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Err - how do things really work around here?

Posted in Management @ Mar 2nd 2012 - By Judy Gillespie, Vetanswers
Errr How Do Things Really Work Around Here

Ever employed a great new employee in your veterinary practice..who just seemed to get on everyone's wrong side?

Have you ever had a new employee start in your veterinary practice and after you've gone through your policies & procedures with them & explained their role - they then proceed to step on every one's toes?  They may be great at doing the 'job' but they just don't seem to know how to work with the rest of your team. 

Before you start to plan an exit strategy perhaps you need to consider that maybe it's not their fault.  Maybe your induction programme has missed the important 'organisational socialisation' step - also known as: "What really goes on around here".

Organisational socialistion = What really goes on around here

Policies, procedures and protocols are all essential to the effective and efficient running of every business - but as you know there is so much more to a succesful veterinary practice.  To be successful you must have a well integrated team.  As a manager it's essential to take the time to explictly explain the unwritten 'how we do things around here' rules. 

I was reminded on the importance of this when I read the blog 'Successful workplace socialization begins with the details' from SmartBlog on Leadership.  There's a great 3 minute video embedded into the blog that's definitely worth watching as it explains the concept really well.

It also reminded me of a job I had in another life when I was a District HR Manager for a large retail chain. My role involved offering HR support, advice & guidance to 11 different stores.  Each one had almost exactly the same polices & procedures but each one had a very different organisational culture.  It took me quite some time to work out all the 'unwritten rules' in each of the 11 stores.  Did all the managers meet in the store managers office for morning tea every day or not?  Could I just choose any cup in the tea room or did I have to use the special 'visitors' cup?  In one store I was seen as unfriendly & typical 'head office' as I hadn't joined the team for morning tea.  Errr - that was because no one thought to tell me that was what was done in that store!

New employee not fitting in?

So before you write off your new employee and decide he or she is just not fitting into the team, ask yourself has anyone taken the time to explain "How things really work around here"?  Even better - nominate a 'buddy' to work with your new employee for a week or two so they have an experienced team member's lead to follow and they will be far less likely to make embarassing mistakes or tread on toes. 

Oh yes, one more thing.  Just make sure you choose the right employee as a buddy as you need to be confident that your newbie is being pointed in the right direction.

If you would like some more information on how to develop an awesome culture in your business just check out the Vetanswers Resources Section: Management.

Tell us in the comments section how your business handles the organisational socialisation process successfully. Or even better - a funny story of how it was handled not so successfully (no names need to be mentioned ;)  )


Amber @ Mar 4th 2012 11:51am
Great points, Judy! The on-boarding is important, but the process doesn't stop there. Too often, managers leave new employees to flounder once they're on the team. This can come from not introducing the newbie around, not explaining the systems and the players, not empowering them to do anything, etc. The failure of a new employee cannot always be traced back to the employee. It can frequently point directly at the hiring manager. Good reminders, Judy!
Judy Gillespie @ Mar 4th 2012 12:09pm
Hi Amber Thanks for stopping by and for your comments. :) I agree - recruitment is such an expensive process that it seems to make sense for the hiring manager to treat their new 'investment' as something special. Maybe that's a good topic for another blog - New Employee = new investment!

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