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How to Manage Experienced vs Inexperienced Employees

Group of professionals sitting at a table while listening to their older coworker speak

There are certainly pros and cons of hiring experienced vs inexperienced employees — but your final decision will ultimately boil down to which option is the most aligned with your business and its unique needs at the time. Once you’ve identified a particular candidate that you want to join the team and their offer has been accepted, your concern will shift from hiring them to managing them.

When comparing fresh graduates vs experienced workers, each will have very different preferences, motivators, and needs. As an employer, it’s important that you can manage each of your team members effectively — no matter if they are inexperienced employees or have 20 years of industry experience under their belt.

Our team at 4 Corner Resources (4CR) is dedicated to helping businesses of all industries and sizes identify and place the best possible candidates. To keep the top talent you bring in satisfied and loyal, it’s necessary to manage them according to their unique preferences, motivators, and needs. With this in mind, we have identified how to manage experienced vs inexperienced employees when it comes to four major categories: onboarding, ramp-up time, coaching, and continuous learning initiatives. Let’s get started.

How to Manage Onboarding for Experienced vs Inexperienced Employees

One of the greatest benefits of hiring experienced employees is that they will require less intensive training to develop the necessary skills to be productive in their position. However, this doesn’t mean you should rush their onboarding process or forget about it altogether — even when hiring experienced employees, onboarding is necessary. Experienced employees will still need time to become familiar with your culture, processes, and workflows — but this timeframe will likely be shorter than it would be for inexperienced employees. This means more seasoned team members can start actually diving into projects and producing value for your company sooner. While this is exciting, be sure you are still equipping them with the information and tools they need to be successful at their new role, and regularly checking in to see if they’re comfortable.

On the other hand, bringing on inexperienced employees will cost you less in terms of salary, but will require significantly more time, resources, and effort when it comes to onboarding. This can also be seen as one of the benefits of hiring someone with no experience. How? They’re not stuck in their ways and so familiar with processes from their previous company that having to do something in a new way is frustrating.

Additionally, someone who has been performing the same type of job or been in the same industry for a while isn’t likely to question processes or methods. Inexperienced employees are often more confident asking, “Why do we do things this way?” because they genuinely want to know and learn. This fresh perspective can help you adjust your onboarding process for other future hires or find a new solution to an old problem.

Related: The Pros and Cons of Hiring Inexperienced vs. Experienced Employees

How to Manage Ramp-Up Expectations for Experienced vs Inexperienced Employees

Some sources suggest it can take as long as eight months for an employee to become fully productive, and experienced vs inexperienced employees will, of course, have different ramp-up speeds that fall somewhere on the spectrum. When you hire an experienced employee, they’re likely able to jump right in after a shorter onboarding period than inexperienced employees, and will be able to take on more work sooner. However, they still need to get up to speed with the unique ways you do things that will certainly differ from their previous job, as they become familiar with your customers, products, and services. While this probably won’t be completely new territory for them, be sure you’re giving them ample adjustment time, answering any questions, and have realistic expectations even though they’re experienced. No matter how long they’ve been in the industry, remember that they’re still new to your business.

When comparing fresh graduates vs experienced workers, the recent graduate will need a longer ramp-up period. It’s important to realize this ahead of time and adjust your expectations to match. You want your more inexperienced employees to be very familiar with the way you do things, your processes, and how to execute the projects they’ll be working on before they just dive in blindly.

For example, a new writer will have to spend time doing additional research on the tone and voice for a company before they can actually write a blog for them, which a more seasoned employee may be able to do without extra prep time. Understand that inexperienced employees will get less work done at first — but that’s okay, because you want them to have the knowledge and confidence they’ll need long-term. Give them an adequate learning cushion, and be proactive about asking if they have any questions, concerns, or need any additional tools or resources to get going more smoothly and quickly.

How to Manage Coaching for Experienced vs Inexperienced Employees

Today, many organizations are encouraging more frequent coaching conversations between managers and their employees beyond just the typical annual performance review. Another one of the benefits of hiring experienced employees is that they’ve likely had a few different managers, meaning they’ll have an idea of their preferred coaching style. Ask for, and genuinely listen to, two-way feedback about your management style. Have open communication with your seasoned employees about what coaching methods have worked for them in the past and which they didn’t respond as well to. This way, you can adjust the way you give them feedback to match what will help them make improvements and be more productive.

On the other hand, you may be the first manager to coach an inexperienced employee. This means you’ll have to spend additional time and effort to uncover their ideal management style, and put a larger emphasis on communication. Try a variety of coaching methods — then remember to follow up and have open, honest conversations about what they feel was helpful and which coaching techniques they didn’t feel were effective for them personally. With inexperienced employees, it’s especially important to be very clear when relaying job responsibilities, expectations, processes, and company rules. Make it a priority to regularly check in with them about their progress in these areas and always be available for additional coaching if they’re not getting up to speed as quickly as you’d like.

How to Manage Continuous Learning Initiatives for Experienced vs Inexperienced Employees

Experienced vs inexperienced employees may have numerous differences, but one thing about them is similar: both should continuously learn new skills that provide value to your business. However, your seasoned employees will probably have a better grasp on what their unique learning style is — like whether they learn best from visual or audio tools, or prefer to practice on paper or electronically. You can then equip them with tools in the learning styles they respond well to, rather than forcing an employee who’d get more out of reading a book on paper to participate in an online training session. Because they’re more familiar with your industry, experienced employees may be more familiar with what skills are needed to be successful in their role and know what they’re most interested in learning, where inexperienced employees may not even know where to begin when it comes to what they want to do next.

Another advantage of hiring new employees is that they have their whole career ahead of them. So, if you’re able to keep teaching them new skills, they can continue moving into higher-level roles and be a valuable asset to your business long-term. Younger, inexperienced employees crave these continuous development initiatives from their employers to help mold their skills and define their career path.

In fact, as noted by Gallup, 87% of millennials rate “professional or career growth and development opportunities” as important to them in a job. Leverage a variety of training methods, such as one-on-one sessions, team workshops, online certifications, or events with local professional groups to help your more inexperienced employees acquire new skills. Not only will this enable them to produce better work for you, but it will also show them that you care about their overall development, increasing morale and likelihood that they’ll work for you long-term.

Hire and Retain the Best Talent — Whether They’re Experienced vs Inexperienced Employees — By Partnering with the Right Staffing Agency

4 Corner Resources is a professional staffing agency dedicated to recruiting the best candidates for our clients. With years of experience and access to extensive resources and qualified candidates, we are here to connect you with the talent your company needs, experienced vs inexperienced employees alike.

Contact us today to see how our team of recruiting and staffing experts can help you identify the benefits of hiring experienced vs. inexperienced employees and realize which is best for your business’ current needs.

Pete Newsome

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the President of 4 Corner Resources, the staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. 4 Corner is a member of the American Staffing Association and TechServe Alliance, and the top-rated staffing company in Central Florida. Recent awards and recognition include being named to Forbes’ Best Recruiting Firms in America, The Seminole 100, and The Golden 100. Pete also founded zengig, to offer comprehensive career advice, tools, and resources for students and professionals. He hosts two podcasts, Hire Calling and Finding Career Zen, and is blazing new trails in recruitment marketing with the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Connect with Pete on LinkedIn