When Should New Supervisor Be Announced?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about hiring protocols:

We are in the process of hiring a new supervisor for my department. I’ve been told that the process is complete except for a background check. I was told that management cannot release the name of the new hire until this step is complete. I was wondering why I can’t know the name of the new supervisor? Also, isn’t it common practice that a new supervisor meet the staff before being hired? I know that if I was going into a situation, I would want to at least talk to some of my potential employees to access whether or not this would be a good work environment or I was going to run into potential problems.

Signed, Wanting information

Dear Wanting information:

I know it’s difficult to wait for the new supervisor to be named and to get the waiting over with. But, if there is still a background investigation to be conducted, the person being considered hasn’t been hired yet. Thus, there isn’t a name to give you. You can imagine how problematic it would be to announce a name, or hint it, only to find the candidate didn’t pass the background. Not only would the employees have the wrong information, the candidate could potentially be harmed professionally. There are both human and liability concerns involved. Besides, even if you know the supervisor’s name, it won’t help you in any way, if he or she hasn’t started work yet. It sounds as though you will know the name when the process is complete and the organization officially announces it. You’ll have plenty of time to get to know them after that! As for an applicant wanting to talk to potential employees before being hired, I don’t know any business that would allow more than a walk-through of the office, or access to annual reports or similar information. Sometimes candidates know someone in the office and check on their own, but there isn’t a formal process for that.Consider if ten applicants were being considered for a job–and often there are dozens of final candidates. It wouldn’t be a good situation to have all of them taking the time of employees by interviewing the employees about the business, from the employee viewpoint.

When the supervisor is hired, certainly his or her first actions ought to be to get to know the people being supervised–and likely that will happen in your work. But supervisors are expected to work with people as they are, so a candidate shouldn’t need to screen his or her potential subordinates before deciding about proceeding with the application process.You probably took the job without knowing anyone else there. That’s what most of us do, and it works out fine. Well, with a few exceptions!I think what is happening is that you are very curious about who your new supervisor will be and want to find out information as soon as possible. That’s normal and I’ve felt the same way myself in the past.

Hopefully your new supervisor will deal with that curiosity in a positive way by exchanging plenty of information. It may be that you just want to be in the know, or among the first in the know. That’s normal too, and we all like to be on the inside track of new office information. However, your best action right now is to ensure that you are focused on your primary task, whatever that is. Be the kind of employee who will be viewed by the new supervisor as a pleasant resource and asset in his or her new job.If you want to discuss your work with your new supervisor, give him or her a few weeks to become familiar with the job and,if he or she hasn’t already done so, ask to meet so you can talk about work problems, goals and your future.Keep this in mind: Supervisors and managers usually are briefed by HR, managers and executives before starting in a new place. You don’t want your name attached to anything negative. So, now that you have asked about the supervisor and been told that the name won’t be released, you should probably just be patient about it. You don’t want to be viewed by HR or anyone else, as a pain in the neck about who the new supervisor will be!Keep in mind that everyone, including the new supervisor, has questions, concerns, fears, doubts, worries and preconceived ideas.

Knowing names, descriptions or anything else ahead of time, won’t really help those. The only thing that will make a good working relationship happen is when you are working together successfully.Dr. Gorden’s concept of WEGO speaks to that thought. When you and your co-workers partner with your new supervisor to do a good job, you’ll have a good work environment, no matter who the individuals are.I hope these thoughts help you as you wait. Best wishes!

Tina Lewis Rowe