance. We can become stronger just by saying it and getting good at it. In this way “No” becomes a more familiar and less negative word to us. “No” can be a positive word because it helps us set boundaries, and stick to our convictions, values and beliefs. “Don’t think of [saying “No”] as being selfish but about taking care of you,” says Mackler.

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Topics: Human Resources

4 Simple Questions to Help You Conquer Work Interruptions

Posted by Cathy Reilly on Jan 12, 2017 9:22:39 AM

iStock-stress free interruptions blog 510231582.jpgPaying attention is essential to getting anything done, but it’s tough when your attention is constantly interrupted. Quoting Susan Cain from her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking “Another study, of 38,000 knowledge workers across different sectors, found that the simple act of being interrupted is one of the biggest barriers to productivity.”

Unfortunately, it seems like interruptions are multiplying exponentially in our hyper-connected world. Phone calls, voicemails, emails, text messages, unexpected visitors, impromptu meetings and minor emergencies disrupt our focus. Our attention spans are short enough, 8.25 seconds in fact, per the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. That’s less than a goldfish, who averages 9 seconds!

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Topics: Management, Human Resources

Why you Need to Become a Better Storyteller in HR (or Risk Becoming a Talking Head)

Posted by Cathy Reilly on Dec 20, 2016 9:15:25 AM

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Each of us grew up with treasured stories, especially attached to this time of year. As children, stories helped us feel joy and wonderment about the world around us. They also importantly helped us believe and understand through enchantment. But at any age, stories can also take real things or situations and make them more relatable in order to explain a point or teach a lesson.

Stories heighten reality and stir emotions. They can be disarming, facilitate open mindedness and serve as one of the most powerful learning tools, all which can be extremely helpful in the workplace. This is especially so for those working in the “human” space on the job (aka HR). Oftentimes, HR professionals can be unfairly viewed at work as messengers of bad news, cold and unfeeling, or what I term: “The Fun Police”. The ability for HR to relate effectively to employees is therefore imperative. Using stories at work as appropriate, not only helps HR connect with others, it can help them move employees forward. It is a great way to show HR is much more than a talking head. 


Here’s what skilled storytelling in the workplace can do:

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Topics: Human Resources

See What Happens When You Clean Up Your Work Desk

Posted by Cathy Reilly on Dec 8, 2016 9:04:38 AM

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Workplace disorder has its roots in a very familiar place. Your desk. Now a messy desk all on its own does not create chaos, nor is a messy desk a sure sign someone isn’t productive or successful. But, desktop clutter has a way of desensitizing your sense of organization. It reinforces the bad habit of having to search for what you need, and a “digging through the weeds” type routine. And desk disarray can lead to a bigger problem: clutter creep.

Clutter is a sneaky creature. It has a way of creeping and spreading into other areas. Before you know it, if you’re not careful, clutter has crawled into your projects, communications, processes and relationships at work to prevent you from getting work done in simple, effective and organized ways.

Want to bring order to your workplace? Start with merely cleaning up your desk. You might not be able to change things as you like at work, but you are in control of your desk. After all, that messy desk could be holding you back, generating clutter that spreads further than you realize, and slowing your progress. Decluttering it can become a metaphor for clearing your brain and your life. It can indicate a new start and readiness to change. It's a shot of empowerment and motivation right at your fingertips.

Here are 8 places where you can create order instead of spreading clutter:

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Topics: Management

The Magic of “Thank You” in the Workplace

Posted by Cathy Reilly on Nov 22, 2016 9:00:00 AM

iStock thank you bubble.jpgThe American tradition of Thanksgiving has its roots in the first simple meal that 50 English men and women and 90 Native Americans shared together in the fall of 1621 in New Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Pilgrims were not celebrating their abundance. They were simply grateful that they had barely survived their first crucial year in the Americas.  Since then Thanksgiving has become deeply embedded in the American psyche.  It reminds all Americans that we are a grateful people. It also shows the value that we attribute to a simple expression of gratitude.

While we readily give thanks to friends and family we rarely express it in the one place it can be most helpful. The workplace.

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Topics: Management

AGILE HR: FIVE REASONS SMALLER HR TEAMS   ARE BETTER (Part 3 of 3)

Posted by Cathy Reilly on Nov 8, 2016 9:00:00 AM

NEW NEW NEWiStock_11811829 Agile HR handstand 300x356 copy.jpgIn Part 3 of our series on Agile HR, I’m looking at the advantages working in smaller
HR teams can bring. I want to mention right up front that I am not suggesting that HR departments eliminate jobs or cut anyone! This is about effectiveness and working in a new “smaller” way with what you already have in order to innovate and accomplish more.

The great thing about teams, especially smaller ones, is that they can be easily formed for whatever purpose is needed. A special project, a new initiative, problem solving, research, a distinct event, an annual process, or a beta-test might be some of the reasons in HR that you’d form a team. Teams can either be ongoing or short-term. They offer great agility with regard to how you form them, run them and size them. Next time there’s a department challenge or a need and you find yourself calling for a team, try going smaller.

Here are my 5 reasons why smaller HR teams are better:

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Topics: Human Resources

Agile HR: What you Need to Know to Hold Smaller Meetings and Get More Done               (Part 2 of 3)

Posted by Cathy Reilly on Oct 25, 2016 11:00:00 AM

iStock_22174229_guyonhand 300x341 copy.jpgIn Part 2 of our series on Agile HR, I’ll introduce some ideas about revising how business meetings are being done and how going smaller may be better. Our jumping off point in the last blog article on Agile HR focused on learning to think small and breaking things down to the essentials in order to remain highly responsive and innovative.This flows right though to meeting practices.

We’ve all heard the expression: “We’ve got to stop meeting like this.”  We’re taking that phrase literally here!

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Topics: Human Resources

AGILE HR: WHY YOU NEED TO THINK SMALL AND ON THE SPOT (PART 1 OF 3)

Posted by Cathy Reilly on Oct 10, 2016 9:00:00 AM

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Contrary to the popular concept that “big” is better, modern opinion is starting to think “small” is better. Big meant economies of scale. Before the microchip transformed small into powerful, it took a lot of people to scale a business. Big organizations added value with efficient manufacturing, market expansion, and geographic distribution. A big sales force or a large R&D team were valuable assets.  But going big also meant a loss of speed and agility.

This is the first of a three-part series on Agile HR, a current hot concept and one I'd like to see stick around. Agile HR consists of various principles to help HR drive companies further than the conventional model of HR as guardians of guidelines and protocols. The agile model stretches HR to help a company become more quickly responsive and innovative through simplifying processes that get right to the heart of a matter.

 I’ll be looking at a sampling (three) of the concepts in Agile HR, which are centered around the core idea of shrinking things in order to react faster and more powerfully.

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Topics: Human Resources