Congratulations on your new hire. But if you thought the recruiting process ended with the acceptance of the job offer, think again. You're now in charge of a recruit so green she comes with a fresh car smell.
Lucky for you, we know how to smooth out those rough edges in no time. Here's how to turn the "new guy" into the "old pro."
Introduce her to everyone they're likely to interact with
Obviously, your new hire needs to meet her colleagues and learn their job descriptions, as well as determine how their jobs impact hers. But you also need to introduce her to others in the organization—particularly team leads, the senior manager of the group, and key players in neighboring teams.
This has two benefits: 1) It gives her a better picture of how her team works with others in the organization as a whole. 2) No team is an island, and a new hire is an excellent excuse to improve relations across the company.
Assign a mentor
A mentor isn't just useful for untangling the work-related snarls that always seem to entrap a newbie. A mentor can also introduce her to the culture of your team. Considering every job has both good and bad aspects to its culture, a mentor can assure that she encounters only the best aspects off the bat, as well as cut off cultural problems before they demotivate her.
Task the mentor to encourage the new hire to ask questions, just in case she's shy about speaking out.
Give her simple tasks…
Throwing a new employee in at the deep end is a great way to demoralize her and encourage her to quit. Don't place the person who still has to prove her worth into a sink-or-swim situation, because it strongly suggests you don't know how to manage. And who wants to work in a team like that?
Give the new employee simpler—not trivial—tasks to start with, to ensure that she is not overwhelmed. This will also let you set expectations and have a measurable way to assess progress.
…but important ones
At the same time, don't give new hires the simple but tedious jobs nobody else wants to do: That's another good way to encourage her to quit. Make sure she's doing something relevant, and delivering it is actually important. This way, the rest of the team can see she's not just here to fill a quota.
Later, when she is properly integrated, you might not need to oversee her. But to start with, it will help you monitor her progress and give the employee a clear sense of what is and isn't expected of her.
Keep her options open
Try to expose the rookie to what the rest of the team is doing, so she can appreciate the full range of the team's responsibilities. If she shows interest in another aspect, you might find she's a better fit for a slightly different role than the one you'd originally had in mind.
Interested employees are happier and more productive, so being flexible may net you bigger gains than simply slotting them into a role when they walk in the door.
Make sure she takes advantage of training
If your company offers training courses, make sure they are aware of them, and perhaps even require she joins in—even if it's not directly beneficial to her role. Many recently hired employees are anxious to show their worth and reluctant to spend time that might appear to be "goofing off." Setting this mandate can help the neophyte take advantage of the company's efforts to improve employees' skills.
If your company doesn't offer any training for new employees, you likely have retention problems. And if you think taking training is goofing off, you have bigger problems.
Schedule a daily/weekly/monthly checkup
While your team lead and mentor are taking care of the onboarding of your new hire on an informal ongoing basis, don't overlook the value of a formal checkup to see how she's doing. It will give her a clear opportunity to voice concerns and give you the chance to feed back any performance issues or suggestions.
Putting this meeting on the calendar will also allow her to plan what she might want to say in advance, while at the same time keep her receptive to feedback. More importantly, it reminds your new hire that her onboarding process is considered to be important to the company.
Show her the coffee machine
Because caffeine is the most important meal of the working day.
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