A good hiring process is seriously undermined by a poor induction process

The other week I read about the plight of an entrepreneur who, despite being successful, was desperately seeking advice on how to improve his miserable hiring track record. The advisor he wrote to was sympathetic and encouraged him to keep at it:

"Try again. Use a recruiter to forward you CVs. Ask a business associate who is good at managing staff to sit in on the interview. Take your time looking for the right person. Have a good description of responsibilities."

While these suggestions have their merit, I couldn't help but get the feeling that something larger was missing from this advice, something that could have got to the core of this entrepreneur's problems. And it has nothing to do with his faults – or maybe lack thereof! – during the hiring process.

Instead of the problem being in the hiring process, it isn't surprising to find the problem originating during the induction process. Yes you read it right, induction process. Because whilst it's so often neglected, how you induct a new employee immediately following their hire is just as important (if not more so) to their success with your business than how you go about hiring them in the first place.

Too many businesses hire new employees and assume they'll know how to handle their new role, often because too much weight is put on their previous experience. An article in March's Harvard Business Review cites statistics that about a quarter of new hires in the US receive no workplace training of any kind in their first two years of employment. And ironically enough, this assumption becomes more pronounced if the new employee has greater experience or seniority, a potentially fatal flaw of judgment!

Because no matter how qualified, professional or competent a new employee may be the day they join, they are incompetent in relation to your processes, your products, your systems, your procedures and so on. And unless your induction training develops them appropriately, you leave the door open for chaos in all its forms, as the new employee will operate as they see fit (while perhaps naively thinking all is well).

So I'd ask the entrepreneur about their induction process, and how it works: On your employees' very first day, are you meeting with them and outlining specific tasks for them to complete? And are those tasks 'doing' tasks, not 'thinking' tasks, so they understand how your processes work? Are you following up with them for the full duration of their induction period so they understand how you think? Are you providing constructive feedback so they understand what you expect from them and that you care about their success? And are you doing this for at least four to six weeks?

If you can't answer yes to all of these questions, then you need better balance across both the hiring process and the induction process.

Posted: 4/15/2010 12:34:43 AM by Brett Morris | with 0 comments
Filed under: entrepreneur, hiring, induction, recruiting, retention, training, workplace
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