Six Steps to Effective On-boarding of Your New Hire!

SkyeTeam leadership Development

SkyeTeam is growing, we’ve had three new people join our team this year, with at least two more planned before the year end (yes we plan ahead). Given that we are a small team this represents a 100% increase in our full time employees.

Exciting times indeed. But also dangerous times. We are an established team, yet we are also new team. Failure to acknowledge this, failure to plan for this, will likely result in a failure to successfully navigate this new transition.

Far too often in client organizations I see new employee on-boarding handled poorly, or worse still, not at all. You know what I mean, the employee who one week later still hadn’t been allocated a laptop or computer. The “new hire training” that covers the legal stuff and protects the company but doesn’t help the new employee understand how business gets done. The team member who turns up to the first team meeting and everyone is caught off guard and have no idea who they are, or why they are there. Awkward.

At SkyeTeam we endeavor to take our own medicine, to make sure that we prepare for our new team member before, during and after they start with us. After all, OUR success depends on their ability to quickly integrate them into the team. THEIR success depends on our ability to help ensure their success.

Here are a few tips for ensuring that you create a foundation for success when welcoming your new team member:

  1. Don’t keep it a secret: You’ve just hired this wonderful talented person to your team. Don’t keep it quiet! Make sure the rest of the team (and organization) know all about it. Don’t leave it all on your new hire to make new friends at work! One client I work with provides a box of donuts on the new employees desk to encourage everyone to stop by and say “hello” (healthy options are allowed!)
  2. Formal Introductions: The organization chart provides a picture of who reports to who, it’s the formal hierarchy. Help your new hire understand who are the critical stakeholders that then need to get to know in the short term. Prioritize the list and share why they are important. Make the introductions. Don’t just send them out to go and find “Sarah”.
  3. Informal Stakeholders: If the org chart is about the formal hierarchy then this tip is about ‘how things really get done around here”. Spend time explaining the informal network, the go-to people, the gate-keepers, the people who know what’s happening before it happens, the connectors, and potentially the rivals/adversaries who may not think highly of you and your team and who may transfer that attitude to your innocent new hire.
  4. Breaking The Code: I’ve yet to find a company that doesn’t have it’s own secret code – corporate language and jargon that is lost on the outsider. Whether it’s those pesky acronyms that people use (but can’t always explain!) or in-jokes and phrases (ask SkyeTeam about Unicorns…). Create a jargon dictionary, share the context of the in-jokes so that your new hire can join in the laughter and not worry whether it’s directed at them.
  5. Sweat the Small Stuff: It’s the little things that can be the biggest frustration when we are new to a team and wanting to be at our best. Which number to dial to get an outside line, how to use the photocopier, where the rest rooms are, where the coffee machine is (and how to refill it), the best locations for quick lunch. Make sure you pay attention to the small stuff so that your new employee can focus their attention on the big stuff – ie doing their job!
  6. Fun: Three of the five corporate values at SkyeTeam are to have fun. Bringing on new team members means letting them know HOW we have fun, and how they can get involved in life outside of the office. Make sure that team members are on hand to take them to lunch and start cultivating a winning relationship that will make for a winning team.

What have you experienced that makes for a great new hire experience? Please let me know in the comments below.