Building a top-class team is the best legacy any leader can leave behind. Seems simple, but is an onerous task. We could offer a dream opportunity, a few extra slivers of silver and serenade a prospect till he says, ‘I do’. Hiring then becomes the easier part.
The idea is to help a new hire settle down well, be successful and most of all, be happy and fulfilled.
Of course, organisations have their own variants of on-boarding practices. Some are comprehensive, some not even skeletal. Some are purely digitised and lack the human touch. Others are left completely to human intervention.
The initial six months are key to the fledgling’s long-term survival. When not managed well, talent finds its own pathways.
And we are back to square one, hiring again. The financial costs are the lesser worry. Losing your brand equity in the talent market can be very debilitating. It hurts the personal reputation of individual leaders as a talent magnet, destroying far greater value than what one would like to acknowledge.
How can a leader ensure the honeymoon leads to a long and strong organisational relationship for the new entrant?
Never ignore the honeymoon period For every new person joining an organisation, it is akin to a young girl going to her ‘sasural’ (in-laws), full of hope but equally anxious at leaving an ecosystem behind. The on-boarding experience and the mornings thereafter cannot be left to a junior HR resource; nor can they be assumed to be secured by a cookie cutter technology surrogate. It needs your deep commitment.
Very often, I have found supervisors tempted to throw the new hire at the deep end of the pool to meet some immediate firefighting needs. That is poor strategy.
Sending unprepared soldiers to battle is not setting them up for success. It is crucial to ensure they understand the organisation, its people, its history and folklore. It is as important to make them feel accepted by the environment as it is to grow them out of their last company and wear the new colours with pride.
Inculcate pride and passion On a recent vacation, I experienced how people down the value chain can champion their organisation with passion and pride.
Some of them were new to their roles. Impressed with their energy and enthusiasm, the HR practitioner in me probed fur ther. It was obvious they all connected their roles with a larger purpose. They understood what customer delight would do for their organisation. There were not too many forms and documents; there was plenty of storytelling. They acknowledged that they had seen their seniors practise it.
Give people space Some managers like to micro-manage, which many fresh recruits, exposed to a different cultural reality, could baulk at. If everything had to be done the same way, why was the new person brought in? The first strain gets created right then. No one is wrong but it is important not to assume everyone new will enjoy a culture that may be normal to older managers. Give people space and time.
Have regular conversations Several managers don’t put in enough effort or time to reach out to a new recruit for an honest conversation. Of course, there are task reviews, and we assume that because the person us getting on with the task, all is well. Actually it may just be the opposite. Delivering a set of tasks may not mean the person is enjoying being there.
There could be too much fluidity in the new expectations, or the person could be missing old friends and work norms. Maybe the new culture is aloof or even suffocating. Or, home pressures could be preventing him or her from fully delivering.
Small issues not explored in time may result in your losing the precious talent you may have assiduously wooed. With new recruits, emotions are raw and sensitive.
Regular, easy and open-ended conversations are both a barometer and the therapeutic release to clarify and reaffirm. It looks so doable but is rarely done.
Give out praise and recognition It is important to understand the psychology of a fresh hire. However credible the track record, there is anxiety . It is useful to look for opportunities to acknowledge early wins.
Ask for feedback and ideas It is always useful to ask the fresh hire for feedback on practices in your firm or your function. The fresh recruit senses best in this period, and remembers some wonderful practices of the earlier job. It not only helps tap into fresh ideas to improve our own systems but more importantly makes the recruit feel valued.
Hiring and helping settle in quality hires is fundamentally every leader’s job. There cannot be an alibi. Nor can one aimlessly delegate this job. It sets the tone for a positive organisational culture. It makes the difference to the organisational brand.
Technology, HR, peers can all pitch in but the honeymoon must be every supervisor’s accountability. It needs your intent, emotion and time. You can then hope to dream your talent will be for keeps, not a premature separation.
The author is president and group CHRO, Reliance Industries
Source : Economic Times
Date : 1-8-2014