This series has now covered what we can do before you hire, once hired, and how to use existing processes to our advantage. This article will cover how we can support a new starter throughout. Moving job and team can be a very stressful time in life, and it is our job as managers or scrum masters to offer any support we can. There are a couple of things I think really help.
A handoff is when you pass responsibility for something from one person to another, and the first person in the chain voids all responsibility. I believe this is one of the worst things you can do to a new person joining a team. Handoffs will make them feel undervalued and unwanted.
As mentioned in part 1 the person (likely manager) that will look after the new starter should be in the interview. This will allow for the new starter to have a familiar face throughout the induction. This same person should meet them on their first day, and then guide them through their first few months.
If you don’t already do regular (about every week) one to one (1:1) meetings then it is worth considering to support a new starter. Within the first week a daily 15 minute catch up is a good idea, later moving to weekly. A 1:1 with a manager should be an informal chat about how things are going, and any help they may need. Some of the key benefits I have noticed are:
- Managers can coach out the small problems before they become big problems
- Makes the person feel valued
- Encourages the person to reflect
The coaching opportunity is so important. People often don’t want to bother their manager with small issues and just ignore them, but these small things can add up. Even if you believe your door is always open this is not the same as a dedicated 1:1 coaching session.
Although I have talked about a manager 1:1, these could also be run by scrum master or agile coach as appropriate.
The previous tips focused on looking after and guiding a new starter, but that has to be balanced with allowing them to self-direct their own induction process. During the 1:1 make sure that you find out what he or she might wish to know more about or feel uncertain of, and plan that into the induction plan.
Allowing them to self-direct will not only make them feel more empowered it will likely mean they get the knowledge they really need.