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Hit the ground running – Welcoming New Hires

The law of diminishing dedication

Ever been so fired up at a leadership seminar that you were champing at the bit to race back to the office to test things out? You were still pumped up when you got back to your desk. Then the regular stuff began crowding out your time. The days rolled by. Enthusiasm for what you learned began to wane, and finally, what was once so fresh in your mind had faded into a dusty memory

So it goes with a new job. Most people show up for their first day all gung ho and eager to contribute. With luck, a wise team leader and a healthy culture will greet them. Otherwise, bureaucratic roadblocks, turf wars, inefficient systems, and the hypnotic comfort of daily routines will blunt their passion and lull them into mediocrity. It’s as quiet and insidious as radon poisoning.

Snatching up stars

➤ Think of yourself as a top talent scout. Landing the hot hire requires diligence and resourcefulness. Keep a lot of balls in the air—work your business contacts, offer referral bonuses, hit schools and hiring fairs, consider search firms. Make sure your culture attracts and retains good people.

➤ Don’t let stars in your eyes cloud your vision. Don’t assume that heavy hitters on other teams have more expertise or will fi t seamlessly into your culture. Do your homework—and don’t make exceptions to your standard hiring process.

➤ Develop a good game plan. Job interviews are like hide-and-seek. Candidates try to hide their faults—you seek to discover them. Ask probing questions that reveal a candidate’s personality, maturity, strengths, and vulnerabilities. The greater the resistance to answering a question, the more important it is to question the answer. Established drills like role-playing help avoid the irritation of watching new hires turn into misfires.

➤ Make it mutual. It’s just as important to impress applicants as it is for them to impress you. If she knocks your socks off, chances are she’s wowed other employers, too. A perfect fit? Get an offer on the table ASAP (after her references check out).

➤ Follow the law. Know what you can and can’t ask in a job interview. Guard against ill-advised comments that a candidate could misinterpret. Display mandatory posters and keep detailed records to explain why each applicant was rejected or selected. Require new hires to sign nondisclosure and non-compete agreements so your trade secrets stay secret.

Last word

Welcome new hires. Make employees feel comfortable from day one. Assign them a “buddy,” introduce them to colleagues, build rapport with management, and brief them on what’s expected from all sides. A healthy, team-oriented, systems-disciplined culture prevents newbies from drifting into mediocrity.

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