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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Inform the NEW HIRE

Personnel turnover is inevitable.  There is no way to eliminate it and you must learn to work with the changes that take place.  Hiring new people takes time. When you find the right candidate, everyone is excited to get the replacement on the team and working.  The new hire often comes in with a background that looks like a perfect fit with the tasks and with the team.  After all, you likely had everyone review the candidate and provide input before offering the job. 

The reporting day for the new hire is one of confusion.  The employee gets familiar with the personnel office and fills out all the appropriate forms.  Benefits are selected and meetings with the boss take place.  Perhaps you have a general discussion about expectations and the current needs the employee should address immediately.  The processes over the first week or two are mostly becoming acquainted with the team members and the boss, learning the dos and don’ts, and developing a task list intended to address expectations.

One discussion often forgotten is the history of work the former employee applied to the tasks currently needing attention.  Take for example that your company is outsourcing a project.  The former employee may have handled the discussions leading into the contracts and the timelines, budgets, expectations, and milestones.  There may have even been discussions of performance of the processes and integration of the outsourcing activities with your company.  As a second example, a business deal is of interest to the company.  The new hire is to seek viable companies and network to find possible partners.  The former employee may have already contacted half of those prospects.  In both examples, the new hire would benefit greatly and perform much better by knowing the history of what was accomplished.  It may even take a few discussions to help the new hire remember what was completed previously.

Hiring a new person is going to be part of the routine activities of any company.  Many of the new hires will be replacing someone that left the company.  Keep in mind that to get optimal performance the new hire should not have to redo what the departed employee already completed.  The new hire when informed of the history should be allowed to determine whether the tasks are better performed from scratch or picked up where left last.  Not knowing what the history was can lead to embarrassment and confusion.  Try calling a prospective partner to convince them to work with you and discover they agreed to engage in discussions months ago. That is very awkward!

In short, when a new hire comes on board, do your best to bring them up to speed as quickly as possible.  Try to incorporate a discussion of the work history as part of your briefing discussions.