By Joe Issid
As a manager, trying to build a harmonious and productive team can be a tremendous challenge. In particular, integrating new employees into an already well-functioning team can be tricky and can introduce a great deal of risk. Personally, I have experienced some low moments where new hires simply did not integrate well despite my best efforts to ensure a smooth and productive transition. Unfortunately, in some cases. these situations led to some long-lasting and destructive issues. Fortunately, however, there are some pro-active measures you can implement to improve how you integrate new members to the team. Here are some of the things that have worked for me over the years.
To me, it seems somewhat old-fashioned to schedule a formal interview between a candidate and the hiring manager. These types of meetings are, in my opinion, ineffective measures of personality and aptitude. Additionally, excluding other members of the team from these interviews can result in possible issues down the road. I have learned that scheduling less formal “interviews” between candidates and members of the team at large can be an extremely effective way of gaining consensus around a candidate who would fit in well. I firmly believe that it is very important for everyone on the team to have a say in recruiting new team members.
If you don’t already have a well-defined onboarding process for new employees, I would highly suggest that you begin looking into creating one. Having a pre-defined protocol for integrating new resources will ensure that all new hires are given an appropriate introduction to their new work environment, which will allow them to integrate into their new surroundings more easily. Such a process can include: formal introductions to key members of the existing staff (including senior management); an introductory course on company policies and procedures; a formal meeting with the new manager to outline responsibilities and expectations; a formal introduction with all new team members; a full tour of the office facilities. This will put your new employee on stronger footing from the outset and will allow them to feel confident right away.
It is always a good idea to try and get to know your new team member outside of the workplace. To wit, my onboarding process includes taking the team out for lunch with the new resource as a way of welcoming them to the team. This also has the additional benefit of removing the workplace as a topic of conversation and allowing the team to get to know one another in a different – more personal – context. I have discovered that this relaxes the new employee and allows them to see their new co-workers in a more friendly and multi-dimensional way.
As a manager, I am firm believer in surrounding myself with people who do not need to closely managed. I like to place a lot of trust in my colleagues and afford them the freedom to work with a great deal of autonomy. And this extends to all new employees as well. In order to fully integrate a new member into the team, I need to be able to place the same amount of trust in them from the very outset. Enabling new resources to do their jobs from day one has shown to be incredibly motivating and allows the rest of the team to place their confidence in the new person as well.
In life, things rarely go exactly as planned. While you may have gone to great lengths to ensure a smooth integration, it is possible that things just did not turn out the way you had hoped. Should such a situation arrive, you want to ensure that you are accessible and receptive to receiving feedback from your staff. And I would suggest making this an explicit instruction your team.While you may think that you are approachable and willing to engage in open dialogue with your staff, you need to make sure that they are aware of it.
Ready to Find Your Newest Team Member to Integrate?
Bringing someone new on board doesn’t have to be a challenge — if you’re attracting the right candidates. That’s where we can help. Find out how you can start connecting with the right candidates with a free job post today.