In a time when employee engagement is critical in a teams success, there's nothing more daunting as a new manager than suddenly being entrusted with building a team of people. I recently doubled our team, and learnt a few tactical and strategic things along the way. Here's my 5 tactical tips about employee induction.
1. First days are rough, let 'em sleep in.
First days are rough, and often jam packed. I block my calendar for the day the new starter starts, and ideally the following day, too. I also ask our new starters to start anywhere from 9:30 - 10:30am on their first day. And ensure I’m in the office from around 8am, so ensure I have a chance to keep our teams progress moving and tie off any loose ends I need to by the time they arrive.
2. Do as much as you can over coffee.
There’s nothing like a stale meeting room, and when you’re getting to know your newbie one-on-one, you want them to feel comfortable. I love a coffee shop chat for that. I make sure to ask about what motivates them, what doesn’t, and ensure any burning questions have been answered early. This gives space for the newbie a chance to ask about those things they have been worried or nervous about — like whether they can leave early to go to that doctors appointment on Thursday.
Wanting to breed a culture of trust, I’m sure to let the team know about the flexibility of hours, and anything we ask of them in return. I ensure I talk through how success is measured in our team, and how the newbie should know if they are being successful in their role.
3. Equipped to succeed, or equipped to fail?
This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often a new employee shows up for the first day and no-one has organized a desk or their equipment to be ready for them. Nothing says “You’re an afterthought, and we don’t really care about you” more than a newbie with no desk, no hardware, and no access to the tools they need.
4. Facilitate 1-on-1 time with your newbies cross-functional partners.
This is a great way for the newbie to meet their cross-functional counterparts throughout their first weeks, and with 5 or so meetings at 1 hour a pop, it gives you sometime to keep the remainder of the team moving. I set a high-level structure so their partner is prepared, and has a rough idea what that person needs to get out of the conversation.
5. Weekly plan & regular touch bases
There’s no need to stress about this being perfect, but a rough plan of what the newbie should be accomplishing each week for 4 – 6 weeks is crucial is ensuring that they feel like they’re on track, have a purpose, and most importantly, opens the feedback loop early. There’s no point sugar coating your newbie for 3 months and then releasing them to the wild — opening the feedback loop early encourages overall success.
Bonus tip: ALWAYS, for the love of goats, send a welcome email a week before your newbie starts. In your office is in person - what time to arrive, what to wear, what (if anything) you have planned for lunch, and any other logistics (parking, take a photo for your fob).