Is Your New Hire Struggling?

Once upon a time, Jayne *, the human resources manager at company X met Phyllis*, a potential candidate. Phyllis* was the ideal candidate in person and on paper. She aced all the interviews. She was brimming with ideas and energy. She was the perfect culture fit. There was no doubt in Jayne’s mind that her search had ended.

Within a week, Phyllis* got the job and was posted to her new work station. The first few weeks were spent learning the ropes. The company had a mentorship programme in place so Phyllis was assigned to a mentor. Within the next few months, Jayne began to doubt her decision. Phyllis was struggling. Some department heads found it difficult to work with her.

The situation above is more common that most human resources managers and CEOs would care to admit. Based on our work with hundreds of organizations, we have identified the following common pitfalls and measures to avoid them:

Mistake #1: Inefficient testing of the candidate’s standard skills

Human resource professionals have for years been pondering over factors that predict whether a candidate’s past performance will be replicated in the new role. It has been proposed by some organizational psychologists that unstructured sequential questions would be the best predictor of future performance. The limitation of this is that one cannot glean sufficient information from a candidate based on these questions regardless of how they are structured.

As experts continue to ponder on the best way forward, it is important to determine whether the candidate has standard skills. The 4C’s summarize the crucial standard skills a candidate must have: communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. For instance, if you are looking for an administrative assistant, you need to determine whether the candidate has proper report writing skills, is organized and time conscious.

THE 4C’S THAT ARE CRUCIAL

Mistake #2: Failure to regularly review your interview questions

Research carried by Glassdoor indicates that the average interview duration has almost doubled since 2009. It may sound easy to interview a candidate but in reality, interviewing is one of the most technical aspects of hiring. Biases easily affect the process of getting a good hire. Most companies have a template in place but this template is rarely reviewed to eliminate questions that do not add value to the process. For most organizations, interviews are an opportunity to determine whether the candidate fits into the culture of the organization. In reality, most organizations have a poor understanding of what constitutes their culture and what sort of candidate would fit into it by extension. Have measures in place to review and improve your interview process.  

Mistake #3: Poor relationship building

It is possible that one of the reasons why Phyllis was struggling could be due to a poor relationship between her and her mentor. While most organizations have some form of mentor-ship program for new hires, few of these organizations work towards finding out whether these programs are working. Human beings naturally gravitate towards familiar faces. It is not always easy for one to build a relationship in the work place in spite of having common goals. This may be attributed to difference in personality types or learning styles. Organizations should frequently review their mentor-ship programs and improve them accordingly.

Mistake #4: Using performance improvement plan as a prelude to termination

Performance improvement plans (PIP) are an essential tool in determining what is not working. They should be developed in a way that clearly identifies the problem, outlines the steps that will be taken towards the improvement and timelines for improvement. Using examples, the plan should help the employee understand their deficiencies and why they need to work towards improvement. If a plan is structured properly, it may foster collaboration between an employee and their departmental head that will result in improvement of performance.

Mistake #5: Failure to pay attention to learning styles

People learn in different ways. Some people can watch someone perform a task once and have the confidence to perform the task by themselves after that. Some people need steps outlined for them so that they can refer to these steps later. Others prefer a video or a book. Your organization might not have the capacity to train all types of learners according to their learning styles but it can adjust accordingly to ensure that no one is left behind.  The organization can expose new hires to different types of learning material. Instructional material can be in the form of booklets, videos and infographics.

Image courtesy: Project-general.com

Mistake #6: Organizational culture that has never been challenged and changed

A few years ago, PwC in the USA noticed that most of its new hires were leaving the organization as soon as they got a chance to leave. This took the consulting firm by surprise because for years, the organization had employees who had accepted the long working hours.

As millenials increasingly became a part of the organization, the attrition rate soared. PwC also noticed that there was reluctance among younger college educated candidates to join the organization. The organization commissioned a study to determine why it was losing its top talent. The study revealed that the millenials were more willing to question assumptions about work that had long been held as truisms. In response to the crisis, the organization introduced flexible schedules and a wellness program.

Africa will boast of the largest population of young, working employees in the next decade. Using yesterday’s work approaches with today’s Gen Z employees will not work. Organizations need to be agile and adaptable in order to retain top talent particularly millennials and Gen Z who will make up a significant portion of the workforce in the next decade.

Do you have a vacancy that you need to fill? We are available to walk with you the talent search journey just as we have done with our clients. Crystal Recruitment puts clients and candidates at the heart of their operations and nothing is more rewarding than hearing that new hires have performed and they are not struggling to settle in.

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