Recap from blog 1

Consider this

You are a small to medium enterprise (SME) and an employee you hired 12 months ago is not working out. You have made that difficult decision and will need to let them go.

You ask yourself: What happened? They were so perfect at interview and in the first 3 months. Conversations since then have been particularly challenging. How did I miss this?

Does this scenario sound familiar? Have you been here before? Verity Consulting is here to help you make sense of the potential points of failure along the employment lifecycle.

Some food for thought as you reflect upon your own people management challenges.

There are 4 points at which the above scenario could have been avoided.

  1. Pre-employment
  2. Employment and Onboarding
  3. Managing and Developing Employees
  4. Employment Separation

Another area of the employment lifecycle that can be a source of people management challenge is in Employment and Onboarding

The deficits are typically: Lack of rigor in contract management; poorly managed probation period, poorly defined role accountabilities and generally sloppy onboarding practice

An organisation can be left quite vulnerable (to unfair dismal and other actions) if no one is coordinating and managing the onboarding process.

At the employment contract stage of onboarding, poor document control of the master contract template is a common issue. For instance, a number of people may have responsibility for managing different bits of an employee contract. That is okay as long as it is clear that no one is permitted to alter the contract template to suit a particular role. If tailoring is required, create a schedule to the contract and include role and candidate-specific negotiations there.  Related to this is the obligations to maintain confidentiality of contract negotiations and restricted access to employee contracts.

Managing the probation period– a sloppy onboarding process may result in training gaps for new employees. This often manifests in “poor performance” when in fact it was not the fault of the employee but rather the business who have failed to onboard the staff member satisfactorily.

For this reason, put measures in place to safeguard the induction and orientation process. Ensure inductions include a checklist of systems and processes that are dated and signed off when completed by the responsible person.  Introduce a buddy-system so that it is clear who is responsible for which aspects of the induction.

Orientation to the business needs to also include the business context. Assumed knowledge of the business context is risky. Employee orientation to the context and other nuances are necessary and required, for example, how to manage particular clients and suppliers. Unrealistic expectations of business knowledge and acronyms in common use need to be covered at orientation or at least captured in a glossary for employee reference.

Confusing training issues for an employee capability issue. Ensure that perceived ‘poor’ employee performance, particularly during the probation phase is not a training and onboarding issue. Good onboarding hygiene will include various checkpoints throughout the probation period and particularly prior to probation end date. Check-ins or checkpoints provides opportunity to highlight gaps in employee knowledge and revisit training areas that may have been missed. These checkpoints—a 15 min conversation – can avoid significant business pain and employee performance issues down the track.

Onboarding expectations – revisit and reinforce the 4-6 expectations of behaviour communicated at interview and hard-wired into the employee contract.

For advice on an onboarding hygiene, contact Verity Consulting

Join us next week for Part 3 of our 4 blog series