Advice on employing and managing people

How to get the best out of new employees

James Malia

For James Malia of performance improvement specialists P&MM, taking on a new employee is just the starting point.

"They'll feel much more comfortable once they've had the chance to meet and talk with everyone they're going to be working with", says James. "Whatever a new employee is going to be doing, everyone has a vital role to play in making the business succeed. It's important for people to feel part of the team."

Time to learn

For small businesses in particular, most training involves learning on the job. "You want people working and contributing as soon as possible. That's the biggest cost of training people - the time it takes for them to become productive." But James cautions against rushing in too quickly. "Give them a chance to question the way you do things and come up with new ideas. You might learn something - and it's another way to help the new employee feel a valued part of the business."

If you've already got other employees, involving them in training is a win-win. "If you tell someone how good they are at their job and ask them to share what they know with a new employee, they appreciate the recognition."

Employee benefits

For induction to be successful an employer should link it to all the benefits a new employee will receive. "Offering the right benefits can be an important part of the package, from helping you attract the right people in the first place to making it more difficult for someone to decide to leave.' But as James points out, 'everyone is different. You can't expect the same reward to suit everybody."

"You need to understand what makes that individual tick. Some may be motivated by money, or prospects. For others, regular discussions that help to involve them in the business might be the key." The human touch can be just as important. "The little things, like treating everyone to coffees from time to time, or remembering their children's names."

Passionate people: the key to a successful business

Above all, remember that it's your employees who will drive the success of your business.

"It's critical that employees feel part of the business - they are its heart and soul. You can have the best product in the world, but if you haven't got people that are passionate about the business the enthusiasm will be missing and the effort diminished as a result."


10 ways to get the best out of your employees:

1Take a genuine interest in the people you work with

2Recognise that any new employee will have a lot to learn including the full range of benefits you offer

3Accept that not everyone is like you - make the most of their individual talents

4Take the time to sit down with employees and get to know them

5Really listen to your employees and think about what they say

6Accept that everyone makes the odd mistake

7Provide training to address any weaknesses or misunderstandings

8Deal with persistent underperformance before everyone else gets demotivated

9Keep employees informed and explain the reasons for any changes you make

10Be upbeat - your own mood sets the tone for everyone working for you


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