With college graduation season coming to an end, new graduates will be starting full-time employment at companies around the globe. Managers, team members, and colleagues will need to learn how to work with these new team members, and the new hires will need to learn how to fit into the company’s culture.
What can help smooth this transition? Below are some tips for new hires, team members and managers:
- Be curious about how each person you meet fits into the success of the company. Ask open-ended questions like, “Tell me how you ended up at this company.”, “What does it take to be successful here?”
- Make no assumptions about what is expected. Ask for direction and clarification on ways to do things, including how to answer the phone, what’s appropriate or not when sending emails, and whether it’s okay to wear earbuds when working.
- Have a beginner’s mind. Rather than trying to show everyone what you know, hold back and ask questions. Being a know-it-all at the beginning signals you aren’t open to learning or to taking feedback well.
- Be curious about the new individual. If s/he is a recent college graduate, refrain from lumping the individual with a certain generation and assuming s/he has the stereotypic qualities attributed to that generation; rather, commit to helping the new hire integrate into the company by taking the individual to lunch and sharing what it was like for you when you first joined the company and what it takes to be successful at the company.
- If asking a new hire to complete a task, don’t assume s/he knows how to do it-or worse yet, test the individual by giving him/her a task and “seeing how s/he’ll do.” Always describe the outcome you want and engage the individual in thinking through how to get to the result.
- Be direct with your feedback. Do not go to the individual’s manager and tell him/her what the individual isn’t doing correctly. First, give the individual feedback, and then if a problematic situation continues, ask for a meeting with the manager and the new hire to discuss the issue. Start from day one teaching that communication triangles are “not how we do things around here.”
- Be clear up front how you will measure the new hire’s success. If you have worked with Transform, you know that we stress giving a new hire a 90-day onboarding plan that lays out what the individual needs to demonstrate at 30, 60, and 90 days to know s/he is on track and being successful.
- Convey to the new hire how to best communicate and work effectively with you. Tell him/her what does and doesn’t work with you, the team, and the company. Examples include open-space etiquette, whether wearing earbuds is allowed, taking breaks, using personal cell phones. For some new hires, this may be their first job in a workplace, but do not assume even the most seasoned new hires know what is acceptable and appropriate in your particular work environment.
- Be direct in your feedback, and if you see behavior you don’t want from a new hire, address it right away. On day one, tell the new hire that it is your job to successfully onboard him/her and that you will be giving direct and frequent feedback so that s/he can ramp up quickly into the position. If you start this from day one, the new hire learns that feedback is part of onboarding, not an event that happens only when something isn’t done or handled correctly.
I like to remind all team members including management that when a new hire starts, how you integrate the individual into the company and the position must be intentional. Too many employees I interview say their onboarding experience was non-existent and that they had to learn how to be successful “on-the-job,” which was very stressful. Individuals don’t learn quickly when under stress. Minimize the unhealthy stress by doing #1, 2, and 3 above.
A final word-successful onboarding of new hires is about building trust with each other. The tips above support building trust. All parties need to know what builds and erodes each other’s trust and communicate that to each other. Without trust, real success is an illusion!
By Theresa Gale,
PRINCIPAL, TRANSFORM, INC.