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Here are seven ways you can set the wrong course, and in the process ruin a new employee:
1. Welcome them to the family. Strong interpersonal relationships, positive working relationships, friendships... all those come later, if ever. You hire an employee to work, not build relationships. Be polite, courteous, and friendly, but stay focused on the fact the employee was hired to perform a job, and jobs involve work. Let new employees earn their way into the "family" through hard work and achievement.
2. Train holistically. Many training guides say providing context for tasks is critical for new employees. Wrong: Initially a new employee doesn't need to know how they fit into the overall operation. They need to know how to perform the tasks you hired them to perform. Leave the broader context and holistic approach for later. Besides, evidence shows people best learn to master complex tasks when those tasks are broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks. (Check out The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.) Teach specific processes and let new employees demonstrate mastery of those processes. Context will wait.
3. Hesitate to give immediate feedback. New employees are tentative, nervous, and mistake-prone. It feels harsh or unfair to correct or criticize, but if you don't, you lose an opportunity to set the right tone. Unless the job involves creativity, every task should have a right way or best way to be performed. Expect -- heck, demand -- that new employees do things your way. Bad habits are easily formed and nearly impossible to correct.
4. Fail to set immediate, tangible goals. Successful companies execute. Every new employee should complete at least one concrete, job-related task, even on their first day. Not only do you establish that output is all-important, new employees will go home feeling a sense of personal achievement. Days...