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Tips on Improving Job Performance for New Employees

It's possible to learn through trial and error, but new hires will develop more confidence and learn more if they get things right the first time around.

September 18, 2003
Related Topics: Partnership, Labor Relations, Retention, Recruitment, Staffing Management
As HR executives well know, improving the job performance and retention ratesof new hires is essential. The following tip on how to implement a multi-facetedprogram is based on an interview with Blue Valley HR administrators SandraChapman and Walter Carter.

    • Use orientation to prepare new hires for clients’ expectations. At BlueValley, the HR team makes sure that new hires understand the level of competenceand performance that the district’s parents have come to expect. That way, they’reless likely to be caught unprepared when under pressure.

    • Use “just-in-time” mentoring. It’s possible to learn through trialand error, but new hires will develop more confidence and learn more if they getthings right the first time around. Make sure that mentors can be available onshort notice, to give advice while a new hire is actually dealing with achallenge.

    • Recognize and reinforce the positive. At Blue Valley, peer-assistanceevaluators point out things that new hires do well, not just the areas that needimprovement. Just as important, the evaluators get novices to explain the “why” behindtactics and strategies that worked, which helps them to apply that thinking tofuture challenges.

    • Give your new hires an opportunity to improve their credentials. Theeasiest way to build a better-educated workforce is to give new workers accessto graduate-level classes right in the workplace. Develop a partnership with alocal college or university so that employees can amass credits toward anadvanced degree.

    • Use your retention and performance-improvement program as a recruitingtool. Blue Valley says that entry-level teaching applicants often ask how much support they’ll receive as they try to learn the job. By touting yourprogram through the Web and news media, you can create a positive image thatwill attract the best and brightest to your organization.

Workforce, September 2002, p. 66 -- Subscribe Now!

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