MYTH: As I have just joined the company, I have time to prove myself.
REALTY: Time to prove yourself reduces as you climb the career ladder.
Some people treat their early days with a company as a ‘honeymoon’ period—one of going through admission formalities and the induction programme. They think that the manager does not expect results from them immediately. Whilst this might be true for less-experienced people, it isn’t true for middle- and senior-level employees. There is no rule that one cannot interact and ramp up during the induction programme by interacting with the manager and the team, There will always be a few documents to provide background information about a project to which you have been newly assigned. Some companies assign mentors during this period and the new hire ought to make the most of this arrangement and learn from the mentor.
A general manager in the US once remarked: ‘One pay check, I will take on the company account and the second one, I will take on my own: In the US,. the pay period is two weeks, and this meant that he wanted to learn to be productive in the first two weeks and then work on his own in order to justify the salary and the position. When an employee is new to a company, there are several challenges ahead of him. Some new hires become very impatient and, while trying to prove themselves quickly, they start committing mistakes. While the people concerned may not come down harshly on the first few mistakes, it won’t be the case if they are repeated. Then there are those who ask too many questions too soon, and even raise doubts about the entire project itself. If a person joins a project in a senior position and, without understanding the full product, starts questioning the design and even recommends changes, then he would become a laughing stock. What he should do is ask a few people to mentor him so that he is able to understand the project better. When a person is new to a project, he can initially take the back seat until he has learnt it fully; or else, he can focus on a sub-area where he can contribute more effectively.
A new employee has to Move by growing like a T—understanding simultaneously the depth and the breadth of the project. If a new hire does not ramp up at the expected speed, then the manager should talk to him and find out the issues. The former should be honest about his capabilities, rather than hide his shortcomings. Sometimes, a new recruit’s self-confidence gets dented when he finds himself in a team of high performers where the work environment is too fast and too challenging for his liking, since he has not experienced anything like that in the past. Managers should devote quality time to the new hires during the orientation phase. As for the new hire—especially in middle and senior positions—he should be frank with his manager about what to expect and in what timeline; this will avoid any misunderstanding, and will help the new hire ramp up properly.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE EMPLOYEE? As you grow in your career, you need to shift from The manager will let me know’ phase to ‘Let me ask the manager’ phase. This shift is a confidence booster, while it’s also the best way to know what the manager expects of you. Once you have the data point, you should take every step to meet it. If required, take timely help, too
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE MANAGER? Be clear about your expectations from the new hire and explain them to him properly. You should also ask for feedback on the induction process and its content, so as to bring in any improvement to the system. You should_ provide help to the new hire where needed You should make sure not to put unnecessary pressure from the beginning; that can hinder the ramp-up process, leading to poor results. You could also fine-tune your expectations based on how the person is shaping up.