Thu 24 Apr 2:21am CDT
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For managers, hiring is a staring point, not a finish line.

So, you’ve finally hired that new employee you need for a key position on your team. The interview process was in-depth and time consuming, but you believe you’ve found the perfect person. You’ve extended the offer, negotiated the details, and gotten your  No. 1 choice to sign on. Whew — you’ve crossed the finish line! Now you can finally get back to work on the important stuff. Your work here is done. Right?

Wrong.

That raw potential is going to need training, guidance, and support. That new hire is going to need help getting acclimated to your company’s culture and understanding the unwritten rules of the road. You’re going to have to provide the tools to help him or her get up and running: the skills, the knowledge, and the techniques needed to do the job the way you want it done. You’ve got to advise this new employee on how to build strong relationships with key people, navigate the existing company structure and systems, and understand the habits and customs that are crucial for fitting in.

And once that stuff is in place, you’re going to have to provide clear, ongoing direction and feedback to keep him or her on track. You’ll have to offer praise when the person gets it right and hold him or her accountable when he or she doesn’t. You’ll need to challenge this new employee, set goals with him or her, and figure out what you need to do to keep this person from being lured away by a better offer. Most importantly, you’ll need to invest time in building a relationship and being the kind of manager he or she feels lucky to work for.

I’ve seen so many managers become frustrated because their great hires don’t always transition into great performers. How could this happen, they wonder, when they put so much time and energy into getting the right person in place? I think it’s often because they forget a crucial fact:

Hiring isn’t a finish line — it’s a starting point. And your work is just beginning.

How does your company ensure that great hires transition into great employees? Or is this an area where you struggle? Please share your thoughts in the comments sections.

Janna Mansker is vice president of client services for Berke, a human resources consulting firm, where she leads the company’s education initiatives and advocates for clients. She can be reached at janna@berkegroup.com.