As employers we are, in reality, providing opportunities and options for many possible futures. What really is critical is whether our prospective employees are wise enough to understand and embrace that very important concept. At my current employer, as is with many other food service companies in Las Vegas these days, we are growing and expanding our operations, and this is providing a variety of opportunities for many people.

If you have ever been a part of a new hire program or process, called new hire orientation (NHO), you know that you get all types of individuals and varying levels of commitment and focus. I’ve always said that a good “orientation” program has a few key components, as follows…

1. Introduce you to your new employer.

2. Ensure that required paperwork is completed. 

3. Communicate what the rules, procedures and expectations are for success at this company.

Now, while you can lead a horse to the water, you cannot make them drink. The same theory applies in this situation. If your new hire understands and embraces the reason for this brief and valuable process, they are much more likely to be successful in their job and at the company in the long run. When they do not, or are rude and impatient, it is not only discourteous to all involved but a clear sign of whether or not this individual will become a successful member of your team. 

I have, over the many years I’ve spent in HR, developed a process of evaluation for which I gauge an individual’s potential for success at the company and I do so by assessing several factors around the behaviors exhibited during the “opportunity” to attend orientation and prepare for their new job or career. 

These factors are as follows…

1. Do they follow written instructions and directions provided to them in advance of orientation?

2. Does the new hire arrive on time, properly attired and prepared for the process?

3. Do they follow arrival instructions and treat the HR staff with courtesy and respect?

4. Do they focus on the instructions, process and paperwork provided to them?

5. Do they exhibit basic courtesy and respectful behaviors during the entire process and with co-attendees?

6. Do they engage in the process, participate and appear to appreciate the time and effort put into NHO?

These and other observations are a clear sign or tool for evaluating whether someone will be successful or not.

Not to sound too negative, but just like the seasonal football “pool,” I have developed my own process for tracking those individuals who do not exhibit positive new hire traits and I use it to monitor and confirm that my observations are correct. These non-engaged individuals are observed during the NHO process and then, when warranted, placed on the list of suspected failures (our pool) for monitoring whether they succeed or not in the workplace. So far, I have been 100% on target with my projections and found that pre-employment behaviors do not lie. They are very telling as to the potential for successful integration into the workplace culture and job.

The bottom line with opportunity is just this–you can provide the tools for success but you can’t make anyone use them. Only the sharpest and most appreciative candidates will actually embrace your efforts, and will ultimately use that opportunity to their advantage. There will always be those who do not appreciate, nor maybe even understand, how they may have just missed their biggest chance–or opportunity–to find success!

HR Question of the month: Please send your HR questions and concerns, or share your thoughts on your human resources challenges via email to the following address. Send input to vegaslinda89129@yahoo.com. Your comments, questions or concerns will help determine the direction for my next month’s column and earn you a copy of my book. Include your mailing address when sending your responses.