How do I start a new employee out 'on the right foot'?

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Question: “I want to let a new employee know that his predecessor’s work was below our standards. Should I give the new employee a sample of previous work and tell him or her that is our standard expectation?" — CJM


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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jocelyn January 12, 2009 at 8:44 am

I agree with Lynn. I would suggest the same thing for the same reasons.

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Lynn C. January 9, 2009 at 4:29 pm

I recommend starting off orientation by telling your new employee what the previous one did right. I spend time going over the the positive things that they did and how you appreciated them for their efforts in certain areas. Then I spend time suggesting other ways that they can constructively enhance their new job. I want my new employee to be empowered, not just afraid that their shortcomings will be announced to their new co-workers. I like to set people up for success, not fear of failure.

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Ann January 9, 2009 at 3:25 pm

I agree you shouldn’t mention the former employee. Aside from all else that has been said, another piece of starting an employee out on the right foot is demonstrating how you treat each other. Bad mouthing or in any way talking about the former employee in a negative way may leave the impression that you aren’t all that nice to each other and perhaps not very professional.

Set clear expectations and move forward from there. Don’t dwell on the past by discussing the former employee (I’m not saying you’re dwelling, but remember that first impressions go both ways and that may very well be the impression you leave). Move forward with a new employee, a new start, and all of the positive opportunity that exists in this new employment relationship.

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Barb G. January 9, 2009 at 2:56 pm

If all you have to show the new employee is the former employee’s work, you can show what needs to be changed to make it acceptable. Hopefully you can just show him/her the correct way to do things. Mentioning the former employee specifically would only reflect badly on yourself, I think.

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Anon January 5, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Do not say anything about the previous employee. Show the newcomer what you want. This would be a great opportunity for you and the new employee to produce a ‘desk book” or procedures manual. The new employee could refer to it and add to it or update as necessary, and if the new employee didn’t “work out” you would have the desk book available for his/her successor.

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Celeste January 2, 2009 at 1:33 pm

I agree with the previous replys; simply show them what you want and how it should be done. It would also cut confusion and training time down.

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Mark January 2, 2009 at 12:39 pm

I would agree that letting a new employee know what your standards are is a very good idea. However, nothing is to be gained by trashing the previous employee. A new person only needs to know what you expect from him or her; they don’t need to know the failings of their predecessor.

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Diane Johnson-Hung January 2, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Definitely show the new employee an example of what you/the company expect(s). I wouldn’t even mention the previous employee whose work was below your standards.

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