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Maximizing New Hire Value

Maximizing New Hire Value

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What it would mean to your organization to bring your new hires to full productivity in half the time? Read on to learn how you can maximize new hire value.
What it would mean to your organization to bring your new hires to full productivity in half the time? Read on to learn how you can maximize new hire value.

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Published by: William Seidman, Ph.D for Cerebyte on Aug 28, 2010
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 8.10_Maximizing New Hire Value.doc Last saved on 8/28/2010 3:40:00 PM
Maximizing New Hire Value
Introduction
What would it mean to your organization to bring your new hires up to full productivity in half the time?When new hire development programs function effectively, the new hires perform meaningful worksooner, and their manager
s’
, peer
s’
and trainer
s’
time involvement is reduced, increasing
everyone’s
 productivity.Recent scientific breakthroughs have led to the development of a methodology and supportingtechnology that increases new hire program effectiveness by both improving the quality of thelearning experiences and enabling easy integration of the best of the classroom and mentoringexperience. This approach is proven, with significant impacts such as:
Reduced the ramp up time of new sales people from 4 months to 4 weeks
Reduced the ramp-up time for manufacturing floor engineers from 24 months to 8 months
Current Paradigms for New Hire Development
Most new hire programs rely on either intense, classroom-based training or ad hoc on-the-jobmentoring (OJT). Both approaches have some strengths, but also significant weaknesses.The primary advantage of intensive new hire classroom training is that it occurs in a controlledenvironment where the organization can determine what the new hire experiences, when theyexperience it and how they experience it. Unfortunately, many new hire training classes simplyprovide too much information, too quickly and with too little context and application to be effectiveOJT mentoring programs, on the other hand, are all about learning through observation of
colleagues’
 performance, discussion of key functions and supported practice. The new hire gets to experience, atleast for a period of time, what the work actually demands. But, OJT experiences are often quiterandom and the learnings derived from the experiences are completely dependent on theeffectiveness of the mentor. Unstructured OJT may be more engaging, but it is not a particularlyreliable means of ensuring that new hires have the attitudes, knowledge and skills they need toultimately succeed.A few organizations try to use these two approaches together by providing classroom trainingfollowed by supported OJT. This too has faltered because too often the class is still overwhelmingand the hand-off to the coach is unstructured, leaving the coach to determine what the reinforcingexperiences will be.
 
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Integrated Class and OJT
Recent studies have shown that the key to ultimate new hire success is not in simply using theseapproaches together, but instead by integrating them into a single, unified experience. Breakthroughsin four areas
 –
positive deviance, fair process, neuroscience and mass customization -- plus the
emergence of “persuasive technology” have led to the development of a methodology that effectively
integrates new hire training classes and high impact OJT support. More specifically, the model has 4key parts:
Set-the-Bar for the New Hire
In Set-the Bar,
experts (aka
)
define the content to be learned by a new hire, aswell as the optimum sequence and best approach for learning the content. They are asked:
What would you teach someone about being a great new hire in a classroom?
What of this would you have a manager or coach reinforce immediately after the class?
What additional, higher order learnings would you guide the manager/coaches to teach oncethe basics are established?The results of this process, which usually takes between one and three days depending on thecomplexity of the job, are incredibly consistent (Table 1), regardless of the industry.The classroom environment always includes connecting
the new hire’s role
to the larger purpose ofthe organization, basic background information and basic process and procedural information. At theend of the classroom portion, the new hire has a solid theoretical foundation for doing the job. TheOJT portions take that theoretical foundation and systematically ensure that the learnings are applied,leading to a full capability employee.The order of these experiences is a significant departure from the normal training approach. Mostclasses and OJT jump straight to the functional knowledge, focusing on the mechanics of the job,without any real context which reduces impact. Instead, the positive deviants stress creating acomprehensive context of the role before any effort is made to become operational.Each of these
“modules”
is defined by a set of
“principles” that specify
the exact content to be learnedin each stage and are
supported by a set of “learning tasks” that the positive deviants be
lieve is theoptimum way to learn the best practices.
Motivating the New Hire
A highly effective means of leveraging the positive deviant wisdom is to use persuasive technology as the platform for a
hybrid “group coaching” and instructor led training proc
ess. Based on the science offair process and the neuroscience of positive visualization, the hybrid form is much more effectivethan either stand-alone training or coaching.
 
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After the positive deviant content is loaded into the persuasive technology, the process for new hiresis:1. A facilitator leads a group of up to 15 new hires into using the persuasive technology to learn
about the positive deviants’
objective, organizing s
teps and key “
p
rinciples.” The new hires
read the content out loud, discuss it in small groups and put it in their own words, whichdrives an initial understanding of the concepts2. A facilitator also leads the group to perform the learning tasks. These learning tasks mayinclude traditional classroom training, facilitator presentations, case studies or interviews ofselected positive deviants about key processes. While the learning tasks look and feel liketraditional classroom training, they are done in the context of the positive deviant content andthe persuasive technology which provides structure.3. After a learning task is complete, the new hires return to the technology, indicate that thelearning tasks is complete and, most critically, record their learningsAs a result of this process, new hires are very engaged and quickly learn their key objectives, havesufficient background information to be effective and are able to efficiently manage the operationalprocesses.
Sustaining the
New Hires’
Learning
One of the primary challenges to traditional approaches occurs in the transition from classroom toOJT learning. Persuasive technology revolutionizes this transition. It effectively guides the new hires
 managers through a simple new hire coaching process that systematically reinforces the learningsfrom the group coaching/classroom. More specifically, when the new hire returns to their manager:
The new hires use the persuasive technology to explain the changes they made of theobjective, organizing steps, and principles to their manager. They also use it to describe thelearning they recorded after completing each learning task. This shows the manager theirdepth of conceptual understanding, reinforces the learnings and prepares both of them forapplying the learning.
The new hire and manager jointly review, adapt and schedule additional learning tasksprovided in the technology that are specifically designed to drive application of the positivedeviant best practices taught in the class to the new hires actual job function.
The new hire performs the learning tasks, debriefs with their manager, repeats as necessary,and records both their learning and progress in the technology.Transitioning to OJT usually takes several weeks with conventional approaches. Using this newapproach, however, the new hire is self-driven to quickly and completely internalize all of thefundamental knowledge required to be successful. Now, the new hire is ready for greater depthprovided in additional OJT. The manager coaches the new hire through learning and applying thebest practices for the remaining, more sophisticated modules until the new hire is fully up-to-speed.

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