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Top Five New Hire Mistakes

Why New Hires FlounderAnnoyed_with_coworker

46% of new hires are fired or disciplined within the first 18 months of employment, according to a 2009 survey of 500 corporations by Leadership IQ. (You can download the white paper here.) What you may not know is that 89% of the time, they flounder and fail for attitudinal reasons, not technical or academic skills.

The study found that 26% of new hires fail because they can’t accept feedback, 23% because they’re unable to understand and manage emotions,17% because they lack the motivation to excel, 15% because they have the wrong temperament for the job, and only 11% because they lack the necessary technical skills.

 Of course, there are as many reasons for new hires to flounder and fail, as there are individuals. Here are a handful of my ideas on why so many of us – and not just new hires – fail to thrive in our jobs. 

  1. Lack of self-awareness. New professionals often come into the workplace ready to conquer the world - and that is truly excellent. That energy and passion help to create change and forward movement. Unfortunately, along with the passion come a dose of entitlement and, often, a lack of perspective. It’s not a millennial thing, it’s an age and stage thing. And hopefully we can all move along on the self-awareness continuum. Be a sponge: Absorb the experience around you.
  2. Inability to grasp and work on their limitations. Weaknesses or limitations become a real problem when an individual isn’t willing to grow, change and adapt. Whenever I work with a client, I always say, “You have strengths and limitations: welcome to the club!”
  3. Anxiety and stress. Sometimes the new hire and the company culture - or a specific manager or team - don’t mesh. When people are anxious and worried about their performance, they generally are not operating at their highest level. Mistakes are made. And often, the general stress leads to poor choices in communication.
  4. Poor leadership. I truly believe if a particular company is hitting this 46% of new hires faltering, they need to review their management style and culture. Consider mentoring programs, peer accountability and regular meetings not to direct but to coach and, yes, nurture.
  5. Just don’t care. We all have strength areas. When a person is trying to perform in a job that does not feed into any of his or her gifts, dissatisfaction is sure to come into play followed closely by apathy. It’s a self-protecting mechanism. Individuals going through this need to reach out to see if they can possibly move to a different area of the company where they can use their attributes. Or, perhaps, moving on is the right choice.


For more information on Emily Post Business Etiquette Programs contact Director of Sales and Relationships, Dawn Stanyon at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



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