newly hired productive employees

Overcoming New-Hire Boredom at Work

Newly hired employees can become bored, disengaged and less productive if you do not take proactive steps to challenge them from the start. The first several weeks in a new job can often be spent completing forms, learning company practices, software systems, and co-worker names – all while getting introduced (slowly) to the duties of your role. Some employees get through this process just fine, while others get bored and sometimes frustrated that they are not immediately bestowed with all of the responsibilities for which they were hired.

One of C2’s professional employer organization (“PEO”) clients recently called to ask for suggestions on how to handle five new hires who seemed to be growing restless that their introduction to the company and accompanying training was taking so long. There are no easy answers here, since most companies today have varying degrees of “onboarding” and training that must take place before an employee can start spending most of his or her day on substantive projects. However, being proactive about integrating new hires into your company culture while maintaining an emphasis on the job duties for which they were hired can help bridge that initial gap of monotony until the company is ready for them to put their skills to substantive good use on a daily basis.
For all the resources spent trying to recruit the best candidates, here are a few ways to increase productivity and keep new hires engaged during that introductory period.


A. New Equipment

New hires are looking forward to their first day on the job. Just like a kid on the first day of school, they too wonder where will they sit, what their new office/desk will look like, will they like their co-workers, and what kind of computers, phone, or other equipment will they have? Being ready on day one to provide your new hire with all the proper equipment can go a long way toward making the new hire feel welcome and interested in their new role. By contrast, if your new hire spends the first couple of days waiting around for IT to find them a laptop or set up new software on their computer, that can send a message to your new hire that you did not plan for their arrival and are not all that excited about them joining your team. This simple yet crucial step can help get your relationship with your new hire off to a productive start.


B. Early Manager Involvement

New hires need to have proper training either by their manager or a peer. In that regard, a defined training plan can be a valuable tool – not only to make sure the new hire gets trained properly, but also to ensure engagement with the new hire on a regular basis. Managers often get busy with meetings and putting out fires both internally and externally, which can lead to the new hires sitting in their office with little to do. Managers should have their training plan ready on the new hire’s first day, and schedule training sessions for their new hire to help ensure a smooth transition and early engagement. Keeping your new hire engaged provides them with a feeling of accomplishment, increases their confidence, and generates excitement about their new role with your company.


C. Communicate Effectively

As workplaces have become more diverse, the need to communicate effectively and clearly has become paramount. Communication across departments and between employees, managers and their staffs are all essential to successfully operating a business on a day-to-day basis. However, companies sometimes struggle to consistently provide effective communication in their workplaces. Setting open, productive communication habits with your new hire from the start can lay the groundwork for effective communication practices and will help prevent the new hire from feeling isolated or, worse, feeling unwanted.


D. Foster Inclusion Among Co-workers

Generally speaking, happy employees are more engaged, more productive, harder working, and more loyal. Find ways to break-up the workday, encourage people to build relationships, reward productivity and above all else, have some fun! It is always a good idea to plan fun events for your staff (even if it is just ordering in lunch one day for everybody), but making sure to include your new hires can help make them feel welcome and stave off feelings or boredom and isolation at the start of their employment as they get up to speed on all aspects of their new job.


E. Change-Up the Routine

An easy way to keep your new hires engaged is to provide more variety in their work day. Perhaps they could spend the morning on one project and an afternoon on another. Intersperse the mandatory “onboarding” and basic employee training with more substantive tasks directly related to their job. Remember, at the outset of their employment, the goal is to prevent new hires from getting bored, so changing up their routine and allowing them to frequently start new tasks or jump back and forth between them is an easy way to keep them engaged. Breaking up the routine, even a little bit, will help your new hires remain fresh and excited about their new role.


F. Challenge New Hires Early

Giving new hires at least a “taste” from the start of the challenging work and responsibility for which they were hired can stave off boredom and help stoke excitement about what they will be doing on a regular basis once the introductory paperwork and training period is over. Managers should obviously walk the line between not overloading their new hires and not giving them enough substantive work early on. However, employees most often report that were not given enough substantive work to do as a new hire. So managers should provide their new hires with some real substantive work, but also keeping an open line of communication with them to monitor their progress.


G. Summary

Obviously, there are tedious parts to every job. No employee is going to love every task they undertake, but that is just part and parcel of having a job. To a degree, employers should legitimately expect their employees to be self-motivated, and to perform their job duties at a high level without significant “hand holding.” On the other hand, employers must recognize that they play a big role in the quality of their employees’ work environment – particularly with respect to new employees. Making a concerted effort to engage and challenge new hires from the start can stave off feelings of boredom and foster excitement in the company’s mission. Employers invest a lot of resources (in both time and money) in bringing on new employees. Nurturing that investment from day one can help ensure your new hire is happy and lay the groundwork for the employee’s long-term productivity.


C2 provides strategic HR outsourcing to clients who want to develop optimal workforce strategies and solutions to allow them to be more competitive and profitable. C2 blog posts are intended for educational and informational purposes only.