And while fresh blood brings fresh energy and ideas, it can also create fresh headaches. Adding new talent into established teams can disrupt the balance, especially in a small business where employees are often tight knit.
Here are six smart ways to help integrate your new employees seamlessly.
1. Share your cultural norms
The phrase “a good fit” comes up a lot when talking about hiring decisions, and that can be especially crucial in a small business. “We follow the martial arts mentality of ‘everyone cleans the mats,’ which means that no matter your seniority or position, everyone helps. There is no task too low for any employee,” says Mark Weiner, founder and CEO of Reduxio. So if an all hands on deck mentality or frequent team meetings are important parts of your culture, make sure your new hire is prepared to join in.
2. Make them feel at home
You likely have an onboarding plan in place to get them up to speed on the technical and logistical aspects of the position, but it’s easy to overlook some of the more basic elements that can make them feel welcome.
No one likes to feel as though the office isn’t expecting them: The handbook Tips for a Great Hire includes a New Workstation Checklist on page 6 that covers all the materials needed for a smooth start.
Also consider standardizing how you configure workspaces. You'll simplify the procedure for subsequent new hires — no more foraging for a headset or desk chair for your new team member.
3. And then make them feel part of the family
Of course, part of making them feel welcome includes easing the transition socially. While your plan for day one should include a team lunch, don’t just stop there. Consider pairing them with a more senior member of your team so they have a go-to person for all those questions that might seem trivial (i.e., How do you replace the copy paper?), but can contribute to their overall feeling of belonging.
Then, plan a few events at different intervals to boost camaraderie. Consider a morning breakfast meeting, a relaxed happy hour on a Friday, an impromptu party to celebrate a recent win or a shared activity such as bowling or mini golf.
4. Help team members appreciate each other’s personalities
Often coworkers don’t mesh because they don’t understand one another’s working style. Check out our Work Personality Test on page 11 that will help you identify different personalities — from the “Work Horse” to the “Yes Man” — and the strengths and challenges of each.
5. Be clear about job duties
Sometimes animosity can grow when an old timer concludes that the new kid on the block should automatically get the drudge work. It can also be hard when roles overlap: Maybe John in the sales department thinks he’s still in charge of new client presentations, while new hire Jenna in business development assumes that falls squarely in her territory.
One of the ways to nip any rancor in the bud is to let your team know you are available to address concerns as soon as they arise — that includes both the new person and your existing team members. If a veteran feels his or her toes are being stepped on, or the new employee isn’t feeling the love, you want to be aware so you can help smooth out any ripples before they become waves.
About the Author
Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer covering business and consumer topics. She creates branded content for Fortune 500 companies, and her work has appeared in LearnVest, Costco Magazine, Forbes, TheGlassHammer.com and IDEA Fitness. Follow her @cathieericson.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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