All the previous parts of this series have an underlying theme of building strong relationships, during the hiring phase, once hired, and how your processes and support system can encourage these relationships. There are some additional steps you can take to help build these relationships on a social level, resulting in even stronger integration into your culture.
Out of Your Comfort Zone
I have experienced this first hand when I joined NewVoiceMedia. As a Scrum Master I joined two teams, the team I would be the Scrum Master in, and a team of Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches.
The Scrum Masters had organised a day of training for us all, it involved some team building actives such as a game called ‘lie to me‘, and some guest speakers. What this did for me was level the playing field in terms of comfort zone, and I was able to build relationships with other Scrum Masters when they were not doing their normal job. Not having the same experience with the other team definitely impacted the time it took to build these relationships.
There are many ways to achieve the same thing, from paint-balling or go-karting through to the internal training day I experienced. Ideally if this can be done off site then it will only help to level that very uneven playing field.
It is important to make a big deal when someone joins your team. Taking the team out for lunch or drinks is a great way to mark the occasions. You should also announce their arrival via email or your chosen form of company wide communications, I have often seen this reserved for new directors and that is wrong.
As previously mentioned things such as this will help build relationships, it will also make the new person feel valued.