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Sip on your piña colada as your new recruit learns the ropes

"Time to hire? Are you joking! I'm planning to hit the beaches over December; that's if I don't decide to migrate to the Alps to brush up on my snowboarding! And what is a new hire going to do with skeleton staff in the office over the holiday season anyway?"
That is the mindset of many senior managers and HR professionals at this time of the year. The thought of recruiting a new team member is dwarfed by the much more attractive idea of much anticipated end-of-year leave and of summer finally arriving.

Speaking to a top HR professional yesterday, however, I got a different perspective. Last year she hired a team member at the end of the year (and yes, this time of year is regarded by many as "year-end"). So the new employee started in December. Crazy, some might say, while everyone else is going on leave. That is true, but that is also what made this hire so successful. While the office was quieter, this team member was able to familiarise herself with all the company policies, processes and tools of her trade. Sure, she had a mentor to guide her (so someone on the skeleton staff list needs to be a capable buddy). In this way, she was able to gain an understanding of her new environment before the company's new projects kicked off in January and February.

Lost productivity over a slower business period

When the other team members returned from their leave they could also get up to speed much quicker because they didn't have to spend too much time orientating their new colleague. We all know that it takes up to five or six months to attain 100% productivity in a new recruit and that during that time team productivity is lost as the adjustment is supported. So, why not deal with the biggest chunk of lost productivity over a slower business period?

Almost a great idea, you may say, but is there anyone looking to move jobs at this time of year? Isn't the market pool smaller? Not really. Now that that 13th cheque is no longer a sure thing, there seems to be more movement at the end of the year; and let's not forget about all the new graduates being released into the job market.

So while you are sipping on that piña colada or wrapping your hands around a steaming hot chocolate after a day on the slopes, why not put your mind at ease that your new recruit is learning the ropes? Come January or February, he or she will be able to hit the ground running, together with the rest of your team.

About the author

Jane Moors is a recruitment training facilitator.