Managing "First-timers" Should Not Be a Headache
Does the thought of managing an employee for their first “real-job” give you anxiety? It doesn’t need to. Young employees are full of energy and creativity and are anxious to learn. First-timers will make mistakes. If you embrace the challenge, anticipate their shortcomings, and have open communication, you can positively influence them. Here are three key points to give your newbie a real shot at succeeding.
Outline Expectations - Meet with your employee right way and explain in clear, simple language what they should do and should not do. Tell them how you expect them to behave and what you expect from your relationship. This should be an ongoing conversation every week and every day until they really get the hang of things. DON’T ASSUME they know appropriate workplace dress, how to set up a meeting in Outlook, or how to mail a package. Instead of telling them “be polite” tell them how to be polite because they might not actually know how. Remember with first-timers, you are not only teaching them the job, but professional behavior and workplace habits as well.
Build a Secure Feedback Zone - Establish a setting where feedback can live. Whether it is a weekly one-on-one or a regular training session, it is important so both you and the employee know there is a safe place to consistently have discussions. Make sure your main form of communication is face-to-face. This ensures your message is understood because they can ask direct questions and you can read their body-language. This also helps them grow as workers and teaches them not to hide behind a screen and how to talk to future managers.
Be Empathetic - First-timers can have difficulty figuring out what to focus on because they are in a completely new environment. Oftentimes, they have emotional responses under pressure to even familiar tasks. Don’t assume they are incompetent; it takes time adjusting to a new lifestyle. It is your job to help build their self esteem Also, be careful with on-the-job confrontation. Sometimes you have to let them fail and find the right opportunity to show them the correct way.
A new employee is not too much different than any other employee. They want to be involved, help make an impact and feel comfortable at work. As a manager, you have the opportunity to mentor and train them with good foundational work habits. Remembering they are not as far along in their career journey will help you lead them towards success.