Accountability from Day One Shortens Time-to-Productivity

Accountability from Day One

I ask managers, “When do you want to know your new hire is failing?” They always answer, “As soon as possible,” which is the right answer. Especially when you consider that as much as 20% of staff turnover occurs within the first 45 days.

HR industry studies show that a great amount of staff turnover (possibly as high as 20 percent) can happen within the first 45 Days.

Melissa Llareno, Forbes, How Not To Lose Your New Employees In Their First 45 Days

Such alarming statistics reinforce the old saying “time is money” and in this scenario, the first 45 days are gold.

So making those first 45 days count is imperative. Having and using an accountability system could make all the difference. After all, a workplace accountability system is actually an information system that managers can deploy to ensure their new hires ramp up productivity quickly. It’s a conduit for communicating expectations, giving and receiving feedback, and monitoring and confirming progress.

Although Human Resources typically drives new hire OnBoarding, managers must engage with HR in the OnBoarding process in order to get their functional job related needs met. No doubt, HR personnel will welcome managers’ suggestions and participation.

Build Accountability into OnBoarding

There are fundamental topics that must be covered in new hire orientation programs and HR is the logical provider of that information. However, managers should include topics that support their own, or team, goals. The topics might include concepts, skills, and processes necessary for the individual to be successful in their role. In other words, the most important thing is to focus on what a new hire should learn during this critical period. To start, managers should answer this question. What do I expect my new hire to know, do, and feel upon completion of their first 30 days of employment?

First 30 Days Exercise

Learning professionals will recognize the following exercise as applying Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning. In short, it facilitates the learning process by incorporating the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning domains into your OnBoarding curriculum and objectives.

At the end of the first 30 days of employment the manager expects a new hire to:

  • Know these things _______
  • To be able to Do these things______
  • And to Feel ______

Here is an example a sales manager might use for a new sales person at the end of their first 30 days:

  • Know
    • Company history
    • Overview of products and services sold
    • Major competitors
    • Where to find support for issues
    • Territory demographics
    • Features and benefits of their primary product
    • Buyer persona characteristics
  • Do
    • Articulate company value proposition
    • Write and articulate personal value proposition
    • Develop and deliver a 9 slide company overview introductory presentation
    • Shadow an exemplary sales person
    • Actively participate in a sales call with an exemplary sales person
    • Demonstrate proficiency with CRM or SFA
  • Feel
    • Proud to be an employee of this company
    • Included in your team
    • Confident about their progress so far

Expect Excellence from Day One

Managers, develop your First 30 Days agenda and present it to your new hire on day one. Require your new hire to proactively schedule daily, or every other day, 15 minute updates with you. The agenda for these updates could include:

  • Summary of their training courses and activities including what they have learned
  • A schedule of courses and activities for the next day
  • How they feel about things so far
  • Their demonstration of one of the “Do” list items
  • Your feedback regarding how they are doing so far

I encourage managers to repeat this exercise for the 60 Day and 90 Day intervals as well. When a new hire can demonstrate specific skill proficiency in their first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job that represents significant progress toward productivity.

Managers who hold new hires accountable for high performance outputs in OnBoarding establish a pattern of excellence. In addition, managers’ engagement in onboarding accomplishes several very important things. First, it sets clear expectations and communicates priorities. Second, it demonstrates commitment to a new hire’s development and success. And, third, continuous feedback via an accountability information system creates a high performance culture built on quality standards and excellent execution.

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