3 Keys to Setting Performance Standards for New Hires

Orientation, onboarding, and the first day on the job… the cultural immersion and familiarization with the company and position are important, but what about the performance standards? All essential information is provided in these first few days on the job, but maintaining that standard of performance for new hires while they are still learning can be a challenge for some managers. However, with a mixture of formal and informal training with precise work, ensuring these new hires have a deep understanding of what they are expected to do won’t be so difficult.


On-the-job and Formal Training

Many employees learn best by doing, so putting the new hires on the front line (with some guidance of course) not only gets them familiar with the work, but also get them accustomed to standards. In fact, 76% of new hires want on-the-job training and rate it as most important during their first week. [1]

When combined with on-the-job training, formal training provides a good backbone for the new hires. This is the perfect opportunity to set performance standards because you have a large number of employees learning at the same time. So, if you have all of your new hires in the same formal training session, they will all have the same understanding of company standards.

Enhance Performance with Coaching

After you’ve trained your managers in coaching techniques (preferably before onboarding new employees), they can help your new hires make their way through the company jungle. If a manager can increase performance levels with coaching strategies, why not start off with coaching? Coaching is, in an organizational sense, a collaborative, ongoing process that is intended to develop employees over time. [2] So while it is a good stepping stone, it’s not necessarily a tactic that can be used alone to set performance standards; alone, it is effective as a means to maintain performance standards across the board.

Assign Meaningful Work

These tasks don’t have to be the most innovative projects the organization has put out all year, but they do need to mean something. Whether that’s giving them an assignment that forces the new employee to learn a new task or putting them in a meeting and ask them to just listen. Either way they will learn something about how the company works and the deadlines they need to hit.

This gives the new hire a true chance to immerse themselves in the work and what it means to work with your organization. Ian Aronovich, CEO of GovernmentAuctions.org, said:

“You need to see how much of an independent workload your incoming workers can handle. The first couple of weeks that a worker is at our office is going to be their biggest test. Once they have proven themselves to be a person who can multi-task and manage everything that is thrown at them, we give them an incentive plan.” [3]

Setting performance standards for new hires isn’t always easy. They are new to the company and the position, so there’s a lot to learn from the very first day. But if you combine on-the-job and formal training, they’ll have a greater understanding of what is expected of them in all aspects. As performance management evolves, there’s a greater desire for coaching, and that is perfect for your new hires. It gives them a chance to talk with their supervisors on an informal level so they can learn immediate performance standards. Managers can then assign meaningful work that gets them in the trenches with multitudes of learning opportunities.

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[1] – BambooHR – Onboarding Infographic
[2] – TLNT – How to Achieve Real Performance Improvement Without Going to a PIP
[3] – Mashable – How To Set Performance Standards for Your Startup’s New Hires

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