For many CEOs, It can be difficult to evaluate whether or not a new senior-level hire is truly doing a good job for the organization. Some CEOs have high expectations and judge new hires quickly – often too quickly to truly get a handle on performance. Others move slowly, which can lead to poor performance getting out of hand. Neither approach is good for the organization. So what is the right recipe when it comes to evaluating your hiring decisions?
When CEOs or managers at any level are stuck with a vacant position, they already consider themselves behind the eight ball. They may be overloaded with extra work, or they may stay awake at night calculating the billable hours they lose each day the position goes unfilled. That stress leads them to make quick hiring decisions and set extremely high expectations for a new hire. They have a set idea of what should be done and how it should be done. It can be difficult for anyone – even someone who is extremely talented – to meet those expectations from day one.
And when a new hire inevitably doesn’t meet those expectations quickly, reactionary CEOs will send the new hire packing. High turnover among senior leadership is not only expensive; it creates turmoil in the ranks. Morale and productivity suffer, and with each turn of the revolving door, it becomes more difficult to find a candidate that fits the bill.
The Slow Cooker
Slow cooking is fine for the kitchen, but when it comes to evaluating hiring decisions, taking too long to act can have detrimental effects on the organization.
Many CEOs want to give new hires plenty of time to get it right, and they assume that if things are going wrong, they will eventually get better on their own. Others simply look the other way, and focus their energy on established team members who are up to speed. Meanwhile, the new hire’s poor performance affects other leaders and other team members. By the time those complaints reach your ear, it’s probably far too late to make improvements.
The Right Ingredients
So what is the recipe for success when it comes to decision making? Just as executive chefs follow a recipe, CEOs must also follow a carefully-planned roadmap for evaluating new hires. When you put the time in up front, it will have a direct impact on a new hire’s success. In order to properly evaluate performance and make the right decisions, CEOs must:
- Work with clearly defined goals for the position before interviewing even begins.
- Match candidates with the needs and expectations of the position.
- Define the goals of the position with the new hire.
- Set performance expectations at three month, six month, nine month, and 12 month intervals.
- Check in with a new hire regularly (biweekly at a minimum) to review progress.
Additionally, CEOs should establish a strong relationship with their HR director. CEOs and HR professionals view situations through different lenses. When you build a strong and trusting relationship with your HR director, you can solicit advice on new hires to help gauge their progress and if necessary, make the tough decisions before it’s too late.
It is important to give new hires the support that they need to succeed, and to give them a workable timeframe in which to meet goals. Acting too quickly, or not quickly enough, can lead to long-term negative effects across the organization. Take the time to set goals and expectations, and clearly communicate those goals and expectations to each new leader. Check in regularly to review progress, and don’t be afraid to lean on your HR director to help you make the right decisions when it comes to evaluating a new hire.