Help New Employees Reach Their Potential

No matter how thorough your training process or how engaging your workplace, new hires -- even the most experienced -- are often overwhelmed. You can ease the way by assigning seasoned staffers as coaches.

Basically, coaches work shoulder-to-shoulder with new employees -- fielding questions, adjusting workloads and walking them through the basics of their jobs.

Here are a few considerations for an effective coaching program:

  • Assign coaches after your new recruits have completed training. It's a good way to ensure that new employees quickly apply the training to their jobs.
  • Give coaches the extra time to spend with new recruits. Adjust their work schedules accordingly.

Top managers may not want to put extra time and effort into a viable coaching system but consider the payoff: Studies have shown that coaching increases retention rates significantly and improves customer service.

What's more, skilled employees are likely to remain on board a lot longer if they feel that you understand their jobs and you're helping them achieve their goals.

Train With a Step-By-Step Orientation

Another way to reduce the pressure on new employees is with an extended orientation program. This enables you to present information about your company in bite-size pieces that new hires can readily absorb and understand.

Regardless of the size of your business, try to avoid cramming paperwork, tours and lectures about company philosophy into one hectic day. Keep in mind that most new employees are hoping to fall in love with your company.

Here's a quick orientation guide to help them:

  • Step 1 Set aside an entire day for paperwork, security checks and other administrative matters. This gives new hires time to review employee manuals, company rules and benefit plans.
  • Step 2 Reserve another full day for tours of the workplace and for initial meetings -- perhaps luncheons -- with coworkers and supervisors.
  • Step 3 After your recruits have spent a week or so on the job, schedule another session to review company philosophy, incentive programs, and the types of training and career paths they can pursue. By this time, the recruits are likely to have substantive questions about their jobs and company policies.

A gradual -- and thorough -- introduction gives employees the impression that you want them to have a long and productive career with your firm. After all, the honeymoon phase is the best time to plant the seeds for staff loyalty.

Your guidance and attention reassures new employees that you care about their integration into the company. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or forgotten, they'll feel nurtured and valued.

Coaches aren't just hand-holders. They can also help new recruits become comfortable - and productive - more quickly. They serve as vital links to your company's "culture" or special way of doing things.

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