It all begins with great onboarding. It really does.
The most efficient organizations aren’t necessarily those that have the best procedures. Instead, organizations that do great onboarding in the first 90 days can get people to work together more productively and get each member of a team to do his or her best more often.
Getting employees to give their best is an effort that starts on Day One. It’s important to build rapport, which in turn, builds trust.
Trustworthiness is essential to any successful social network, especially work. Getting people from a variety of backgrounds to interact and trust each other is crucial to achieving and maintaining increases in productivity.
Organizations with a track record of success do a better job of making the most of their new hires. That’s due to a better understanding of what people’s skill sets are, which is probably the easy part, as well as how their behavior fits the job.
People don’t change
Managers should avoid trying to change people into something they have no hope of ever becoming. People don’t change that much.
Managers would be much better off trying to figure out what their people are really good at and playing to those strengths, instead of forever trying to correct people’s deficiencies.
Experts in behavioral and workplace psychology have identified six dumb ways in which companies, through their managers, destroy morale and productivity. Most of these negatives occur in the first 90 days.
Here are six mistakes to avoid in those critical first 90 days of onboarding:
Mistake No. 1 is the failure to set clear expectations. What’s expected in the first 90 days? What’s expected in the second 90 days, and then, thru the end of the year?
Good people want to do well in a job. As long as they know clearly what’s expected of them, good hires will try hard to meet those expectations.
Mistake No. 2 is the failure to focus employees on the key issues. Managers too often assume employees know what they know. Or managers may have done an inadequate “selling” job to their employees to make the company’s priorities and key issues their own priorities as well.
Mistake No. 3 is a failure to find the positive. Many people in leadership roles have too many things on their plate. Old-school managers still may be tempted to “fix” everybody, but this always involves criticism and reinforces negatives. All managers would do better figuring out what people are good at and play to their strengths.
Mistake No. 4 is the failure to exchange ideas in a positive, open forum. In an environment of empowerment, command and control doesn’t work. It can’t just be management telling people what needs to be done. Managers are wise to learn what’s going on at the grassroots level, because those are the people who are dealing with the company’s customers. Listening skills are an essential ingredient of successful management.
Mistake No. 5 is the failure to recognize and reward good performance. When people really do well, managers need to be sure to recognize it. When they don’t, it creates a negative environment, with negative consequences for morale and productivity. This applies not only to the individual employee whose outstanding contribution isn’t acknowledged enough, but to all those around that employee as well, who see that the extraordinary effort is merely taken for granted. It kills their morale as well, and makes them think: “Why bother?”
Mistake No. 6 is the greatest challenge for most managers. It’s the failure to understand the unique behavioral strengths and challenges of each individual. Managers who play to people’s strengths do a better job of making new hires work. The easy part is to identify skill sets. It’s much harder to identify the behavioral nature that fits the job. People do things more because of their own intrinsic nature than because of any lack of expertise or intelligence.
4 key workplace personality traits
There are plenty of examples in everyday life situations of the four basic behavioral traits that people in the workplace exhibit. They are:
1. Dominance, the so-called control trait. This is the person who pushes his or her way into an already full elevator.
2. Extroversion, the so-called social trait. This is the person who tries to get to know everyone in the same crowded elevator.
3. Patience. This is the person who will wait calmly for the next elevator.
4. Conformity. These people excel when there is structure and detail. This person will check the elevator’s inspection certificate to make sure the load capacity hasn’t been exceeded.
Great managers play to the strengths of their people and fill square holes with square pegs. They understand what any position needs and fill the positions with people who fit those needs, then provide guidance and encouragement to help people meet the position’s specific requirements.
And they recognize the entire process starts on Day One.