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Finding Balance: Deciding How Much Work to Give Your New Employees

For new employees, the first days of a new job are critical. If they are welcomed by a huge backlog of work, it may leave them feeling overwhelmed and unsure about the position. Likewise, if a new hire is given too little work, they may quickly become bored with their job and feel useless. Knowing how to gradually ease employees into their new positions can leave them feeling excited and confident.

Here are three tips to help you find a balanced workload for new employees:

  1. Identify their strengths. You interviewed lots of applicants, but you chose just one. There was something about the applicant you chose that made you feel they could make a valuable contribution to your organization. Do not lose sight of those skills or qualities once they join your team. The first few tasks that you give them should focus on their strengths. This will give the new employee the confidence they need to take on more responsibilities.
  2. Set well-defined goals. Creating achievable, well-defined goals is a great way to ease your new employee into their workload. Take some time during their first post-orientation workday to explain what a full workload will look like. Not only does this let them know exactly what they should be working towards, but it also gives them a clear, quantifiable way to measure their progress. If you have the time and staffing to implement a self-paced training program, this can be a great way to train a new hire. For fast-paced environments where you need the employee fully integrated as quickly as possible, give them a set timeframe for learning new tasks.
  3. Communicate frequently. The best way to know how a new employee is managing their workload is to ask them. During their first few weeks or months on the job, try setting a few minutes aside at the end of each week for a one-on-one conference. Establishing this open stream of communication will make them feel comfortable coming to you when they feel overwhelmed.

Always remember that all new employees learn differently. Some new hires will learn their job very quickly and without much help while others may require a bit more structure and guidance. No matter where they fall on that spectrum, these simple steps can help you ease new hires into their positions.

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Tips for Finding New Recruits Who Fit in With Your Current Team

Hiring employees is about more than just finding suitable stand-alone candidates. For a successful work environment, the perfect new hires will also fit in well with your current team and office culture. Brian Kropp, Managing Director at Corporate Executive Board, found in his studies that almost half of an employee’s success in the first 18 months on the job can be attributed to how the employee fits in with others in the organization while the rest of his success depends on whether he can do the job[1]. These tips, illustrated below, can help make it easier to find candidates and potential hires that will mesh well with existing employees.

Clearly Define Your Team’s Work Style and Culture

One of the first steps in hiring someone who fits in well with an existing team is to clearly define the work environment already in place. Organizational culture is dictated by the values, behaviors, beliefs and norms that permeate the group[2]. Once your company’s culture is fully realized, it will be easier to hire someone judging on whether they fit within your organization or not.

Ask Current Employees What They Look For in a New Candidate

When determining whether a prospective candidate is a good fit for your organization, sometimes the employees themselves are often the best people to decide what traits that ideal recruits would have. Mary Lorenz at The Hiring Site wrote that, “Who better to recommend candidates who fit the culture of your company than the very people who live it every day? Because your employees already know what it takes to be successful at your company, it’s no wonder employee referral programs have been linked to lower turnover rates, lower costs associated with recruiting and increased morale.[3]

Ask Candidates To Detail Their Best and Worst Work Environments

An integral part of the interview process for any new employee should be the question, “What is your worst work environment to date?” The answers can be enlightening, and they will explain more about whether a candidate is the right fit. Have candidates detail their ideal work environment, and see if it matches up with the attributes written down in the first step of this guide.

Finding recruits with the right qualifications can be a challenge in and of itself, but hiring managers should also seek out those candidates who will fit in well with the current team.


[1] http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2011/04/28/is-it-better-to-hire-for-cultural-fit-over-experience/

[2] http://career-advice.monster.com/job-interview/interview-preparation/assess-company-culture-best-fit/article.aspx

[3] http://thehiringsite.careerbuilder.com/2012/06/12/cultural-fit-vs-skills-whats-more-important-when-recruiting-candidates/

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Keep Ideas Fresh by Periodically Bringing in New Employees

Employees are the lifeblood of a successful business. From front-line customer service representatives to behind-the-scenes administrative workers, your employees have a huge impact on the way your business operates. Although retaining your current staff should always be a top priority, hiring fresh new talent from outside of the company can breathe new life into your business.

Here are a few advantages of periodically hiring external employees:

Fresh Ideas

When an employee leaves, particularly one that has been with the company for a while, they are making way for the fresh ideas and insights of a new employee. While the contributions of long-term employees are extremely valuable to a company, retirement, attrition and voluntary resignations provide an opportunity to bring in new perspectives. Phyllis Korkki, contributor at the New York Times, reinforces this idea: “Outsiders can bring fresh skills and ideas, along with a healthy skepticism about long-held practices.[1]” Not only can an external candidate bring a fresh approach to your business, they can also help your company find top talent from their industry.

Reinventing the Wheel

Another benefit of bringing in creative new talent is that they can help stimulate new thinking. Once the employee has been trained and is fully integrated into their new position, encourage them to make suggestions on ways to improve processes. “An organization that is content to only understand the ways it sees things and only operate in accordance with its own best practices misses the growth opportunities that come from a more diverse management team with a broader set of organizational and career experiences.[2]” For example, if your company has historically relied on print marketing materials, a new hire may be able to suggest ways that social media or social networking sites can help expand your business and reduce costs. Internet companies like Google and Facebook have attributed many successful projects to the creativity and innovation of their employees.

New Energy

New employees are vibrant and excited about their new responsibilities. This positive energy can quickly spread to fellow employees. Not only can this reduce the number of behavior-related occurrences, but it can also increase productivity. Also, their unique skills and fresh perspective can help a slow-moving company become competitive again.

Periodically hiring new external talent is a great way to generate new ideas in a company. From redeveloping processes to re-thinking certain aspects of a business, new hires can be a very valuable asset.


[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/jobs/hiring-outsiders-has-pros-and-cons-for-employers.html?_r=0

[2] http://www.carterbaldwin.com/list/3/articles/16-top-10-reasons-to-consider-external-candidates

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The Hiring Process: Which is More Important, Education or Experience?

Whether hiring someone in the fields of healthcare, retail or finance, recruiters tend to focus on factors of education and experience. A minimum education level is often a requirement, and many companies simply won’t hire candidates without at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field. However, others focus more on experience in the field, which may be a more practical indicator of future success. Discover whether hiring managers should be focused on education or experience when interviewing potential new hires.

Book Smarts Won’t Translate to Career Success

Many applicants rely too heavily on their academic success when seeking out a new career. Having an advanced degree or a high grade point average at the undergraduate level can be a clear sign of knowledge, excellent study habits or intellect, but that doesn’t translate into career success every time. For example, someone with an MBA might have a firm grasp on managerial and leadership concepts, but they may be ineffective leaders once actually in the workplace. As a general rule, hiring managers should be wary of candidates who have yet to be proven in the workplace.

Even Unpaid Work Shows Dedication and Commitment

Unfortunately, hiring candidates with experience can pose a challenge when recruiting entry-level employees or fresh graduates from college. However, any work experience is better than an exclusive focus on education. Martin Birchall, of High Fliers Research, told the Huffington Post[1] that, “New graduates who’ve not had any work experience at all during their studies are increasingly unlikely to be offered a good graduate job after university.” Candidates who have volunteer or internship experience demonstrate commitment and an understanding of workplace culture, even if they have not been monetarily remunerated for their efforts.

Education and experience should go hand in hand during the recruitment process. Education, on its own, will not necessarily be an indicator of workplace success. Experience, while a better indicator, may not provide for long-term success and growth. Ideal candidates have a basic level of education and at least some workplace experience, even if not in the designated field.


[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brazen-life/why-gaining-work-experien_b_3750261.html