Starting Strong, Part II: How to Successfully On-board Your New Team Member

Successfully Onboarding New Team Member Part IIIn Part I, I talked about how to best on-board your new team member and get them up to speed. The work doesn’t stop there, though. Make sure that you’re holding yourself accountable, and let your team (new members and established ones) know what they can expect from you. 

  1. Reviews. Employees wonder when they will have a performance review and what will happen at a review. Let your team know how often and at what points they will have a review, what the review process is, and what they are expected to bring to the table.
  2. Define for employees your management style. Are you all business? Tend to blur the lines between owner and friend? Clarity will not only help your staff be comfortable but also help you be comfortable with your own style.
  3. Decision making. Let new employees know what your decision making style generally is. For example, if you tend to ask employees for input just to hear another person’s perspective, your team needs to know that their input is not a vote, but only an opinion.

The initial days/weeks of a new employee’s work with you are very important. Here’s a quick guide on what to do and when:

  1. After job acceptance/prior to first day. At a minimum, send an email letting them know that you’re looking forward to them joining your team. Better yet, send them a handwritten note to their home.
  2. Day 1. Let them know what their first day will look like specifically (i.e., 9-11 AM – shadow Lizzie; 11-12 noon – meet with business owner; lunchtime – team lunch); any documents you need them to bring; how you expect them to dress.
  3. Let clients and customers know that there is a new team member and when they would interact with that new person, if it’s not obvious. Sharing your enthusiasm for the new hire will encourage everyone to be excited to have them on board! Post an announcement where everyone, including your new team member, will see it.
  4. Beyond the first day, define in general what their first week or so will look like and how quickly you expect them to be working on their own.

Feedback, good and not so good, are critical in the first few weeks of a new employee’s time with you. Leave a note after an especially promising day. Written communication that they are fitting in and fulfilling their responsibilities will make their day. 

Finally, remember that letting your team know what to expect from you raises the bar of professionalism. It is a clear way of telling your team not only what their responsibilities are in your business, but also what you will do to make your team successful. Plus, you can use these expectations as a guide or ruler – it will be easy to see when you’re excelling, and equally easy to tell when you’re not measuring up.

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Helen Dutton, A Vision of Your Own, has provided business and personal coaching for small business owners since 2000, providing online and face to face coaching for entrepreneurs, small business owners, start-up businesses as well as established businesses across the country. Clients come from New Hampshire, her home state, but she has also acted as a mentor to business owners in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Denver area, and closer to home in the Boston area. Helen helps her clients develop their small business ideas, create marketing plans, improve operation efficiency, build customer service systems, build management and leadership skills, and develop confidence as a business owner. Helen provides business tips and resources through her blog and her newsletter, where you can also find business templates to help your business prosper.