My 10 cents’ worth about performance reviews of new hires for better job descriptions.
By Richard Lynell
In my last article (http://trainingmag.com/article/benefits-being-free-agent-vs-employee), I spoke about the “to be determined” (TBD) or “other duties as assigned” (ODA) parts of job descriptions. In this article, I will discuss how learning and development (L&D) can be an important part of an evaluation team to help prepare better job descriptions and requirements. Why should L&D be a part of this process? Well, it makes your job easier when trainees are skilled, educated, and experienced before they walk into your session. But let’s take it a step further. If you’ve ever heard “they weren’t trained properly,” “they need more training,” or “everyone can be trained,” all the more reason to encourage and participate in a roundtable review of new hires and performance.
“In Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels,”Donald Kirkpatrick wrote, “Trainers must begin with desired results and then determine what behavior is needed to accomplish them. Then trainers must determine the attitudes, knowledge, and skills that are necessary to bring about the desired behavior(s). The final challenge is to present the training program in a way that enables the participants not only to learn what they need to know but also to react favorably to the program.”
It’s the second sentence of this quote that I’m focused on, but not just as an L&D responsibility. L&D should NOTbe the only group concerned with the KSAs (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) of employees. Many groups have a stake in the candidate, and if they don’t realize that or don’t want to get involved, then performance issues and finger-pointing will persist.
In most of today’s corporate environments, you have what I refer to as the “hand-off” of the new employee. Recruiting hands off the new hire to Training; Training hands off to the manager/supervisor; and so on. Each group does its part to get the new hire onboard, but only its part. There’s little to no interaction between the groups to ensure employee success.
I was talking with a colleague of mine at a conference a while back, and we were discussing this very subject. He shared with me an idea that I had heard pieces of before, but never put together as a whole program the way he did. Here is a part of his program that may be worth a try:
All parties involved in the success of the employee contribute to the job description and any assessments that are or should be developed to evaluate the candidate’s competencies before hiring, during training, and within 30 days post-training. During the hiring process, the recruiter should report and/or discuss results of the applications and qualifications of candidates. Look for trends in applications and applications’ source of posting as it may tell you which media to use/not use for future postings. During initial training, the trainer should report class and individual progress with supervisors, managers, and performance analysts. At the same time, the recruiter and department supervisor should coordinate the employee’s orientation process and evaluation with the department manager.
At the end of training and orientation, all parties meet to discuss each individual’s performance to date using both actual data and observations to evaluate the effectiveness of the job description against performance, and the orientation plan against the employee’s comfort level with their new position, department, and management. Thirty days after training, there is another review with all parties where the performance analyst discusses the performance of the new hires to date.
These meetings help to strategize and develop better job descriptions, training programs, performance support resources, and orientation programs on a continual basis. While the details of the program are more than can be covered in an article, the point is that everyone has a stake in the employees’ success and must work together as a group to help new employees succeed.
Watch for my next installment in January, when I’ll explore the benefits of a panel for performance reviews.
Richard Lynell has been in the training and development profession for the last 35 years. He has worked for both the U.S. military and corporate training, and recently became an independent consultant.