Recruiting, hiring, and successfully integrating a new employee is a big investment. As a leader you obviously want them the be successful and contribute quickly. You’ve finally found your new employee and they start Monday, so now what? Making sure you effectively integrate your new employee into the rest of your team, its culture, and your management style is vital to keeping strong team cohesion to keep people engaged, productive, and satisfied in their work. Obviously, there are logistics like getting them set up with benefits, system access, tools, and appropriate training. While you can simply throw them in the deep end and rely on time and experience, there are things you can proactively do to ensure they’re integrated according to what you need as their leader. It’s always best to start with a plan and set goals for their onboarding and how you’ll mentor them. Here’s some key points to consider:
Integrate and Establish Trust
Everyone wants to know they can trust their leaders to support them and have their back. You also need to trust your employees to achieve the goals you set. You have to take the lead and give of your own time to establish that trust between the two of you and within the team. While a lot of this comes with experience, you don’t want to just leave it to chance. It is vital that any new team member gets integrated with the team and understands your vision for the organization and culture.
- Plan a general introduction to the team. Make it more than an email. Schedule a brief call or introduce them on regular meetings you have.
- In this covid world, they need to start putting names to voices to learn the team. Have them jump in and listen to meetings to engage with others and see the company in action. Before the meeting give them some context and what they should be looking for. After the meeting follow-up and explain the outcomes—give them a chance to ask questions in a non-intimidating forum.
- Intentionally connect them with at least one other team member in a structured way. Give them a mentor to shadow to learn the ropes. Ideally this is someone in the same role that understands the job, is successful, and that you already trust. If they were a recent hire themselves, this is a bonus. Arm them both with specific actions and goals for them to achieve.
- Most importantly you must spend time with them one-on-one. Meet daily the first couple of weeks. Some of these meetings may be long, allowing you to really dive into topics while others may be short just to touch base. Be sure they have a forum to ask questions or express concerns. Also balance it with time on their own to study and digest the information.
Be clear about your expectations, and their role. There’s enough uncertainty when taking on any new job, so be sure the most important and immediate parts of their job are absolutely crystal clear. They won’t get it all in the beginning so be patient but be sure they understand your expectations of them.
- Give them context—explain your business and how your new hire fits into that. Give them perspective for what they’re doing and how that contributes to your and the other organizations’ success. This will be iterative and is typically too much to digest in a short time, spread it out and repeat it periodically to allow for a good understanding.
- Be specific. Give them goals in the couple weeks along with a 30, 60, 90 day set of objectives. Follow their progress, encourage, and guide while monitoring for issues. Give regular feedback and redirect where needed.
Find a Win & Confirm Your Decision
Clearly, as their manager, you need them to succeed. You have made a big investment and want to avoid having to go through the hiring process all over again. Help them find success early in the process without making it artificial. Early successes help to breed confidence in your new hire. You also want to quickly confirm if your new hire will grow into their role and deliver what you need.
- When setting goals for them, make sure these goals are a blend of simple “wins” and “challenges”. This will simultaneously build confidence and measure their abilities, confirming that you have a quality, talented, and driven employee.
- Review and check in regularly on the progress of the goals you set to help you determine how they’re progressing. Watch them in different settings with your team and other parts of the organization.
- Spend time with the sponsor you assigned and other team members to get feedback on how well they’re integrating.
Taking this Time is Essential
You’re busy and, in a way, taking this extra time with a new employee can feel like a waste of your valuable time. However, you rely on your team to make you successful, just as they rely on you as their leader! A lot of the new hire’s performance is based on their own abilities and drive. But you as their leader have a significant influence as well. So, be confident you’ve invested you time upfront to maximize their chance for success.