When you announce that you are hiring, often your position is already open. Add in the time to advertise the position, then to interview candidates, you might consume 2-4 weeks. Once you select your candidate, if they are giving notice at their current job, you might consume another 2-3 weeks before the employee is on site at your business. You might be feeling the pain of that open position, but don’t rush the person into that slot. Start off right with a good orientation.
The Housekeeping Issues
This new person doesn’t know where the rest room is or how to handle attendance and timekeeping matters. They need to know about any vacation, sick days. and other policies that you have. If you have a handbook (see us about that if you don’t!), this is the time to review it.
It might seem at first blush that core values are a strategic planning topic better left to management. But if you want the employee to be aligned with them day 1, every employee needs receive his indoctrination at the very beginning. This is not just a “hearts and flowers” exercise. Your company’s core values are the criteria under which decisions are to be made. So if you imagine that you will not be able to stand over this new employee every second you’d better give her the tools to make the choices that fit with the company’s culture.
Getting the Hands Dirty
Watching someone else do the job (shadowing) is OK for short periods of time, but it quickly becomes boring. In addition, when your new employee simply observes, he is likely not to notice some of the nuances in the work that make the experienced employee successful. There are three types of learners: visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic. When you are training, be sure to show, talk, and make room for physical practice.
When You Have a Group
You have a unique opportunity when you have a cohort of several people joining your company at the same time. Instead of rushing them into their work assignments, consider assigning the group some problems, or an internal project that would benefit from fresh eyes. This gives them the opportunity to get to know one another, to get to know the company, and to do some valuable work right away.
The Performance Feedback Loop
It’s dangerous to make assumptions about what the new employee “should” know about the job. Be specific in communicating your instructions, in explaining your expectations. Early in the training period, provide more frequent feedback – perhaps in the form of a quick check-in conversation at the beginning or the end of the day. This helps your new employee know whether she is on track with your expectations, and in the case of a misunderstanding, allows for small course corrections. This high-directive- high supportive mode then evolves into more independence as the individual learns the job.
If despite training there are serious performance deficits during the new employee’s probationary period, deal with them. Make corrections, communicate the desired behavior again, do what is necessary for the employee to learn. Skills can be trained – habits and attitudes are difficult to influence. If your company has committed to core values, violation of them should be a fireable offense. If the person is not a fit, let them go before that trial period is complete. If you want your company to grow you need A or B performers – C performers will cost you.