Why are we so bad at training new managers?
In the knowledge economy getting talented people on board is more crucial than ever before, so more and more effort is going into the recruitment process. What happens once these talented individuals are hired however often leaves a lot to be desired.
Leadership IQ, a research and management consulting firm, reports 67% of employees learn about their jobs from co-workers and not from their bosses. So new hires tend not to learn about their new roles from any processes put in place to teach them, more often than not it is informally delivered from co-workers. What a damning indictment of the initiation processes in place at many organisations! A survey in 2008 revealed that as many as 1 in 4 new recruits leave their new employers within the first year of employment. All that time and effort wasted.
So why does this matter? Those first few weeks in the job provide new employees with the blueprint for their time at your organisation. It’s in those first weeks that undertake behaviour modelling, the process of learning how things are done by those around them. It gives you a window to shape not just what your organisation does, but how they expect people to do it.
This means during the transition period– the first 90 days of employment–new employees get their cues about how they need to behave to fit into the company from those who are training them to do their new job. If you have a positive culture you may not see much of a problem with that, as new hires are more likely to take on board lessons from peers than managers. If your culture isn’t so hot however then you could be sowing the seeds of your own demise.
So how should you induct new employees?
The following are a few tips to help you do things the right way.
- Assign your best people to the job – You want new hires to learn the best habits, so you need to treat this seriously and assign your best employees to mentor new hires.
- Devote time to it – Many induction processes last a week max. That’s not long enough to develop good habits. Malcolm Gladwell believes 10,000 hours are required, so be prepared to be in this for the long-term.
- Map your talent – How does the new hire fit into your current skill set? Do they have any skills they need to perform that they currently lack. This is where you connect the dots and match them up with the right people.
- Get them involved – So many induction processes get bogged down by procedures such as health & safety or housekeeping information like where the toilets are and how people like their tea. Useful information for sure but the best way to develop the good habits you need them to develop is for them to get involved from the start, so put them on a team with your stars so they can instantly feel part of the company and begin learning from the best.
- Take an interest – It’s always daunting going into a new environment, so take a personal interest in their progress. Show that you’re a manager that cares. Check regularly how they’re doing so you can modify things if required.
Getting the most from our talent is likely to be the single most important aspect of management if we’re to compete in the coming years. Getting new recruits off to the best start is an opportunity you can’t afford to mess up.
How does your company induct new employees?