This week I am sharing tips on becoming a STAR supervisor -- for more on that, see Monday's dot. Today focuses on the "S" = START, and how good supervision begins in the hiring process.
BEFORE HIRING: Prior to placing an ad, I recommend developing a "desired attributes" list that outlines the characteristics you are seeking from an ideal candidate. You can then incorporate these key points into your posting, and ask for examples in the interview to ascertain whether the candidate possesses your desired qualities. You form impressions as a supervisor from the ad forward, and it is good to start off giving the candidate a sense of what you value. I always send a pre-interview packet (and expectations that they have read it and can translate their experiences to fit real life examples) and have an intentional and comprehensive interview schedule to give the candidate a sense of fit with potential colleagues. I also always conduct the reference checks on my own (see dot #1391).
ONCE HIRED: As soon as the person is hired, we always route a card throughout the department so everyone can add a word of welcome to the candidate. We send this to their home, often accompanied by a few items of "swag" for them (and their family if they have one.) I know that leaving the current job/city/organization involves a sense of loss, and I want to keep the happy aspects of coming to us as prominent as I can. We put a sign and words of welcome on their desk for the first day, and provide a comprehensive orientation schedule in advance, assuring the employee that we have plans to acclimate them to the culture, the job duties, the city if their arrival involved a move, and to the organization as a whole. We communicate start time, parking locations, who will meet them and where, as well as dress code norms for the first day so there is no anxiety about that.
FIRST WEEKS: It is important that things are realistic, not all rosy, from the beginning. Set expectations from the start. Acknowledge where there is some flexibility, but hold firm to rules or policies that must remain rigid. Provide feedback on where the new employee is doing well, but also where they could tweak their behavior. If you have one-to-one meetings with your new staff, conduct them in the way you plan to hold them going forward. You want to set the tone and be the boss from the beginning, not be their new friend. It is easier to loosen expectations later than it is to gain respect or create more restrictions.
At one training session that a colleague and I facilitated for new supervisors, we handed out magnets with a picture of Bruce Springsteen. We encouraged the supervisors to put these where they could see them and remind themselves that they are THE BOSS and need to act accordingly. You, too, are THE BOSS, and the sooner you establish what that means for you, the better your relationship will be with your employees.
More tomorrow on T = TIME...
-- beth triplett