3 Tips to Reduce Your New Hire’s Time-to-Productivity

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ReachA few years back, we noted an that the recruiting industry was moving its focus away from speed-of-hire,  emphasizing quality-of-hire instead.

But, despite this shift — an perhaps unsurprisingly — speed-of-hire has not disappeared entirely as a KPI. If anything, it seems that the combination of an increasingly competitive corporate climate and a somewhat justifiable paranoia about finding skilled talent has led to a renewed and sustained pressure to find talent quickly.

It takes a strong and disciplined HR department not to fold and lower standards when faced with an empty seat in this climate, where “any hands” may be better than “no hands at all” on deck.

This is a reminder that there will always be a pressure to hire quickly, but we need to put in a conscious effort to fight the inertia and make sure that the quality-of-hire metric is given appropriate priority in the hiring process. One particular area of quality-of-hire, which has suffered under the weight of expectations of speed, is the time-to-productivity of new hires. In 2011, research from i4cp found  that just 16 percent of organizations used the time-to-productivity metric — but a massive 64 percent said that they should be using it to manage talent more effectively.

To help HR departments keep their sights on quality-of-hire as the ultimate recruiting metric, I offer these three tips to help you reduce the time-to-productivity of your new hires.

1. Start Measuring Tim-to-Productivity

In order to start measuring time-to-productivity, you’ll first need to define it. The specific definition will vary from company to company, but generally, time-to-productivity should be defined as “the time required to get the employee to a point where they have the skills, knowledge, and qualifications to operate on a level similar to other employees at the company.”

Having defined iDeskt in a way that make senses to your organization and the new hire, you can then begin to simply start measuring it. How long does it take for the average new employee to reach the defined productivity level? Figuring this out can give you an idea of what “fast” and “slow” look like, and you can set an appropriate time-to-productivity target to focus and galvanize your efforts.

2. Set Realistic Targets

Establish clear time-to-productivity targets and make sure that recruiters, hiring managers, and staff members are assigned these targets, or at least made aware of them.

This is not to say that there shouldn’t be any flexibility with respect to time-to-productivity. There may be times when companies find it appropriate to hire underqualified employees, who will need a little more time to get up to speed than the average new hire. That being said, even in these situations, the new hire should have a time-to-productivity target — albeit, one adjusted to accommodate the hire’s needs.

3. Make Sure Meeting (or Missing) a Target Matters

You shouldn’t spend your time and energy setting a time-to-productivity target if it is only going to gather dust and never be revisited. It’s important to make sure that there are costs for failing to meet targets and/or incentives to meet or exceed them.

For starters, why not consider incentivizing new hires with some kind of reward or bonus should they meet or exceed their time-to-productivity target?

HandwritingIn theory, the hiring manager should feel the pain of failing to meet a target automatically, as it will mean their team will be less productive than it should be.

However, time-to-productivity targets can can easily drop off of your recruiting team’s radar, as the team will have moved on to new hiring projects. You might need to bring it back into view with a twice-yearly or even quarterly review of this metric. Offer the team an enhanced bonus if new hires are meeting their time-to-productivity goals, and/or reduce the team’s bonus if new hires are not meeting their targets. This will encourage recruiters to give greater priority to recruitment factors that deliver candidates who can hit the ground running or get up to speed quickly.

These are just suggestions. You should, of course, use whatever techniques are best suited to your circumstances to incentivize your staff to meet time-to-productivity targets.

By Kazim Ladimeji