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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Preparing for a new employee

Preparing for a new employee

Words by Francis Kahihu (the author is an Organisational Development Practitioner)

A renowned company placed a large advert in the media that attracted hundreds of letters of interest. After the short listing process, they picked a candidate they considered the best among those interviewed. The process of negotiation and contracting went on well and had the reporting date agreed upon. When Anita eventually reported to her new job after the one month notice she had to give to her previous employer, she was in for a rude shock.

The day she reported, she was kept at the reception for more than an hour as the workers awaited for a certain person who was said could be her supervisor. Apparently, all the other staff in the company were not aware of such a person joining them. When the supervisor eventually showed up, he requested Anita to wait in the office boardroom as they set her desk and facilities. While there, she was served with a newspaper, a cup of tea and the TV was switched on to entertain her. Unbeknown to her, that was a strategy to keep her waiting for a while.

It later emerged to her that the company was not ready for her. The supervisor had to move a staff from a work station to provide space for Anita, and took a computer away from another. As Anita settled down, she wondered whether she was really in the right place. She felt so unwelcome. It seemed like a baby born into a family that had not bought the clothing and appropriate beddings. The baby has to wait at the hospital a little longer while the parents run through shopping malls making hasty purchases. Unless the baby was born prematurely when least expected, the parents should not be forgiven for not being prepared.

In case you are planning to hire a staff, you may want to be keen on the preparations you make for the person. It is a highly motivating factor for an employee who joins the team and finds the environment ready. It makes the staff feel that they were being expected, a feeling that they are valued and welcome to the team. The staff feel they have not intruded into other people’s personal spaces or trespassed into the offices.

The employer should ensure they have put in place structures to accommodate the person. The reporting lines for the new employee should be clear so that the office does not get into panic mode as it seeks to clarify who will supervise the new staff. This clarity is helpful so that the staff feels part of the system from the onset. No one wants to feel suspended in a system.

The other helpful consideration for new staff relates to what Anita had to suffer. The need for adequate infrastructure including office space and office facilities. The support to be provided should include advice on how to access the facilities. In cases where staff have to access the office by use of special security cards for instance, the recruiting office should ensure the security cards are ready by the time the staff report. The staff should also be introduced to key persons including the security officers and cleaners so that they are not denied support the following day when they diligently report to work.

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