Why It Pays to Listen Well and Learn from New Hires during Training


You have an awful lot to teach new employees in the days and weeks after you hire them. That can make it easy to overlook the fact that some of your new hires could have a lot to teach you too, in critical areas like these:

  • They can often provide useful real-world intelligence about potential vendors and other resources who might not be on your radar.
  • Some can teach you about technologies they have used in the past – what works and what doesn’t.
  • They might be able to give you insights about how their previous employers did business without violating any confidentiality agreements, of course.
  • They can make objective suggestions regarding your HR systems, IT and your other internal operations. Note that the best time to get new employees to open up and share their best ideas is often during training, not after they start reporting relationships and feel required to pass ideas to only their immediate supervisors.
  • The classroom setting also makes it easy to discover high-potential employees who could be good candidates for leadership training and future advancement. Just encourage your trainers to be on the lookout for trainees who ask probing and insightful questions.

The key to discovering those advantages during training is to coach your trainers to listen openly and objectively, and then to dig deeper when trainees offer promising ideas or perspectives. If you’re not using powerful strategies in this area already, you will discover many in the new book Ingaging Leadership: A New Approach to Leading that Builds Excellence and Organizational Success by our CEO Evan Hackel.

Another Powerful Way New Hires Can Contribute to Your Organization

New employees contribute something else to your company too . . .

They can help you refine and shape your company culture

Their fresh perspectives can influence your company to become more defined by technological savvy, innovative marketing, stronger customer orientation, or even a commitment to supporting employees’ families.

To Explore the Topic of Company Culture More . . .

Last December the Association for Talent Development published “Dear Managers: Culture Is a Tangible Must-Have,” an article by Harry Paul.  You might recall that Paul wrote a very popular management book called Fish: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results. We like that book, and we also like his observations about building a corporate culture.

In his article, he identifies some common “myths” like these about company cultures:

  • It’s not imperative to have a company culture
  • Culture is intangible
  • Culture is unchanging and permanent
  • Employees don’t have a role in shaping company culture – they’re expected to “check their brains at the door” when a company hires them

We really like those points, especially about the myth that employees don’t play a part in creating company culture. That leads to the conclusion that training can play a positive role in shaping who your company is, how you operate, and what you stand for.