How to help the newbie thrive and survive

Our recruiting experts agree on one very important fact when it comes to finding and retaining your talent – the #1 reason a person can’t live up to your expectations is because they don’t fully understand the requirements of a role before they start.

It seems avoidable, right? Usually when you hire someone, you’re relatively sure they would be great for the job, but the right person can also be defined in so many ways. They could have great transferable skills or the exact experience you’re looking for but in a different industry. You might figure that with a little learning they’ll catch up in no time. Besides, they’re smart! (that’s why you hired them.)

So how hard could it be to help a newbie thrive and survive?

Well, it has its challenges.

No matter how great of a track record your new employee has, having the right programs and support in place to help them adapt to your company and excel in their new role directly impacts your business.

So before you throw in the towel or blame your newbie, it couldn’t hurt to think more about why they may not pass their probationary period and how you can help.

Your hiring process might have been a little too fast. Companies are often rushed to find people, especially small businesses who could either be lean-staffed or experiencing rapid growth. And since things often get missed when the race to fill a role is on, interviewers could simply hire a person they really liked without comparing them to other, well-matched candidates with equally great experience. Take your time and remember that rushing your hiring process could lead to lost time and resources – and the point of hiring someone new is to make better use of both.

The onboarding process at your company could use a little work. Think about the last time you were new to an organization. Didn’t you want to know the specifics of your job and how you fit into the bigger picture? Onboarding helps new people get to know your company dynamics, goals, vision and values. It also lets the newbie recognize his or her place in their new professional world. That means your onboarding process should be thorough and engaging – it’s your chance to make a great impression.

Your job posting was missing some key details. Writing a job posting often seems like a super easy thing to do, but anyone who’s had the pleasure of this responsibility knows better. It’s especially challenging for a niche role or one that didn’t exist until now. Do some research to help you create a description that lets people know exactly what you’re looking for and don’t forget to mention all responsibilities. Remember, your concern is finding the right fit, not scaring away applicants who probably weren’t a good match to begin with.

Feedback doesn’t seem to be a priority. And feedback isn’t just for when things are going wrong. While making mistakes is a part of learning, making the same mistakes over and over could mean there’s a larger issue. Have you communicated your availability to discuss or provide guidance? If something’s proving more difficult than it should be, talk to your new hire. Feedback doesn’t really cost a whole lot (okay, maybe a little bit of your time), but you signed up for that. It’s worth mentioning that newbies can be shy to ask for help, so think about approaching them first.

The job you were hiring for changed – slightly, of course. Everyone knows that when a job changes, it’s usually not so slight, which is why people get overwhelmed, excited or frantic. Or they’ll experience all of these emotions, not necessarily in that order, as they realize this isn’t what they signed up for. Not everyone is looking for more responsibility, and that’s probably why they applied to your original job posting. Help your newbie make this role theirs, and talk to them about major changes before expecting them to take on more.

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