Sharita: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Executive Search Consultant and recruiter Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary Companies hire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary Professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.
In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about how Animal Health and Veterinary Organizations can set new employees up for success. Welcome, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.
Stacy: Hello, I’m glad to be here today.
Sharita: Stacy, how is what we’ll be talking about today different from onboarding new employees?
Stacy: We’ve discussed onboarding policies in past podcasts. However, what we’ll be talking about today is separate from official onboarding policies.
Sharita: How is that?
Stacy: Well, when we discussed onboarding previously, we talked about the two stages of onboarding. Those two stages were the two weeks leading up to the candidate’s start of employment and the first two weeks of the candidate’s employment. A lot of what we talked about were “big picture” things. Today, though, we’re going to address some things that can be done on a personal or interpersonal level.
Sharita: If an organization hires an A-level candidate, a real “top of the line” person, do these things still have to be done?
Stacy: Absolutely. Top candidates are definitely intelligent, ambitious, and motivated, but they’re NOT all-knowing. But it goes beyond that. How these new employees feel about their position and their new employer during the first few weeks is very important.
Sharita: What do you mean by that?
Stacy: Well, there are a couple of things that company officials should strive to do with employees when they first start working. They should strive to give the employees confidence and also inspire them.
As an employer, your goal during this time is to influence the new employee in a positive way. The worst thing you can do is nothing, simply leaving them to “fend for themselves.” While the employee is ultimately responsible for their own success, not everything falls directly on their shoulders.
Sharita: So what can Animal Health and Veterinary Employers do on an interpersonal level to set new employees up for success when they first join the organization?
Stacy: Well, there are six things, and I’m going to address them one at a time. The first one is reinforcing the employee’s belief that they’ve made the correct decision.
Sharita: What do you mean by that?
Stacy: When a candidate accepts an offer of employment, they are rarely 100% sure that they made the correct decision. There’s usually a little bit of doubt nestled in the back of their mind. That’s why it’s crucial to set 100% of their mind at ease as soon as they start work. You can do this by engaging these new employees and communicating with them as much as possible and also by encouraging them as much as you can.
When this individual accepted your organization’s offer of employment, there was a certain level of excitement involved. If there wasn’t, then they would not have accepted the job offer. Now that they’ve started their employment, the key is to keep that excitement level high. As an organization, you want to keep these new employees engaged and motivated.
Sharita: What’s the second thing on our list?
Stacy: The second thing is to reinforce your belief that YOU made the correct decision.
Sharita: Now what exactly does that mean?
Stacy: When a person starts a new job, they’re looking for confirmation that they made the correct decision, that accepting the offer of employment was the right thing to do. But not only do they need to feel like they made the right decision, but they also need to know that company officials feel like they made the right decision in hiring them, as well.
During the hiring process, all candidates want to feel as though they’re wanted, and top candidates are certainly no different. That feeling is probably one of the reasons they chose to accept your offer of employment. So during their first few weeks on the job, you should continue to make them feel wanted and valued by the organization. They should think to themselves, “Yes, I made the right decision in coming here, and yes, they believe they made the right decision in hiring me. This is a good situation.”
Sharita: That all makes sense. If whatever the company was doing during the hiring process convinced the candidate to accept the offer, then the company should keep doing those things after the candidate becomes an employee.
Stacy: That’s right, and that’s also the case with the third thing on our list, and that involves showing the new candidate the value of the organization.
Sharita: Can you elaborate on that point?
Stacy: Ideally, the organization’s unique value proposition was one of the reasons that the candidate accepted the offer. In fact, it could be the reason that the candidate turned down other offers, as well.
More specifically, though, it was the promise of that value proposition that enticed them. Now, once the candidate becomes an employee, the organization must “make good” on that promise. Company officials should explain in detail how the organization provides value to its employees, its vendors, and its customers. If possible, they should show the employees that value in action. It’s important to make a new employee feel as though they’re part of that value and they’ll be a key component of it going forward.
Sharita: We’ve discussed this before. Candidates want to feel as though they’re not only part of something, but that they’re also a valued part of that something.
Stacy: That’s right, and that’s especially the case with top candidates. Another characteristic of these candidates is that they’re forward-thinking individuals. They’re not just looking for their next job. They’re looking to build a great career, and that brings us to the fourth item on our list, which is describing how the employee fits into the company’s vision for the future.
Sharita: Is that something that can also be discussed during the face-to-face interview?
Stacy: It absolutely is, and it should be. But once again, after the candidate has been hired as an employee, the company must start “making good” on the promises that it made during the interview. While company officials should keep communicating where these employees fit into the overall vision for the future, they should also show the employees as much as possible. Now that they work for the organization, it’s easier to immerse them into the culture and the company’s plans for success. The start of their employment is the best time to do these things, since they’re excited by the prospect of a new beginning. You want to keep stoking their excitement.
Sharita: So if an organization has done a good job of keeping their new employees engaged and excited, what is the next step?
Stacy: Well, the next step is the fifth item on our list. The main reason that a company wants to set an employee up for success is that because success for the employee means success for the company. In other words, the organization wants the employee to become as productive as possible as soon as possible. That’s because when they’re productive, they’re making money for the company.
The way to accomplish that is to set expectations for performance, starting with short-term goals. And since as we’ve discussed, these new employees are ambitious, proactive, goal-oriented individuals, they should be just fine with those expectations. However, the expectations must be communicated to them and they must be clearly defined. That engages the employee immediately and taps into their natural desire to achieve results and achieve them quickly.
Sharita: What else helps them to achieve those results quickly?
Stacy: The sixth and last item on our list, which is to provide feedback and answer questions.
These new employees will undoubtedly have plenty of questions during their first few days and weeks on the job. As a company official, make sure that you answer those questions, and if you’re not their boss or supervisor, make sure that somebody answers them.
At the same time, make sure that you—or somebody else—is asking questions to ensure that the employee is on the right track and there is no miscommunication. All it takes is one mixed message or signal to send them down the wrong path.
Sharita: Stacy, it seems as though there’s a central theme to all of these items, namely that the reasons why a candidate chooses to work for an organization should still be evident once that candidate joins the organization as an employee.
Stacy: That is absolutely correct. What candidates want in an organization does not change when that candidate becomes an employee of that organization. They want the same things, and they will respond in a positive fashion when it becomes apparent that those things are available and within reach.
Sharita: It seems that it would be in the best interests of the organization doing the hiring to make sure that its new employees are enjoying success as soon as they can.
Stacy: Absolutely. What’s the point of going to all the trouble of identifying, interviewing, recruiting, and hiring the best candidates in the marketplace if you’re not going to do what’s necessary to ensure that they become productive employees?
The value of hiring top candidates lies in what they can do for you after they’re hired. That’s why it’s in an organization’s best interests to make sure that they’re given ample instruction and resources and that they’re fully engaged in their position and within the company culture.
Otherwise, the company won’t receive a return on the hiring investment of time, energy, and money that it made in the employees that it hired.
Sharita: Stacy, thanks so much for all of this great information today.
Stacy: Thank you, Sharita. As always, I look forward to our next podcast!