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May - 2011 - issue > People Manager

Induction Blues

C Mahalingam (Mali)
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
C Mahalingam (Mali)
In the last column, we examined the induction traps that organizations expose the new comers to and as a result the new joiner finds the entire experience very frustrating. In this column, I will address some of the induction blues that the new joiners go through in spite of the best efforts an organization may make.

An induction blue means a difficult situation that the new joiner experiences and does not have a defined solution visible to address the same. Typically, a new joiner happens to go through most of them although some of the blues are peculiar to some organizations. But all of them need to receive the attention they deserve and systemic approach to solving them will help the induction process become very successful. I am not covering here lack of first day readiness such as a workplace to sit or an access badge to move around, but more serious and insidious blues that can put off the new joiner and perhaps may even become an adverse branding for the organization in due course.

* Induction mentor or tormentor: In many organizations, there is policy to assign a mentor to provide comfort to the new joiner. Often referred to as the “buddy system”, the intent is to provide a ‘go-to-person’ for a few weeks so that the new employee understands the ‘dos and don’ts of the organization’ and quickly learns the ropes. If these buddies or mentors are not carefully selected, the mentors can become tormentors and make the life of the new joiner miserable.

* Hierarchy of demotivators: In every organization, there exists an invisible hierarchy of people with exceptional ability to demotivate the newcomers. This hierarchy often cuts across the various functions in the organization. For example, this hierarchy may have a junior guy from HR, a middle manger from Finance and a senior manager from Operations. Their mission is to scare the hell out of any new recruit who joins with a spark in the eyes! They individually or collectively catch these unsuspecting newcomers and take them to the cafeteria for a gyan. This gyan usually is to share the ‘horror stories’ about the organization and to express their concern as to how such a good guy will survive in the system! If the newcomer disappears from the office from next day on, their objective is achieved!
* Tricky project: In some organizations, the newcomer is greeted with a very tricky project from day one – something that failed or never took off for reasons of internal politics. Not knowing the background, the newcomer goes from pillar to post to get things started and it becomes the fun for a whole bunch of folks to watch! Needless to say the new joiner is either speaking to his previous employer already or to another headhunter!
* High level review too soon: When the new joiner has hardly spent 2 weeks into the job, getting very senior manager to review the performance creates a lot of stress and insecurity. When done as a routine process, this viewed more as a “witness box” scrutiny than a productive review of performance.

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