New Hires Should Thrive — Not Dive

The hiring of a new employee is an exciting time. Whether you are replacing a previous worker or expanding your business, the infusion of new blood is something to be celebrated. 

Hiring decisions should never be made lightly. Chances are you’ve thoroughly reviewed all applicants, checked backgrounds and references, conducted careful interviews, and performed the appropriate due diligence before extending an offer. Hurrah! Your first choice accepts the offer. You can breathe a sigh of relief. 

Not so fast. Your work is far from over. Now, you must take steps to ensure that new employee succeeds. According to a 2009 study by Washington, D.C.-based Leadership IQ, 46 percent of new hires fail within 18 months. Only 19 percent achieve unequivocal success.

Just why do so many new hires fail to thrive? According to the managers who responded to the Leadership IQ survey, 26 percent of new employees fail because they can’t accept feedback, 23 percent have a hard time controlling their emotions, 17 percent aren’t motivated to succeed, 15 percent have the wrong temperament or work style for the company’s environment, and 11 percent fail because they lack the necessary skills.

So what can you do to turn the tide and ensure that your next new hire becomes a success story? Undertake an effective onboarding process that helps the employee integrate into their new work environment. Onboarding is intended to give new hires the confidence they need to hit the ground running, make a positive impact on the company, and help carry out the organization’s mission.

Every onboarding process should be centered on the following four goals: 

  • Welcoming and engaging the new hire
  • Helping them understand the company, its goals, and its vision for the future
  • Ensuring they understand how they fit into the big picture
  • Helping them become more productive

Make your onboarding process more effective by following these simple guidelines:

Don’t Overwhelm Them– The first day of a new job is bound to be hectic and nerve-wracking, even for a seasoned professional. So don’t bog them down with administrivia that could just as easily be completed at their leisure. Several days prior to their start date, send via email or traditional mail any paperwork you need them to complete. Include a copy of the employee handbook so they have time to review it and prepare any questions. Be sure to include small, but critical details, like where they should park. 

Develop a Plan for Week One – Don’t wait until the new employee arrives to figure out how you are going to train them – or who will be in charge of showing them the ropes. Map out an agenda for their first week in advance and make sure everyone who is going to play a role in orienting them to the company has been briefed and is on board. 

Welcome Them – Your new hire may have the right stuff in terms of skills and attitude, but if he doesn’t fit in to the corporate culture, he’s going to have a hard time succeeding at your organization. Facilitate positive relationships from day one by going out of your way to make the newbie feel welcome. Encourage others to do the same.

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