What Does It Take to Make a New Hire Successful?

What does it take to make a new hire successful? With hiring picking up, this becomes a pressing question, again. We’ve hired a lot of people over 20+ years, and I’m thrilled to say that more than ‘our share’ choose to spend a large part of their careers at Corporate Ink. (We’ve got the best team ever right now – and here’s hoping they all find challenge, recognition and reward here for many years to come.)

But we’ve also failed. We’ve lost good people. We’ve failed to convert high hopes into high performance. And of course, we’ve picked the wrong people, and let them stay too long.

When it comes to senior hires, it’s especially hard, and costly, when the transition doesn’t work. I was just talking with a few peers who are struggling with this right now – at other companies. How do you know what to expect, and what’s fair?

One company I respect a lot gives someone two months to learn the culture, with no expectations of major, tangible results. That’s not us – but it’s a lesson they learned the hard way, when a new ‘leader’ was more of a lone ranger, and violated just about all of their cultural norms.

Another sets tangible sales goals, although their new hire was tapped for a services position, and expects two years for the glue to really stick.

Two years ago, we hired – and quickly lost – someone – even after knowing it would take a year to really settle in. We expected too much, too soon. Or else it just wasn’t the right cultural fit. I might do things differently, but today, I think it was good that she left.

Hearing about the two-month acculturation plan made me think about the balance between caffeine, and patience. Personally, I like hiring people who are raring to go, and want to be thrown in a little over their heads.