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Issue Report

Collection of full-length papers and in-depth analysis of economic and management issues.

For the Smooth Transition of Experienced Employees

For the Smooth Transition of Experienced Employees

KHO Hyun-Cheol

Nov. 9, 2012

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Originally released on September 26, 2012

Heightened competition and shorter product lifecycles are compelling companies to hire experienced workers in the hopes of gaining the abilities needed to produce fresh ideas and drive new ventures. While these dynamics appear to mesh for an efficient job market for experienced labor, both management and workers often end up losing because companies fail to smoothly absorb experienced personnel. Companies realize the value of mentoring inexperienced employees but they give scant attention to newly hired experienced personnel, assuming they already possess the tools to adapt. In reality, the latter workers often find it more difficult to assimilate. The main culprits usually are misperceptions and faulty assumptions between the employer and experienced employee.

One impediment involves job responsibilities. Experienced employees may feel their assigned tasks do not mesh with their skills and experience, and their employer's desired results are thus too difficult to attain. If employers do not recognize the mismatch of abilities and work assignment, they feel the employee has fallen short of what his or her resume suggests. Another potential miscommunication involves networking at the workplace. Establishing relationships with veterans at any company can be difficult because of invisible social barriers. Again, if management does not realize the circumstances it could jump to the conclusion that the new hire is aloof or not making an effort to fit in. A third trouble area involves organizational culture and operations. For example, if certain tasks require some collaboration but newly hired experienced employees are not told, management may mistakenly conclude that they are only concerned with their own duties and have no feelings of attachment.

To prevent confusion, companies need to rethink their hiring process. The human resources department of companies is geared to choosing inexperienced job applicants and thus the metrics are not suitable for assessing seasoned workers. Hence, the heads of specific departments should take the lead in hiring experienced personnel, from screening the applications to technical interviews as they have a much better sense of the applicant's work experience and abilities.

Secondly, support for in-house networking must be provided. Companies recognize the importance of helping new inexperienced employees acquire the basic knowledge and know-how to perform their job. But in assimilating experienced workers a different dimension is required. For them, what matters the most in fully utilizing experienced talent is not so much what you know but who you know. Generally, employees who are quick to adapt to an organization all have the commonality that they have established expansive official and unofficial human networks during the early stages.

Thirdly, companies must have a program in place to adjust the work habits of newly hired work veterans, who will naturally be attuned to the ways of their former workplace. They must undergo a rapid and intensive orientation to break away from past practices. Still, the organizational socialization process is a bilateral exchange. If experienced employees do not invest themselves in the process they will not make a smooth transition. To wit, job applicants who are wedded to a working style which could cause friction must be shelved during the screening process.

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