Help your new team member make an impact

One of our favourite memories of 2019 was our recruiter Harry’s first two weeks with us.

He was new to recruitment, bright-eyed and bushy tailed. As a newbie, he’d be expected to take at least two months or so to place a candidate in a job role. Not Harry. He took just two weeks! There’s us thinking we’d get away with a few months’ not paying commission…

Now, Harry’s early success could be down to his great personality, strong work ethic and excellent people skills.

Or, it could be down to great training. Yeah, definitely great training.

It got us thinking about onboarding. We needed to hire Harry because we were inundated with work; a good thing, but a stressful thing when you haven’t got the resource. Those first few weeks were critical in getting him up to speed and making a positive impact on the business.

We’ve put together a few tips for onboarding and what’s worked for us.  

A proper welcome

Starting a new job is nerve-wracking for anyone. Something we like to do at RedSprout is break the ice before our new colleague’s first day. We like to meet for a drink at the pub on the Friday beforehand to get to know each other outside of the office. If the pub’s not your thing, take your team member out for coffee when they arrive on their first day. It’ll give them a warm welcome and help settle their nerves, plus allow you to get to know each other on a personal level before cracking on with work stuff.

Show your support

From day one, make the effort to work alongside your team member and make them feel fully supported. You can start backing away as they pick things up, but don’t just throw them in at the deep end and leave them to it. Make them feel like they can lean on you throughout their first few weeks.

Check in regularly

As your new team member gets into the swing of things, remember to check in with them regularly. It’s easy to crack on with your own work and presume they’re okay, but this might create a barrier between you and your new colleague. Give them a platform to share their feelings rather than leaving them to feel alone.

An open and honest environment

It’s so important to create an atmosphere at work where people are comfortable asking questions. We LOVE curiosity at RedSprout and it’s a trait of successful employees in any company.

Encourage questions and don’t make anyone feel silly for asking something. Give them your full attention when they ask you something so that they don’t feel like they’re disturbing you (turn away from your screen to answer them). Communicate that mistakes are okay and everyone slips up – the important thing is to learn from them. 

Honest feedback

Our final, very important onboarding tip is to provide clear and constructive feedback. The first few months is a crucial time in your team member’s development. It’s when habits will be formed, so it’s important to give honest feedback about performance, approach, and so on. Don’t just leave the feedback until a 121 or the end of the day; ensure there is a constant dialogue and help your new team member absorb as much as they can in their first few weeks.

So, that’s a bit of advice around onboarding. There’s loads more stuff out there, but this is what’s worked for us. Have you got any more tips? Ever experienced an onboarding fail and it got you off to a bad start? Let us know in the comments.

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