How to Engage New Employees Using Positive Reinforcement

Engage New Employees

Performing quickly and acceptably at a new job is especially difficult. Standards have yet to be fully understood, working relationships aren’t yet established, and procedural details must be learned.

How you handle a new employee, when he or she begins performing acceptably can have long-term implications. This is your first chance to demonstrate what the organization does when performance is acceptable. What you want to establish with the new employee is a pattern of good performance. To do this, remember it takes more feedback and recognition to establish such a pattern than will be needed later to maintain it.

Performance CoachingIn an earlier blog, Performance Coaching Part 3, we introduced the skill of Crediting. Crediting provides recognition for good performance. It demonstrates that you’re monitoring performance and that it’s important to you. When you give specific examples of what you’re crediting, you provide the new employee with feedback. You also communicate your standards in a very positive way. Remember, good performance, when credited, tends to occur more frequently; when ignored, it tends to occur less frequently.

Clarifying and ConfirmingThe active listening skills of Clarifying and Confirming are also critical to get the new employee engaged and consistently performing and meeting standards. You and the new employee may not share the same jargon or the same assumptions, so you will need to have an open dialogue to ensure one and other’s understanding. In your discussion, attempt to uncover the causes that are helping the new employee reach their goals and be productive by asking good clarifying questions.

The new employee hopefully will also bring fresh ideas and perspectives as they perform their new role. This is another great opportunity to Credit their performance and/or their ideas.

 There are Four Elements to an Effective Credit.

  1. Make a general reference to the performance or idea that is being credited.
  2. Give specific examples of the performance or idea
  3. Mention personal qualities that contributed to successful performance
  4. Mention resulting benefits to the business unit, organization, and/or you.

One advantage of frequent and powerful crediting is that it creates a positive working environment where constructive feedback or criticism, if required, is more easily given and accepted by the new employee.

The first few times the new employee’s performance meets or even exceeds standards, you should credit as soon as possible. Since Crediting is a form of feedback, it is most effective if it’s both specific and timely.

Most managers don’t credit enough, especially with their newly hired employees. This is largely due to the fact that most people don’t know how to make their credits substantive, honest and useful. To get the new employees engaged and performing more quickly, look for opportunities to credit their performance that is backed up by references to specific examples, personal qualities and resulting benefits.

For more information on how FKA can customize a Performance Coaching Program for new employees, contact us at 1-800-FKA-5585.

FKA President
Michael Nolan