Now that you’ve made the leap to hire your first employees–day one is around the corner.
How will you onboard new hires? Perhaps you’ll start the day with coffee, followed by introductions to colleagues? Then you’ll roll through orientation formalities and straight into initial work. But what’s next?
As you build a team, the on-boarding plans and support you give them as they embark on early projects are essential to their success. If you want to retain the best talent, first impressions are everything. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you build your team.
Share your company vision and mission
If you want to create excitement and camaraderie among new team members it’s important to make sure everyone in on the same page. Start by sharing the company vision, mission statement and goals. Then invite team discussion. What excites them the most? Which aspects do they feel may prove to be the most challenging?
According to Kotter Interntional EVPs Dennis Goin and Randy Ottinger, teams are “… often made up of people with drastically different styles, personalities, and visions. Bringing these voices into alignment around key goals and opportunities is the essential first step toward accelerating strategic results for the organization.”
Listen to their insight and genuinely evaluate their suggestions. People want to feel heard but also need to see tangible evidence that what they say, counts.
Identify employee strengths
It is all too easy to become side-tracked with individual challenges faced within your team. However, “If you’re too focused on uncovering room for improvement, you may not see what’s working for the team and the strengths of the talent you have,” Gauri Sharma explains.
Take time to learn about each individual on your team. It’s important to understand the direction and goals they’ve laid out for their career. There may be an opportunity to utilize their skills and ability in certain areas as business evolves and grows over time.
Ease the challenges of remote work
Today’s workplace environment is no longer location dependent. Many companies employ remote workers, operate on a distributed team model, or employ remote teams in multiple locations.
However, managing a remote workforce comes with its own set of challenges. It can prove difficult to develop a strong relationship with someone you’ve never met face-to-face.
If possible, have all of your team members meet in a face-to-face environment initially, and then as regularly as is reasonably possible. This will strengthen the bonds that create trusting working relationships. “With the whole team together, you can ensure that everyone is interpreting objectives, goals, roles and other vital content the same way. Disagreements can be aired more easily and quickly, and mistaken assumptions can be identified and dispelled.”
Don’t be afraid to be unpopular
The only way a business can grow is if the team is willing to push boundaries and drive change and innovation forward. As the leader of a new team it’s important to set boundaries, but also encourage everyone around you to work towards stretching them. Don’t be afraid to be unpopular!
Share necessary changes and your reasons for implementing them during the formative months. Relay the positive impact that proposed changes are expected to have across the business.
Monitor team performance and progress
Smooth out bumps along the way and assess performance at an individual and team level. One of the best ways to motivate employees is to identify strengths in their performance, but also work alongside them to overcome challenges.
Employees who feel they’re faced with insurmountable or unreasonable challenges may consider quitting, so keep tabs on individual situations. This will position you to have open and frank discussions around difficult topics. Most importantly, you can proactively manage situations before it’s too late.
Celebrate team success
Ask your team for personal contributions on how they would like to celebrate their success. Some may enjoy a public mention at the weekly team meeting whilst others might prefer a more confidential form of recognition. Identify intrinsic and extrinsic motivators and tie this in with standard reward methods.
Celebrate achievements large and small, on an individual and team level. When you lead your team with empathy, personalization and a bit of strategy, you’ll build up people and a great organization.
Joe Flanagan is the Senior Consultant at VelvetJobs, the outplacement and employer branding services selected by the leading companies. His expertise include recruitment strategies, employer branding and employee retainment. His aim is to help reduce the unemployment rate while helping workplaces strive to be their best. Connect with @velvetjobs on Twitter.
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