Mold new hires into outstanding employees
by Catherine Welborn
Problem: A month ago you hired a promising new employee. She seemed perfect for the position and for your organization as a whole. Her orientation went smoothly, and you were confident she would grow into a valuable team member. However, over the past four weeks, her work has been inconsistent, and her frustration is evident. Now you’re wondering: Did you hire the wrong person or is your onboarding process to blame?
Solution: The onboarding process should be much more than a one-day orientation session. Fortunately, it’s not too late to remedy the situation and mold the person into an all-star employee. Follow these tips to onboard the right way:
- Acknowledge the error. Meet with the employee privately. Say “These past few weeks have not gone as smoothly as either of us has hoped, but I still believe you’re the right person for the job. I could have been more thorough during your orientation period. It wasn’t fair of me to expect you to ‘catch on’ without adequate coaching and support.” Both you and the employee should commit to fixing any previous communication breakdowns and training lapses.
- Establish goals. Involve the new employee in setting goals and you increase the likelihood that she’ll take accountability for them. Ask her to list three goals she’d like to reach over the next three months. Come up with your own goals for her, and discuss both lists together. Together, identify the steps she’ll take to reach the goals, a timeline for completion, resources she’ll need, obstacles she might face and any rewards—tangible or intangible—she’ll receive upon meeting those objectives.
- Provide ongoing training and feedback. Check on the employee regularly. Ask her about her progress on her goals. Correct any mistakes she makes, and use the opportunity to gauge her understanding of tasks and processes and to offer clarification. Encourage her to ask questions. Once she has mastered her initial assignments, offer her further learning opportunities.
- Praise perseverance. Early on, the employee’s work may not be of the same caliber as that of your top performers. Build her confidence by sincerely commending her for her hard work, dedication and improvement. Before long you’ll be praising her for her top-notch contributions too.
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