Picture a star player picked first in the draft and then immediately sat on the bench to wait out a few seasons while they get the lay of the land. It sounds ridiculous, but the same thing happens in organizations all the time.
Companies assign a new hire with great potential for contribution and future leadership to mundane tasks and disconnected duties, all under the guise of allowing them to “learn the ropes.” Such assignments bore them, drastically underuse their skills, minimize their growth potential, and reduce their ability to add value to the organization.
Businesses should never ignore the talent, however raw, of any new team member. It would make a great deal more sense, even if their input was not of immediate value, to have them at least participate in the process so they can shorten the learning curve.
Left to Only Imagine the Process
New team members have options in the world of work that are unprecedented compared to just a decade ago. If leaders don’t create opportunities for new hires quickly, they run the risk of boring them to the point of looking for other work. In short, new team members who do not see alignment of their work with their goals are very likely to leave.
Remember, new hires are assessing their employer as actively as the employer assesses them. The days of a person waiting in the wings, being given tasks far below their ability, and getting excluded from the conversations are well past. A company needs a strategy for the inclusion and active participation of even its newest team members.
Why Taking Time to Include Newer Team Members in Key Decisions Is Important
Just as a business would protect any other investment they make, caring for the well-being and growth of newer team members is essential. Great contributors are created through intentionality and focus. Here are a few strategies to ensure you are giving new hires the attention they deserve.
- Communicate clear expectations about a new hire’s first 90 to 120 days.
- Follow through and over-deliver on your expectations in those first few months.
- Practice inclusion at all times by inviting new hires to meetings where they may not even be able to contribute.
- Conduct frequent check-ins to make sure new hires feel challenged, aligned with norms and values, and satisfied with their workload.
- Create opportunities for new team members to take on projects that require creativity.
- Celebrate their wins to demonstrate that their work is noticed and that it matters.
As with all such efforts that businesses make toward sustained improvement, having a plan and working that plan with fidelity is the foundation. If actions toward the newer team members reflect the predetermined biases of current team members, rather than the focused direction and support of the company, change in this area is not likely to be sustained. Development of new talent must be a priority supported with resources and commitment.
Tim, with his extensive background in education and management, is a great part of our Fired Up! team dedicated to inspiring teams and leaders. At Fired Up!, our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams, and align operation practices to engage organizations and drive breakthrough results.