An employee’s first day should be a great experience. It should set the tone for the employee’s future career and service to the company. You want and need employees that are asking what they can do for your company, rather than what you can do for them, (a little twist on JFK there). Below are a series of mistakes that employers make, along with associated employee mistakes.
The employee mistakes were added because it is up to you to both avoid common employer mistakes and to help your new employees avoid common new hire mistakes.
The Issue of Mistakes
Employee – Not handling mistakes in the right way.
Different people have different personalities, but one expects a well-adjusted person to act maturely and sensibly after making a mistake, especially when making one on his or her first day. Mistakes are expected of employees on their first day. Nevertheless, some employees will create a drama, some will give exaggerated emotional expressions and some will go as far as creating a scene.
Employer – Assigning blame for mistakes and treating them as something other than inevitable.
An employer should expect mistakes from new employees. Mistakes are natural and part of the learning process. The way an employer reacts to mistakes will have a massive impact on the employee. If the employee feels that mistakes are a bad or negative thing, then it sows the seeds for future misbehaviour.
Security Problems And Logistics Issues
Employee – The employee doesn’t learn in advance where to park, and the employee doesn’t arrive early enough to straighten out potential security problems.
It is the employee’s duty to arrive early on his or her first day. An employee should assume there are going to be problems, and turning up late on his or her first day, even if it was the security department’s fault, is not a good idea.
Employer – The employer doesn’t tell the new employee where to go on his or her first day, doesn’t explain the security procedures and doesn’t set up the new employee’s log in and security details.
If an employer fails to set up a new employee’s security information and doesn’t set up the new employees log in information (and things of that ilk), then the employee will think the company is poorly organized, and will feel unwelcome. It will slow down a new employee’s progress and tamper with the first impression that the employee makes on the team.
The Agenda Or Lack Of Agenda
Employee – The employee doesn’t seek out an agenda and/or any structure and allows himself/herself to be left doing nothing.
If the employer drops the ball, it is up to the employee to start asking for things to do and things to learn. If the employee doesn’t have an agenda, the employee will learn very little and make very little impact. As time goes by, the employer will blame the new hire for being slow to pick up the job (despite the fact it is the employer’s fault for not setting a meaningful agenda).
Employer – Not setting an agenda, not setting a training schedule, and not teaching the employee how to take on his or her role.
Below, the issue of not knowing what to do with new hires is discussed. This is different to having no agenda. A company with no agenda is one that can make use of a new hire but is doing a piss-poor job at it. A company that doesn’t know what to do with a new hire is outright unacceptable (that is discussed later in this article). If the employee has no agenda, then the employee will become unconfident unless one of your better employees takes him or her under his or her wing. Your employee will learn very little and will probably start looking for another job because he or she feels like a fifth wheel in the organization. New employees do not want to search out things to do, nor do they want to sit there twiddling their thumbs.
Missing Lunch Or Awkward Lunch Breaks
Employee – The employee doesn’t ask people where to go to lunch and to join him or her for lunch.
The employee doesn’t know where to go for lunch, and ends up sitting in the lunch hall alone. It sends a very powerful message to other people when a new hire sits alone at lunch. It suggests that the new hire is vulnerable.
Employer – The employer doesn’t assign an employee to watch over the new hire, to explain where lunch is taken, and to go to lunch with him or her.
New employees should have one or two people looking out for them. First impressions are very important and a new employee is making first impressions on the staff all day. Having other employees look after the new hire makes the new employee appear socially competent, active and attractive. Humans are pack animals, and if their first impression of a person is that the person is isolated and/or weak, then they will avoid or exploit that person.
A Poor Attitude Or Environment
Employee – The employee thinks that the best way to act and to fit in is to already have a “Jeeze, I work too much” and a “Yeah, work sucks” attitude.
The desire for acceptance is very strong, especially in a new job where everything in new territory. Some employees adopt the typical Dilbert (comic strip) or Homer Simpson (cartoon buffoon) attitude in a vein attempt to gain acceptance. But, loyal employees will be put off by it and managers will be distressed at the new hire’s poor attitude.
Employer – The work atmosphere is negative, toxic and/or energy draining. Cynical and negative employees will quickly infect new employees.
It is time for the employer to make some big changes. If the employer has allowed such a negative atmosphere to fester in the company, then wages need lowering and hiring, staff need firing, staff need hiring, and a massive adjustment in the way the company works is required. A toxic and low-energy atmosphere is a company killer.
Not Sure What To Do Issues
Employee – The employee is not sure what to do next and so tries to keep him or herself busy.
Not knowing what to do is not the employee’s mistake, but how he or she handles it may be a mistake. Ideally, the employee should march right up to the manager and explain that he or she wishes to do well, but needs new tasks to learn and an agenda to complete and excel.
Employer – The on-site manager doesn’t know what to do with the new employee because he or she isn’t trained enough to be productive.
Saddling other employees with new hires is not acceptable. The employer has really messed up if a new hire has nothing to do and the on-site manager doesn’t know what to do with him or her. A lack of an agenda is one thing, but not being sure what to do with new employees is simply unacceptable. Training, training and more training should be the focus. It is the manager’s job to turn this eager employee into a fully functioning, productive and over-performing individual that adds value to the company.