Prepare Your Staff for a New Hire

Here's how to talk to your staff about the new employee joining your team.
Freelance Writer and editor, Self-employed
August 01, 2012 A small-business environment can mirror that of a high school clique: tight-knit and not especially welcoming to outsiders. New blood can stir things up, and not always in a good way. It is important for entrepreneurs to consider what effect a new hire will have on current employees and to prepare a core group for the addition of talent in the office.
 
Here are a few ways to get your current team on board.
 
Talk roles. Gather your crew to discuss the exact role of the new person in the workplace, suggests Carol Fitzgibbons, director of organization and talent solutions at BPI Group, a human resources consultancy in Chicago. In addition, make sure to discuss how the role will affect everyone else’s job.
 
“Especially in a small company, people start to wonder what the addition of a new person means to them,” she says. “Current employees may need reassurance that their jobs are safe.”
 
Discuss characteristics. Paint a detailed verbal picture of the new employee to your current staff, recommends Fitzgibbons. Relay information about the person’s experience and positive attributes.
 
“Basically, you want to pre-sell the new co-worker to the existing staff and explain why you think they will add value to your company,” she says. “This information will help lay the groundwork for people to know who they are before they walk in the door and will set a climate for collaboration.”
 
Set expectations. Instead of strapping yourself with the entire onboarding process, task a few of your current staff members with duties for welcoming you new employee, she offers. A few examples include scheduling lunches, meetings, and cross-functional team events. The more involved you make your existing team, the more engaged and valued they will feel as part of the organization.
 
Address concerns. The addition of a new person can sometimes cause friction in a company’s ecosystem, especially if existing employees were vying for the slot. Several weeks before the new employee starts, sit down with each concerned team member and chat (in detail) about the trajectory of their careers. This will help alleviate any negative comments or actions to the unknowing newbie.
 
Seek feedback. Your current team is tried and true and often privy to new hire behaviors that can evade the top dog. Tap into that access by setting up times to chat with team members about the new hire’s progress. Fitzgibbons recommends meeting at the end of the new employee’s first week, second week and after the first month. Also make sure to ask how the existing team feels about the new person.
 
What would you add to this list? How do you prepare your employees for a new hire?
Freelance Writer and editor, Self-employed