The importance of feedback for new hires

Maureen Collins

They're here! Now what?

Here's how to give employees feedback post-hire, setting a trend from the outset and not leaving everything till the dreaded performance review.

Recruitment and selection is not an exact science. Even when it provides exactly the right candidate for a job, it is only the starting point in the process of ensuring that a person performs to the best of their abilities.

Managing the performance of people is one of the most important roles you have to play as a business owner/manager, especially in the first few weeks and months of their employment. Even when a probationary period is applied before permanent employment is confirmed, performance must be managed closely from the beginning.

Does your employee know exactly what to do?

The first step in ensuring that a new recruit performs well is to make sure that he or she knows exactly what to do. This may sound obvious, but it is surprising how many businesses assume that new recruits will learn the ropes by osmosis or informally from colleagues. Still today, the only training that many people receive is to sit next to Nellie for a few days.

People need input at two levels when they join a company. The first is normally covered in an induction process and includes formal ‘signing on’ procedures as well as information about the background to the company and its culture. The second level is job specific information: processes, procedures, the standards of performance required and perhaps some technical training. Proper completion of this step means assessing whether or not the candidate has achieved the required level of competence.

Start with the positive feedback early.

Once you have told and shown someone what to do, and checked their level of competence, the second step in managing their performance should be straightforward. As soon as they start to perform the way you expect, you must give them positive feedback. This is the easiest step in the whole process. All it needs is that you notice the person's performance and take a little time to compliment them on what they have done. In practice, many managers feel that giving positive feedback is unnecessary: sometimes they simply may not be around to notice what people are doing on a day-to-day basis.

Whatever the reason, if you are not making use of positive feedback to shape and motivate the performance of your people, you are missing out on one of the simplest and most effective management tools. Even when performance is not perfect, positive feedback will encourage the person to improve.

Positive feedback shows that you notice people and care about how well they are doing. It gives a positive tone to relationships. Many managers make the mistake of only noticing people when they do something wrong which gives a negative, critical tone to their relationships. First impressions last. Giving positive feedback helps make sure that the initial and perhaps lasting impressions new recruits form of your company are good ones.

Correct mistakes as they occur.

The third step in managing the performance of a new recruit is to correct mistakes as soon as they occur. This means that you must observe the mistake, and then have the skill to give critical feedback without creating argument or conflict. Many managers lack these skills, and so this third step is often missed out.

The consequence is that poor performance may not be picked up or corrected until it has become an ingrained pattern of behaviour. Then you have to choose between tolerating poor performance and starting a disciplinary process.

Good performance management is essential from the moment a new recruit starts employment. If you use a probationary period, it provides a sound basis for confirming permanent employment, or a sound and defensible one for letting someone go. It then continues to be one of your essential management tools to help you provide feedback on performance and correct mistakes and motivate your people to continued high performance.

Maureen Collins has a B.Sc. degree in Psychology from Edinburgh University and over 25 years of management and consulting experience. In her coaching and workshops she shows people how to deal with conversations that are difficult, sensitive and potentially disastrous for careers and relationships. She has two published books: Conversations at work that get results shows how to give feedback and improve performance; How to handle conversations that scare you takes the Straight Talk principles into families and personal relationships. Get free Straight Talk Tips. http://www.straight-talk.co.za


Are You Ready To Change Your Wellbeing?

Michelle McQuaid

Are you full of good intentions that you’re finding hard to turn into actions when it comes to improving your wellbeing? 

Read more


7 tips to ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to da...

Drake Editorial

If you want to be in the job market today, make sure your LinkedIn is up to date and fully optimised. Your LinkedIn is everything when looking for a job. It’s your personal profile, your online resume and you’re networking platform all in one. 

Read more


Not Attracting Top Performers? How to Make Your Co...

Drake International

Now that the ‘new normal’ has become the norm, how do you attract the best talent? A year ago, flexible working was seen as an easy carrot to offer – now that’s no longer a differentiator. How else can your business attract top talent? By offering greater autonomy, making them feel appreciated, and creating a supportive, positive team environment.

Read more


Thinking of Resigning? Explore our essential tips....

Drake Editorial

A resignation letter may feel like an outdated formality; however, it is still an extremely important aspect of the resignation process and a vital opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism. Your resignation letter is used to officially notify your employer that you are terminating your employment with them.  It is valuable to understand the appropriate essentials when writing and submitting a resignation letter. 

Read more


Ending 2020 the right way!

Drake Editorial

As we gear up to what we hope to be a more positive, fulfilling year, many of us are filled with emotion, doubt, and physical and mental fatigue. Rather than ending the year on a low, here’s some positivity to ending the year on a high!

Read more


Is Fear Narrowing Your Opportunities At Work?