Keeping Your Current Work Force Happy When Hiring Hotshots

Written by: Scarlet Pruitt

Your business is doing well but you know it could benefit from some fresh ideas and new perspectives. So, you bring in fresh blood — a young hotshot with an Ivy League degree or someone straight for a scrappy startup. His or her approach is new, perhaps daring, and you know this is the shakeup your company needs. There's just one problem: the hotshot you hired is raising the hackles of the old guard. They're partly intimidated and partly offended by the hot-shot's new approach. What can you do to foster positive change while at the same time keeping the old (and still quite valuable) employees happy? Here are some tips to make sure everyone plays nice:

1. Explain that changes are coming. Let's face it — when you hired the hotshot you knew change was coming. The new employee has a dynamic personality and is sure to shake things up. That's why you hired her! Do you and your team a favor by letting everyone know that change is on its way. If you explain that you want to take the organization in a new direction and want everyone on board, your team will have time to digest the information. It will also allow them to be part of the change instead of having it simply inflicted on them.

2. Foster a cooperative environment. There's nothing worse than feeling like you have no input on new changes and processes. When considering a dramatic new idea or approach, make sure that you and your hotshot open the idea up for discussion with other employees, especially if the change is going to directly affect them. Even if you're sure that the new idea is taking your company on the right course, it doesn't hurt to hear other viewpoints. You might discover an unexpected consequence or unknown flaw.

3. Hear everyone out equally. Just because your hotshot is a brainstorming machine doesn't mean that you should stop listening to your old guard. If they're uncomfortable with the new hire, they'll feel even worse if you stop listening to their input. They're still valuable members of the team and they need to be treated that way. By treating everyone equally, you'll assure the old team that they aren't being devalued.

4. Keep the hotshot focused on his or her area of expertise. Just because your new hire is a marketing genius, he or she shouldn't be dabbling with your product development or customer-service procedures. If they do try to bring their "expertise" to areas of the business where they're not experts, they could meet serious friction from co-workers. By keeping the hotshot focused on the job he or she was hired to do, you'll ensure other members of the team that their jobs are not threatened.

5. Arrange an out-of-work event. Corporate "bonding" exercises get a lot of flak, but the truth is people often get along better if they get to know each other in a non-work situation. Consider arranging a lunch or an after-work drinks event with the new and old guard. If your staff gets to know the new hires outside of the work environment, they're more likely to see them as multifaceted people and may respect their opinions more than they would if they met solely in a stressful work environment.

6. Offer incentives for working together. Don't just expect your team to cooperate — reward them for successfully working together. Ask various members of your team (new and old alike) to take on projects that are important to the overall success of the company, and give them incentives for a job well done. The incentive could be an extra vacation day or dinner out — it doesn't matter as long as you get them in the mindset to work as a team.