Podcast EP 133 | Onboarded – Why new hires that are a good fit are a problem (2 of 4)

“Many people refer to a person as a good fit (they are still here) or a bad fit (they left). This creates a mindset problem when we think about new hires. We can then think that new hires are pre-determined to be a good or bad fit, and it’s outside our control. And worse, any effort to make them fit is a wasted effort. Because this mindset tells us there’s no point in spending time if someone is a bad fit.

Hiring can be viewed as a “deal done”. We can consider that a good hiring process will produce a good fit, and if they are a good fit, and we spend minimal time with them, they will still be OK – because they’re a good fit. But fit is not binary, fit is a spectrum.

We talk about Brad’s new book Onboarded and the problem with the phrase ‘good fit’ and why instead we should use the phrase ‘successful fit’.”




Please note that this episode was transcribed using an AI application and may not be 100% grammatically correct – but it will still allow you to scan the episode for key content.

Brad Giles  00:13

Hello, and welcome to The Growth Whispers where everything that we talked about is building enduring great companies. My name is Brad Giles. And as always, I’m joined today by Kevin Lawrence, my co host, Kevin, hello. How are things today?

Kevin Lawrence  00:26

Things are good, Brad. I say that every week, but they are.

Brad Giles  00:30

Yeah. Good to hear. And we always like to start with a little bit of something different something from your world something that’s on your mind, word or phrase what might be on your mind today, Kev.

Kevin Lawrence  00:48

Today it’s service. Was down in Seattle on the weekend and went to a restaurant that was highly recommended. The food was excellent. Like probably the best calamari I have had 10 or 15 years? Normally they do the bread, the stuff and deep fried. Right? And that’s not the traditional way? Or I don’t think it is it was this was the sauteed way, which is tricky. And with that spectacular food and just mediocre service. Oh, and at the end of the day, my gosh, if the service had been as good as the food, it would be incredible. And I felt bad because the server was sort of fresh and new and wasn’t probably on boarded, right, Brad. He wasn’t trained, he wasn’t set up to win in the job at all. Like we basically it was almost service on demand, we had to keep asking for what we wanted and etc. So just the you know, the difference that service makes because the environment was great. The food was great. The location was great. The service just dropped the whole thing down many points.

Brad Giles  02:05

I wonder if the owners knew that?

Kevin Lawrence  02:10

I don’t know. Um, yeah, I don’t know, they must have because it would have been blatant, it would have been damn obvious. I guess they didn’t. Or if they weren’t there. I don’t know if the owner was there an audit. And it was it was one of those nights I didn’t want to make a big deal about it. And you know, just wanted to kind of get on the way enjoy the rest of my night. But it was it was it was everything was right. Except for the interface with the customer. So service and the value of service.

Brad Giles  02:42

This is where you asked me if I got one.

Kevin Lawrence  02:44

Yeah, exactly. I was just go. Hey, Brad. So Brad, what’s the word or phrase you’re thinking about today?

Brad Giles  02:54

Something that’s been on my mind is, empathy is a river that flows downhill. What the heck does that mean? So staff in a business don’t have empathy upwards. They don’t have empathy for their manager or the further leadership that we need to have empathy for them. Okay. Yeah, they may do, but they expect leadership, strong leadership from us. When we don’t deliver it, they will be like, they will be critical. But we need and we shouldn’t expect empathy when we’re doing it tough or we’ve got problems. It’s human nature that we need to expect. So yeah, it’s something that’s on my mind at the moment. Empathy is a river that that flows downhill. And that, yeah, we’ve got to think about all of that.

Kevin Lawrence  03:44

Empathy and service. I mean, empathy is a big part of good service as well. Yeah. Being empathy, connected with the customer, helping them get what they want. Awesome. Well, let’s dig into and by the way, if you haven’t subscribed yet, hit that subscribe button or like to hit the like button. As long as you enjoy what we’re doing here today. Hopefully you do. We’re having a good time sharing the stuff and preparing for what we’re going to share. So what are we digging into today, Brad?

Brad Giles  04:09

Yeah, today we’re talking about part two of four about the new book Onboarded, that is coming out on November, 1st. And in particular, we’re talking about this, this issue. The problem when we believe that new hires are a good fit, you probably heard the phrase good fit before that person was a good fit, or that person was a bad fit. So we’re talking about that.

Kevin Lawrence  04:34

Awesome. And I think one of the things that we’re going to talk about with that and we want a great passionate discussion about this, is that it’s not just a state of being it’s something that we have influence and responsibility in creating and that was the main thing that I thought about from our conversation Brad. You know, these situations, managers can sometimes fall into a trap of just thinking people are as they are in many ways. You know, I think the author was do it. I’m going to book we’re talking about fixed mindset and growth mindset. Yeah, fixed mindset is that people are as they are, and they will be as they will be. And there’s not much we could do. Where growth mindset is that we can have a role in being a catalyst, and helping people to learn and grow and be better or be more effective. And I think that’s, that’s kind of where we’re going on this one here today.

Brad Giles  05:28

Yeah, so imagine your favourite sports team. Okay. And imagine they just hired a great new player from another team. Well, how long would you expect that person to take to be a part of the tight unit, where they’re all kind of singing from that same hymn sheet, or they’re doing something, right? I mean, you wouldn’t expect it to be a week or two, right? You’d expect it would take a long time for that person to unlearn all of the plays from what they used to do. The expectations of the coach, you know, the technical things like all of that, like you’re not going to be able to…

Kevin Lawrence  06:07

And that’s, that’s assuming that there’s some structure to it. If it’s all organic, it could take forever, if it’s just a learning by osmosis and learning on the job, that takes longer than if there’s some actual conscious intent to, to impart this knowledge and understanding to them.

Brad Giles  06:25

But here’s the thing, what’s going to happen to the scoreboard of that sports team, as a result,

Kevin Lawrence  06:32

if that person is not part of the team, the team is not going to function. That’s like, you know, when we’re in boardrooms, we say that every time you add a new member to a team, it’s a brand new team. Yes. And you’ve got to start and rebond that team and get everyone understanding each other. Yeah. And that takes time. And, and some teams never do it.

Brad Giles  06:51

Yeah, yeah. It’s a new team. That’s it. And just like that sports team, it’s a new team. And we need there’s a job to be done to get it to work, you know, part of this book, I did a global survey of 1100 CEOs and hiring managers. Okay. And the, the, what that said, as I asked the question, how long does your onboarding process take 83% have an onboarding process of two weeks or less. So yes, only 17% are going 15 days or more. Right? So you go back to the sports team, and you think, where are these? Uh, you know, we’re expecting people to be on boarded and able to function? Well, after, you know, seven or 14 days. It’s a real,

Kevin Lawrence  07:39

Which is ludicrous if you think about it. Yeah. I mean, how could somebody possibly win, after kind of two weeks of kind of learning how we work and what we do? Yeah, I mean, unless it’s the simplest business on the planet, and personality doesn’t matter. And you don’t have to work with other people. And I mean, I don’t know, there’s a lot of variables at play. But it’s yeah, and you know, the hard part is what happens in a lot of these cases, is that we’re so excited to get this new person on board, that we’re thrilled to have them there, we’re thrilled to have the relief of them able there to take on the work and do the job. And we think that they’re a good fit, and we just let them run. Because it’s, it’s a relief. And we’re thrilled to have another body to do things and another brain to think things and get things done. And, and I’ve seen it time and time again, where it’s basically, people are given way too much confidence and way too much autonomy way too early because they don’t know what they’re doing. And even though they might be even experienced at a similar job somewhere else, they don’t know what they’re doing here.

Brad Giles  08:50

And that’s the key word in there and the purpose of today’s episode is good fit. Okay? So when we look at someone as being a good fit, okay, what we’re doing is we’re indoctrinating our teams into the tyranny of low expectations. Okay, what that means, what that means is that we’re looking back, and we’re saying to ourselves, “Well, remember Bob, Bob was Bob was a bad fit. Remember, Jen? Jen was a good fit.” And so what that mindset does, is it tells us that there’s no point onboarding because Jen would always have been a good fit.

Kevin Lawrence  09:31

It takes away our responsibility in it. Yes. Like they were either good or bad from the beginning. And whether the hiring decision process picked that up or not, but it takes away us thinking about our responsibility to make them really good and successful on the team versus well they were going to be that anyways. It’s almost fatalist that, well, they were going to be good or not good. And, you know, when we talked about this, Brad would have boiled down for me and my simpleton brain was, the safe expectation is that they’re a decent fit. Right? Like in my mind, I’m a numbers guy. So it’s like, everybody you hire, on average, on their naturally, organically would average to be about a 65% fit. But on average, they could probably be a 90 or 95% fit. And our job are a great fit, and you have different language for that. But they could be an okay fit. But they have the potential to be a great fit if we onboard them properly and teach them the ropes and the philosophies and the processes and the way we think and work. And fairly quickly upfront, don’t make them wait two years to figure it out. And so if we assume that they’re actually I might change the word to a mediocre fit, if we assume everyone comes in as a mediocre fit, but that they could be great, then we will treat them very differently. And we will give them the right resources and the energy to cause them to become an excellent fit in our organization. Versus almost like leaving, it up to luck. And leaving up to chance. And that’s I mean, that’s a that’s a key point, because we’re really you’re saying is we have a huge freaking responsibility to help someone become successful, even if they’re the best A player in the world coming on board, we’ve got a huge responsibility. And we got to make sure we do our job.

Brad Giles  11:28

We need to cause them to fit. So a binary, it’s what I call it as a binary fit versus a spectrum fit mindset. A binary fit, is going to say they’re red or they’re green, they’re good, or they’re bad. And that’s why I don’t use the word good fit. And I push back against it. Because, because then when if you can imagine two good candidates, there is nothing that we can do. If you’ve got that mindset, there’s nothing. So there’s no point doing onboarding, and it for busy managers, but is busy managers are going to look back and they’re gonna go, “Why should I even bother, they want your weekly meetings or whatever, spending time with this new hire, they’re good, they’ll work out.”

Kevin Lawrence  12:12

And if they’re bad, that’s the point you’re trying to make. Yeah, you’re you’re trying to make is just because you’re really good doesn’t mean you work out, because you’re not going to learn some of the key things that you need to succeed often.

Brad Giles  12:24

Yeah, so and then imagine a spectrum from green to red. Green, they, they definitely will work. Red, they definitely won’t work. And then there’s just this blend that goes across from there, every single person that we hire will fall within there. And it’s our job, right? The job to be done, to get those people to be a successful fit. To successfully fit in the firm, or to be an unsuccessful fit that we can validate and they should be exited.

Kevin Lawrence  12:56

Yeah, and exactly. And you’re and you’re not saying that everyone’s going to fit. But you’re saying we that we can do a much better job of helping them to fit and causing them to fit. I think of Dean on my team. He’s the first coach I brought onto my team. He’s a master of this. These are not things that I am good at, like I am what you would call a stereotypical leader, not necessarily an effective manager by nature. And as we were building up our admin team in the firm, I said, Dean, I think I need you to help. I tried a couple times I wasn’t successful. And I believe I was the cause. And it may have been hiring mistakes, too, could have been a hiring mistake. But even that I there’s a skill that people have of causing people to fit and helping them to be successful. He’s like, spectacular. Like his onboarding plans are beautiful. The way he helps people succeed is it’s unbelievable. It’s incredible, the way that he does it. And for him, it’s like nothing. And I what I know is he he is highly skilled at this. And we have an incredible team now doing that stuff. But he’s doing all the things that you’re talking about. He just he’s, he’s happy to take a person that looks like a decent fit and help them to become a great fit. And he’s, you know, again, he’s, he’s like a shepherd and he shepherds people to success. And he’s, you know, amazing at that. But he’s, you know, he’s learned this over the years and all of his different roles. And he’s, you know, yeah, I’m sure he’s missed made mistakes, but the investment he makes in getting people successful, is incredible. Hence, he has a very incredible record track record of making people successful.

Brad Giles  14:40

Yeah, yeah. And that success, okay means that next the next episode, we’re going to talk about this thing called onboarding debt. Right. And that is that things that people don’t understand, but I’m not going to get into that. You know, it makes me think that story makes me think of many years ago, we hired a software developer a different business, we hired a software developer seemed like a good guy. On reflection, I looked back at him, and I felt that he was a bad fit. Okay, I felt he, he was a bad fit. But if I was truly honest, like we really didn’t get him, we didn’t cause him to understand our expectations through an onboarding process, we hired him, we were flat out busy. And we didn’t get him to understand the numbers, the expectations from our expectations as managers, the cultural expectations, and the technical expectations, you know, and and the point there is that we didn’t know why it didn’t work. Okay, so the, because we didn’t really do an effective onboarding process then, I look back at him as a bad fit. But I didn’t really know why I would label him a bad fit. And we should have had more rigour to get that point, so that at 90 days, we could have confidently said, This person is an unsuccessful fit. And we we know that.

Kevin Lawrence  16:19

Yeah. And that’s the key is to know what why you succeed when you succeed and know why you fail when you fail. You know, it’s simple thing I was thinking about, as you’re talking about this, Brad, we’ve added a couple of, of new advisors to our team in the last few months. And they’re in the middle of their onboarding right now. But as we’re going through it, we’re having a conversation about something. And it was about how we deal with a prospective customer, and the process and how we do it. And he’s talking about what he’s going to do. And I’m like, Huh, well, we don’t do that. We don’t even believe in that. And so what I realized is I had Janice whose my right hand, pull up the onboarding plan, and it wasn’t in there. Yeah, this process of how we engage with a prospect. We had all of our different services and how they’re delivering on what this but all that stuff, all those good stuff’s in there. But there was nothing in there about that. And of course, he was doing it differently, because he didn’t know how we do it. And, you know, I shared some things with others. Oh, yeah, that makes sense. And, you know, in a half hour conversation that was straightened Oh, but he would have been running down the wrong road, and engaging with our clients in a way that’s not consistent with how we do things, and it’s not his fault. And so now we’ll make sure it’s in the onboarding, to make sure it’s there for future and, and the two and the other gentleman who’s being on board right now, I’m going to make sure that he’s got it. I’ve already got around the calendar for he and I. But that’s, you know, that’s it’s these little things that sometimes you take them for granted. Of course they don’t know.

Brad Giles  17:53

And you know what, he probably thought he was doing the right thing.

Kevin Lawrence  17:57

He did. He was excited about how he did it. In this case, our phone, people contact us and we help filter their needs and come up with a solution. He was like wanting to pitch and tell them how great we are and teach them stuff. I’m like, that’s not how we do it. But he’s used to proactively contacting people versus people contacting us. Anyway, he’s he was excited about his thing. I said, you got a great process. Yeah, if you’re out there knocking on doors, but that’s we don’t do that. Anyways, it’s it’s you know, and it’s good people smart with good intentions, but without knowing the right parameters.

Brad Giles  18:34

You know, what’s in between the lines are what you just said, right? How hard it is for people to unlearn. Right, because we think, “Oh, we’re going to teach them the way that we do.” But if I’ve been using this other software, this other process this other way, it’s not just learning the way that we do it at this new firm. It’s also about unlearning and learning a better way. So unlearning is really hard for the human brain.

Kevin Lawrence  18:59

Well unlearning is required to learn, right, you got to let go of an old belief. And, you know, this great thing is during some passionate conversations in the last couple of years, I remember having some conversations with people where they just couldn’t see my perspective, or see a different perspective. And intelligence and confidence allows you to see different expect perspectives and evolve yours. Right? When you’re when you don’t really understand something well, and you’re not an expert on it or you’re not confident in it. People generally hold on to stuff really tight. I mean, it’s a bit of a bit of a bit of a side thought, but so let’s get back to this here. So what else do people need to be thinking about in terms of getting you know, the danger of assuming someone’s a great fit, which we’ve, you know, or a good fit, but the danger of believing that we know is you won’t you won’t do the work. Either way, you got to assume that people that join you will be a c plus fit And you can make them an A fit. It’s it’s and that we need to see that as our job. I love it. So anything else you’d add in there? Brad?

Brad Giles  20:10

Yeah, here’s the thing. Let’s say you’ve got an A player, as you implied, or you’ve got to any player, right? What we’ve got to remember is that this person, if they’re in a player, and they were in high demand, we’re talking with other employers a few weeks ago, right? So if you come on board, and you’re really busy, and you’re like, “Okay, there’s your computer, there’s the bathrooms, that’s the exit plan, and I’ll pass you over to that person,” like, can you go to like a, let’s say, one or five or seven or 14 day even onboarding process? And that’s it. And it’s like, alright, be free, go and enjoy. Yep. Like two or three weeks ago, they were talking to other employers, and then that about their value proposition. So they’re like, I’ve been here for a couple of weeks, like these guys are, let me go, I don’t really understand how to succeed in this role. At what point does that a player then think I could maybe I could be more successful at that other firm, right? And this is where attrition…

Kevin Lawrence  21:17

Or worse, they just do what they think. And it’s wrong. And they make massive, massive mistakes. Yeah, that can cost them their trust and their career, where they’re at, or huge frustration that we’ll get to the point of making them look somewhere else. Yeah, but a players are going to drive and do so I remember, you know. Brad, you reminded me of a story, one of the executives that we work with, and I will not say the country. But he came from a different culture. And in their culture, he was recording a conversation as evidence internally with another employee. So we found out about this in that moment, it’s like, should we fire him today, or we fire him tomorrow? Well, we gave him the benefit of the doubt after we thought about it, but the reality is in his previous company, and as screwy as it sounds, they did that. That was a cultural norm. Now 99% of the companies I’ve ever worked with, that wouldn’t be but where he was, it was a cultural norm. So he made a critical error. And maybe that wouldn’t have got covered in onboarding, but he made a critical error. And we had a conversation we I didn’t, they had a conversation with him, explained that that was not okay. And we’ve been watching him for six months. He’s great now. He’s learned our rules of the road. He’s learned our approaches and our values. But he had, he had basically had bad habits from somewhere else he had been, and didn’t even realize that it was a bad habit, but it completely was wrong in the culture that he had joined.

Brad Giles  23:02

He understands like that’s the thing. If we look at if we’ve got a good fit mindset, we think it’s all about the deal, right? Think about buying a house or buying a car or or doing it. But But hiring isn’t everything. Hiring is critically important. Okay? But hiring, if we look at hiring is hiring gives us the deal. If we do a good job of hiring, we’ll get an A player, and then we’ll be all good. But then there’s a whole other job to be done. And the brutal reality is that almost everyone has a bad on store, bad onboarding story, okay? And almost every company does a crappy job of onboarding. It’s a massive opportunity for companies right now. I remember. I remember I hired a sales person, many years ago. And she was classified as a good fit. Okay, she seemed, she seemed at the beginning to be a good fit. But then, after nine months when she left because she wasn’t doing the right things, I kind of thought she’s a bad she wasn’t a good fit, she was a bad fit. But then if I think about it from a spectrum mindset, she’s had successful roles around us. And we didn’t make her understand and cause her to be a successful fit. So the good fit is a real problem.

Kevin Lawrence  24:24

Yeah, I love it. And the reality is, assuming that they’re going to get there on their own. It’s like thinking that your kid can teach themselves to ride a bike themselves. Oh, they’re a smart kid. They should figure it out. When in reality, we’ve got a job to do and we don’t want to miss that. Awesome, great, conversation. So other episodes that we have that relate to this. Episode 69 was a top grading virtual bench and why you need one, episode 54 Seven hidden reasons employees leave. Part of it is because the job is a mismatch and they’re not feeling good about it. And then episode 46 Jim Collins has seven questions for people decisions. Obviously, Brad’s book Onboarded, which is going to be out soon, you’ll be able to get a copy of that read more about this there is cover on the screen Onboarded, we’ll make sure that we put the link in the in the notes as well. And the root of all this is that it’s it’s misconceptions that we have, that we spend all this time and energy finding great talent. And then we under invest when we’re onboarding them and decrease their chances of becoming an amazing part of our team. Even if they have the ingredients. Some people might get there on their own. But most people need help. Or at least we can accelerate it. By the way, interesting. As a side note, one of the clients that I work with, they do surveys at the end of the three month onboarding, to ask what was helpful, like how happy they were with it, what was helpful, what would have made it better what I eat, what do they wish they did, and they’ve done hundreds and hundreds of these surveys to help them dial in their process over time.

Brad Giles  26:02

Yep, yep. And so that’s what we’re going to talk about next week is onboarding debt. So if you’re not causing people to understand if you don’t have an effective onboarding process, what is the cost of that? Hope you join us next week. It’s been a good episode. Kevin, good to chat.

Kevin Lawrence  26:24

Thanks for listening everyone. You can get us on YouTube dot com obviously and just search the growth whispers and both Brad and I both have weekly newsletters and lots of valuable resources on our websites. Brad’s evolutionpartners.com.au and mine is Lawrenceandco.com. Have an awesome week.