They’re Not That Innocent: When New Hires Break the Rules

October 11, 2018

Disclaimer: This is the story about a girl named Lucky (kidding). This blog is the first in a special Employee Behavior series inspired by our / the Netchex Marketing team’s group Halloween costume: the Life Stages of Britney Spears. We hope you enjoy.

If you’re sitting in your office telling yourself “I think they did it again,” there might be a problem. Making a hiring decision is taxing, and once you’ve made that choice and the recipient accepts, you have expectations from the moment they’re signing new hire paperwork. If this new hire starts to feel a little too comfortable too soon, it can generate bad habits and behavior that can negatively affect your workplace. Preventative measures during and after onboarding can be put in place to help avoid complacency and indiscretions, along with the often uncomfortable confrontation:

Reinforcing and Maintaining Your Employee Handbook:

When a new hire is onboarding, requiring them to read through your Employee Handbook is a must. In a manual full of legalities and policies, a good inclusion is your company’s story, mission statement and overview of culture. This gives the new hire a clear understanding of where the business started and how it progressed, what they value most and how employees demonstrate those values as a working community. It sets a tone and sends a message that they are now a part of this company and its culture, and there are expectations that come with that.

Then the page turns, and it’s time for the legal jargon. Depending on your company’s size, you may have more or less when it comes to dictating these specifications. According to SHRM, a good tip is to have annual (at minimum) check ups of your handbook to make sure everything is clear, accurate and to the point.

Don’t Be an Enabler

Confrontation – probably the scariest word you’ll hear all October. No one likes it. We all try to avoid it – especially with someone who just joined the team. We’ve already discussed the importance of documenting performance problems, but there are efforts you can make to try and deter these incidents from starting and spiraling out of control. According to SHRM, if you find yourself cringing, thinking “oh, that’s me” at one of these signs, you might be an enabler:

  • You are working around a “problem.”
  • Employees accuse you of “playing favorites.”
  • Employees comment that they do not understand documented policies.
  • You have discussions on how to handle an out-of-control person.
  • A well-known issue is denied or downplayed.
  • You fear retaliation or sabotage will result if you enforce rules.
  • Cliques form to protect certain individuals.
  • Some individuals are victims of pranks or horseplay.
  • But don’t worry, it’s not too late. Take action, whether in a group setting or individually, to re-address common problems, behavioral issues and specific rules that tend to be broken often. Once your employees know this isn’t going by the wayside and that there’s accountability in place, most will cut back and start following the rules again, setting a good example for those new hires.

    Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate

    A common misconception is that performance reviews and evaluations are conducted to assess pay increases, when evaluations are critical to the success of a business and should be held multiple times a year. For new hires, there should be a standard and timeline in place for conducting a follow-up review and evaluation of their performance. Timing can vary from position to position to make sure you’re tailoring each review to the specific job, as training in some positions can be different than others. But making sure that initial assessment is firmly on you and the new hire’s calendars sets a standard and expectation that their performance and growth in your company is valued and not taken lightly.

    Evaluations can be scary, especially for those new to your company. If you see a new hire has exhibited some bad habits or broken some rules early on, you can also put a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) in place if you see fit. This gives the employee the opportunity to improve their performance, follow the rules and show their commitment to their new job and employer without any bias. This reassures the new hire that your company is invested in them and willing to go the extra mile to help them improve professionally.



    In the words of Britney Spears, don’t let them lose all their senses. Don’t let “that’s just so typically them” fly. Stay observant and cognizant of employee behavior, especially that of new hires, before they do it again.


    Netchex HR services help you create and customize an Employee Handbook. For larger, multifaceted companies with dispersed offices and workforces, multiple Handbooks may be necessary. Our library of resources for clients contain customizable templates and ideas to help you get started and implement the right Handbook for your business.

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