Early on in my HR career, I was taught a valuable lesson. The first ninety days of a new employee’s time on the job will determine if they will make it in the company long-term. According to MIT’s Sloan School of Management, studies show the cost of hiring and training someone to the point they are of value costs anywhere from 1.25-1.4 times their annual salary. Hiring the right person is very important to the financial stability of a business. As a result, we were coached to look for warning signs of a sub-par performer and then do our best to correct them fast. Otherwise, we were instructed to let the person go within the ninety days. In fact, all our employment contracts had a ninety-day clause which stated we could terminate them without explanation within that time period. Why? Nothing drains time, money and resources from a company more than hiring the wrong person. Here’s why…
Why do most people fail in a new job? It’s not lack of experience.
People often assume a person doesn’t work out because they can’t do the job i.e. they don’t have the right skill set. But, in my experience, it usually has to do with their personality and approach to the job. If you don’t fit the culture of the company, it makes it harder for everyone else who does fit to work with you. They don’t appreciate having to work with someone they don’t trust and respect. This leads teamwork productivity issues that then lead to performance issues.Eventually, the manager has to decide which employee is hurting the connectivity of the team. The weakest link goes. Given new people are often brought into an existing team that feels like they are working well together, you can see why it becomes important to decide quickly if this new employee is capable of meshing with the group. If not, there’s no point in forcing everyone to work with her or him. It’s smarter to cut them loose and look for a better fit.
These 5 attitudes are the warning signs the new hire won’t last.
The following behaviors displayed by a new hire are red flags.
1) “I can do it all.” When new hires jump in and claim to be the Jack or Jill-of-all-trades, they send the message they think they are better than the rest of the team. Yes, confidence is important, but claiming you can do it all comes across like a snake oil salesman. It’s better to know your particular expertise and stick to it. Remember, everyone on the team has their specialty. In the first ninety days, new hires should spend time figuring out what each person brings to the team so they can leverage their strengths and offer theirs up to help the team succeed.
2) “You need to work around my needs.” New hires that vocalize constraints around what they can do and when they can do it are immediately labeled “high maintenance” by peers. When new hires gives a list of requirements before they’ll do the job, they create more work for others. New hires should be focused on learning ways their work can make teammates jobs easier. The more value you provide to the team, the sooner you are viewed as a vital contributor.
3) “I only talk to people who matter.” New hires that only seem to get excited when talking to people they think have “influence” in the company aren’t team players, they’re opportunists. When new hires doesn’t show any interest in getting to know the receptionist or someone in a different department, they don’t see the value in respecting the contributions of every team member. New hires should be focused on making friends with everyone they meet in the company because you just never know who you’ll need to tap in the organization for help.
4) “I’m always looking for the next big thing.” New hires that are already talking about how they plan to get promoted and take a bigger role showcase narcissistic tendencies. The all-about-me approach to their career implies they will do anything and walk over anyone who gets in the way of their goal. New hires should be focused on getting proficient at their new job with the intent to exceed expectations. Doing your job consistently well is the best way to earn trust and respect that can lead to a future promotion.
5) “I can do the job, but don’t expect me to over-extend myself.” New hires who only put in the minimum effort show a lack of commitment to building a mutually beneficial partnership with the employer. All new relationships require some extra effort to help form a good partnership. When new hires don’t seem to care about whether the employer is feeling satisfied with their early performance, you can only expect their commitment to the job to decrease. They also can’t be relied upon in times when extra help is suddenly needed to get the job done. New hires should be focused on not just meeting the expectations of the employer but finding ways to exceed it. This doesn’t mean spending extra time at the office, but rather finding ways to improve their productivity so they have extra time and energy to put towards going above-and-beyond what is expected.
If you recruit employees, be sure to monitor new hires carefully for the warning signs above and cut your losses sooner than later if needed. And, if you are a new employee, be proactive and get help managing your onboarding experience so you can make sure you do well in the first ninety days. Otherwise, you could be looking for another job sooner than you had planned.