We've all had it happen, you hire a GREAT employee. Great resume, has the experience and seems really willing to be a team player. Things start off ok, maybe some hiccups here and there, but that's normal of a new employee, right?
Yet 3 months, 6 months, 9 months down the line things STILL aren't smooth. Mistakes are being made and your once seemingly willing employee now seems overwhelmed, a little beat up and cranky.
Were you completely wrong when you hired them? Did you assume experience that wasn't actually there? Were you just so desperate for help that you possibly overlooked some red flags?
Maybe. It's possible all of that occurred. What's more likely, however, is you were not equipped to support the employee as was needed.
Here's what happens:
Super gung ho Sally begins work on January 1. She's got the certification, she even has some experience and she's ready and willing to work hard. She dives in and begins to tackle your office the way she would have tackled a previous office. Maybe she's really. really good and 90% of what she does actually makes sense for your office. But what happens to that other 10%? It flies back and hits her in the face.
That 10% is some part of her day to day work that she doesn't understand. She doesn't know how what she has been taught fits in to how your office actually works. Or maybe something in the industry changed and she doesn't have her wits around it yet. Totally common, right? No big deal?
It's a big deal because Sally, feeling like she SHOULD have known what to do, hides the fact that she didn't know. She feels guilty, like she isn't doing her job. Each time she runs into something like this she has a little failure. These failures compound one on top of another until Sally doesn't like her job anymore. She feels like she has to hide her shortcomings and like she doesn't quite have her wits around everything she should be doing. Come June 1 Sally is disgruntled, not in very good communication with her fellow employees and contemplating taking a "less stressful" job. n
Let me clarify something: Sally is, most likely, NOT a bad employee. Sally is a completely NORMAL employee in an ever changing, confusing industry. Sally is an employee who never quite figured out how to reconcile what she already knows with how YOUR office works. Add to that the industry changes and day to day random problems that crop up and Sally feels like a failure.
So what do you do about this? How to do prevent this "dwindling spiral"?
The answer is simple and it's two-fold:
2.) A safe space for Sally to ask questions and get information without fear of losing her job because she's asking something "she should know".
New employees need to be trained, no matter how much of an "expert" they were when you hired them.
Employees also need a way to continue to get corrected, get better and get clarified on their jobs and functions without fear that their question is "stupid" or something they should already know.
So, if you find yourself wondering why your employee seems to be worse off than when you hired them, you have your answer. Find the areas they don't fully understand and get them cleared up. You'll have a happier employee in no time.
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Jessica Rose Greenwood
Jessica is the owner of JMK Billing, a Billing Specialist and expert in office management