Even the best professionals can become overwhelmed in a new position. Each practice has its own culture, policies, and procedures, and plus those silent everyone-knows-the-rules type rules. So how can you help your new staff adjust to their new surroundings in an effective and efficient manner? It's actually very simple. Breaking down what feels like a lot of information and compartmentalizing it into smaller groups is your best course of action.
Let's face it: Any new job can be a little scary. There are new people to meet, rules to learn, expectations to communicate, figuring out how the new employee is going to fit into the over big picture, etc. When you watch them during training and they seem very disconnected or have a deer-in-the-headlights look, fear not. Do not start questioning your decision to hire this person. Give them their time to train with the rest of the personnel, and then give them a day to try to sort it out themselves. Plan for a day or two for this to happen. Yes, they can jump in and help out, but be aware they are most likely still processing the loads of information that has been said to them over the past 48 hours. It's mostly likely a very overwhelming experience for them. You have to remember that no one person knows exactly everything you know. Your experiences have taught you to perceive even write policies and procedures differently from another individual.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
• Keep a glossary of terms on hand. This will help the new employee adjust to the verbiage much quicker. Perhaps even though they performed a task at a previous company, your staff may have a completely different set of terms they use.
• Allow for questions. Keep the atmosphere and culture in a place of no-fear of asking questions. There are no dumb questions when someone is trying to learn something. Even if the question might shock you, simply answer it and file it away to follow up on at a later date.
• Have a sit-down meeting on the third or fourth day. This will give the employee time to settle in, find their place, and begin to sort. Help them prioritize their tasks, see how they all relate to the position, and provide the expectation. Keep it calm and non-confrontational. This will build the confidence and provide a support mechanism for the new employee.
Understanding that everyone thinks and learns differently is key to providing the help and support needed in any new position. Be sure that you are creating an open communication between yourself and your employees and most all problems and issues can be identified and resolved quickly. This will allow new employees to step into a workable atmosphere and situation that will allow them to succeed, and your business to thrive.