More ways to get new team members started right

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Jul 01, 2005


Bob Levoy
As we discussed last month, the first day on the job sets the tone for everything that follows. And a great first day leads to a smoother transition, improved performance, and less turnover. Here's more on how to make a new employee's experience a great one:
  • Clarify your expectations. What does the employee need to do in the short term? And what about the long term? How and when is the employee's performance measured? What constitutes success?

A reality check: About 22 percent of American workers voluntarily leave their jobs within the first year, according to a 2003 survey by the Saratoga Institute, a subsidiary of the accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The institute also discovered that common reasons for new-employee turnover (as listed in exit interviews) included discovering that a job didn't live up to expectations and finding a lack of opportunity and job growth.

  • During the orientation and initial training phase, be attuned to a new person's need for information and capacity for learning. Some new employees may want to move quickly beyond the basics to learn about such broader issues as the core values and philosophy of the practice.
  • During the break-in period, the co-worker serving as "coach" can monitor the new staff member's progress by asking such questions as, "Do you have the resources you need to do the job? Do you need help dealing with anyone in the practice? Is there anything we can do for you?"
  • Finally, and perhaps most important, you must decide that welcoming a new staff member is an investment in long-term retention. You must view this effort as a high priority to get the best possible results.

Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Bob Levoy is a seminar speaker based in Roslyn, N.Y. Please send questions to
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