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Gerry Weinberg & Associates, Inc. | Southfield, Michigan

You hired someone, who by everyone involved signed off on their dossier, motivation and culture fit. You believe with some minimum onboarding, he should be able to get up to speed quickly, and start producing.

For the first few months, everything went according to plan. His results were good—not only for a “Newbie” but also when compared to the veterans.

And then it stopped. His activity…and his results dropped.

Sound familiar? What happened?

It’s not uncommon for a new hire to start out strong. But after the initial excitement and enthusiasm for the new job fades, the behavior and performance does too.

Why? Did you make a bad hiring decision? Did he simply lose interest? Was management to blame?

Occasionally, the answer to one or more of those questions is, “Yes.” Most often, however, the new hire’s diminished performance is the result of not having a defined long-term action plan. Without clearly defined structure, or individual action plan, many people stop running.

It usually takes a while to notice because they continue to perform, but at a slower pace. Basically, they stop doing the things that brought them the success in the first place (like yoga and my running).

Part of your role as a sales manager is to assign quotas, determine Key Performance Indicators, evaluate performance and if necessary, problem solve. If you expect your new hire to hit goals, the expectations must be communicated to him. He can’t hit the target if he doesn’t know where to aim.

Once goals are established, you must monitor his performance and be willing to provide the accountability, support and coaching needed to meet the performance expectations for the position.

Here are some tips to ensure the new hire’s success during the onboarding process:

Focus on behaviors, not the results. If the actions are appropriate, the results will follow.
• If Key Performance Indicators are missed, benchmarks will be missed too. Address those issues promptly and provide training where necessary.
• Be supportive. Remember, the goal is to help the new hire get on track and up to speed—not to lament him for subpar performance.
• Develop goals and a plan of action. The goals must be MUTUAL or you open the door to excuse making. Don’t jeopardize the new hire’s success by overwhelming him with unrealistic goals.
• Communicate. Monitoring performance and providing real feedback at a regular rhythm is your obligation as their manager. Not giving direct feedback will only cause frustration down the road.

By staying engaged with your new hires, establishing goals, and then monitoring performance against those goals at regular intervals will limit rollercoaster results, and ensure motivation long term for your new employees.

Matt Stephens

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