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By Don Charlton, written for HR Insights

For most people, achievement is relative: they don’t think they’ve achieved something until they believe they’ve reached their potential. To feel truly successful in a new role, they need to have a clear picture of where they are—and where they can go. So if you want your new hires to reach their potential, you need to provide a good onboarding process to serve as a roadmap to achievement.

Work With New Employees To Define Their Goals With Your Company

Does a new grad want to be your next director of finance? Make it clear that this is an exceptional goal, but one within reach. Help her chart a course to this achievement and let her start the journey immediately.

Ask For Career Goals Early In The Hiring Process

Make compatibility with your candidate’s’ career goals a selection criteria. In the interview, ask a candidate what job he wants to have in five years, and look for ambitious answers. Ask, too, what salary he wants to earn his way into over the same time period. Take the exercise seriously: each answer is an X on the road map, marking the points at which the candidate will be truly satisfied. By being the company that discovers underutilized or undervalued talent and lets them come into their own in pursuit of their own aspirations and your company’s success, your organization becomes the place where those employees accomplish major career or life milestones.

Help New Hires Learn Skills And Pick Up Hobbies

One of the best ways to help your team grow is to encourage them to share their unique talents and abilities. Ask new hires what they’d like to learn during their time at your company (it doesn’t have to relate to their careers) and try to connect them with people who can help them with this. Be a matchmaker for your employees’ growth— you never know what you might learn along the way.

Establish Check-Ins For Development And Increased Responsibility

On one of the first days with your team, have new hires document what they plan to achieve in the next 30, 60, and 90 days and help them identify the new responsibilities they can take on as they increasingly learn their roles. Check in with them regularly and provide any resources necessary to help them achieve their goals. Use reviews at the end of each period as a yardstick for giving more responsibilities—and more rewards—going forward.

Performance reviews are easily one of the biggest headaches in the office, so use them for positive, rather than negative, means. Blend the personal and the professional: treat each review both as a road map to the employee’s career goals as discussed in the interview and as a tracker for his progress in learning new skills and picking up hobbies.

If you focus reviews on assessing real growth (in both quantitative and qualitative terms), you’ll find yourself with a constantly growing and continually improving team.

Build A Company Where Big Promotions Are Possible

Always back up the reviews with real action. If someone seems capable of making a huge jump in responsibility and compensation, give her a shot. Build her next plan around gradually assuming higher-level duties and let her have a real chance to grow into the role. Continually seek ways to make such opportunities a reality in your company: be an office where someone can grow into a high-level role because he earned it.

All employees have the right to opportunities for achievement, and it’s your responsibility to help each employee realize his or her highest potential. Your most talented employees will achieve greatness by following their own high standards. They care most about where they’re going, not where they are—so help them get there.


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