Onboarding new hires and training them to the point where they are contributing fully is always tough.
However, if you have hired a recent college graduate who thinks that entry-level work is beneath him or her, the job becomes much harder.
You don’t want to damper the newcomer’s enthusiasm, but you can’t assign work that is above the person’s skill level.
Follow these tips to keep employees focused on the job you hired them for:
• Don’t try to knock them down a peg. If you criticize or demean them, they will become defensive and resistant. Eventually, they will disengage and likely start looking for another job. Always show employees respect.
• Praise their gumption. Say, “I love your enthusiasm, and I am so proud to see you wanting to take initiative and grow.” That shows them you acknowledge their work ethic and go-get-’em nature.
• Empathize with their situation. Explain that you understand their desire to move up and tackle more challenging work. If you have been in their shoes, share a personal anecdote to show that you can empathize with them.
• Tout the benefit of mastering their current job. Say, “I need you to focus on the tasks that you have been assigned. You have so much potential, but you need to master the duties of your current position before we will be able to assign you more complex work. The foundation you build in this position will ensure your successful future.”
— Adapted from “How to Handle Five of the Most Difficult Office Problems,” Fast Company.