It can be exciting to start a newly hired employee who has demonstrated real potential. There is the hope that this person will be efficient, intelligent, innovative, and successful – not to mention, a good fit personally with the company’s culture.
While many times your expectations will be fulfilled, sometimes new hires are not all they are cracked up to be. Fortunately, if you catch the common mistakes and missteps of new hires early on and correct them, you can ensure yourself a solid addition to your team who you can rely on for years to come.
Here are four common mistakes to watch out for with your new hires and solutions to solve those mistakes:
1. Employee Seems Unclear of Job Expectations
When starting a new job, it can take some time to get a handle on how to perform efficiently and stay on task. But if your employee continuously works on the wrong tasks, goes off track on projects, and doesn’t keep priorities straight, he or she is obviously unclear of the job expectations and responsibilities.
Not only does the company suffer because work is either not getting completed or is not of the highest quality, the employee suffers too because he or she will never be able to perform at his or her highest potential. There is also the possibility that the employee will eventually develop workplace burnout.
Solution: Make clear what is expected of your new employee, and provide a list of priorities as a guide for easy reference.
2. Employee Misunderstands Company Culture
Sometimes a new employee commits company faux pas while adjusting to a new work culture. This could be evidenced by wearing inappropriate attire, working odd hours, or using offensive language. Such distractions can be detrimental to the employee’s potential to thrive and advance in the company.
Solution: If an overview of company culture is not included in new hire orientation, start including it. If the employee has already completed orientation, gently let him or her know of the expected behavior within the organization.
3. Employee Is Stuck in Old Ways of Doing Things
It’s great if your new employee has experience, but, for example, if he or she is unwilling to use the company’s new software and instead does tasks by hand, then productivity will be negatively affected. If an employee has done certain task the same way for years, or even decades, it’s understandable that making the transition to new technologies or modes of thinking can be difficult. This can be especially challenging for older employees or those returning to the workforce after kids. Unfortunately, it can be a long battle for the employee to adapt to new processes.
Solution: Provide adequate training for your employee, as well as encouragement each time he or she makes advancements in skill level.
4. Employee Crosses the Boundaries
Your employee could “cross the boundaries” in a number of ways, but most likely it will be by ignoring procedures. Let’s say the new employee’s department has a special way of filing documents. The new employee is crossing boundaries when he or she decides not to use the efficient and established system, believing his or her way to be better.
Another example is a new hire taking over a meeting when he or she is not familiar with the topic being addressed. You need your employee to be able to give input to a matter, but he or she should be taking information in, not giving orders out. If the employee’s behavior does not change quickly, problems may develop.
Solution: Be upfront with your employee, and let him or her know that the behavior shown is unacceptable. Impart the importance of following protocol, and regularly discuss his or her progress until it is no longer an issue. Also, let your employee know that you appreciate any ideas on how to do things better, but all ideas need to be discussed before being implemented. This is one of the keys of effective workplace communication.
It is disappointing when a promising new employee doesn’t seem to fit in once he or she is actually on the job, but do not give up or lose hope too soon. For the best chance of a positive outcome, try to resolve the issue as soon as you become aware of its existence. The longer problematic actions continue, the more difficult they become, and the more resistant your employee will be to correcting them.
What other common mistakes by newly hired employees should employers keep an eye out for?