How Small Business Leaders Can Avoid Babysitting New Hires

March 4, 2022 / by Team HaBO

Many leaders hire a new employee and instantly feel like they’ve gone from business leader to babysitter. When leaders describe what they mean by “babysitting” employees, what they’re really saying is they don’t want to spend any time at all with a new employee. The first day on the job they think they should be able to just show them their desk, give them a task, and the employee will know exactly what to do.

The reality is most business owners don’t actually have a lot of experience hiring people because it’s not something they do on a regular basis and they don’t get in the habit or learn the skills. Hiring is an art and a science. Here are 3 tips to help you avoid feeling like you have to babysit a new employee.

1. Hire for Competence & Character

This may seem like common sense, but it’s the #1 mistake most business leaders make when it comes to hiring. Feeling like you have to babysit new hires often happens because you didn’t hire well in the first place.

Your end goal is to hire someone who is high in both competence and character – the two core components of trust that are detailed out in Stephen M. R. Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust. They are simple, but incredibly powerful:


Capabilities – these are the talents, attitudes, skills, knowledge and style your applicant uses to produce results. This can also include potential you see for growth in their capabilities as your company grows.

Results – this includes the applicant’s track record, performance and ability to get the right things done well. Do they have a positive reputation for performing or producing?


Integrity – this is basically the applicant’s honesty. It’s not just about telling the truth, but about being congruent with who they are and what they believe. Does what they say line up with what you are seeing?

Intent – this is the applicant’s motives and agenda. Are their motives focused on their own gain or does it benefit the whole team?

So, how do you find someone who has both competence and character? You start by clearly articulating the job you want to hire for and the specific set of skills you want in the person for the position.

2. Design an Effective Hiring Process

If you’re struggling with hiring great employees, you need to optimize your hiring process so that it’s clear, complete, compelling and can be replicated.

Identify your needs by writing a clear job description that answers the following questions:

  • What are the short term vs. long term needs of your business?
  • Will the position be full-time, part-time or temporary?
  • What kind of personality do you need?

Filter for best fit by interviewing the right people and following a step-by-step process. If they don’t meet one of the steps, they don’t move on! For example, if the majority of your staff can’t imagine working with the person, the candidate doesn't move on in the process to step four.

  1. Do a phone interview first
  2. Request writing samples
  3. Schedule an “in-person” interview with a small group of your staff and a supervisor
  4. Schedule a final interview with the CEO or owner(s) of the company
  5. Choose the best candidate

Hire someone who has experience, maturity, and has already demonstrated that they can do work on their own.

Your hiring process can help weed out the wrong people, but it’s important to recognize that it’s impossible to weed out everyone. Each new hire still needs some form of training. The reality is, everybody needs onboarding, and that’s the next piece to a great employee setup.

3. Implement an Internal Onboarding Process

Once you’ve hired an employee the onboarding process helps to set the tone of your company culture and articulate expectations of how things work in your company.

Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your onboarding process for new hires:

  • Welcome them with a card and small gift (we give them a mousepad with our office dog printed on it!) waiting at their desk.

  • Have current staff send them a welcome email so they have messages waiting in their inbox.

  • Buddy them up with someone else in the company to give them a tour of the office.

  • Have a new hire checklist to fill out internally so you cover things like phone procedures, meal breaks, dress code, etc.

  • Have them fill out a “Getting to Know You” questionnaire and then set aside 15-30 minutes for your staff to gather and take turns answering the questions sometime in the first couple of weeks.

  • Have the new employee schedule time with each staff member to “interview” them and find out what they do at the company.

  • Schedule daily and weekly check-ins for feedback on specific tasks or situations that have arisen. The closer the feedback is to the situation/action, the more likely you are to see change and improvement in your new hire.

  • Schedule 30, 60, 90, and annual reviews.

It’s important to remember that the hiring process gives you and your team a chance to assess if the new employee is a good fit for the position and for your company, as well as gives them the opportunity to see if your company is a good fit for them.

If you hire someone that has high competency and high character, the skills for that job, and you’ve put together a process for them to be introduced and acclimated to your company culture, you will radically reduce what may feel like babysitting.

It takes work. It takes energy. There’s no magic wand or silver bullet. But when you have the right people in the right places, you’ll be able to keep quality employees who not only excel at their jobs, but become an integral part of your team.

Hiring well is vital for a Passion & Provision Company. Learn more about the process in our bestselling business book: Fulfilled: The Passion & Provision Strategy for Building a Business with Profit, Purpose & Legacy.

Topics: Leadership, Management, Employees

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