If you're a hiring manager, you might think that once you've made the offer you're home free. Not quite. Maybe you think that once your new hire starts, you're home free. Nope.
You don't get to see the results of your new hire until your new hire is integrated into the day-to-day work of the team. How long does that take? “It depends.”
I know, I hate it when I have to give an answer like that. Just as much as when you hear an answer like that. The problem is that when you integrate a new person into your team, everyone's productivity goes down. Ouch.
This graphic explains what happens. Your team is running to keep up at the beginning of the hiring. That's why you have to hire someone. They take time to interview. By the time the new hire starts, they are ragged. Now, everyone takes time to answer questions and explain how the products work and what's going on with this project with the new hire. Oh, boy. That's why the answer above is “It depends.”
If no one spends time with the new hire, the new person takes foreverrrr to learn how to do anything. That's why it takes 6-9 months. Everyone else is running to keep up with all their work. It's understandable, but it's difficult for everyone.
Contrast that curve when you use a buddy system.
I can't guarantee that you'll have new hires at two or three months who will be as effective as the people who have been there for years. I only know what my experience has been.
I've used a buddy system for years. When I have a buddy, which looks a lot like pairing for a few weeks to a month, I can reduce the on-boarding cost substantially. My new hire is productive inside of a month, and is working like someone who's been there for a year inside of three months.
If you swarm or pair regularly, you see this too. That's because you're integrating the new hire into the team from the start.
The next time you have a new hire, consider using a buddy system. Or, consider pairing, trading off who the new hire pairs with, but pairing with everyone every day. Or, transition to swarming or mobbing as a team.
(I talk about how to buddy and successfully onboard in detail in Hiring Geeks That Fit.)