Potential does not always guarantee performance. How many times have we seen it in sports? A top draft pick who never pans out. The offspring or sibling of an athletic superstar who displays the same physical gifts but somehow fails to perform as well.

Sports drafting is not a perfect analogy to staffing, but it suffices to make a point: You can’t assume that an applicant who displays high potential will automatically and immediately turn in a top performance on the job. Just as some sports team managers may have unrealistic expectations that an athlete’s pedigree alone will lead to success, some hiring managers might think, “I screened my applicants thoroughly and chose the one whose strengths and performance drivers best align with the job. My work is done.”

Don’t misunderstand the message: Hiring based on intrinsic potential is and always will be a critical part of making a successful hire. But that’s not the end of making a successful hire, it’s just the beginning. Real success comes from employee engagement, and onboarding is the engine that drives engagement. Ask yourself these important questions about your onboarding process:

Do you and your applicant/new hire have the same understanding of the role?

Ideally, you are keeping your job descriptions up to date and reflective of what applicants can expect once in position. In your final interviews, avoid sugar coating the job and understating the less appealing aspects of the role. Realistic expectations and a clear understanding from the outset (i.e., honesty) will set the stage for new-hire engagement.

It should go without saying that the person who understands the role best should be the one making the hiring decision. This is not something to delegate to an HR assistant.

Are you training and integrating new hires based on their intrinsic strengths and limitations?

People don’t all learn the same way or respond the same way to on-the-job training. Some are more comfortable adapting to new systems and processes. Some are more comfortable speaking up when they don’t understand something. Some respond better to self-paced training while others value hands-on demonstration.

With a Caliper report, you will be aware of the new hire’s strengths and motivators, you should be able to customise the training effort accordingly. The ultimate goal is to maximise potential, and a recent hire who feels empowered and effective will also feel engaged. Engagement unlocks potential.


Do you have a mentor program?

A mentor program offers multiple benefits. One, it helps the new hire become integrated into the culture of the company. It’s not easy to embrace the social norms in a new work environment. A mentor can “show the ropes” to accelerate integration.

The mentor also benefits from feeling valued and trusted by the organisation, and both mentor and new hire gain a sense that the company is invested in them as individuals. Which, of course, further drives engagement.

It also takes some of the development burden off of you. Because, let’s be honest, you’re reading this post and thinking, “When am I going to have time for all these onboarding activities?”

Are you setting worthwhile and realistic goals?

It’s up to you, whether you’re a hiring manager or an HR professional invested in the onboarding process, to take an active approach to new-hire development. Consider these important components to goal setting:

1) Goals should be relevant to the job, and the recent hire must be afforded the opportunity to achieve them. That is, provide the time, tools, and resources to achieve the goals, just as you provide a workstation, a computer, and a business objective.

2) Goals should come with deadlines and clear measures of success.

The importance of setting deadlines should not be understated, especially when your new employee is just starting to find their footing within their role. However, falling short of goals should be viewed not as a failure but as a developmental opportunity. People who are made to feel like disappointments tend to become disengaged from their work. Remember that when coaching, just as when selecting and training, each employee has his or her own strengths, motivations, and inhibitors. Some respond to a blunt challenge, while others might prefer a supportive, “we can do this together” type of message.

Caliper’s assessment reporting suite, Caliper Essentials™, is designed to help you not only to identify the best candidate for the job but provides you with suggestions on how to effectively coach and onboard your new employee. Reach out to us today to start raising engagement levels across your organisation.

Contact us at info@caliper.com.au to request a sample report or order a report.