You and your team worked really hard to find, interview and hire the right people to the company. Now comes the first day and bunch of newbies shows up. What do you do? What processes do you have in place to help your new team members? How big role does HR department plays, how big role your team and you? For a leader ability to successfully on-board and integrate new members is a key to long-term stability of the team.
Have a plan
Even before the new employee starts you need to have a plan. You should be clear on how the first month of his should look like. Specifically think about the first day, the first week and the rest of the first month. Write it down and share it with all people who will be involved in the on-boarding and also with the new employee so she knows what to expect.
Give it a priority
The first impression matters. It is important that you make the first day of the new employee as memorable (in a positive way) as possible. Make sure that all the systems and documents are ready. Make sure that people who will be involved in the on-boarding knows what their role is. Starting with receptionist, over HR, IT, the team and you provide your best. For this day there is nothing of higher priority than to start on the right foot.
Show that you care
You are the key. You, as a manager and as a leader need to show that you care. You need to spend time with the new employee the very first day. You should welcome her, give her the overview of the company, the team and her place in the company universe. You should also set expectations for the first month. You may also consider to assign a mentor, but if you do, don’t delegate the responsibility for the on-boarding completely. You are the manager and the leader and you need to be visible and you need to be there if you are needed.
Build excitement and share values
Do some marketing, sell the company. Even though the employee already joined he or she is still in the buyer mode. You should use the opportunity to talk about the future for the employee, the team, the office, the company. Talk about the vision, about values, talk about past successes, talk about the environment and the culture you are trying to create.
From the very first day you should set the expectations that there will be feedback coming from you on regular basis and that you expect the same coming to you. Make sure that the new employee understands that she is free to ask questions, make observations and provide feedback on things she considers strange, unusual, nonsensical or simply new. Make enough time to provide regular feedback on daily basis for the first couple of weeks and have a more formal meeting once a month for the first couple of months to stay on course and set the new employee to succeed.
It’s not just about work
Socialize. You want to open up to the new employee to get feedback. You want to be able to provide motivating environment and tailor your management style to suit this particular employee and that means you must get to know him or her. Take your new employee for lunch, share laugh, try to know something about them that is not work related and share something about you. Show a human face so to speak to get more accessible and build a good trusting relationship fast.
Twitter type summary: “On-boarding of new employees is a critical task and one of the key responsibilities of every leader. Don’t pass it to others.”
How do you on-board your new team members? How much time do you spend on it yourself and how much do you delegate?