Entry-level employees are brand new. They have just exited the womb of college (or wherever they hail from) and your completely foreign office culture awaits. Engaging with newbies takes a particular kind of finesse, and often you have to learn as you go, adjusting to each employee instead of forcing them to fit into any pre-set expectations.
Managing entry-level employees is easily compared to parenting toddlers, where being succinct, clear, direct, and stern, are the best methods of operating until the new hires learn the ropes.
1. They don’t know the rules.
You know how the hierarchy works in the company parking lot and the precise phrase for answering the phone. Your new employees haven’t a clue, and you shouldn’t expect them to know the inner workings that come naturally to veteran employees. Just like a toddler can’t possibly know that touching a hot stove is bad, you have to spell out the company rules for every new person you hire, no matter what department they work in, no matter what their position. Make sure there’s a thorough training course in place for every newbie so they can have their questions answered without feeling dumb or embarrassed.
2. They’re eager to please.
While it may seem that some entry-level employees can’t do anything right, they’re actually trying their darnedest to please you. As a result, they may step out of turn or tackle tasks that weren’t theirs to complete or that weren’t done in the correct order. You may find yourself wondering whether or not you should have hired this person in the first place, but your new employee’s eagerness revolves around you – did you provide them with the right training so they don’t go crazy with enthusiasm? Do they have a hands-on supervisor or orientation point-of-contact to answer all their questions and keep them in check? Eagerness is a good trait – nurture it in a positive way before you squash it with frustration.
3. They’re hard to control.
It may seem like being friendly with a new employee is a great way to indoctrinate them into your company culture. However, you are still the one in charge and your employee needs to see you in this light. Yes, you want to welcome your employees into the fray, and connecting on a personal level can certainly help ease nerves and aid you in finding common ground, but allowing your employees to be too at ease is like letting your kids have dinner in front of the TV more than once – it becomes an expectation instead of a special treat. And you’ve suddenly created a spoiled, entitled toddler.
4. They’re challenging to motivate.
Toddlers can be motivated, but you really have to land on the magic formula to get them to pick up their toys or stop spitting food on the floor. Some entry-level employees are reticent about showing initiative for fear of screwing up. They recognize that their job is a good thing and they don’t want to ruin the opportunity. It’s your job as the boss to reassure newbies that you want to hear their voice and see their ideas in action. You want them to follow your rules, of course, but you also want them to prove that you were right to hire them. Offer encouragement, even send emails specifically soliciting ideas on certain projects. Or task the most conscientious employees – the ones you know are capable of great things – with serious responsibility and give them the room to fly.
Read more about Employee Retention…