Why Your New Hires Are Off to a Slow Start

You had such high hopes for those new employees who started January 1st.

But now that you’re several weeks in, those hopes are quickly fading. Instead of “hitting the ground running,” your new hires are floundering (at best). And it’s not just their productivity you’re concerned with. Some of the very people you worked so hard to recruit just a few months ago seem to already have one foot out the door.

What went wrong? Here are just a few of the reasons your new hires may be off to a rocky start:

You hired for skills, but not attitude.

The vast majority of new hires don’t fail because they lack job skills; they fail because they don’t have the right interpersonal skills or attitude (i.e., factors like coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament).

Moving forward, prevent the same mistakes from happening again by:

  • Defining the high-performer traits you want. Benchmark your best employees, making a list of the attitudes, behaviors and traits that drive success in the same (or similar) roles.
  • Learning from mistakes. Make a similar list of interpersonal shortcomings or other traits of new hires who fail in your organization, so you can spot “red flags” in future candidates.
  • Leveraging behavioral interviewing. Train interviewers in behavioral interviewing techniques, and then create a list of behavioral questions to ask (along with acceptable responses) for each role. Doing so will help you identify candidates with the right mindset and soft skills to thrive from day one.

You haven’t properly onboarded them.

New hires are at their most vulnerable during the first 30 days. During this critical initial period, your onboarding process (or lack thereof) can make or break an employee’s success with your organization. A thoughtful, structured program:

  • Sets a positive tone for your employment relationship;
  • Makes a new employee feel welcomed and prepared to do their job;
  • Builds a foundation for success by shortening learning curves and accelerating team cohesion.

So if you’re still relying on an employee handbook as your primary onboarding tool, it’s time to step up your game:

  • Orient your existing team. Explain why you made the hire, what their background is and what they’ll be doing. Take things one step further by enlisting employees’ help in getting the new hire acclimated and making them feel truly welcome.
  • Get “busy work” out of the way as soon as possible. Ask the new hire to complete paperwork before the first day, so you can both focus on work. Make sure you or the employee’s immediate supervisor blocks off adequate time during the first days and weeks to:
    • Properly orient the employee;
    • Prioritize the development of key work relationships;
    • Build critical bonds that will foster engagement and boost performance.
  • Provide the tools, direction and resources your new hire needs. In addition to the physical things your new hire needs (e.g., work station, tools, technology, supplies, etc.), be sure you also provide a comprehensive job description, as well as a written list of expectations and short-term goals.
  • Meet regularly to check-in and review progress. Being “baptized by fire” or “thrown to the wolves” is a recipe for new hire disaster; offer frequent, constructive guidance, feedback and coaching throughout the extended onboarding period.

Your culture stinks.

Even properly onboarded, top-performers with the right soft skills won’t stay focused and motivated for long if they’re forced to work in a pit of vipers. If you’re seeing more scowls than smiles on your new hires’ faces, your corporate culture could be a prime culprit.

Use our tips in this earlier post to diagnose potential culture issues with an anonymous employee survey. But if you suspect a problem with new hires, address the issue directly – that new employee may feel more comfortable quitting than broaching this sensitive topic with you.

Want to ensure new hires get off to a great start?

Trust PrideStaff with your search. Our proprietary On Target fulfillment process eliminates chance and inconsistency, delivering candidates with the right skills, attitude and culture fit – each and every time. Contact your local PrideStaff office today to learn more.