Hiring a new team member can be challenging. An oft-quoted stat from SHRM put the average cost per hire around $4,129 back in 2016. Since then, with a pandemic, remote work, and an ongoing employee crisis, the price has only gone up. Additionally, the need to maximize productivity is essential.
With so much capital going into the hiring process, it’s essential that you get your money’s worth out of each new hire. Of course, this translates to literal dollars and cents on a spreadsheet. But in your day-to-day managing activities equates to productivity.
If you’re in a post-covid hiring spree—or really, any time you’re bringing a new member onto your team—it’s essential to have a strategy in place to get them producing as quickly as possible.
Here Are a Few Tips to Maximize Productivity:
1. Focus Your Onboarding on What Matters
According to the Gurulocity Brand Management Institute, 81 percent of brand managers and marketing VPs identify inadequate training as a significant employee issue. Training is pegged on both school-based education as well as on-the-job training.
In other words, often, a lack of results isn’t contingent on a similar shortage in talent. Many employees come into jobs with plenty of potentials. Instead, the shortcomings come from a lack of proper training and development post-hire.
Leaders can’t do much about inconsistencies or inefficiencies in the college system. You can give greater weight to a resumé with more reputable academic institutions, but otherwise, your hands are tied.
However, on the corporate side of the deal, you have much more influence. If you want your new employees to be productive, it starts with your own onboarding process.
It’s easy to blame onboarding as a necessary period of deferred productivity as a new hire finds their sea legs. If you have this view, though, it’s time to radically shake things up. Rather than seeing your onboarding process as a drag holding back results, embrace it as a long-term play for outstanding productivity in the future.
Invest time and resources into building an onboarding process that genuinely serves your new hires. Equip them with the tools and knowledge that they need to thrive in their work. Maintain solid lines of communication. Put mentoring personnel in place.
However, you choose to approach it, make sure to treat your onboarding stage like a golden productivity investment opportunity.
2. Streamline Your Onboarding Admin Work
Let’s focus on one more aspect of onboarding before we move on. There’s one area of bringing a new member onto your team that can be time-consuming and anti-productive no matter how you approach it. Then, of course, we’re talking about the paperwork.
Onboarding new personnel involves a hefty quantity of red tape. From payroll to benefits to NDAs, the list of forms and signatures can go on for days—literally. In fact, Glassdoor estimates that having a recruiter process paperwork for 50 new hires a year can cost a company $12,500—and that’s a conservative estimate at best.
The good news is that while paperwork is a plague that will pester professionals for eternity, there are ways you can reduce the hassle. For instance, there are a wide variety of HR software solutions out there at this point. We won’t break down specific recommendations here, as each company’s size and recruitment needs to impact the kind of program they should consider.
Suffice it to say, organizing and streamlining your onboarding administrative work into a program, preferably on the cloud, can be helpful. It reduces the amount of legwork your employees have to jump through when bringing on a new recruit.
Another option is to have new hires finish their end of the onboarding paperwork before they’re on the job. Doing their paperwork ahead of time may be an inconvenience for them on a certain level, but it frees you up to start training new employees in the areas that matter as soon as they’re on the premises.
Reducing the overhead costs of processing new employee paperwork is a great way to maximize productivity. It impacts two areas.
First, you free up your recruiters to focus on other, non-boiler plate activities. More importantly, though, you also set the stage to start training your new team members as soon as they begin. Beginning directly on the duties of the job rather than paperwork allows for a greater focus and faster development as they settle into their new jobs, which in turn translates to increased productivity in a shorter period of time.
3. Focus on Examples, Goals, Communication and Expectations
Entering a new job can be overwhelming for an employee. They’re taking in an avalanche of further information and trying to adjust to your company culture.
If you want to get your new hires up and running in a reasonable time frame, it’s essential to focus on four key areas: examples, goals, communication, and expectations.
Leading by example is a classic productivity booster. Your example involves demonstrating the behaviors and responsibilities that you want to see from your employees.
Clear leadership demonstrations can be as simple as showing up to work on time or sitting and paying attention during an onboarding presentation. It can also come through the time-management tools you use, how you respond to emails, and other production areas.
By setting an example, you make yourself relatable while also demanding the utmost from your new recruits.
Laying out clear objectives is a crucial aspect of productivity. It doesn’t just apply to your existing employees and more extensive team-based activity, either. You can set goals for new team members, too.
Your onboarding goals for your new members can start with completing onboarding and other training. From there, give new recruits SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based) goals adjusted to their current level of expertise and training.
As you set goals, begin to let go of some control, as well. Giving new team members both autonomy and objectives can create synergistic results as they feel empowered and directed in their latest work.
Communication is another aspect of productivity that is true in all areas of business. If you aren’t connecting and exchanging information with the right people at the right time, it can hamper productivity.
The remote-friendly nature of the workplace is making communication even harder. So make sure to establish clear lines of communication for your new team members.
If you’re in an office setting, maintain an “open door” policy for new hires. If you’re in a hybrid or remote environment, set precise communication tools and protocols in place. Then, emphasize open communication throughout the onboarding and training process.
Expectations go hand in hand with goals. However, they aren’t the same thing. A goal or objective defines an endpoint that you’re working toward. Expectations communicate the part you expect an individual to play in helping your team get there.
Existing team members can often sync up with their expectations without difficulty, as they’re accustomed to their role on your team. A new hire, though, will need well-defined expectations communicated to them. But, again, this can start with simple responsibilities and be expanded as they become more comfortable.
Setting expectations ensures that new team members aren’t just learning how to operate in their positions. They’re also discovering how to become a productive piece of your team’s collective success.
Getting the Most out of Your New Team
It doesn’t matter if you’re working with a new team or a single new recruit. In either case, it’s essential to consider how you’ll get the most out of your employees.
Your approach to new employees should be an intentional strategy with a plan in place. First, get administrative paperwork out of the way as early as possible. Next, create a clear, practical path through the onboarding and training process. Then focus on being an example, setting goals and expectations, and establishing clear communication.
If you can do that, you’ll be able to maximize the productivity that you’re getting out of each and every one of your hires.
By Howie Jones