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The first day on the job

The first day at a new job is always exciting for the new col- league, and for you, too. Make sure you have things prepared in advance, so the introductory process goes as smoothly as possible. Here’s a checklist of a few simple actions to take.

1. Responsibility

Give the person ownership and responsibility for the job, from the very beginning. Make clear that it’s understood that some mistakes and failures are almost inevitable – and that they’ll be accepted, as long as responsibility is taken and they continued to learn.

2. Helpful feedback

In the beginning, try to give feedback in the direction of improving processes and general actions, rather than jumping in on every misplaced comma or minor error. Build understanding and confidence, recognize willingness, and you rapidly build competence.

3. Expect demonstrations of skill

Don’t let your new team member’s “runway” be too long and easy. Early on, give them some demanding tasks – chances to demonstrate their competence. It’s better to find out early that you’ve made a mistake and hired someone who’s actually lazy or incompetent. That way you can correct the mistake before too much loss or damage occurs.

4. Acknowledgement and correction

Make sure you acknowledge tasks well done, and demonstrations of competence, initiative and responsibility. When errors or failures occur, give feedback that puts the person back on track.

Hiring the wrong person is one of the most expensive mis-steps a new start-up can make. The returns on the “investment” of hiring the right people, though, can be huge.

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