Three things most managers fail to do for their new hires
Last week I published an article on the hiring process and offered 5 tips managers must follow to make the interview process rewarding and fun. The hiring process, however, doesn’t end once the candidate has accepted the offer. It is then that the real work has just begun. The next 90 days of your new hire’s tenure are critical to their success, and it is your responsibility, as the manager, to set them up for success.
According to BambooHR, 31% of new hires quit their jobs within the first 6 months.
Your organization cannot thrive under such weight of first-year turnover. The cost of back-filling a candidate can be as high as three times "the departing employee's" salary—not to mention the effect of low morale often associated with high turnover.
There are a number of factors that impact first-year turnover, but three of them stand out in my mind.
If you want an organization with low first-year turnover, where employees are happy to return to work again and again, then you need to start doing these three things for your new hires today!
I believe that the reason many managers don’t communicate well with their new hires is because they make assumptions. They assume, for example, that the new hire understands their expectations. They assume that the new hire knows what to do on the first day, the second, and so on… Remember, as the leader, you are the standard bearer, and your new hire is looking to you for direction and training.
I recommend, after your new team member has gone through New Hire Orientation, that you meet with him or her at least once a week for 15 - 30 minutes. Use that time to discuss your expectations. How often should they provide status updates on projects? What assignments do you want them to start working on right away? Set the stage for what their future will be like in the organization, and reassure them that you are there to provide the resources they need to be successful. Once you have created a regular check-in cadence, make yourself available to answer questions and use every opportunity to make course corrections along the way. You can never over communicate!
Follow this short acronym when communicating with your new hire, T.C.K.
Be Thorough. Lay out your expectations in a detailed and concise manner. Cover all your bases; compliance, company policies and culture, and important standard operating procedures, etc...
Be Clear. Allow no ambiguity in your communications. Say what you mean and mean what you say! You don't want your new hire to go down the wrong path this early in the game.
Be Kind. According to Forbes magazine, 42% of employees "left a job because of a bad boss.” Your words matter! As the Bible says, "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one" (Col. 4:6).
#2 Set up a buddy or mentor system
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow” (Eccl. 4:9-10).
Starting a new job can be daunting, and you need to be sensitive to that as a manager. This is why I advocate for the buddy system for all new hires. The buddy or mentor is there to pick up the pieces outside of your weekly one-on-ones with your new hire. The buddy also serves as a resource to help your new hire navigate and understand the organization. Given the structure of your role as a manager, and the size of your team, you might not be available to provide the daily guidance your new hire might need. In some ways the buddy can be an extension of you; although, they should not replace you. As the manager, you own the process, and you are ultimately the one your new hire will look to for training and direction.
When setting up a mentor system, clearly define the role of the mentor to your new hire. They must not feel as though you are passing them off to another person. That will not be helpful. Instead, explain to your new hire that the mentor is there to help them navigate the ropes and answer questions that are more immediate and basic in nature. During your weekly check-ins, inquire about the buddy system and ensure that your new hire is getting the appropriate guidance from their mentor.
#3 Put Together a 30-60-90 Day Plan
“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18).
The 30-60-90 day plan is the best way to set the vision for your employee, and ultimately set them up for long term success with your organization. There are many free templates online that you can use. To get the most out of the tool, I suggest completing it together with your employee, preferably on the first day. This is part of setting the expectations.
During the first 30 days, your new hire should be primarily learning; learning the culture, learning the standard operating procedures, learning who’s who in the organization or on the team, and learning how to use the tools they’ll need to fulfill their job functions. I have front line supervisors reporting to me, so as part of their 30-day plan, I make it a requirement that they learn the names of every member of their front line staff.
At the 60-day mark, your new hire should be able to provide a clear process map of the business, or begin to identify small wins that they can realize for their team. This can take many forms depending on the industry that you are in. For my supervisors, something as simple as a identifying ways to reduce unnecessary overtime at the front line can be a major confidence booster in the first 60 days.
Lastly, at the 90-day mark, your new hire should be feeling fully integrated into the team; they should have the resources they need or know where to get them; they should understand the expectations of the role; and they should have enough autonomy to make decisions in the process.
In conclusion, hiring a new candidate is a rewarding and fun process, when done correctly. In my short career as a leader, I have made my fair share of hiring blunders, but these three simple steps have made a world of difference for me and my team. As I mentioned in my last article, the end game of the hiring process is to get the right people on your bus. Be sure to apply these steps, to ensure that every hire is the right hire!