Hitting the ground running – why employers want instant results from new employees
Settling into a job used to be like Test cricket. Induction day – tick; learn processes – tick; meet colleagues – tick; develop peer and client relationships – tick; gradually begin to take on your new responsibilities – tick. Nowadays it’s more like the Twenty-Twenty version of cricket, with little time to settle in and almost instant demands for results.
A recent online survey of over 1500 human resources professionals across five continents by global recruitment company Futurestep has found that new staff are under pressure to make their greatest impact in their first year. 76 per cent of those surveyed measured the impact of recruits in their first year; in Australia 70 per cent did so.
The survey found immediate impact was valued over retention, with 35 per cent of those surveyed admitting they were measuring the impact of new recruits before they could reasonably expect them to have made the greatest contribution. Australian HR professionals took a longer term view, with 51 per cent ranking retention either first or second, against the Chinese figure of 11 per cent and a global average of 35 per cent.
In short, the tough economic climate worldwide means that companies are expecting new staff to produce results immediately.
Recruiters are also under more pressure to find an exact match for a particular job, with companies taking longer to make hiring decisions and getting more people involved in the decision-making process. Futurestep found that, for professional and managerial hires, the three ‘golden keys’ to success are decision-making quality, action-orientation and customer focus.
Futurestep warns, however, that innovation can be stifled by expecting too much too soon and indicates that it may take up to three years for staff to reveal skills such as creativity and strategic energy, as well as develop relationships with peers. To further the sporting analogy, most teams expect new recruits to go through a development phase, with results occurring after they gel with coaches and peers, so why not businesses?
The changing mindset is now reflected in key company induction programs. At the more enlightened companies, this is combined with a view that induction is not just about box-ticking but integral to hitting the ground running as an effective employee.
PwC, for example, is working on a three year review of its induction program, reworking it to start from the moment a new employee starts an offer of employment, when they can immediately begin online learning programs. The process finishes six months after formally signing on.
Whatever the immediacy of employer expectations of recruits, iHR advises that taking care around recruiting the right person for the right role is critical in saving time and money for any organisation.