Whether one works in the public eye or not, somewhere in the 50 to 100 day window after a person has started a new job, people around them are forming some pretty strong impressions about whether or not “this dog is going to hunt” as they say in Mississippi. I’ll let you in on a little secret; if they are at all self-aware, the person occupying that new job is likely figuring it out before everyone else is. Sadly, too few managers realize this nexus of thought and take advantage of it by initiating “check-in” conversations with the new staff member.
It would seem to stand to reason then, that on a fairly regular basis, monthly perhaps, it would do us good to check in with new hires (at all levels) and compare notes about how things are going. Do they feel fully successful in their new role? Do we share that point of view? What barriers are preventing them from being as successful as they want to be? What successes have they had, and what hard lessons have been learned? Are they having fun? Is the job what they expected it to be?
If the answers are coming up with green lights attached, make it a point to find out who has gone out of their way to be helpful and welcoming to the new staff member, and then go out of your way to thank them.
If the answers feature either blinking yellow or red lights, do not hit the snooze button. It is vital to uncover the root cause of either unhappiness or less than stellar performance, and quickly ascertain whether or not the matter can be remedied. This is the time for some well reasoned adult level conversation. Doing anything less is a gross failure of leadership, and a fraud against all concerned parties.
Consider the fact that we are now in an era where the average person’s entire ‘career’ with an organization lasts something less than four years. Neither party has six months (or more) to invest in something that isn’t likely to succeed.
As with any process error, the earlier we catch it, the more options there are available to us. If it turns out that either the new staffer or we have made a mistake, do not take the easy way out by deferring the recognition of that fact. Instead, use your time and resource to quickly enable the person to get to a station that better suits their talents and interests.
If you want to learn more:
For self-help, read Rebooting Leadership
For private or small group coaching, contact the author