Congratulations, your company is expanding! You are building your team and hiring the right people who add value to the business and fit your company culture. Everything is great… except everyone is too busy to train the new person, uses company acronyms and abbreviations without explaining what they mean, or does not give the background needed on a project that your new hire is working on.
I’m constantly saying to hiring managers that we forget how much we’ve forgotten. What I mean is that there are so many things we just do without thinking. We go on autopilot, and we fail to remember that people learn in different ways and at different paces. Our job is not to overwhelm our new hire. We need to give them the right tools and be patient as they learn. We spend a lot of time talking managers off the ledge because they want to fire someone in their first two weeks of the job because THEY aren’t catching on. Well, is it them or is it you?
I hate to admit it, but I am guilty of this also. Our team has been expanding, and we sometimes forget that we have been running at this crazy speed for a long time, and when we hire a new person, we need to take some time to onboard them and, most importantly, understand how they learn. I have had to remind myself about the Four Stages of Competence Model.
Think about when you were learning how to drive. Everything was new, and every action required total focus and repetition until driving became rote. We all have driven someplace familiar and thought to ourselves, how did I get here? You don’t think about every action you perform when you are driving – it is a habit, and you know what to do. Practice and repetition helped you move from unconscious incompetence to conscious competence, and now driving is second nature to you.
How can we make onboarding new team members less frustrating for everyone? First, take a breath. Remember, you hired this person because they had the experience or transferrable skills you recognize you need in your business. You knew you would invest time training your new hire to understand your methodology and approach to your business, clients, and other employees. Second, consider the onboarding or training programs you have in place for new hires. Do you have a list of who new hires should meet with and topics to cover? Do they know whom to contact when a question or issue arises? Onboarding is a critical time for a new employee. You won’t believe how often I have heard that new employees didn’t receive employee handbooks or communications because they were not added to the correct email distribution list or the HR team member never met with them! This is certainly not the first impression you want to give any new employee.
What can you do to help your new employee and your team move through the stages of competence? Training!
The secret sauce to success is understanding how people learn. What was a frustrating conversation in the past can get easier when everyone knows how to communicate more clearly and with respect. Insight into employees’ communication styles, strengths, and stressors will benefit everyone and help your team move through the Four Stages of Competence model with ease. Not sure how to make this leap? We have multiple training programs that can help your team, from new hires to managers.
Let me know your thoughts and how you handle the challenges of onboarding new employees. Reach out to me if you have questions or if you want to learn more.