Monday, May 30th, 2016


I actually did a formal study on how to ensure success (or an early failure)for new top team hires for a department store as part of my Master’s Degree work. The formula worked.
The hard part was getting people to use it! Hiring can be such a pain that we sort of think the job is done after the hiring decision is made.

The theory is that if you follow the formula, you will set the performance thermostat for your new employee and it will hold for the long term even if following performance reviews are sporadic or poorly done. Makes sense. Make the imprint strong and thorough and it lasts. And it recognizes that at one year you know if you have the person you need or you need to help the person move on.

OK, here is the formula:

–Meet with new hire on day one. You, not the HR department. Don’t do tea parties for welcome. Go over organizational history and context. Talk about strategy in detail. Spell out specific expectations. Create demand and excitement. Ask for questions. Check for understanding. 4 hours

–Meet with new hire in exactly two weeks. Ask for insights about what she has seen. (Better than a consultant, a new hire is a new eye that wants success for the company) Then ask for questions. Listen, listen, listen. Guide. Sniff for problems.  2 hours

–Meet with new hire at six week mark. Before this meeting, talk with colleagues and and direct reports of new hire. Be open that it is to enable you to give feedback to the new person. Ask for positive and negative. Share the feedback with the new hire. Listen, listen listen. Suggest good strategies for improvement. You are the coach and the standard setter in this meeting. 3 hours

–Meet with new hire at 3 months. By this time, your people will begin to respond to the new hire with either a vote of confidence or a hint of a real problem. You will pick this up in both formal and informal conversations. In this conversation you get real about any emerging issues and you may bring in HR to support success for this new hire–coaching, place to blow off steam from being new,explaining how culture works, etc. 2 hours

–Meet with new hire to do one of two things: l. Reinforce all the good things that the new person has accomplished and how they have done it. This is the giant applause moment. This is your moment to give a momento representing the company. This is the “seal the deal” moment. 2. Let the new hire know very specifically what is not working. Specifically. Ensure that a formal development plan is made. Let the person know that change is critical. No molly coddling here. At the end of the conversation, bring in the HR person who will developthe plan and resources for support. 2 hours.

–Meet with new hire at one year anniversary. Have it be a congratulatory lunch or a tough meeting about how to best enable the person to move on. Involve your top HR person. 

Twelve hours total to ensure success and to protect the talent level of your top team.


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