What is the worst mistake you can make when hiring new talent?

Process.

We’re all fans of process – but when it comes to the delicate task of on-boarding new talent in the right way, following ‘process’ doesn’t always equate to plain sailing.

#1 Never assume

We all know everyone is different, so what you might think is acceptable in the ‘way’ you on-board someone will only work for some people. Common mistakes when on-boarding often rest on assumptions – ‘assuming’ someone knows that you’ll reach out a couple of days before to discuss start time, or ‘assuming’ someone knows that you’ll sort that contract out in the next week. Being really clear and almost predicting the questions people may have in what is an exciting – but also uncertain – time is really key to setting the right tone.

#2 Don’t forget the human element

It’s likely that during the interview process you built a good level of rapport with your new hire. Especially when you offered them the job and they accepted. Don’t fall into the trap of treating your new employee now like they’ve been there for years once they’re in the door. New hires need a guiding hand (and a friendly face) and while you may be conscious to ‘get on with the job’, making a point of regular informal check ins in the first couple of months will do wonders for engagement.

#3 Everyone has a different motivator

Doesn’t matter if they’re a ‘millennial’ or ‘baby boomer’, never generalise when it comes to ‘what people want’. Money, recognition, quiet but encouraging pats on the back, more responsibility – there are many many different things that motivate people. Take time to understand what motivates your new employee, and also, what demotivates them – use this to both of your advantages and set the tone right from the beginning. One generalisation that we can make safely is that most people want to know the ‘why’ behind what they do, and certainly want to understand how their role fits into the bigger picture – don’t forget to involve them in this, right from the start.

#4 Never stop on-boarding

Be aware of the honeymoon period, and what comes after. Someone has been on-board for a few months – great. It feels like they’ve been there for ever – great. They seem to be happy and productive – great. Don’t drop the ball. Just because you’ve managed the process well so far, doesn’t mean this will continue once the sheen of the ‘new job’ dulls. Keep your informal interactions in pace, even if less regularly, and ensure you keep them informed and up to date with formal training interventions and opportunities to continue to upskill.

We all know people aren’t as simple as ticking boxes – so don’t fall into the trap of applying a stock standard on-boarding process to all your new hires. Be cautious to tailor and to make it applicable to the dynamics of the person, observe and flex your approach to suit them. Good luck!

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At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future.
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