Many times a manager’s focus is on getting their team to function like a team. There are hundreds of books that discuss the how to’s of making a team, but even if there were step-by-step instructions the actual task can be quite daunting.
The task becomes more difficult when a new hire is added to an already functioning team. The existing team members can struggle when bringing a new person on board. They wonder what will they be like. Also, what kind of personality, skill levels, and communication skills will they have? Will we be able to work together? How will it be possible to train a new person and keep the work load from falling behind?
Managers need to address questions like these before the new team member arrives. Coming up with an on-boarding plan with the existing team will ease the transition.
What about the new employee? Try to look at this from their point of view. Starting a new job is exciting, but also scary. The new person has no idea what to expect. Will they like me? Will I be able to meet their expectations? What if I make a mistake?
A common mistake that managers often make is thinking that the new hire will fit into the team right away. The new hire needs to understand what their purpose is first as an individual employee (player) before they can move into a team position.
They need to be able to understand the answers to questions like;
What is my job?
How does my job affect the overall business?
Who cares about what I do at my job?
Am I doing my job well?
Once the employee has a good understanding of the what’s, why’s, who’s, and how “I am doing” then they can begin to think about everything in the “we” way of doing things.
How are we doing?
What is our job as a team?
How does our job as a team affect the business?
Who care about us?
It is necessary for the employee to understand the “I” before they can begin to focus on the “we.” Giving new hires this transition time will greatly improve the success of easing them onto the team. It will also give the existing team time to get to know them as well.
“A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skill of the others.”
– Norman S Hidle