When a new hire goes rogue or fails to meet expectations, employers are often blind to their role in the failure. Instead of asking, “Could I have better supported my employee?” they instead say, “I hated to do it, but I had to let Suzie go” or “I had to put Bill on probation.”
We erroneously have a habit of viewing underperformance or shattered expectations as the fault of one person. Once we understand that we are as responsible for the success of a new hire as the new hire is, we can develop, apply, and refine strategies and corresponding techniques to ensure our new hires, particularly those who are new to the workforce and in their first one or two positions, get to where they need to be.
For sustainable workplace success, transparency is key. New employees can easily become lost and unsure of themselves when employer expectations are not communicated clearly. As a CEO, direct supervisor or manager, you should touch base with the new hire by the end of the first week about their chief responsibilities and how you will hold them accountable. During this conversation, you also want to clarify exactly what you expect from your new hire in each of what I call, the 4 P’s:
While some of these you may have addressed prior to the first day, it’s never a bad idea to revisit these important questions.
- What is the appropriate use of technology, particularly social media?
- Can employees take personal calls in the workplace?
- What kind of relationship can employees enjoy with managers outside of the workplace?
- Can colleagues date? If so, must they be in different departments? Have lateral positions? Report it to HR?
- What are three to five key indicators of outstanding performance in this position?
- What skills and behaviors do you want to see evidence of?
- What are key benchmarks in performance that must be met in the first 90 days?
- What are key project deadlines that must be hit in the first 90 days?
- How are promotions and raises decided?
3. Problem Solving
- What are proven best practices for handling the “typical” problems that someone in this role will encounter?
- How should a worker navigate a problem? At what point should a supervisor be brought in?
- What are company practices for handling internal conflict or conflict with a customer/stakeholder, should it emerge?
- What’s an appropriate workplace attitude?
- What values do successful employees carry into their work?
- How can professionals demonstrate creativity and innovation?
- How can new hires best incorporate themselves within (while actively shaping) company culture?
By asking and answering these questions for yourself, you’ll be able to effectively communicate your expectations to your employees so that you and they are on the same page.
Called a “Moxie Maven” by the White House, Alexia Vernon is a bestselling author, speaker, coach, and trainer. She develops heart-centered, high impact communicators and speakers. She has shared her advice with CNN, NBC, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, CBS MoneyWatch, and FOX Business News. Alexia wrote 90 Days, 90 Ways: Onboard Young Professionals to Peak Performance (ASTD Press) and created Moxie Camp.