In yesterday’s post, I talked about 3 simple ways HR can create magic for new hires like teachers going back to school. This post continues that thought by taking a look at how teacher’s set the tone and expectations in their classroom at the start of the new year …
My kids are in Year Round school. So for me, back to school happened right after the Independence Day holiday. My son started 4th grade while my daughter started 2nd grade.
On “Meet the Teacher” day, I was really impressed with the hallway of 2nd grade classes that would be my daughter’s new dwelling. The decorative themes were super creative; the desks and learning areas were all setup with supplies and inspiring instructions. The energy was bubbling over — it made me want to sit down to color, cut or create something!!
My son’s classroom was a little more low-key on decor. It was still warm and welcoming; however, it was clear that some serious learning was about to go down in that room. It made me sit up a little straighter and listen more intently to what was being said and done in that room.
In the midst of the buying supplies, clothes and shoes while snapping pictures and feeling nostalgic over how much and how fast our kids have grown, we lose sight of the hard work to come. Teachers don’t. Alongside the excitement and magic, teachers are setting the tone for the year through expectations.
In my son’s class this year, we had to sign a learning contract. It outlined the expectations for him as a student and me as his parent as well as his teacher’s commitments to us. I’d never seen anything like it before! I felt the weight of what this school year was going to mean for both of us in a way I really hadn’t before.
HR should do the same with new employees and employees promoted/reclassified into new positions in our organizations. Arguably, this should happen whenever a pay increase is given as well … but I’ll save that for another post.
HR must make sure our onboarding and orientation programs go beyond the customary signing of the I9 form, tax paperwork and acknowledgement of policy. We should seize the opportunity to set forth the expectations and metrics for success — for the employee, the supervisor and the manager. Set the tone and atmosphere by writing these down for everyone impacted to sign and agree. Outline how often the person will be evaluated against expectations and what financial gains, if any, they are likely to get. Make it plain from the outset so everyone knows and can legitimately be held accountable for outcomes.
To whom more is given, more is required — and requirements shouldn’t be a guessing game or something discussed only when the person has missed the mark. Like teachers at the start of the new school year, HR should outline objectives and goals at the start of any a change in the employment relationship. This will ensure everyone starts out (and hopefully stays) on the path to success.