Mar 13, 2022 Vas Nair

The Basics Of Onboarding Your New Team Member

Now that the newest addition to your team has signed up….what’s next? Have you considered the first few steps you’ll take to help them be part of your team? The initial months (and sometimes even weeks) will set the tone for whether your new hire will love it or head for the hills! 

Let’s assume the offer process went swimmingly well, it’s just as important to get them to feel positive about their decision to join your team. That tends to happen when they’re acclimated to ‘the way things are done’ and thoroughly understand what they’re accountable for. Building a strong and dependable relationship with you is critical for their onboarding and success in their new role. 

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First, put yourself in their shoes. Think about the times when you joined a new team – and which experiences made you comfortable and happy versus those memories that still make you cringe! 

Not to make this overcomplicated, checkout these straightforward tips…

Do your prep before they start:

Either you or someone on the team must ensure the basics are covered. For example, will there be a need for a new laptop, phone or other devices? If they’re working remotely, find out what they’ll need to set-up a home office. As an office-based employee – is there a workstation or office for them to occupy? Do they need business cards? From the new hire’s side – there’s nothing worse than starting Day 1 and not knowing where to go and no one to guide you through the maze!

In preparation for your first few discussions with your new hire – make sure the Job Description clearly outlines what’s required. Have the list of priorities, goals and any other documents in hand to share with them when they start.

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Make the introductions:

If possible, be at the office on their first day. Personally welcoming them on Day 1 shows that you care. Introduce them to others and if you have a few moments, show them around the office. Yes, first impressions do count! If they’re based remotely, set -up a ‘Welcome’ call and invite other colleagues. You don’t have to talk business – just focus on introductions and keep it fun! The simple gesture of saying ‘Hello’ allows the new team member to feel connected right off the bat! Finally, set-up ‘kick off’ meetings with key stakeholders (customers, suppliers, other teams) during their first two weeks. These introductions will help create a clearer picture of what their job involves.

Spend time on role clarity and goals:

Within the first few days, review the Job Description and have a thorough conversation about their GOALS (SMART Goals, of course!); and who else they can turn to for help. Explain your expectations and ask what they will want from you (as their manager). Make sure you discuss any challenges that come with the territory. Building a relationship based on trust and transparency will help you both establish a strong working partnership.  All of this allows them to create a clearer picture of how they will add value versus playing a guessing game. (Remember the time you were left on your own to figure things out? How disruptive did that feel?) The focus here is to spend quality time early in their onboarding process to ‘make them feel at home’ and ‘get acclimated’. This helps them create a sense of purpose.

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Explain ‘How things are done around here’:

This is UBER IMPORTANT! One way to help them network and learn about the culture is to enlist a Buddy. This individual should help your newbie meet others, understand the norms, and be a close contact who will guide them during their first few months. The Buddy doesn’t have to be on your team. They just need to be fluent in explaining ‘how things get done’. By the way, you could assign another team member the ‘Buddy’ role to focus on other important things such as meeting customers. By sharing this important responsibility with others, you’re creating a network for your new team member and empowering others to help. The Buddy system might be a bit more challenging to set-up for remote workers – but not impossible. In fact, it’s probably even more essential to establish it for new team members who will be working remotely. 

Establish a cadence to stay in touch:

Clearly outline what regular team meetings and check-ins are in place. Help them understand the purpose of these as well as the role they will play. Also, by establishing touch base calls or meetings, it gives them an opportunity to be well prepared for what’s ahead. It further allows you to keep a finger on the pulse when it comes to their progress. In the first few months (and depending on the type of job they’re doing), weekly check-ins, coaching and feedback sessions are encouraged.

Onboarding directly impacts employee engagement 

Speak to anyone who was onboarded well by their manager and new team; and they’ll give you a hundred reasons why it’s a worthwhile effort! As a newcomer to a team or company, it helps them become more aware of their responsibilities and therefore more engaged. Establishing relationships and strengthening lines of communication allows new team members to be productive sooner. At the same time, it encourages partnerships by drawing in the more tenured team members. Successful onboarding helps minimise stress and uncertainty that comes with not knowing what’s expected of the newcomer, their manager, and others. From the new hire’s perspective, success starts with a sense of belonging, understanding what their job entails and knowing what to do to get help.

Giraffe App - Creators Vas Nair and Sobha Nair

Hi there!

We’re Vas and Sobha Nair, two sisters that have lived and breathed all aspects of human resources for over 50 years between us. Giraffe was born from our global experience coaching leaders and business owners navigate the same tricky workplace issues and discussions that you face. We know the best practices and proven processes that help turn workplace conflict on its head – and we want to share all of this and more with you in Giraffe.

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