When starting up a new operation, I have generally hired employees in groups. Bringing them in together allows you to make good use of the training resources and helps create a more interactive orientation process. In times like that, the training actually begins with the (pre-internet) advertisement. I used to eliminate anyone who didn’t follow the instructions in the ad.
I am rarely involved in group hiring anymore. And when I am involved with hiring, it usually involves an opening for which we will bring on an experienced candidate. One who has demonstrated the specific capability we need, only in a different organization. Part of what the candidates are looking for is if they will feel comfortable in the new culture. Part of what we look for is can they navigate it.
Want your next new, experienced hire to hit the ground running? Here is the way I approach it.
- On board. This process begins with the job acceptance, and while you are both waiting for day 1, you should have all the logistics worked out for the things that will permit the new employee to be productive. Make sure they have their desk assignment, a computer ready to go, and a cell phone if that’s part of the job. Those are all things that signal you are ready to put them to work! I’ve started jobs where on the first day they tell me “We haven’t figured out the office arrangement yet….” It just doesn’t feel like you made the best choice when that happens.
- Orient. Every employer has their own software, their way of managing travel and expenses, their security, their PC sign on procedures, and code of conduct. All of these have little to do with how the company makes money, so there is also the structure, the products, and all that good stuff. All these things combined create the space and the context for the employee to manage their new assignments.
- Get out of the way. That’s it. If you are hiring someone with experience, and especially if they were selected based on that experience, you need to let them put that to work. Give them the channels for questions or for help with things they may not be familiar with, but let them be productive as soon as possible.
Last week I asked when a new employee isn’t considered new anymore. Steve Boese suggested that it’s when they can answer more questions than they ask. So let’s put them in the position to answer questions as soon as possible.