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10 Powerful Ways
to Ensure a Strong Start
for New Hires

Targeted Selection:
Best Practices for new hires

Title: 10 Powerful Ways to Ensure a Strong Start for New Hires

by Aneesa Chaudhry

How do you feel when, after days, weeks, or months, you finally find that perfect candidate? That perfect candidate who not only matches all your criteria and has sailed through the diagnostic tests you’ve chosen for them, but has also said yes to your job offer?

When a new hire comes onboard, it’s natural for everyone involved in the interview process to breathe a collective sigh of relief. Then starts the whole round of introductions, orientations, on-the-job training, and application opportunities.

In an ideal world, we all want that perfect candidate to hit the ground running – not just running, but racing.

But then reality hits.

The racer starts to lose those enviable racing stripes. The race slows down. What was once a straight track becomes more and more of an obstacle race. Finally, the race isn’t a race anymore. It becomes more a trudge. And, in the most dire circumstances, the racer may even drop out.

Then, all of the old doubts start to surface—How does this happen? Where did we go wrong? Were our diagnostic tools insufficient? Did we make a mistake? What do we do?

The answer actually lies at the start. Here are 10 ways you can make sure your new employees have what we call a Strong Start®:

  1. Uncover turnover triggers. What are the causes of turnover on your team? Start a dialogue, understand expectations your new hires have, and be willing to make accommodations for them. After all, you just spent a great deal of time finding this perfect person. You don’t want to lose them.
  2. Reveal your “secrets.” Don’t make your new team members guess at what makes you happy. Be up front about your expectations to lower the chances that your new hire becomes frustrated. Chances are, they aren’t going to address this frustration with you, so it’s best to address your wants and needs before that can happen.
  3. Clue them into culture. Every organization has two cultures—formal and informal. Formal culture is generally addressed in orientation seminars and handbooks, but the informal culture takes some time to understand. This could be anything from learning what could set off a VP in a meeting to the best places to eat lunch. A good way to do this is through mentoring by matching your new hire with a high-performing employee.
  4. Share your selection perspective. There are a number of ways to go about this. You can discuss the reasons for selection and share data from the interview with your new hire as part of the orientation process, which will help them understand why they’re a good fit for the company, the team, and the role. It also provides them with an opportunity to see the skill gaps they need to fill in order to ultimately be successful.
  5. Define the first 100 days. Studies have shown that the highest turnover occurs during the first six months after hiring, and that the first 100 days are the most crucial for any new hire. It defines how that individual will perform and stay engaged in the organization from the 101st day onward.
  6. Get a quick win. Early career success predicts long-term career success. Give your new hire a chance to finish a quick project in order to boost her confidence and keep her engagement as high as it was the day she walked in the door.
  7. Don’t be a stranger. Having frequent check-ins with the manager and other leaders on the team will help the new employee build confidence and also allow for all invested parties to stay close and connected, keeping the communication lines open on all sides during those crucial first 100 days.
  8. Have an open door policy. This goes hand-in-hand with the last point. New hires need to know where to find the information and resources they need, so you need to make it clear that you’re there for them in this regard. There’s a steep learning curve in any new job, and access to managers and mentors will help keep your new hire from being overwhelmed.
  9. Encourage requests for help. Your new hire wants to impress you, but sometimes they can struggle with an easy problem because they simply didn’t ask questions. There are many reasons for this, but only one reason why they will: if they know it’s okay to ask them.
  10. Promote courageous networking. You don’t know what you don’t know, and you can’t learn what you don’t know without the proper resources. Your new hire will need to know who to turn to for various aspects of their job, and you can help by encouraging them to build their network. One way to do this is to set up one-on-one meetings with each member of the team, as well as any other individuals you think will be helpful, as part of the onboarding process.

Providing a strong start to new hires helps both you and the new hire to slowly and steadily navigate and lay the foundations that will lead to an engaged, satisfied employee, reduce turnover, and ultimately help the organization succeed in reaching its goals. Giving them the confidence to not only do their job, but to also ask questions and know who to ask these questions to will keep your new hire engaged, and hopefully turn them into your oldest hire.

Learn how your leaders can provide a Strong Start® to your new hires.

Aneesa Chaudhry is a senior consultant with over 10 years at DDI. She has been instrumental in designing and implementing executive and leadership assessment solutions, learning facilitation, and success profiling. She is also the regional assessment lead for DDI India, where she actively supports DDI’s growing global assessment business, provides delivery oversight for all aspects of regional assessments, identifies and addresses skill and capacity needs in the region, and is responsible for quality assurance, program design, and execution to ensure the integrity of DDI’s executive assessment solutions in India. Read more about Aneesa and connect with her here.

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