Stop Undermining My Sweet Onboarding Game, Disgruntled Masses

Kris Dunn Always Be Closing, Audacious Ideas, HR, HR (& Life!) Advice, Learning, Learning and Development

It’s usually an afterthought with great hires you make.

You found  a great person for your open position. You did what you were supposed to do—find great talent, engage them, sell them on the opportunity and get them to sign on the line that is dotted.

You hired a great person. Congrats!

There’s just this one little problem. That great hire is going to join a group of incumbents in the same (or related) role who are a LOT less excited than they are about the job. Let’s face it, the incumbents have some sh**ty habits, right? You’re bringing in the new person to raise the DNA of group.

Now, it would be awesome if the incumbents saw the new talent and decided that they need to raise their game. That was originally part of your plan. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it usually works.

Instead, your incumbents are likely to educate your new hire about how things are done, with all the whining, bad habits and baggage you would expect. The danger is obvious— your new hire is going to say, “What the hell have I got myself into?”

Here are 3 things you need to do and/or remember to prep the new hire for related to the disgruntled incumbents:

1.  Tell the new hire that he/she is part of the future and part of the turnaround.  You’re prepping them to understand that the people they are going to encounter may or may not be part of that future. You don’t have to name names; they’ll get it. And you’ll prepare them for the averageness they’re about to encounter.

2.  Don’t make a big deal about the expectations you have of the new person from a performance perspective to others on the team. You’ll just make them a target in the general population. No reason to do that.

3.  Try to convert some fence-sitters related to where you want to go by engaging them to help train the new person. People are a lot less likely to be jaded and cynical about the new person if they get to help train them. If you’ve got a struggling team, find the folks most likely to survive the changes you have in mind and have them help train the newbie. It will help convert them to someone who wants to stay.

Never release new talent to the team without having a plan to help them survive. Every new hire has some type of “what the hell have I done” moment in the first two months in a new job.

Have a plan and prepare them for what they’re about to see, and you’ll have less quick churn of the people you hire as a result.

Or you can just let the hyenas pick off the young cub—whatever works for you.

FOT Note: This rant is brought to you by the good folks at Meridian, who like us enough to be an annual sponsor at FOT for all content in our learning and development track (and don’t expect that we run any of this by them ahead of time). They’re also up for having fun to the extent that they’re sponsoring the Learning and Development Hangout Series. Check it out!