Early on in my career, I was taught a valuable lesson. The first three months of employment will determine if a newly employed person will make it in the business. Studies show that the cost of employing and training people costs double what you pay them annually. In South Africa, the Labour Laws make it extremely difficult and costly to dismiss an employee unless they have done something unlawful.
Employing well is very important to the financial stability of a business. As a result, many books about people say that you should look at any new team member for the warning signs of a poor performer and then do your best to correct the person fast. Otherwise, let them go after three months. Many employment contracts have a clause stating that employment is on a trial period and can be terminated without explanation after the period.
Nothing drains time, money, and resources from a company more than hiring the wrong person.
Here are some issues to watch with any new employees that you are starting to doubt:
1. Don't get on with people in the business
People often assume that when a new employee doesn't work out, the person couldn't do the job (i.e. didn't have the suitable skill set). But, it usually has to do with the person's personality and approach to the job. If you don't fit the company's culture, it makes it harder for the employees who do fit to work with you. They don't appreciate having to work with someone they don't trust and respect. Lack of trust leads to teamwork productivity issues that lead to performance issues. Eventually, the manager has to decide which employee is hurting the team.
Given that new people are often brought into an existing team working well together, you can see why it becomes essential to decide quickly if this new employee can integrate with the group. If not, there's no point in forcing everyone to work with them. It's smarter to cut the person loose, move on and look for a better fit.
2. Believe that they can do anything
When new employees claim to be the Jack- or Jill-of-all-trades and think they are better than the rest of the team. Yes, confidence is essential, but a person who claims to do it all appears like a bigmouth. Employees should know their particular expertise and stick to it. Remember, everyone on the team has a specialty. In the first three months, a new employee should spend time figuring out what each person brings to the team to leverage their strengths and offer theirs up to help the team succeed.
3. Believe that the business needs to work around their needs
New employees who state constraints around what they can do and when they can do it are immediately labelled "high maintenance". When new employees give a list of requirements before they do their job, they create more work for others. New employees should instead focus on learning ways to make their teammates' jobs more manageable and the company more productive. You need someone who adds more value, and the sooner they do that, the more you realize that they play a vital contributing role.
4. Only engage with those people whom they think are important
New employees who seem to get excited only when talking to people they think have "influence" aren't team players. They're opportunists. When new people don't show any interest in getting to know the receptionist or someone in a different department, they don't see the value in respecting the contributions of every team member. New hires should be focused on making friends with everyone they meet because you never know whom you'll need to tap into the business for help.
5. Looking for the next big thing
New employees who talk about getting promoted and taking a more significant role showcase worrying tendencies. The all-about-me approach to their career implies they will do anything to achieve their goal and walk over anyone who gets in their way. New employees should be focused on getting competent at their new jobs and try to exceed expectations. Doing a job consistently well is the best way to earn the trust and respect that can lead to a future promotion. Over-promising and under-delivering is something that you should be on the lookout for.
6. Doing the job, but not overextending themselves
New people who only put in the minimum effort show a lack of commitment to building a mutually beneficial partnership with the employer. All new relationships require some extra effort to help form a good partnership. When new employees don't care whether the employer is feeling satisfied with their early performance, you can only expect their commitment to the job to decrease. They also can't be relied on when extra help is suddenly needed to get the job done.
New people should be focused on meeting their employer's expectations and finding ways to exceed what they were hired to do (this doesn't mean spending extra time at the office, but instead finding ways to improve their productivity. You want people who use their spare time and energy to go above and beyond what is expected.
If you recruit employees, be sure to monitor them thoroughly for the warning signs above, and cut your losses sooner rather than later.