Monday, August 13, 2012

Whose experience is it anyways?

We all think we know what a new employee wants, after all – we’ve all been there.  And we’ve all had bad experiences…you know, your manager takes vacation your first week in the new job, your colleagues stay in their cubicles, your computer isn’t ready, you can’t access what you need to, and they’ve left you binders to read and  “get up to speed”. 
Yes, we all know what we should do – there are clearly identified steps on how to make someone’s new employment absolutely brilliant.  But even the best intentions and practices can fall short if they don’t suit your new hire. 
My daughter recently went on a trip with family members.  This is a gal who is a homebody – who likes to eat healthy (and not very much), who needs time to herself to decompress, and doesn’t like to be rushed. 
This was a huge trip for her as she has never gone away without one of her parents and certainly not to somewhere that is about as different from our Canadian rural home as it gets (think desert in a south-western State).
So, if anyone needed some easing into a new situation, it was definitely her.  Alas, her hosts were more concerned with running through a pre-arranged agenda of all that you can do in 10-days.  This included eating out most evenings, a go-go-go itinerary, and minimal input from her.
A few nights ago I received a text from her at midnight…she was upset, frustrated and wanted to come home.  She had finally worked up the nerve to say what she wanted (and didn't want) to do, and it was pushed aside…because plans had already been made. 
The lack of flexibility, lack of input from her, and failure to see whether things were going well may potentially have ruined what could have been a fantastic trip. 
And so the same could be said about bringing a new employee on-board.  If you are so set on following a prescribed Orientation plan, it will truly work for maybe 10% of your new hires.  The rest are going to feel like you don’t consider them individuals.
So, are you willing to ruin a potentially good start, just because you aren’t willing to bend from the plan?  I think not - because I'm sure you don't want to get the equivalent of the middle of the night text from an upset employee.

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