Managing New Hires, by BENEDICT KARIUKI

The time taken by a new hire to start delivering results in an organization has different timelines depending on whether it's an experienced executive hire, an industry changer, new graduate recruit, or an intern.

More time will be required especially if the new hire is moving from one industry to a different industry. As an example, a sales specialist moving from selling agricultural inputs to selling online services would require additional time to learn the new industry. A new graduate, on the other hand, needs to not only learn the industry, but also how to work in an office setting and interact at a professional level.

How should a manager deal with new employees and the time to onboard or gain desired performance? Understand the magnitude of change from an employee's prior experience to the current role. The greater the degree of change, then the flatter the slope of effectiveness in their new workplace. So, it will take longer to gain maximum performance from an employee the greater the magnitude of change from his or her previous experience.

Instead of a manager hoping that the employee organically fills the role adequately, the supervisor should hold regular meetings, at least weekly, to gain feedback from the employee given their new perspective and in turn coach them on their transition. Do not simply coach the new staffer in performance matters, but also organisational culture and team norms. Meaningless or unproductive activity which might not yield results will minimize and preferred behaviour in good workplace productive activity will bear fruit. The coaching also hastens the employee up the effectiveness curve but also builds trust between you and your worker, builds their commitment to the organisation, and boosts their feelings of connectedness. Many employers also find that linking a new employee to an existing experienced performer also lessens the transition time.

Remember the adage: "when you know something, you forget what it is not to know." It takes time for people in the organisation to understand matters like industry analysis, establish networks, or create a good profile of a potential customer. Do not expect unrealistic results. The probation period of one to three months may not prove adequate. Often managers mistakenly hire during a crisis and neglect the onboarding process entirely. Inasmuch, they create problems for themselves down the road. Always take meaningful onboarding time together with a harnessed focus to build the above practices into your organisation and its people.


Benedict Kariuki, Human Resources Consultant with WYLDE International