In J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic tale, “The Hobbit,” the main character Bilbo Baggins sets out on an epic journey. Along the way, he encounters three trolls who threaten the success of his quest. If he was going to achieve his goals, he had to overcome them.
Just as Bilbo needed to outwit the trolls to continue on his journey, so too you must help your new employees overcome three obstacles in their professional lives: laziness, ignorance, and fear. Read on to learn how.
Battling Laziness: Holding Employees Accountable for Performance
The first troll represents laziness, the tendency to slack off and not put in the necessary effort. Some of your employees may be “clock-punchers”, content to do the bare minimum and pick up their check at the end of the week. To combat this in your organization, you must hold employees accountable for their actions and activities. Set clear expectations for performance and follow through with consequences if those expectations are not met. If an employee is unwilling to be held accountable, it may be necessary to consider other options such as reassignment or termination.
Overcoming Ignorance: Providing Effective Training for Your Team
The second troll represents ignorance, a lack of understanding or knowledge. You hire a fresh college grad. They have a Construction Management degree, but all that academic learning does not translate into real world understanding. To overcome this in your organization, provide effective training. In-person, in-class training is a great option, but on-the-job training can be even more effective. Take employees to job sites and client offices to observe your work in action and learn from your experience. This hands-on approach to learning will give them a deeper understanding of their role and the skills they need to perform at a high level.
Conquering Fear: Creating a Supportive Workplace Culture
The third troll represents fear, the feeling of insecurity or uncertainty. Construction is a tough business and sometimes the crusty foreman and Superintendent can be intimidating to a new employee. To overcome this in your organization, create a culture of openness and support. Encourage employees to ask questions without fear of ridicule. Assure them that there are no “dumb” questions and create a welcoming environment for employees to seek the information they need to succeed. This open and supportive atmosphere will help employees overcome their fears and reach their full potential.
Just as Bilbo defeated the trolls and continued on his journey, so too you can assist your new employees to overcome the obstacles of laziness, ignorance, and fear. By holding them accountable, providing effective training, and creating a supportive culture, you can help your employees reach their full potential and contribute to the success of your organization.