Recently I asked a Senior Manager about their new staff member and what they’d done to get them up to speed. His response was very interesting because he had been so busy the previous 2 weeks he had not had time to work with his new employee. Instead, he just had them watch a couple of other staff and he knew that he needed to do something better.
Too often I hear a leader complain about a new hire after a month or two in the role. When I ask what they’d done to get them up to speed the first couple weeks, they very rarely have a good response. Every leader knows that they should be investing this time at the beginning of the relationship, sadly they just fail to prioritise their time to make it happen.
Here are a few ideas that you can use to help get your next new hire up to speed faster:
Map their First Week
Before they start, map what they will be doing every hour for the very first week. Ideally, you will have a number of different activities for them including you teaching them specific processes/skills, them watching and learning from other departments, observing colleagues to learn processes, etc. Block out 1-2 hour blocks for each of these areas. Also ensure that you meet with them at the beginning and end of each day, to set the scene and debrief their experience. This sets them up for success and makes you look like an organised rock star (given most other leaders are hopeless at it!)
Turn boring observation sessions into leveraged learning
The most common thing managers do with new staff is to have them observe a more experienced person to learn specific processes. This often leads to boredom and most of the time they will not be able to duplicate the process on their own (a massive loss of performance opportunity!). A better approach is to let them know a bit about who they will be observing and give them 3-5 questions that they will need to observe/gather and report back to you. This ensures that they are switched on and actively learning rather than just going through the motions.
Get them to Mystery Shop the Competition
Once your staff get introduced to your processes, have them mystery shop the competition. Give them a list of questions that they need to find out which may include: What do they do better than us? What do we do better than them? How do our products/services compare? What recommendations would they give to improve? This will engage the and fast track them to learn how you compare in the marketplace, which can also harness some insights from their fresh eyes.
If we just took the time to plan out what we will do with new staff to get them engaged and up to speed faster we would be creating organisations worth belonging to (not to mention setting up a high-performance culture!)
As many of you know I will be speaking at the Future of Leadership Series in August & September this year occurring across Australia and New Zealand. You can get a 10% discount by putting in the code FOLSPEAK when you register. Click here to find out more.
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