In a booming economy, you can afford to show patience with new hires. If they struggle at first, it’s no big deal. You can give them ample time to acclimate to your culture.
Today, however, fast results matter more than ever. Newcomers need to hit the ground running and produce value from Day One.
To pave the way for immediate success, review your orientation program. Make sure that you support new employees by pairing them with an experienced “buddy,” giving them a tour of your facility (and introducing them to co-workers) and connecting them with a human-resources contact who can address employment-related questions and concerns.
Notice that all three of the above steps involve people. Some orientations are so dry and impersonal—where newcomers sit in a dark conference room watching a dull slide slow about the organization—that they fail to provide the employee with a warm welcome.
“The Japanese assign one or two people to take a new employee to lunch,” says Steve Roesler, president of Roesler Consulting Group in Medford, N.J. “The veterans tell stories about former employees at the company who have succeeded—and who haven’t. It’s their way of letting the new employee know what can get them promoted and what can get them zapped in the end.”
While it’s fine to give newbies an employment handbook and other written materials about the organization, don’t assume they will absorb it all. Having them spend most of their orientation time talking with colleagues builds better working relationships.