The Rookie Card

A recent conversation with a local business leader stuck with me.  “Ms. Fabulous” shared her philoshophy on new employees: she gives every new hire a Rookie Card. This card allows the bearer to learn, make mistakes and ask multiple questions during the first six months.

As an example, she recently hired someone at an intermediate level with over eight years of industry experience.  I enquired how the new hire was adjusting, and Ms. Fabulous’s response was surprising. With a laugh, she candidly explained the employee had made several small mistakes and was having difficulty navigating their complex regulatory system. However, rather than being upset or concerned, she stated she was thrilled with all the progress! Ms. Fabulous could see that this new employee frequently asked questions and was very engaged in learning their complicated systems. As an experienced and adept manager, she understands every company has slightly different rules of play, even in this particular case where she hired someone from a direct competitor. Regardless of seniority, new employees have to be part-student and part-employee. Ms. Fabulous knows from experience that no external candidate can exceed expectations within a few months in every area, as their business is complex and their standards are high.

The industry buzz about Ms. Fabulous is that she is a sought-out leader who manages an exceptional talent group. Due to her philosophy of hiring people with the best attitudes and promoting from within, she rarely hires above junior level. This has a marvelous side-effect of keeping employees motivated and happy. If you have made a recent hire, regardless of seniority, you might want to consider passing them a Rookie Card. This sets them up for success, which ultimately reflects well on your entire organization.

~ Julie Steele

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