Recruiting a new member of staff can be an exciting time for any business, big or small. It’s often a sign that you’re smashing through your goals and you’re ready to take things up to the next level, and an extra pair of hands can certainly help you to grow your profits.
When we imagine our new recruits, we often envisage a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed individual, ready to come in and shake things up with their exciting ideas and enthusiasm for the job.
The reality of the situation though is that onboarding a new member of staff is a process, and it’s one that you need to very carefully manage if you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your team.
To avoid unnecessary problems from occurring, it’s wise to take a look at your whole recruitment and onboarding process. High performing teams don’t just happen by accident, and it’s vital that you’re doing all you can to make sure that you’re giving everyone exactly what they need to reach their full potential.
It can be tempting to rush your way through the procedures involved with getting the right person into your business, but it’s definitely worth taking a step back and thinking about how you can make sure that you’re getting everything right from the offset.
In the longer term, this approach will save you a whole load of time and hassle, and will play an important part in driving your business towards your bigger, overarching goals.
Here, we’re going to walk you right through the top 5 tips that you absolutely MUST be implementing if you want to make sure that you’re getting the maximum return on investment when it comes to your newest members of staff, starting from the very beginning of the process.
Some of them you can implement right away. Some of them will take a little more time and energy to perfect. But you can absolutely guarantee that every single one of them will make you a better leader, and put your business in a MUCH stronger position for moving forward.
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Jump straight in…
1. Reassess your job requirements - are you really being clear about what’s really required?
We’re living through some difficult economic times, and there are tons of people out there who are looking for work. This can be great news for you, because it means that there’s a whole load of talent that you can choose from. But it also means that you’re likely to get dozens, if not HUNDREDS of applications for every role that you advertise. You’re going to save yourself a load of time and money from the very beginning if you make sure that your job descriptions are fit for purpose, and as such, are going to attract the very best people for the role. Often, getting this right involves taking a step back and building things from the ground up. Take a look at the role in question, and consider what’s really necessary. Speak with the people who are already doing that job. Do they think that your job descriptions accurately portray what’s required on a day-to-day basis? What parts are being left out? There’s sometimes a tendency amongst leaders to gloss over the more undesirable aspects of the job, but this will cause you more problems in the longer term. Many businesses focus on creating what’s known as a ‘realistic job preview’, and this can be super powerful when it comes to making sure that you’re recruiting and selecting the best people. Be honest and upfront about what’s involved, and consider how you can share as much information as possible during every step of the recruitment process.
2. Create a solid induction programme
Do you currently have a formal induction process? If not, you need to create one. It’s as simple as that. Many of us have experienced the anxiety-inducing ambiguity of not really knowing what’s required of us in our first few weeks in a new job, and no one can be expected to perform to the best of their ability if time hasn’t been taken to welcome them to the business and get them off to the best possible start. There are the obvious considerations that should be covered, such as where to go to grab a sandwich for lunch, where to find the toilets, and what to do if the fire alarm goes off, but you need to go beyond this. For maximum success, make sure that you have an existing member of staff who takes responsibility for the induction period. If you’re running a small business, this may well be you. In larger organisations, leaders might decide that this is something that’s handed over to individual line managers. Regardless of the finer details, ensure that whoever’s in charge knows exactly what’s expected from them, and has a blueprint for fulfilling their responsibilities.
3. Use your probation period
Regardless of how good your recruitment processes are, you can sometimes make mistakes when it comes to selecting the best person for the job. Someone might have all the right qualifications and look like a great fit for your business on paper, and they may have performed very well in the interview environment. But after a few weeks on the job, it could become crystal clear that you made the wrong decision. This is why it’s worthwhile considering a probationary period for your new recruits. This gives you the opportunity to assess how they perform in the role, and get a real feel for how they fit into your business. Of course, you need to be mindful of employment legislation and make sure that you’re doing things by the book. If you’re thinking about running a probation period for new members of staff, it’s worth getting some professional advice before you roll out the changes. This will give you extra peace of mind, and will help to ensure that you don’t make any costly mistakes that could damage your business’s reputation. It’s worth noting here that having a probation period doesn’t mean that you can take a relaxed attitude towards recruiting, thinking that you can simply choose to terminate the contract if individuals aren’t up to scratch. Recruitment and selection can be lengthy and costly processes, so you’ll want to be doing everything you can to make sure that you’re taking on the right person. In an ideal world, your processes will be so good that you don’t even have to consider terminating a contract as a result of the probation period!
- Put performance on the agenda from day 1
Managing performance isn’t about filling in a form and ticking some boxes once a year. If you’re serious about getting the most from your workforce, you need to make sure that you’re embedding performance into your company culture. Are you really doing all you can to encourage your staff to excel? Are you talking the talk, but not really making any meaningful progress? Often, results don’t come from the big overarching strategies and mission statements. They come from how you’re leading your business on a day-to-day basis. Within the first few days of a new recruit joining your team, make sure that they sit down with their line manager for a discussion around what their role will involve, and the metrics that their performance will be assessed against. This helps to ensure that everyone is signing from the same hymn sheet, and knows exactly what’s going to be expected. This chat shouldn’t be about scaring employees into doing their job. Be welcoming, warm, and invite questions. At this stage, it makes sense to discuss any extra support that the individual might need. Be sure to schedule in regular informal meetings to touch base and reassess goals and objectives.
5. Recognise the importance of support
Even for seasoned professionals, starting a new job can be a daunting time. There are new people to meet, new systems to get to grips with, and new responsibilities to take on. As leaders, we hope that staff will hit the ground running, but it’s important to be realistic and appreciate the challenges that your new members of staff are likely to be facing.
Make sure that everyone knows where they can turn to if they have any questions, and consider the mechanisms that you have in place to support your workforce.
And finally, never underestimate the value of communication. Will you be checking in with your new recruit and their line manager, to check that everything’s running smoothly? Will you be inviting their feedback around their experiences during their first few days and weeks in your business? Problems can often be nipped in the bud at an early stage if you’re encouraging open and honest discussions.
Managing performance can often feel like a balancing act. You want to get the most out of your workforce and ensure that everyone’s suitably supported, but it can be difficult to take a step back from your day-to-day responsibilities and make sure that you’re doing what’s really necessary to create a positive and productive workplace culture. The good news is that the above tips can be applied in any business, and they can be excellent starting points for aspiring leaders who are ready to take things up to the next level. Perhaps you’re at the stage though where you know that you need some help to get your business on the right track, and you’d like to speak with a professional about your unique challenges and opportunities. If this is where you’re at right now, then we can help. Get in touch today, and we’ll arrange an initial no-obligation consultation.
Get in touch today by dropping us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 0203 627 7048, or book in here for a no-obligation chat about how we can help you improve your on boarding and performance management process.
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Photo By Anne