Sometimes you can do everything right in your hiring, and the person just does not work out after a few months. Hiring is hard enough, but starting all over is really frustrating. So why are mis-hires so common?
Well, one answer lies not in our hiring, but rather in how we manage those precious new employees. Research shows that employee morale, or enthusiasm declines precipitously after just five or six months. The culprit? Poor management practices. And those management mistakes pile up right from day one.
- David Lee, speaking at the ERE conference, says that if your new hires experience any of these emotions when they join your company, you have trouble: Confused, frustrated, overwhelmed, bored, annoyed, anxious, insecure, disappointed, regretful.
- Instead these emotions are the ones your onboarding and orientation programs should inspire: Welcome, comfortable, secure, valued, important, proud, excited, confident.
Uh oh. Few small and midsize employers are very good at onboarding and orientation. Very few managers offer a real orientation or a performance and training “ramp-up” plan. Even fewer assign a seasoned mentor, most just expect people to “jump in” and then blame them when they fail.
What a colossal waste of resources.
In “The Enthusiastic Employee” David Sirota reviews specific management practices that offer the greatest performance impact. Although I rarely encounter someone who has read it, I still rank it right up there with “First Break All the Rules” as a way to understand human motivation and the major reasons people stay with or leave an organization. The book is thoroughly researched - based on surveys with two and a half million employees. It is not trendy, but rather chock full of timeless but perhaps unconventional wisdom. Consider this grabber:
“…the often-asked question, “How do you motivate employees?” is foolish. Most people enter a new organization and job with enthusiasm, eager to work, to contribute, to feel proud of their work and their organizations. Perversely, many managers then appear to do their best to demotivate employees!”
Management practices that destroy enthusiasm are insufficient training, poor equipment, bureaucracy, indecisiveness, the status structure, and conflict within the organization. As David Sirota puts it, “People don’t come to work to fight.”
The authors posit a ”Three Factor Theory of Human Motivation in the Workplace.” Here they are:
- Equity: to be treated fairly in relation to the basic conditions of employment. These include a safe, respectful working environment, management that can be trusted, reasonable job security, and satisfactory compensation and benefits dispensed without favoritism.
- Achievement: To take pride in one’s accomplishments by doing things that matter and doing them well; to receive recognition for one’s accomplishments; to take pride in the organization’s accomplishments.
- Camaraderie: To have warm, interesting, and cooperative relations with others in the workplace. The authors note that “We often neglect the extent to which an organization functions not only as a business entity, but also as a community that satisfies the social and emotional needs of its members.”
So how are you doing welcoming the new members of your community, showing them respect, making them feel valued, and helping them get some early successes under their belts?