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The first mistake in hiring? Not developing a New Hire Road Map.

New Hire Destination – A Clear Articulation of Success

If I pointed to a place on a map and asked you to drive there would you have a better chance of getting to that there than if I just simply asked you to get somewhere and judged your performance about getting to a specific there when there never was a defined there? Huh? Where? What? Would you? Feeling confused?

If the answer is no, you have incredible powers of focus, if yes welcome to the world of the typical new hire at the typical startup.

You see when employees begin a job at most growing companies, they’re given the directional equivalent of a road map with no “you are here” marker, deadline, or destination. Imagine being given a map of the United States and having your boss come up to you 6 weeks after handing you the map, berating you because you hadn’t gotten there yet?

Gotten there? Gotten where? Yet? When?

Get the idea? You have to define the parameters for your new hire!

The Ugly New Hire Truth

Hiring is a very costly game.  Hiring plans gone awry is one of the most common causes that companies miss projections. New hire failure is rampant. Hiring odds are stacked against companies for the following reasons:

    1. On-Time– filling positions takes longer than planned
    2. Right Person – you’re lucky if 50% of your new-hires work-out
    3. Resource Drain – while coming up to speed new hires require more resources than they produce
    4. Learning Curve – new hires rarely get independently productive as quickly as planned
    5. Replacement Cost – failed hires amplify and exacerbate the problem


Improve the New Hire Odds With a Visions of Success

Don’t hire people unless you have a clear vision of short-term, mid-term, long-term success. With this vision, you will clearly be able to objectively evaluate their performance. More importantly, if the employee understands your expectations they will have a better chance of meeting or exceeding them.

Goals setting is the map equivalent of saying I’d like you to get from Washington DC to Columbus Ohio in 8 hours. Don’t you think new employees would have a better chance to arrive in Columbus on time if you shared your desired goal for them?

Now let’s suppose they showed up 8 hours late.  Why were they late? Was it A) excusable because the company car broke down or B) inexcusable because they stopped in a bar halfway there and spent the night in the drunk tank?

If the answer was a verified A no fault-of-theirs then move to the next mid-term goal like getting from Columbus Ohio to Denver in 2 days.  If the answer is B, then don’t pass GO, make the new employee “available to industry.”

Reduce Termination Disruption

For your next new-hire define short-term success. Ask yourself, what are the earliest, clearest signs that this new hire is succeeding? How soon can I determine if this person is a keeper and what and what should I expect of them that will make it clear I’ve chosen wisely.

When goals are clearly defined and not met, the difficult conversation of “letting someone go,” is made less difficult for the CEO, the employee, and the rest of the team.

“You know you have treated a terminated employee right when you can maintain a relationship with them long after they are let-go.”

The most difficult termination discussions are avoided when expected performance is clearly articulated and an employee understands that they didn’t meet agreed-to expectations. The worst employment separations take place when the employee has no idea they are about to be let go.  Setting goals, emphasizing the importance of meeting those goals, and monitoring a new employee’s progress serve to prepare them for the inevitable.

A poor termination of even the most inept employees can affect company morale. Employees watch how you treat others and think, “there but for the grace of go I.”


Don’t make a new hire if you can’t communicate the skills and results the hire must meet to demonstrate they’re the right person in the right seat on the right bus. Communicate and gain agreement on that vision of success and hold that employee accountable to meet those goals. Follow this simple rule and you’ll:

    1. Improve your company’s hiring success rate
    2. Recover from hiring mistakes more quickly
    3. Reduce the disruption surrounding employee terminations

Help your new employee reach their destination while moving you closer to reaching yours.

I’m a business coach, I drag executives out of the weeds, out of the “in” of the business and onto the “on” of the business. I ask for plans, monitor progress, and hold executives accountable so they wake up to where they planned to be. Want to know what it feels like to be dragged out of the weeds and to actually work on the business? Schedule a complimentary online one-on-one coaching session by pressing this thing-a-ma-jiggy, right here: