Managing New Employees

Employees working on a project
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When you are managing new employees you have an opportunity to do great things for them, for the company, and for your career. You also have the opportunity to severely damage their career and you own.

Managing Mostly New Employees

You may find yourself in a position where you are managing a group of mostly new employees. This means they are new to the company, but they are not necessarily new to the industry or the workforce.

If you manage them well, you will help them do better in their own careers. The added creativity and productivity you get out of them will help your company. And both of those will contribute to further success in your own career.

But if you stifle that creativity, innovative spirit, and desire to succeed that new employees have, your team's productivity will suffer and your own career will be damaged.

Train New Employees Well

You need to train your new employees. The sooner, the better. Train them on the specific procedures at your company. Train them on what is expected of them and how they will be evaluated. Train them how to avoid common mistakes. Explain resources available to help them do the job better. Remember they are all individuals and will learn at different rates and in different ways.

Listen To Their Ideas

Even as you train new employees in how things should be done, don't forget to listen to their ideas about how to do things differently.

By listening to them, you encourage creativity and innovation. You demonstrate that you value them as individuals and as contributors. And you may get ideas from them that would actually be better ways to do things. New employees are in a unique position to suggest different procedures because they have not yet been deterred by the "this is how we've always done it" thinking.

You don't have to accept their ideas for changes, but you do need to listen to them.

Protect Your Senior Employees

The employees that have been with the organization for awhile are a valuable resource. Much like the effect on older children of bringing home a new baby you need to be sensitive to the needs of the experienced team members. New employees will be a big drain on your time, but make sure you have time for the rest of your team.

Use Senior Employees As Mentors

Another way to make sure the senior members of your team continue to feel valued as well is to use them as mentors for the new employees. It's also a good way to reduce the amount of your time you need to spend on training the new employees. And it helps to build the sense of team among all your employees.

Set Realistic Goals

You need to set goals for the new employees and to communicate those goals to them clearly. Just make sure that the goals you set are realistic. Remember that they will spend a lot of time at first in training, but they will also lose a lot of productive time to asking questions and figuring things out. Tasks that you find simple and can do quickly will take them longer. So as you set goals for the new employee make sure that are realistic for their experience and skill level.

Provide Frequent Feedback

New employees especially need frequent feedback. You want to correct any mistakes they are making before they become bad habits. Also, if they are making mistakes it will be more difficult for them to learn related tasks. Keep the feedback positive and focus on the behavior, not the employee.

Don't Play Favorites

It is always important for a manager to be fair and treat employees the same, but it is especially important when many of the employees on your team are new. Don't show favoritism to any of the new employees over any of the others. You don't want them competing for your attention at this point. You don't want any of them feeling at a disadvantage because of the way you behave with one of their peers. And while you have a different relationship with the more senior members of the team, don't let that cause you to be less than fair with all your other employees.

Focus On Team Building

As you train and develop the new employees, you also want to help them become part of the team. Make sure their schedule includes time for them to interact with the other, more experienced members of the team. Beyond the mentoring mentioned above, provide opportunities for people from both groups to work together. Give the new employees ample notice of coming team events and explain what they are about and how they can participate.

Reward and Celebrate Team and Individual Success

As your new employees become better trained and more productive they will begin to meet the goals you set for them. Be sure to celebrate those successes even as you increase the goals. As they begin to contribute more and more to the teams overall results, be sure to recognize and celebrate the improved performance of the entire team. And continue to celebrate the success of more senior members of the team as well.

Bottom Line

You train and develop the new employees of your team so they will become successful contributors. Remember their lower skill levels, set realistic goals, provide frequent feedback on their performance, and celebrate their successes as individuals and as members of the team.