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Simple steps to get the most out of a new employee

Good teams accomplish far more than even the most productive entrepreneur on his own. That’s a maxim that successful companies take to heart, plunging time, energy and resources into finding quality employees.

But what’s the next step? What happens once a new hire has arrived for their first day? How does the transition take place?

Known as “onboarding”, the first tentative steps in the relationship set the tone going forward. Online, there’s a lot of advice about how this relationship should commence, but the information is either self-evident or superfluous. So we scoured literature on the topic, researching companies with reputations that precede them (Apple, Valve, Netflix) and leaders that incisively cut through the noise to get employees working at top speed.

We bring you a distillation of the best, simplest, practical ways to get a new hire up to speed.

Give them a vision

You read a lot about the importance of company culture. But the word tends to strum up images of late-night drinks and chats around the coffee machine. A better word is vision. Many of the greatest leaders impart their vision so strongly that they can leave the company entirely and those core ideas still live on. What are people building towards?

Is the company self-policing and self-motivated? And what does success ultimately look like?

Buddy them up

Statistics suggest that in the US, 20% of all new hires leave within 45 days, principally because they haven’t got a clear idea of what they’re supposed to be doing. That sounds inconceivable. How is it possible an employee doesn’t know what to do?

Well the truth of the matter is that a lot of people are pretty awful communicators. They just flat out can’t give a simple instruction. And so new employees are left to flounder before giving up and packing it in.

The simple solution is to buddy up a new hire with a team mate so that they can learn by watching.

Set a challenge

Don’t baby new hires. People want to feel they’re contributing, especially early on. So set a challenge. It’ll be a good stress-test of their competency, and it’ll slip them into gear fast.


Whether it’s instituting a bonus scheme or dangling the carrot of flexible working hours, new employees should be incentivized to hit the ground running and empowered to take charge of their day. You don’t want them wasting time waiting on middle management, so give them the confidence to get cracking on ideas of their making.

Get them dealing with clients

The natural inclination is to keep new hires well away from clients. But that’s just delaying the inevitable. Everyone needs to pitch in, so have your new recruits dealing with low- maintenance, low-risk clients in their very first week.


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