4 Tips to Set Agency Hires Up for Success

Following is a guest post from Rachel Miller (@RachelAMiller), an associate consultant at PR 20/20 who joined the team in April 2012. Drawing on her experiences, she shares tips on how to welcome and prepare your new hires for success from day one.

GuitarSo, you’ve done it. You found your company’s first hires or next big rock stars, and part of you knows they will do a fabulous job. But the back of your mind may be playing devil’s advocate, asking:

  • How long will they stay?
  • Will they perform as well as you envision?
  • How long will the adjustment period be?
  • Will they be happy here?

As a new hire myself, I can tell you that these are questions we are also asking ourselves as new employees. We want to see everything as a perfect fit just as much as you do. Luckily, there are ways to help dissipate these concerns.

1. Give New Hires Early Insight

Before your new team members’ first days, give them some knowledge of what to expect to allow them to jump right in with ease. This can be done through resources such as:

  • An employee handbook of standard policies
  • Background information on the clients they’ll be assisting
  • Best practices on writing techniques (or any other skill they will use a lot)
  • Recommended books and training courses

Give them this information as soon as possible, in advance of their first day. This will help them succeed early on and could decrease the overall amount of on-boarding time.

2. Allow Time to Adjust to Company Culture

As prepared as new hires may be, it is important to remember that the actual work is only one factor of working for a company. Small nuances of company culture can throw any prepared expectations out the window, impacting initial performance.

Depending on the size and style of the agency, elements of culture can vary. Certain aspects that are formal in one agency could be informal in another. Time tracking, project management and other processes can also vary.

It’s important to keep this top of mind, and be prepared that your agency could be a culture shock for your new hires. There will be a period of time before they feel “in their element” and know what is appropriate behavior. Warm welcomes and one-on-one time with various employees in the agency can help offset this by making new employees feel like they are officially part of the team.

3. Give Both Praise and Constructive Criticism

In addition to adjusting properly to their newfound environment, making a stellar impression will likely be at the top of your new hires’ priority lists. To help them do this, let them know exactly when they do something really right and exactly when they do something really wrong—early on.

While praise can be great, especially in helping build new hires’ confidence, it is important to remember that much can be learned from a little constructive criticism. While you won’t want to be too harsh and scare them away, providing small ways that they can improve to better assist the agency is never a bad thing.

Praise impacts the present moment; constructive criticism impacts the long-term agenda.

4. Provide Advancement Paths

Once they feel comfortable and confident in where they are currently positioned, your newest hires may begin to think beyond their daily tasks and toward their careers. They may be curious about where they can go from here and how to improve themselves as professionals to meet their long-term career aspirations.

A great way to keep your new hires thinking of your company as a long-term destination is to provide them with defined advancement paths. Allow them to not only see the ranks, but also how to achieve them. Give pre-determined, measurable benchmarks and have yearly performance assessments in place to help get them to the next step.

Taking an interest in their long-term career goals signals that you value what they bring to the table. Suggesting books, blog posts or a professional organizations relevant to their industry interests can show that you not only have an interest in their work today, but also in their futures.

By providing early insight, time, praise, constructive criticism and a clear path for their futures, your new hires will see you thinking long-term about them and may start thinking long-term about you.

How are you preparing your new hires for their careers with you? I look forward to hearing your insight below!

​Image Source: tawalker

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