Why Teamwork Works
Whether looked from the perspective of our own lives or the effectiveness of an organization’s employee retention strategy, the saying “None of Us Is As Good As All of Us” is as relevant today as when it was coined by McDonald’s co-founder, Ray Kroc. This idea is particularly relevant when it comes to the successful induction of new hires. Typically, employees who are new to an organization will have few or no other employees who they know well. Yet, the early days of any new job are those where the incumbent will be less confident and less knowledgeable regarding the actual challenges of their job and will therefore be most likely to need help and support.
In a previous blog post I covered the importance of collaboration to the induction process. In that blog post, I described how new hires have to gain acceptance from pre-existing employees and how the existence of cliques can make this more difficult. Concurrent with this, supervisors need to ensure that their new hires become fully integrated into their teams. In other blog posts, I described the Performance Profile Questionnaire and showed you how this can be used to measure personality, motivational priorities, and thinking styles as part of an evidence-based recruitment process. At that time, I introduced the concepts ofIntrinsic Thinking and Extrinsic Thinking and it turns out that these thinking style differences can have a significant impact on the way in which a new hire should be managed.
These are individuals who tend to discuss problems with other employees under circumstances where they have already formulated their own opinion. As a result, such thinkers tend to be less inclined to ask other employees their opinions and less likely to listen carefully to other employees’ opinions. Intrinsic Thinkers can usually be recognized by the fact that they tend to monopolize the discussion and do more talking than listening.
Because of this, Intrinsic Thinkers tend to have less well-developed social skills and this can adversely impact their relations with other employees. This is particularly the case in new relationships and therefore makes the induction of Intrinsic Thinking new hires more difficult.
On the other hand, Intrinsic Thinkers can be highly innovative and, given the opportunity, can not only identify new and improved ways of completing their work but also have the potential to help other employees with useful ideas. The issue for such a thinker is that, as a new hire, it is important that they first focus on the development of relationships and then find ways to help others. Unfortunately, it is often the case that this type of thinker will come forward with ideas before these relationships have developed.
One consequence of this is that many of the ideas that the individual comes up with can be based on an inadequate understanding of the subtleties in challenges faced by colleagues. In the process of rushing to solution, such thinkers can damage relationships.
In addition to this, because they tend to rely more on their own ideas, Intrinsic Thinkers are less likely either to approach their supervisor for suggestions in problem solving situations and also less likely to report regularly and voluntarily to their supervisor. As a result, their supervisor will be kept less up-to-date regarding the progress they are making in their new job.
To overcome these problems, supervisors of Intrinsic Thinkers need to create situations where the individual will share their ideas with them first. One way to do this is to bring the Intrinsic Thinking new hire into discussions regarding challenges being faced by the supervisor themselves. During the ensuing discussions, the new hire has the opportunity to learn:
(1) That, because they are new, their initial thoughts may be based on inadequate understanding of the problems
(2) That their supervisor has experience, skills, and knowledge that can be useful to them in their new job
Each of us are motivated to do those things that are of benefit to us and do less of those things that are not. Because of this, as the new hire learns the advantage of ideas sharing with their supervisor, they become more motivated to do this. In this manner, the supervisor can not only build a strong relationship with the new hire but also keep themselves fully up-to-date on the new hire’s progress. Additionally, the supervisor can use this knowledge to nip in the bud actions that might damage the new hire’s ability to settle in to their new team.
Unlike Intrinsic Thinkers, Extrinsic Thinkers usually discuss problems with other employees under circumstances where they have yet to formulate their own opinion. Such thinkers tend to be more inclined to ask other employees their opinions and more likely to listen carefully to their opinions. Extrinsic Thinkers can usually be recognized by the fact that they tend to do more listening than talking.
Because of this, Extrinsic Thinkers typically have well-developed social skills and this positively impacts the development of good relations with other employees. From this point of view, this simplifies the induction of Extrinsic Thinkers.
On the other hand, because Extrinsic Thinkers tend to solve problems in collaboration with others, their early-days success will depend more on the development of useful inter-dependent relationships.
To help with this, supervisors need to encourage collaboration. Fortunately, Extrinsic Thinkers tend to report more frequently to their supervisors. They also reach out to their supervisors more frequently for help. Supervisors can use such situations as opportunities to set up collaborative discussions with other team members. In this manner, supervisors can help Extrinsic Thinkers develop rapidly the inter-dependent relationships so vital to their successful induction.
Employee Retention and Productivity
In a previous blog post, I described how high employee turnover in a small department lower-down in an organization manufacturing executive jets, led to a serious reduction in sales and significant employee layoffs. Through the deployment of Talent Chaser, we have been able to observe the damage caused by a lack of employee experience resulting from high employee turnover.
By taking into account thinking styles, supervisors can customize the way in which they manage new hires. Data collected through the deployment of Talent Chaser shows that, doing this can radically increase the chances that each new hire will be successful. In this manner, employee retention can be improved along with experience and productivity.