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5 Things To Do If You’re Struggling with New Hires

5 Things To Do If You’re Struggling with New Hires_Yellow Spark blog
Photo by Ahmad Gunnaivi on Unsplash

5 Things To Do If You’re Struggling with New Hires

When you’ve spent hours carefully selecting the right candidate, you expect them to excel, succeed and validate your choice. This may be the ideal situation, but all too often candidates fall short of your expectations for several reasons.

To quote an example, a company that we have worked with hired a top-level employee whose resume looked very accomplished. He did very well in the interview but ended up simply struggling to keep up in the work situation.

He had many years of experience, worked in multiple senior level roles in established companies, and had excellent recommendations. Yet, he fell short of the leadership team’s expectations. He was taking a while to deliver on his targets, and the management began to feel that maybe he was not a good hire in spite of the fact that he was so well qualified. They had set very high expectations, and he was falling short of them.

This is a situation that happens more often than you think, especially with senior level employees. Where the hired employees are expected to jump right in from day 1 and there is no time to train them. Ultimately employees who don’t fit in well can create tension across multiple departments, and of course, you want to keep your team working well together. When you take steps to assess the situation and address any issues, you can improve the situation while still keeping the productivity high.

Here are five things to do if you’re struggling with new hires.

1. Revisit the roles and responsibilities:

It is good to clearly state what is expected of the new hires, spell out what their role entails. Make sure he or she knows what they are signing on for, what to expect from the position, and what they need to do to be successful in the role before you make a hiring decision.

Reiterate this during the onboarding process. And you’ll be less likely to have an impatient management that doesn’t believe in the new hire or lose a talented employee who becomes disillusioned with the company or job. Overstating or overselling the job can lead to problems during the first few months. So be realistic.

2. Don’t skip onboarding:

Coming up with a detailed onboarding process plan that clearly defines each step ensures that the new employee receives all the training they need to be successful in the job. It also ensures that they feel welcomed and comfortable. They should be introduced to not only their roles and responsibilities but also the company and the culture as a whole. Write out the steps once, create a target timeline and then use this plan for each and every new employee. This process also ensures that every new hire is treated the same way and that each new team member gets all of the components they need to thrive at work.

The onboarding process should be an experience that the employee will value and remember; taking the time to come up with a detailed plan for each step is a good way to keep on the track. Engaging with the employee rather than make it bureaucratic with paperwork, going through the motions, will make it a more effective exercise and set realistic expectations.

3. Don’t focus only on the mistakes:

Sometimes, new hires take time to settle in. If they are not delivering up to your expectation, or are not meeting the targets make sure you give them time. If you think the answer is to scream at them or threaten to fire him, you’re likely only going to make the problem worse.

Managers hold people accountable to timelines, budgets, productivity and other factors. But pointing out mistakes and criticizing may lead to a fear-based approach where employees do their duty with a sword hanging over their head. Punishment for mistakes is a very old school way of dealing with things. Unless the mistake is a really grave one, this should not be the first approach. That’s counterproductive as nobody performs at their best under stressful circumstances of fear and uncertainty.

Instead, a mistake has to be seen as a learning opportunity. People do a better job of carrying out their duties under positive circumstances. So instead, make sure you point out all the things they are doing well, and slip in the areas that require revisiting, or improvement. This will also give the new hire confidence that the company has faith in their work, and are also working towards their individual career progress.

4. Assign a performance buddy:

Several organisations assign buddies to their employees, who help them fit in, make them familiar with the company, culture, and generally make them feel at home. Now, assigning them with a ‘performance buddy’ will ensure that they settle into their work soon, and efficiently. This can either be the manager directly or a team member. This buddy becomes the go-to person for questions or issues that pop up in the first months with the company. It will help new hires learn the ropes quickly and learn from more experienced team members.

The relationship and level of comfort that an employee has with their manager is a key factor that determines how long an employee will stick with a company. As a manager, if you delegate so much that you are distant from your new team member, you should consider getting more involved in the onboarding, and in the initial phase of their employment. If you assign a performance buddy for the new hire, they should be responsible to see that the new hire is keeping up with expectations, point out where they are going wrong, steer them in the right direction, enhance their performance, and make their settling down time in the company shorter.

5. Evaluate every month:

It helps to make time to review the performance of new hires on a monthly basis. Making the time, either in a formal way (with processes, like filling a short questionnaire on expectations, goals and targets, and fulfilling them, and going over them in a meeting), or informal way, like catching up over a coffee every month, and discussing issues and feedback for a specific time period to ensure that the employee is fulfilling their roles and responsibilities in a satisfactory manner is a great idea.

Finally, it helps to have a custodian to ensure that the entire onboarding process is completed in a good way. Leadership teams will not have the time to make sure that the new hire is fitting in right. They will only expect them to perform. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the HR team to make sure that the hire has worked well for the company, and it is indeed a good decision to take them on board. They may be very competent in their jobs, but the context may be different and the culture is different.

It is important to remember to give the new hire enough startup time. Some may need 15 days while others may take 3 months to settle in. The key is to give them that space to figure things out and to keep reiterating to them what is acceptable and not acceptable.

Yellow Spark designs programmes to help you optimise the recruitment process. To know more about how we can help, write to us at contact@yellowspark.in

Author Profile: Deepam Yogi is an adventurer at heart, socially conscious in her gut and professionally a strategic consultant. She co-founded Yellow Spark to support organisations to build workplaces that people love being a part of. Deepam describes herself as a shy yet opinionated writer and firmly believes that most answers to complex issues lie in simple communication.