Bringing new employees on board is exciting, but it also comes with some risks. That’s why some business owners are jumping on a hiring trend called test driving – and it’s working. A recent New York Times article explored how companies hire employees by putting them through a trial period of weeks or months. When the trial is over, both employer and employee can evaluate whether the relationship works – or if they want to walk.
In a trial period, the goal is not to train someone to do the job before cutting them loose – in fact, training may not come into play at all. A test drive is more about getting a feel for a potential employee’s personality. How well do they interact with others? Are they better at taking direction, or do they naturally fall into a leadership position? Often, these aren’t things you can learn from an interview – it takes on the job experience to truly understand a person.
- Get to know someone before making a commitment. Test-driving an employee is somewhat like dating before getting married – it just makes sense. During a trial period, employees can get to know their co-workers and see if their values align with the workplace culture. Chemistry between colleagues is especially important – even if someone has a great work ethic, the inability to communicate with other employees can be a deal-breaker. Conversely, employers can get to know potential hires better, and get a first-hand look at their performance on the job without the potential pitfalls of an internship.
- Save by taking things slow. Hiring and firing costs more than just money – it affects all your internal processes. As Suzanne Lucas writes, businesses with high turnover rates can suffer from lowered productivity, poor morale, and lost knowledge. A test drive helps eliminate most of the doubt surrounding a new hire. You’ll feel confident that your training dollars are being used wisely when you know for sure that a new team member fits your company’s unique culture.
- Create long-lasting positions that will help your business thrive. By consistently hiring employees that are a good fit for your company, you’ll improve retention rates – and reduce unnecessary spending hiring and firing. A recent U.K. study proves that people who feel like they belong in their workplace are more productive, produce quality work, and have their company’s best interests at heart. You’ll also promote a culture of stability, where employees and customers alike have a consistent experience every day.
Trial periods aren’t for everyone. Some companies may not be structured in a way that makes it efficient or possible to test drive new hires – and that’s okay, too. Even so, it’s smart to keep an eye on new trends, especially ones that show promise for improving productivity and consistency.
Employers want the best for their companies. Every leader dreams of the day when employees come into work not because they have to – but because they care about their company and truly want to make it a better place. Trial periods are just one of the ways you can reach the goal of a happy, thriving workplace.