When Is it Time to Cut the Cord With New Hires?

Here are four simple metrics to help determine if a new employee is up to speed and if not, how to help move along the process.

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By Andre Lavoie

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

We've all had them -- the new hire who takes a little too long to get adjusted, has a bad habit of leeching off of more seasoned employees and can't stop asking questions. While these things are to be expected from new hires, there comes a time when employers have to cut the cord with new (or not-so-new) employees.

According to the 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey of 500 human resource professionals nationwide, that time is eight months. However, the same survey found that nearly 30 percent of companies reported that it takes a year or more for new hires to reach full productivity.

Related: Be the Change You Want to See in Your Workforce

No two employees are alike. And they shouldn't be expected to reach the same level of productivity within the same timeframe. Rather, employers should measure employees as individuals and provide the tools new hires need to succeed early on in their career.

Is it time to cut the cord with a new hire? Here are four simple metrics to help determine if a new employee is up to speed and if not, how to help move along the process:

1. Think quality over quantity

Speed doesn't necessarily correspond with quality. Instead of focusing on how much an employee gets done in a day, focus on the quality of work they produce. A new hire who has grown comfortable in his or her position will have no trouble meeting expectations and producing top quality work.

For new employees who might still be struggling to reach the productivity level of existing employees, make sure they clearly understand the job expectations. Regularly communicate expectations during their first couple of weeks on the job. Additionally, try providing them with reference materials or work examples that clearly outline or demonstrate what's expected.

2. Keep an eye on deadlines

Sure, quality beats quantity, but that doesn't make meeting deadlines any less important. While it's understandable for new hires to take a little longer on tasks than their more seasoned counterparts, missing deadlines can affect more than just individual success.

To help new hires meet their deadlines, start them off with a task or two on their first day and slowly build up their workload as the week progresses. Giving new hires a few small, manageable tasks from day one will help them to get their feet wet and better prepare them for a typical workload later on.

Related: 'Yes Men' No More: 5 Tips to Grow Engaged and Empowered Employees

3. Get your priorities in order

One surefire way to tell a new hire can stand on their own two feet is their ability to prioritize tasks. A new employee who is truly self-sufficient doesn't need to be told what to work on at the start of each day -- they know.

Assist new hires in prioritizing their daily tasks by regularly meeting with them in an informal, one-on-one setting. Discuss their workload, expectations and quarterly goals. Having a clear understanding of what's expected of them and how their work contributes to the overall success of the organization can help them better manage their schedules.

4. Remember: communication is key

Team assessments and one-on-one employee evaluations can tell employers a lot about how an employee is adjusting to a new job. Speaking to a new hire's team members can give employers honest feedback on how the employee is performing and assimilating. Checking in with the individual employee can also give employers valuable insight on the onboarding process.

Keep up regular communication with new hires during the first few months on the job. Regularly meeting with them can help both parties identify areas that may still need some work. Additionally, remind current staff about their roles in welcoming new hires and helping them live the cultural values and vision.

What do you think? What other metrics can you use to measure new hire readiness? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Related: 5 Leadership Lessons From Being a Student Again

Andre Lavoie

Entrepreneur; CEO and Co-Founder, ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the talent-management solution that helps companies identify, hire and retain more A players. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook LinkedIn and Twitter.


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