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3 Steps for New Employee Success

Most of us can remember being a new hire at some point in our professional career. Despite having the experience and or qualifications required for our new position, there’s still a bit of apprehension when one finds him or herself in this situation. It’s important for an organization to assist new hires in gaining confidence as this can certainly have an impact on a customer’s experience. Here are three tasks that I call the I. E. E. method of helping new hires be successful.

I = Indoctrination – In order to get a new employee off on the right foot, I think it’s necessary to indoctrinate the person into the culture of the company. This should include the company history, core values, the present company goals and how their position fits into the company reaching it’s goals. If possible, arrange for departmental managers to speak with the new employee on the services their respective departments provide to the organization. Allow for the new employee to spend time in each department (where possible) to get the “big picture” perspective of the organization.

E = Education – This step helps the employee perform at the highest possible level. Equip new hires with the necessary tools to be efficient and effective in their position. Provide product/service knowledge training, Allow the new hire to experience the product/service first hand to get the customer’s perspective. For those new hires that will not be customer facing employees, allow them to spend time with employees who do interact with the customer. In doing so, they more than likely will develop a sense of appreciation for customer service personnel and get a better understanding of customer needs and requests. Create opportunities for them to spend time with others within the organization who are impacted by the new hire’s job duties and with those who impact the new hire’s position. Doing so helps the new hire to understand the needs of his/her internal customers. Make sure the new hire has received training with the tools required to perform daily tasks – internal systems, software, hardware or whatever the employee will use in fulfilling their position requirements. Remember to provide steps for task completion as this gives the new hire a sense of having the ability to accurately complete tasks. Knowledge plus repetition usually equals success. Be careful not to rush this step. Think about the long-term impact that you want this new hire to have upon your organization and your customers. My Dad used to say “Haste makes waste boy!” when I would get in a hurry to complete tasks. He knew that mistakes usually happen when one is in a hurry. Take your time when educating new hire personnel. Your organization will reap the benefits!

E = Evaluation – After indoctrinating and educating new hires, it’s time for evaluation. Advise new hires of the evaluation process. Let them know you’re interested in their progress as a new employee. It’s important to provide feedback to new employees. Set and keep evaluation/feedback appointments. I suggest weekly sessions for the first ninety days. Encourage the new employee to ask questions during these sessions. Observe the new hire “in action” and reinforce successes with on the spot affirmations. Where the new hire works in a team environment, get objective feedback from teammates. New employees must be kept in the loop regarding their progress up the learning curve. Their ability to reach the top of that curve is dependent upon the receipt of regular performance evaluations.

A new employee is dependent upon an organization for assistance in successfully performing the duties for which they were hired. Use the I.E.E. method to ensure they get off to a good start! Your customer is depending upon it!

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3 Words New Employees Should Avoid

While assisting my wife in preparing for one of her workshops, it became apparent that a few more seats were needed. As I was familiar with this location, I proceeded to the storage room to retrieve the chairs but found the door locked. While speaking with the new receptionist in regards to gaining access to the storage room, she utilized the three words new employees should avoid – “I’m new here and I have no idea where the keys are located.” When one finds him or herself in the position of a new employee, it’s important to refrain from using these three words. Let’s talk about why.

Does Anyone Really Need To Know? – I have often heard supervisors or employers apologizing for the actions of an employee by stating – “I’m sorry, but he/she is new here.” Does the customer really need to know that and furthermore do they really care? Customers are usually unconcerned about a service provider’s tenure with an organization. As we’ve all been that “new employee”, there are times when one may not know the necessary actions to take to handle a particular situation. The apprehension felt by a new employee when presented with a situation for which we may not have an immediate resolution can be overwhelming. It’s important to maintain your composure and do what the veteran employees do – Stall! Ask the customer to allow you a few minutes to get the answer, develop a resolution, etc. Most people are understanding and will grant your request. The customer does not have to know that you’re new and you might even impress your supervisor/manager by taking the necessary actions to provide the best solution. In my example at the beginning of this article, the receptionist could have stated “Sure sir, let me locate those keys.” As she is the receptionist and is responsible for incoming calls, I understood that she was unable to leave the front desk. It would have been okay with me if she had called another employee to assist in locating the keys.

It Sounds Like An Excuse – When a new employee uses the three words “I’m new here” it may be perceived by the customer as an excuse for not being fully prepared to provide a great experience. The organization has a responsibility to provide comprehensive training to new employees which should assist in instilling confidence. Even when equipped with the best training, there will moments when new employees will either “go blank” (a temporary memory lapse) or just have no idea what to do in a given situation. In either case, it’s real easy to resort to that old standby – “I’m new here.” I suggest that one not get into the habit of using these three words as it usually results in a supervisor or manager intervening to provide whatever is needed for that particular situation. Pretty soon everyone grows weary from a new employee’s usage of those three words. Watch, listen and learn from more tenured staff as they handle various situations.

Their Confidence Is At Stake – Should a new employee decide to utilize the dreaded three words in an attempt to garner a customer’s sympathy, it most often results in a blow to the employee’s confidence. Usually, utilization of these words really means “I don’t know what I’m doing.” It’s important for new employees to gain and maintain confidence as quickly as possible. Repeated exposure to situations and scenarios that new employees are ill-equipped to handle can lead to a loss of confidence and increased anxiety or frustration. It doesn’t feel good to be face to face or on the phone with a customer when one is not prepared to provide a great customer experience. Make sure new employees are placed in areas where they can experience early success with customer interactions. Otherwise, sooner or later, someone will surely resort to “Sorry, but I’m new here.“

New employees are dependent upon the organization for proper product/service knowledge training. The use of “I’m new here.” is a sure sign that the employee may not yet be comfortable in their role. Remind new employees to ask themselves before using those three words – Does Anyone Really Need To Know? Remind them that It Sounds Like An Excuse when advising customers that “I’m new here.” Make sure they are properly trained because Their Confidence Is At Stake.

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