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  • Robin Rosenberg

Hybrid New Hires

There are a number of new employees on my team, and employees work from home two days/week. I don’t yet have a sense of these employees’ work ethic. How can I trust that they’ll actually be working well on the days that they’re home?

Although hybrid or remote works can make it more complicated to “trust” newer employees, trust is ultimately a two-way street. Just as they need to earn your trust, you need to earn their trust. If they’re having problems—they don’t understand something, they anticipate they’ll be late for a deadline—you want them to come to you. To do that, there has to be some trust.

Clear Communication: Expectations and Evaluations

As a manager or leader, you’ll want to communicate clearly what you expect of each new employee—on what metrics they’ll be evaluated, what they should do if they run into problems. Clear communication facilitates trust. You make it easier for them to do their work when you are clear about what they should be doing and when. In turn, to the extent that they do the work well and one time, they earn your trust. (They should also earn your trust when they flag for you that they might not make a deadline—as long as it’s not last minute!)

Be Clear About Deliverables

Developing and communication clear expectations means thinking deeply about the work you’re assigning to the new employee and what you expect from them. Because they’re new, you don’t’ really know how much how much of a given type of work they can do in a day or a week. It’s a learning opportunity for you both; hopefully, they get more efficient or better with time. Thus, stay in contact with them about how it’s going, what they need, what questions they have. Make yourself available to them, but don’t micromanage them.

Is Face Time a Good Metric?

Just because someone spends more time in the office doesn’t mean they’re doing a good job. Butt-in-seat time is only a metric of how long they’re staying at the office. It doesn’t tell you how effectively or efficiently they’re working, or the quality of their work. It doesn’t tell you whether the employee enhances the team or create challenges for the people they work with. It’s the same with “Face-on-screen” time—the amount of time you see the person’s face on screen doesn’t tell you anything about their performance.

Your Job

The burden is on you, as a manager, to figure out the types and amounts of work they should be able to do in a given time period. As you get to know them, their work, and what they bring to the team, you will be better able to play to their strengths. That may mean more frequent (but perhaps shorter) check-ins, giving them continual feedback so that they—and you—can learn.

Disclaimer: This question and response is provided for informational purposes only, and you should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of this content. It is strongly recommended that you immediately seek legal or other professional advice if you believe you are experiencing a problem requiring professional assistance. Robin Rosenberg and Live in Their World, Inc. disclaim all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on Dear Robin content.


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