Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

The Importance of Coaching New Employees

For busy managers, it can be hard to keep your head above water each day. You’re focused on ensuring that open positions are filled and that productivity levels stay high. However, while you’re zeroed in on the big picture, it’s important not to lose sight of the day-to-day details either. Part of this means providing proper coaching and guidance to new employees.

We all know how detrimental constant turnover is to a company, but part of the reason behind this rapid turnover is often because new employees don’t get the guidance they need as they’re getting started. As a result they quickly end up getting burnt out or fed up with the company.

When employees know what’s expected of them and how they can improve, they’re more likely to remain invested in their current work environment. When you leave them to fend for themselves, though, the new situation can quickly become overwhelming. If you’re looking to coach a new employee effectively, remember these points:

Cut the small talk and get to the point

Some managers find that they have a hard time voicing concerns to employees. They may try to make small talk as a way to avoid cutting to the chase. While it’s okay to soften the blow, you also shouldn’t hem and haw when it comes to expressing a concern. This conversation is important, and shouldn’t be minimized with small talk or mindless chatter. Though it may not be pleasant to have a discussion about what’s not working, this dialogue is a necessary part of a successful work environment.

Offer specifics

If you’re trying to explain problematic behavior to an employee, you’ll want to use real examples. Saying “You seem distracted at work” is a fairly subjective statement, and may quickly be shot down by a defensive team member. However when you say, “I’ve noticed you’ve been coming in late and leaving early for the past few weeks,” then it becomes hard to argue. When you’re voicing a concern, avoid speaking in hypotheticals and stick to the facts.

Help this person understand how the problematic behavior impacts the team

When you’re coaching an employee and helping them to overcome a problem area at work, it is important to place this individual into the bigger picture in the office. They may think that their unwillingness to master a certain computer program isn’t a major deal, not realizing that it makes more work for everyone else. When you are trying to help an employee to improve, it is helpful to remind them how they are connected to the rest of the team.

Explain what the ideal behavior is, instead of simply saying what’s not acceptable

If you are trying to help a staff member overcome a rough patch, you want to make sure they know what the ideal course of action is. It’s easy to focus on what they’re doing wrong, but it’s hard to help them adjust if they never really hear what “right” means. If they don’t realize that they’re supposed to be turning that paperwork in on Fridays, they may have no idea that they’re creating an issue within the company. To help this individual become a more beneficial part of the office, you need to reinforce what the ideal behavior is so that they can adjust accordingly.

When you coach a staff member, what techniques do you use to make your point in a diplomatic way? Let us know in the comments. 

Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.