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The most common source of pain I hear from business owners and management is dealing with staffing issues. Why it is that managing staff is always one of the biggest challenges a business faces?
My experience tells me that one of the most critical times for a business is when you're bringing in someone new, yet this is the time when I see many common mistakes being made.
We've all felt the pain at some stage in our careers when the new person you were so overjoyed at finding, after searching for them for what felt like forever, after they'd cried tears of joy that you had offered them a job – resigns! Ouch! Why, why, why? Shock, sadness and then anger hit, all within minutes of each other. You blame everyone, and you might even accidentally say out loud “you'll never work in this town again!”
But then you become reflective and start to ask yourself what went wrong, and a clearer picture begins to emerge. You figured the person was so thrilled to be working with you that they'd simply slot right in. You remember about the last minute business trip you made which means you missed their first day. You recall you promised a job description but decided it was such an evolving role that you’d let them create it themselves from scratch.
These sound like genuine reasons for not focusing on new hires, don't they? Yet, they are some examples of why new hires get frustrated from day one and end up surprising you with their resignation.
So why is the onboarding process so critical? When a new hire doesn't work out, it can reverberate through your business in a really negative way. The cost to everyone, not just in time, but also on an emotional level, can be truly damaging. And yet, the same mistakes continue to occur simply because no-one has taken the time to point out to you that you only have yourself to blame (harsh but true) if you haven't followed some critical steps in the onboarding process.
Here are my Top 5 must do's when bringing someone into your team:
1. Show them they are an important new addition to your team.
If you said you were going to be there to meet with them on their first day then make sure you are. Emergencies will happen, however, if they do, you need to put someone else in charge of welcoming them and be sure to still put in a welcome call on their first day.
2. Introduce them to staff members & show them around the premises.
Some organisations may be too big to introduce your new team member to everyone, however, they should still be introduced to everyone in their team and those in the wider teams with which they'll have the most initial contact. Big tip: make sure everyone knows the new team member is starting. There is nothing worse for the new person when a shocked reaction shows that they weren't expected, or to feel that their arrival has been received less than positively.
Orientation is particularly important for your new team member, so make sure you show them where their desk is, where your desk is, where the nearest bathroom is and what coffee and tea making facilities there are. Whilst you're doing this be sure to chat with them about your culture with regards to breaks, how you like the phone answered, what your policies are on printing/recycling, personal calls, internet usage etc.
3. Have a position description (whether it's evolving or not) ready.
Spend the first hour or so running through the role and your expectations of it. Set goals for the 1st week, through to the fourth week, and review the results at the end of each week – and be thorough! There is no such thing as bad feedback, just the manner in which you give it.
Remember, this is the time when you can expect that things may not be being done perfectly, so don’t show your frustration. Instead, embrace this as a time of learning and of breaking old habits to create new ones. Your efforts won't go unnoticed by your new hire and you will receive more than you could have hoped for with regards to initial productivity.
4. Have an open door policy for questions (well for anything really).
Having a new team member feel that you're not approachable to ask the 'silly' questions is guaranteed to be a disaster. Be sure your new hire knows that you expect questions and that if they don't ask any, you'll actually be quite concerned. When they come to you with a question, ask yourself this - 'in order to ensure they don't have to ask me this question again, is it training they need or is it the permission to do it?'
By giving either training or permission, you will inject your new team member with the knowledge they need to feel empowered.
5. Keep an eye on how your wider team welcomes them.
Some people simply don't gel with others. This is a well-known fact, and sometimes it has disastrous consequences for a new team member (and you) when this is ignored. You may find this particularly true if the hire was a somewhat political one internally. Remember, it is your job to manage this, not the job of your new hire.
Keep an eye on whether they are invited to join people for lunch, whether they're being included in social activities and being heard during team discussions. If you don't see these things happening, and you do nothing to remedy the situation, I will guarantee you one thing - the pain of resignation.
There are of course many other critical factors, however, it mostly comes down to good manners, respect and consideration for the new addition to your team. Starting a new job for many is a really exciting time, which means emotions are high, as are the sensitivities related to it not working out – so manage this, and manage it closely.
Here at Creative Recruiters, we are with you every step of the way. We have our own processes in place to assist you in every way with your onboarding process. If you're currently going through the pain of new hires not working out, ask yourself - did you follow steps 1 – 5 to the letter? If not, feel the pain, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, learn from your mistakes and let us help you get it right the first time.
Have a great week everyone!
Director - Creative Recruiter
m: +61 413 453 563
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