Just found yourself an enthusiastic and eager employee?

Are you now three weeks down the line in to their employment and found yourself muttering the words “they should be getting the hang of this by now!”

If you think there’s a time frame in which someone *should* be settled in by- you can probably safely triple it.  Because more and more, we’re hearing that expectations placed upon new starters by employers just aren’t realistic (nor fair).

It takes an average of up to 12 months for a new employee to become truly at home in their position. After all, there’s often an incredible amount of information to take in, processes and procedures to learn, systems to figure out and bonds and trust with colleagues to form – these things don’t happen overnight.

In fact, in a recent Linkedin poll we put out to our network, out of 127 people who replied within the 4 days it was running..

Only 7% of people said it only took them a couple of weeks to settle in to a new job.

28% said around 3 months

35% said more than 6 months.

And the remaining 30% cited their success depended on the support given by their employer.

But sadly, in lot of cases, disappointment is felt by an employer when their new employee isn’t “up to speed” in their expected time frame. And that leads to frustration (on both the employer and employee’s part), a disconnect in the relationship and a pretty sour start to any new career.

So why do employers seek to find the next member of their team, interview them, offer them the job and then…. give up? And who decided that it was a good idea to put a short timeframe on a human being and their performance?

“They’re not picking it up quick enough”

“We don’t feel they’re understanding the speed in which we need things to be done”

“We expected more of them”

Firstly, it’s pretty rare than anyone starts a new job with the intention of leaving within the first few months. It’s almost certain that should that happen (personal reasons aside), there’s been trouble settling in and a breakdown in the management of expectations.

Even the most experienced and competent of people can feel overwhelmed in a new role – this can last days, weeks or even a few months, it does NOT mean they’re incapable.

Through open communication there is no reason why the person you have interviewed and selected for the role won’t turn out to be a valuable asset to your business.

It’s ultimately down to you to understand HOW people learn- we’re not all the same and neither are our learning patterns. In fact, with a rise in the acknowledgement and diagnosis of people with aspects of neurodiversity,  it’s even more important to really ensure you’re an inclusive organisation who can cater to different learning styles and behaviours that may fall outside of your perceived timescale.

Here’s 6 things to bear in mind, particularly during those first few crucial months:

Offer consistent positive reinforcement- keep telling people how great they are!

Schedule in regular reviews, not related to “performance” and invite feedback-   this is not an opportunity for you to berate them for their slow progress but a chance to understand their mindset and iron out teething problems.

Make sure the new employee isn’t being too hard on themselves – most people are their own harshest critic.

Be conscious of them taking on too much in order to impress you- be aware that people can put on a brave face but still be struggling.

Offer relevant, engaging and interactive training with a range of mediums.

Take a keen interest in how others in the business are engaging with your new employee- are they including them, encouraging, valuing their presence and being supportive?

We KNOW that you don’t want any new employee to leave after a few short months. And by changing your own preconceptions of settling in periods and avoiding comparing each individual to another, you can build an inclusive business with loyal, skilled workers who feel valued and supported right from the start.