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What to Do When a Loyal Employee Gets Upstaged by a New Hire

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By Garrett Spence   |    February 21, 2017   |    10:05 AM


It can be difficult for managers to integrate new hires into their company cultures. 

Sometimes, new workers start off with a bang, upstaging existing staffers who may feel threatened or resentful. To reduce the risk of discord, consider the following tips for promoting greater team unity.

  • Create a collective approach. To build an effective organization, you need to stress a team approach. Help your staff understand that each person is an important part of a greater process. Celebrate individual accomplishments collectively, framing them as successes for the entire group. Encourage your team to share the glory, especially in situations where many workers assisted - even in some small way - on a project.

  • Leverage team-building strategies. There are various types of activities that help to define roles within teams and enhance social relations within the office. Most of these involve collaborative tasks that build trust, while improving interpersonal relations. Many managers choose to engage in team-building activities off-site; however, if your budget is too restrictive, consider planning in-house activities and games that help people get to know one another as people and not just work associates.

  • Provide direct feedback. By offering proactive feedback, you can help existing employees identify strengths and weaknesses. Most workers value direct communication, especially when it clearly defines areas where they can improve. Just be sure to soften criticisms by highlighting any relevant strengths. It won't help to demoralize your workers, especially if they are already worried about their performance in relation to your new hire.

  • Make yourself available. Good managers establish clear lines of communication that make them approachable. If your workers already feel comfortable talking to you, they will be more likely to share their feelings and concerns. Be willing to lend an ear and try to be empathetic. Understand that existing workers crave loyalty, while also harboring fears about job security and status. Listen carefully and do your best to alleviate unfounded concerns.

  • Create a seamless onboarding program. You can prevent hard feelings before they arise by creating an effective onboarding program to integrate new personnel. Much of this program will center on assisting the new hire, so he or she can feel comfortable and hit the ground running. At the same time, you should take special steps to assimilate the new hire into the existing group. Ask one of your existing employees to mentor the new team member for a while, or plan a team-building activity immediately after a new hire. If your existing staff views the new hire as part of the team instead of an outsider, there will be less resentment when he or she excels.

Staying Proactive

Sometimes a little healthy competition is just what you need to spur productivity. That said, when competition begins to threaten your established company culture, it's time to take action. Be sure to step in before hard feelings turn into outright dislike. It's hard enough running an effective business when all your workers get along. You certainly don't want members of your team rooting against each other or refusing to offer assistance. Through good communication, you can stay aware of potential issues and proactively address them before they get out of hand.

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