In a recent Management seminar I covered the topic of how to get new hires off to a great start and the feedback was so positive that I wanted to include some highlights from that conference into this toolkit. While I cannot cover the entire 45-minute program in the limited space allotted, you should glean enough helpful points to immediately improve your on-boarding process for new employees.
Although it often takes ninety days to gain a clear picture of how someone will do in their position; the first thirty days are the most essential to setting the stage for productive employment.
To spotlight the importance of getting new hires off to a good start, realize that HR studies show that within the first two weeks the employee has already made up their mind that the workplace is either what they expected or have decided to continue with their job search—while they collect your pay cheque.
Here are six steps to discuss at your next management meeting and evaluate
what more you can do to set new employees up for greater success in your organisation.
1. Highly structure their first day.
During the first day of employment the employee is both excited and nervous. Without structure, their excitement will wane and their nervousness may turn to negativity. To increase structure, please consider the following:
The direct supervisor should take a primary role in assuring that the new-hires first day is busy, focused and productive. Don’t “hand off” the new hire to a subordinate the moment they show up for work. As their boss, you should take an active leadership role in guiding them through their first day on the job. Use a checklist with the most vital tasks to be accomplished that day. While there is not space here to list the eleven points I included in the seminar, your checklist should contain things like a tour of the business, review of performance and behavioural expectations, a detailed explanation of the pay plan.Each point on the checklist should be signed off on by the employee and supervisor and given to Human Resources for placement in the employee’s file. Structure the first day right, and there will be no real time for training.
There will be plenty of time for training in upcoming days and weeks. The first day should be primarily focused on getting the employee acquainted with others, comfortable with their surroundings and familiar with procedures and policies. Once these basic needs of security and safety are met, the employee is ready to move on to developing competencies and contributing to the team. Until these basic needs are adequately addressed, the employee will not be motivated by or interested in training.
Set forth training objectives for the next 30 days
Let the employee knows up front what he or she is expected to learn. You may also assign a mentor to help with the designated areas. For instance, in sales, this may mean that in 30 days you will teach and expect the salesperson to understand how to a meet and greet a customer; learn an appointment phone script; be able to ask investigative questions. Even if the employee has experience in your industry it is important that you teach them to do things your way. At the end of 30 days test the person on the assigned training tasks. Put these expectations in writing and have the employee sign off on them.
Set forth product knowledge goals for the first 30 days.
You should focus your energies on your bestselling products first. You may wish to assign the salesperson one or two products a week to learn about in-depth. Assign a mentor to do presentations on these products with the new employee and let the person know you will test them on these products at the end of a prescribed period of time.
If the person is not in sales, customise this point so they learn the most vital aspects of their job, such as, mastering certain reports; computer functions, for example.
4. One way to get your new recruit off to a flying start is to assign and pay a mentor to help the new employee master the tasks you’ve given.
This person should be someone with a positive attitude; Who shares the company values and has the ability to get their own job done while helping another.
Depending on your pay scales,
£250 per month or so is a good place to start when paying a mentor to assist a new hire with the tasks outlined in points 1 and 2 above.
Be there for them
Meet with the new employee formally at least once weekly during the first month to gauge progress. Make yourself available for questions and reinforce their sense of belonging into the organisation. You cannot meet with a person on the first day without formal follow up and expect to build a strong relationship with that person. While informal contact with the employee throughout the day is beneficial, you won’t have a chance to connect with and evaluate their progress at a deep enough level without the more structured meeting. Schedule this weekly get-together in advance.
Fresh eyes approach
Before the first 30 days is over, conduct a “fresh eyes” meeting with the employee to get their feedback and ideas on what the organisation is doing really well or where it can improve. Before the new hire’s eyes are dimmed by precedent and routine, ask them questions like: What are we doing well? What can we do to make it easier for other new employees to get up to speed? What do we do that’s stupid that we should look at changing? Have you noticed us doing things that make it difficult for internal or external customers to do business with us?”
By following the prescribed activities and others like them, you will accomplish the following when inducting a new hire into your culture:
- Make a much better impression on the new employee as a professional organisation.
- Give the direct supervisor the opportunity to establish a strong relationship with the new hire.
- More quickly calm a new hire’s apprehensions and anxiety which will help them reach higher levels of productivity more quickly.
- Improve your chances of retaining the employee for the long-term.
- Create greater clarity of what you expect and by when which eliminates confusion and excuses for non-performance.
Helpful ? Why not look at joining our recruitment course?