The Psychology Of Getting The Best Out Of New Hires

33 new Square hiresNew hires at Square

Photo: @jack

Companies spend a lot of time making sure new employees are comfortable in a new workplace.The traditional approach focuses on bringing new hires into line with the values and norms of their new organisation. 

A recent working paper published by Dan Cable, Francesca Gino, and Brad Staats finds that there’s a more effective alternative. 

Rather than focusing on the organisation, employers should focus on the individual, specifically the parts of a person’s identity that make them happiest and most successful. 

The key to this insight is that people truly value authenticity. They work best when their inner selves and experiences are aligned with what they do at their job.

Over a 9 month experiment at an Indian call centre, a group whose introduction to the company focused on the organisation had a 250 per cent greater chance of turnover than an individually focused group. Those trained in the company’s usual manner had a 157 per cent greater chance.

The individually focused group’s orientation asked them to answer questions like:

“What is unique about you that leads to your happiest times and best performance at work?”

“Your Personal Highlights Reel: Reflect on a specific time – perhaps on a job, perhaps at home – when you were acting the way you were ‘born to act.” 

A lab experiment found that students worked more efficiently, produced work of higher quality, and were more likely to return for an optional second day when their introduction to specific tasks was individually focused.

People feel less nervous and uncertain in a new position when they’re playing to their strengths as a person and employee. Knowing what employees consider to be their best attributes could allow managers to design and present tasks in a way that will increase productivity throughout an employee’s tenure. 

Find the full paper here.

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