It’s always inspiring to watch the Olympics and to hear the amazing stories behind the athletes. So many of them have faced personal challenges or overcome difficult circumstances to produce incredible performances. Preparation, preparation and more preparation is the mantra. Most of these individuals have spent years practising and perfecting their skills.
In an ideal workplace, all employees will be equipped to perform at their best. However, unfortunately, many employers don’t give enough consideration to the preparation required to get employees performing at their peak and so many employees start in a new role destined for failure.
What can employers do to set up new employees for success?
1. Make sure the employee understands what they are signing up for
An accurate position description is vital – one that clearly sets out the requirements of the role and its parameters. It’s also important to be honest about what the role truly involves and not oversell the position description in an attempt to attract the ideal candidate. Don’t tell an employee it’s a ‘key marketing role’ if they are going to spent most of their day stuffing envelopes.
2. Don’t choose sprinter for a marathon
As obvious as it sounds, choosing the right person for the role is key. Many of the workplace disputes we see that arise from poor performance are due to the appointment of someone who lacks the relevant skills or has the wrong personality type. Make sure you thoroughly check the qualifications and references of the potential candidate. Most candidates will nominate a referee who will paint them in a positive light so make sure you ask questions that require them to think and elaborate. What are five of this person’s best attributes and can they give examples? What are their weak areas? Would you hire them again- if so why or why not?
3. Give them the equipment they need to succeed
Once you have appointed the employee to the role provide them with a thorough induction. This shouldn’t just be a tick the box exercise of reading through manuals and policies. Understanding a new organisation’s culture can be really difficult, and take a long time, so think about how you can bring the person up to speed by talking them through the organisation’s vision and values and what that looks like in action. For example, if there is an emphasis on open and transparent communication in your workplace, explain what that means using practical examples.
Appointing a buddy for new employees is a great way to ensure that they get an insight into how the organisation works and gives them a go-to person to ask all those silly questions they may feel too embarrassed to voice otherwise.
4. Team Players don’t become leaders overnight
Time and time again we see workplace conflict arising from managers with poor management skills. Often these people are elevated to management as a result of their technical prowess – but have never had any management training.
Don’t expect new leaders to adapt to managing a team overnight. Look for opportunities to develop their skills through formal training programs and in house mentoring or coaching.
The good news
Unlike a lot of Olympians, most employees aren’t preparing for that once in a lifetime performance and there is time to learn and make mistakes along the way. The good news is that, with encouragement and the right environment, we are all capable of a medal worthy performance at work.
About Sarah Tidey
Sarah Tidey has been a consultant with Worklogic for six years, with a focus on workplace investigations and reviews as well as training. Sarah gained a comprehensive understanding of risk management and people management from fifteen years’ experience in the legal and financial services sectors. She has a special interest in directors’ and managers’ duties in the workplace. Sarah applies strong analytical and communication skills in workplace investigations and training.
Worklogic offers a range of programs and in-house training to help organisations build a positive work culture and reduce workplace conflict. Please contact Sarah at via email or give her a call on (03) 9981 6500 for a confidential discussion on strategies to improve performance at your work.
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