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“I can’t wait to fail,” said no-one ever

The eager face of your new hire shows up on the first day of employment ready for success. But within just a short-time doubt, trepidation, irritation, and perhaps even a bit of surly are creeping in…why?, they showed up with so much eagerness the first day!

Here is a bit of a pop-quiz: within how many days of a hire will a new employee make a “stay or go” decision? The answer may surprise you: three days! Within three short days your new hire has already made the decision to stay with you or leave. And, they do not have to exit the organization to leave it.

So what influences this stay or go decision? In the short term (long-term is an entirely different topic) the stay or go decision is based on the level of welcome your organization culture demonstrates. Are the team members happy? Did the new hire receive a warm welcome? What about the tools to be successful – do you know what those are? Are they the same for each employee? Did anyone ask? How about their learning style? How about how well they understand and know both the macro and micro environments? Are they new to business (i.e., did they come from another industry) or do they understand the larger context but need help understanding how their skill set fits into a new application? Do they have the right peer-mentor? Are you present or has someone else filled that gap – and what are their intentions?

Of course there are quite a few reasons why new hires may “check out,” but surprisingly its usually a pretty simple event that in the height of a new situation can take on a much larger meaning. Simply put, not feeling like you’ve been included in the party can feel pretty profound!

Its an employees market. Your organization, like so many might be paying significant hiring or sign-on bonuses. Part of our role as an organizational leaders is to ensure fiscal success for our employers. Do your part to ensure that new hires feel welcome and can be successful, they did not enter your business to fail!

Here are some practical tips and relatively easy things that you can do to ensure mutual success:

Re-recruit! The recruiting doesn’t stop once an employee has been hired. This is especially true in the current employees market that we’re in. Make sure all of your employees know and understand that they are valued and you would re-hire them again.

Establish a solid relationship: This is a significant difference between managing and leading. When we manage and direct people and tasks we don’t need a relationship. When we lead, we do so through influence, dialogue, and mutual understanding. This requires a relationship. Do you know how to best influence? Do you listen to understand a different perspective? Do you seek input? This is what makes leadership so much more effective than managing.

During the first week, go to lunch or coffee, Don’t make it about work, make it about them dig deeper and really get to know them. A note of caution, don’t make this a check mark in the box. Be genuine and keep the relationship-building going after the event.

Go on an organizational walk-about (i.e., rounding): The idea of rounding is about being present. Get out and about, interacting with your team members in their turf is really powerful! This is important for a couple of reasons: it creates psychological safety. Going to the boss’ office can seem a bit like going to the principals office – it can feel a bit disconcerting especially if it doesn’t come with any context. Second, it takes you out of your space and alleviates any distractions like phone calls or emails. This way you can connect wholly with your team member.

You can also do a quick round of “rounding” each morning when you come in. Stop by and say good-morning, do a quick check in, ask what your team members need to get through their day.

Understand their learning style and personality preferences: We tend to engage with people in our own terms. Additionally, we also tend to “teach” people in our own preferred way. Both of these can be pretty frustrating and points of potential conflict. At minimum, understand the learning styles of your team members. There is a quick on-line assessment tool that you can use: the VARK learning style. This can greatly reduce frustrations.

Are there bad hires? Of course there are. Even a bad hire can be turned around by a leader who takes an interest. I’ll tell you a story about this, but that’s for another time! Please share your experiences with new hires and success tips that you have used in the past.

Thank you for supporting my work: brining leadership development to individuals contributors and small business. You can find more of my work at:


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