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How to Integrate New Team Members?

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As companies begin to ramp up hiring again, it's important to know how to properly integrate new members into your team.

Integrating your new team member is very important. It can improve retention alongside helping employees adjust to a new corporate culture and feel more comfortable voicing concerns or contributing ideas.

For the existing team, if you do a poor job of integrating a new employee staff will be more likely distracted by the new team member asking questions while they try to get their bearings. This can hinder inclusion and impact a good team culture for the worse.

A great onboarding process is vital to integrating new team members. If you have had issues in the past or have a new hire joining your team soon, consider trying some of the ideas below.

  1. Prepare your existing team

A new personality with new capabilities and viewpoints will alter the dynamic of the rest of the team. You should communicate what the new person's role is, their background and skill set to get the team excited and ensure a warm welcome.

Make sure you give your team time to prepare, whether it's for training purposes, role allocation, changing desks or adding to remote working systems. A simple email or brief meeting to inform your team, prior to the arrival of your new hire, is essential.

  1. Assign a 'buddy'

Having someone to ask simple questions like where to save files or what time is best to take lunch at is one of the easiest ways to make sure a new person settles in quickly. A good way to do this is through a ‘buddy’ system. Buddies provide guidance that goes beyond traditional training and should be someone who’s familiar with the company culture.

The buddy system should encourage staff to share with the new employee tips, tools, knowledge, and techniques they learned from previous work experiences. Make sure not to assign the new members manager as a buddy as this should be a more informal pairing. It’s important also to include a formal documented process that outlines the buddies' responsibilities and items they should cover over the first few weeks or months of employment.

  1. Equipment set up and procedures

First impressions are important. Ensure you're organised and that your new team member is set up with the equipment they need and that they are familiar with company policies and procedures from day one.

Depending on their role this could be as simple as organising policy documents and a computer/laptop along with any branded merchandise your company offers, for example, branded pen, notebook, mousepad etc.

Many organisations now have complete welcome packs which can make a new team member feel valued too. Whatever your process is ensure you have everything ready and that the new person knows what will be arriving (if working remotely) or what they can expect when they get to work on their first day.

  1. Let new hires know who the stakeholders are

An org chart is a great way to illustrate your company's formal hierarchy, but it's equally important to spend time explaining the informal network and internal best practices. Who are the go-to people, what's the best way to contact colleagues, who are the people who know what's happening before it happens and are there any potentially difficult employees your new hire should be aware of? Small things like this can put a new starter at ease and make new interactions less stressful.

  1. Keep them busy

A new starter's first week, and following weeks, should be busy and on the job training should be pre-planned. Formal inductions are great and streamline the process for all new hires. If your company doesn't have an induction program, ensure you have sufficient work, training documents, company information and socialising potential for your new team member throughout their start period.

Communicate with them often, particularly if they are starting their new role remotely. It can be a good idea to organise an informal activity within the first week or two also, this will help them settle in and ask questions in a more relaxed way.

Some sample ideas for remote worker activities include Zoom quizzes, bingo or an online game. Whatever you choose, try and include an activity that encourages team collaboration and avoids awkward silences.

The goal of a good onboarding is to properly integrate your new team member into the company. They should feel comfortable within the company culture, know how the organisation works and clearly understand what is expected of them.

Onboarding processes will differ from person to person. For example, a more senior hire will need different onboarding than a new grad and vice versa. The results, however, should be the same.

Integrating new staff members can be costly and time-consuming, but if done correctly it will save time and money in the longer term.

Cpl is a global provider of talent solutions to all types of companies, from start-ups to multinationals in every sector. If you'd like to discuss how we can help your business get in touch to book a free consultation.

This article was originally published in 2020 and has since been updated to include more tips relevant to remote workers.