By: Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Every new hire counts, especially if you are a small business, but even more so in a down economy. These eight steps will help to accelerate the productivity of your new hires and your hiring process:
Clearly define the job description you are staffing prior to starting the hiring process. In good times, employers often skip this step in an effort to get bodies in the door. Yes, they may obtain the headcount needed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have hired highly productive employees who will stay on board longer than a month.
There is nothing more frustrating to a new hire then walking into a job that is either above or below their capabilities. When assessing your needs, take the time to analyze the results you are trying to achieve and include these traits when writing the job description. In doing so, you may find that the level of person you thought you needed is entirely different than what you really need.
Keep the bloom on the rose. The courting of candidates should not end the moment they say, “I do.” Make it a point to let new hires know how excited you are to have them join the team. You can do so by sending their business cards, along with a personal note, to their home. You can also send some company goodies, such as a cap or t-shirt with your logo, so they feel a part of the family before they walk in the door.
Prepare for their arrival. Have you ever walked into your new office only to find someone else’s name still on the wall? It can be very disconcerting to watch your boss tear off the nameplate and throw it in the trash. Prepare for a new hire’s arrival so they can quickly assimilate into their new role and be productive on day one. A well-designed onboarding program will ensure you have the right pieces in place to best support your new hire before their arrival as well as during their first 30 to 90 days. This will also help to reduce employee turnover.
Hire for fit. You certainly wouldn’t select an out of shape quarterback for your team, yet many companies fail to hire for fit for their teams all of the time. “It's extremely important to do your due diligence in the employee selection process to ensure that the person is a good fit,” states consultant Gail Finger, who works with Federal agencies, non-profits and private sector organizations to improve their human capital strategies and outcomes. Utilizing behavioral interview questions, which are predicated on the premise that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, can be one of the best tools available for assessing fit. Skip Weisman, president of Weisman Success Resources also recommends using personality assessments, prior to a final offer being made.
Eliminate non-performers immediately. Imagine walking into an organization and finding out that you’ve got to work twice as hard because there are people in the office who should have been gone a long time ago. Some people in this situation might stay and try to work it out, while most will be out the door the moment they realize they are the only ones working.
Clear the dead wood before bringing in fresh people to get better results in how you manage your team. If your new hire turns out to be a hiring mistake, be sure to take the steps to swiftly move ahead.
Create an environment of certainty. According to Weisman, “In a down economy the primary thing that prevents people from giving more of themselves is uncertainty. An employee who feel uncertain about their job will also feel fear and doubt, which is a significant distraction. These distractions will prevent employees from giving of themselves. So, employers should do whatever they can to give employees as much certainty as possible over their work situation.”
Weisman says employers can do this by communicating and creating corporate transparency to the highest degree possible. Provide employees with as much control over their situation as you are able to.
Don’t patronize your employees. You may feel your employees are lucky to have a job in these trying times. That’s fine, but keep your feelings private. Pushing people harder doesn’t necessarily translate to having people work harder. Instead, create an environment where employees feel valued -- and be sure to keep engaging employees.
“Engage them!” exclaims Finger. She goes on to state, “The key driver of employee engagement is the connection the employee feels with his or her leader. Having conversations that lead to a personal connection go a long way towards creating engagement, which is defined as an employee's willingness to freely give their discretionary time.”
It’s not about you; it’s about them. Lisa Martin, who is a Top Talent Consultant and Coach and President of Lisa Martin International, believes that when talented people begin new roles they want to be able to make an impact and positive contribution, regardless of the economy. “Discover and appeal to their values and aspirations and provide a project that will stretch them in a direction they wish to pursue,” suggests Martin.
New hires are an important resource and should be treated that way, especially at a time when every hire counts. By doing so, you will set the stage for a workplace where every employee feels valued in any economy.
©2010 Human Resource Solutions. All Rights Reserved.
Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions and is the author of the forthcoming book, Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around, (Nicholas Brealey, January 2011). Her firm helps organizations accelerate productivity and profitability by increasing employee engagement. Sign up to subscribe and receive Roberta’s complimentary newsletter, HR Matters.