Acclimating New Employees for Success

A new employee’s success has largely to do with how well they adjust to the company and its current workers, ethics, vision, mission and practices. As an employer, you have a responsibility to acclimate your new employees to ensure their and your success. Your current customers, vendors, and employees’ families benefit from your efforts to ensure new employees are well acclimated. When current employees become aware that things are not working, they often blame the company, and morale plummets.
 Hiring a person that will later need to be terminated, for any reason, is expensive. Conservatively speaking, the costs for hiring, training, supervising, liability, and all non-tangibles add up to over 38% of an employee’s annual salary. Therefore, it is critical that you set the stage for your new employees (and your company) to win.
Doing a great job of interviewing the person will not ensure the new person’s success unless you include an orientation program to acclimate them for success. Your company’s orientation process should clarify what the company does, how it does it, how people work together within the company, and the systems used internally and externally for delivery of products and services. It should include sharing the “social” norms and expectations employees, management and owners have of each other, including work ethic and level of integrity.
Orientation Programs

When most people start with a company, they are given lots of manuals and other written material to read and absorb. Unfortunately, most new employees will be unable or unwilling to read and fully understand them. Additionally, many are bored and disengaged in the process from the very beginning, because their primary learning style may not be reading based. Be aware that many company practices are often taken for granted by your current employees and not included in written form, making it difficult for new employees to understand exactly what you want.

The Basics of an Orientation Program

  • Have an orientation program that begins on the new employee’s first day
  • Be sure all paperwork is completed and introductions have been made
  • Set up lunches and/or meetings with key people that will be working with the new employee
  • Have video/DVD and written materials for the person to get “up to speed” on your products and/or services
  • Assign a trainer, mentor, or key person available for questions and clarification
  • Include programs for company etiquette, history, mission, values and communications
  • Review the Employee Handbook with them topic by topic; don’t rely on people reading something new and readily understanding how it works within your company
  • Have them spend time with key people in different departments, learning your company’s systems and how those systems can impact customers, internally and externally
  • Identify an individual for the new employee to ask questions, review how well they are doing, and discuss any problems they have encountered

After Three Months

Provide the employee with written feedback of his/her performance, including both areas that are working well and areas for improvement. For a new supervisor/manager/executive, have the work team participate in a 360-degree feedback program. Remember to keep specific respondent’s names confidential from their comments. Encourage the new supervisor/manager/executive to share specific areas of his/her feedback with the work group to better understand “what’s working” and “what’s not working.” These should also be shared with the mentor and boss to ensure they are on the same page. Establish goals, action plans and weekly/bi-weekly follow-up. Include training and development opportunities, self-study and group programs.

After Six Months

Time for more feedback using the same methodology that you used at the first three-month review. Review the goals you had established at three months and how well (or not) s/he progressed. Remember if the boss of the new person has done a good job, there should be no surprises as to how successful the person was in accomplishing these goals. Re-establish goals or refine the ones s/he is working on. Set up action plans and biweekly follow-up with the boss. Provide new training and development programs for success.

After One Year

Time for more feedback as well as clarity for the next year’s goals. Be sure this is an interactive process that meets the company’s needs as well as the person’s professional development.

Letting Them Go

Keeping a person that does not (or can not) fully handle all of their essential job responsibilities negatively impacts morale, customers, work systems, and your company’s reputation as an employer.

At anytime during this first year, or after, it may become necessary to terminate the person’s employment with your company. Be sure to document, review with your attorney and/or human resources professional, and handle immediately.

If you’ve done a great job of acclimating a new employee for success, everyone wins.

© Jeannette L. Seibly & John W. Howard, 2005

Jeannette Seibly, Principal of SeibCo — your partner in developing work and career strategies for selection, results and growth, We improve your bottom line!

John W Howard, Ph.D., owner of Performance Resources, Inc. helps businesses of all sizes increase their profits by reducing their people costs. His clients hire better, fire less, manage better, and keep their top performers.

Are You Experiencing the Smart Rat Syndrome?

 We all have experienced this syndrome in our career or business–some people deal with it on a daily basis! 

  •  We want to make issues harder or more complicated than they are. 
  • We love to procrastinate until we are forced into action.  Then, we love to complain about being over-worked or blame others for making it so hard to get resolution.  
  • We find out that we mis-perceived the heart of the issue, if we are truthful with ourselves.  Instead of talking with the client or co-worker to understand their concern, we have a one-person conversation with ourselves and make it more complicated than it is.
  • We find excuses for not doing what we should.  Some small business owners or job seekers have been known to use the excuse of getting their taxes done instead of picking up the phone to talk to potential clients or employers! (Yes, this does happen).

Most people experiencing this “smart rat syndrome” simply love to over-analyze an idea, situation or action item to the point of inaction.  They rely on the voice inside of their head to make up a valid reason for not doing what they know needs to be done.  It saps their confidence to make a difference, and can derail their career or business if it happens too often, or with the wrong person!

Why?  We get caught up in our “excuses” as to why we don’t do what we need to do.  We fail to realize that in order to have ease and fun in our current job (a.k.a. job satisfaction), make more money, have a wonderful new job, client or promotion, or take advantage of a great opportunity — we need to take initiative and make things happen, now. 

 Yes, you will make some mistakes – particularly if you’re operating as a lone ranger and not willing to ask for help.  Making mistakes is human – to a point.  (Making the same ones over and over only means you are not coachable!)  Being focused on the amount of activity, and not on the results, means you are exhausted, or others are exhausted from watching you!

What are your excuses?  The most common are time and money.  However, we all have 24/7 and spend money on what we need.  (Think of all the shoes in your closet that have never been worn!  If you are not a shoe-aholic, think of your “passion.”)

Simple ways to break out of this smart rat syndrome are:

  • Put together a written goal and action plan for each item or idea.  When we write it down, it helps to clarify what we need to do and usually makes accomplishing the idea or project easier than what we imagined.
  • Then, take one action step within the next 24 hours and continue taking baby steps daily.  For those of you who are perfectionists, remember it will never be perfect enough.  For those of you who are indecisive, there will always be more information for or against something.  To stay out of these common traps, talk with a trusted advisor or co-worker to keep moving forward. 
  • Learn to trust yourself and the process of achieving great results.  Normally the process will not look like you think it should look!  Talk it out with your coach so that you don’t miss hidden opportunities.
  • On days that you feel overwhelmed, simply spend 20 minutes of focused energy on the task.  We all have parts of the job we hate to do. Handle only one item on the list, each day.  It builds confidence – I can do it and I do it!
  •  Handle issues quickly instead of allowing them to grow from small concerns to large insurmountable problems.  Stay out of the conversation going on inside of your head, and truly listen to what the other person is saying.  They will normally make it easier than you would.
  • Pick up the phone and have a conversation – don’t rely on email.  Most of you are not good enough writers so that others can readily understand your intentions.
  • Summarize your agreements with your client, co-worker or boss at the end of your conversation and recap them verbally.  Then, follow-up with an email within 24 hours with at least one action item completed.
  • Remember, when you change a system and don’t communicate it, you leave the other person wondering what you will do next.  Communicate any changes, even if they seem insignificant to you, and what the next steps will be.

When all else fails – contact your coach to resolve your issue or concern now!  (Yes, stop thinking about doing it!  And, stop using the excuse that I’m not sure what I should say!)


Jeannette Seibly has been a human performance coach for over 16 years, with over 30 years of corporate, small business and management experience.  She has an uncanny ability to help her clients identify roadblocks, and help them focus to produce unprecedented results.  Each client brings their own unique challenges, and her gift is helping each one create their success in their own unique way.  

Are You Ready for the New World of Work?

Are You Ready for the New World of Work?

 Regardless of your age, many workers will go through unemployment again in their lifetime.  Now is the time to learn lifelong skills on how to sell yourself and your value; and how to transfer your current skills into new opportunities and pursuits.

 We are now experiencing the start of a new world of work, again!  Back in the 90’s, changes started occurring much more rapidly than they had in the previous decades.  Now, it’s moving forward again.  Are you ready?  

Baby boomers, early in their careers, were willing to take risks, take a stand for what is right, and move heaven and earth to make it happen.  Then, they became older, and other priorities took over, e.g., kids, mortgages, retirement and caring for their parents. 

Then, the next generation of movers and shakers evolved (aka Generations X and Y) and their views of success are different.  They are not willing to settle for the old standards employers have used for too long to determine career paths, recognition and paychecks.  They look at risk taking as something they will do as long as there is a clear payback. 

The common denominator between all the generations:  most have not had to work to find their next job!

What is the major hindrance in finding the next job?  Attitudes!  Self talk and how we communicate with others limit the types of work and job challenges we are offered, and the corresponding paychecks.

 Regardless of your generation, there are three basic types of job seekers:

 1)  Do nothing and wait out the economy.  They are waiting for employers to call them.  (Hint:  It’s not going to happen.)  Your waiting will impact you professionally, and your family financially.  Many times your health and well-being can suffer, too.  Let go of the illusion that someone will serendipitously recognize your value by simply reading your resume and offer you your dream job. 

2)  Yeah, but’s.   They make luke-warm attempts at finding a job, and rely heavily upon resume blasts or support groups to talk about finding a job.  While support groups can be great in helping people, unless they are results-focused they will unconsciously reinforce the “I won’t do it” mentality that often limits job seekers (e.g., won’t relocate, won’t work in a different industry or profession, will stay unemployed so children can keep their current friends, will keep relying solely on blasting out resumes, etc.)

 3)  I’m the one!  They have an attitude that says, “I’m career directed, job fit ready and open to transition out of my old career path when it is no longer working.”  They realize the only limiting factor is how they view themselves, and they create positive self talk.

 These job seekers are open to effectively exploring, investigating and educating themselves so that they can communicate their value to their next boss!  They do not rely upon past job titles and job responsibilities – they have taken the time to clarify who they are, their inherent strengths and weaknesses and how to communicate these traits effectively.  They are ready for the new world of work.

 They effectively use their network to market themselves using voice-to-voice conversations to elicit the best of others’ ideas and opinions, which goes beyond tweeting, and posting requests on their Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn pages.

As a result, they are the first to learn about the myriad of new opportunities being created throughout the world due to new businesses, industries, inventions, and professions; and unadvertised job openings (an estimated 90% of all openings!). 

Their focus is to find a job that matches their goals and provides job fit–now and in the future.  So they prepare great questions to ensure clarity about the company’s direction, and how the company envisions their path for success.  They are comfortable saying, “No, thanks.” to job offers, when they are clear it won’t work.

 Are you ready for the new world of work? 

About the author:  Jeannette Seibly is a nationally recognized coach, who has helped 1000’s of people achieve unprecedented results.  She has created three millionaires.  You can contact her: OR

 (C)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2009