You did it—you convinced upper management to approve a new hire for your team, you interviewed countless candidates, and you offered the job to the perfect person with that “special sauce.” While none of that was probably very easy—unfortunately, the hiring process pales in comparison to task of onboarding your new employee.
Training a new employee can be extremely tricky and filled with self-doubt. I am currently training a new hire for my team, and my thoughts often jump between “How in the world am I going to explain this?” to “Should I just do this myself?” These questions coupled with a new lack of privacy (“Can I be copied on that email?”) and scrutiny from your own managers (“How is she coming along?”) can be overwhelming.
Of course, this process gets better as your new hire begins to learn more about the role and the nuances of the company, and in two or three months, you’ll feel like he or she has been a member of your team forever. But, in the meantime, is the training process all pain? I argue no—in fact, these three aspects of training a new employee have surprising benefits, and they can help you and your team work smarter and more efficiently sooner rather than later.
1. Up Your Organization Game
Before bringing on my new hire, my to-do list and project planning lived mostly in my head. I often kept vital information saved in my inbox or created documents written in shorthand that only I could understand. While this system worked for me, it likely wouldn’t for anyone else, and I realized that I needed to start clearly planning and organizing my projects in order to help my new employee dive in.
Before your new staffer’s first day, dedicate some time to charting out project timelines and deliverables. Don’t view this preparation as added work—instead, think of it as an opportunity to streamline your projects. For example, while building a project plan to share with my new hire, I realized that the timeline in my head for sampling our next collection was way off. By making a quick fix to the plan, I was able to avoid a potential crisis down the road. This was just one of the benefits that came as a byproduct of dedicating time to organizing my projects in preparation for my new hire.
2. Utilize a Fresh Pair of Eyes
New employees bring a very important asset that seasoned team members can’t contribute: a fresh pair of eyes. Knowing this, why not take advantage of your new hire’s “outsider” status on your projects?
I did this unknowingly while training my staffer on a time-consuming and manual process that was a major pain point for our team. After finishing my training, she offered the suggestion that we streamline the process with an Excel template that we could utilize month after month, saving our team tons of time. While this seems like an obvious solution in hindsight, our team was too execution-focused to take a broader view of the problem. What we really needed was that fresh perspective.
3. Let Curiosity Be Contagious
You remember how you felt when you first started your job—so eager to take on new projects and curious to learn about the company. But, even if you love your job, it’s natural for some of this excitement to fade.
Make the most of your new hire’s enthusiasm and let some of that energy rub off on you and your team. Even small things, like having him or her share industry articles with your team or organize a group to go to a networking event can help reignite excitement for everyone.
Also, be sure to take advantage of his or her natural curiosity about the company and the way things are done. My new hire often asks me, “Why do we it that way?” which helps us pause and really analyze the forces that played into that decision. If I or another manager can’t explain the reasoning behind a certain decision or process, we identify it as an area of the company that can likely be improved, and we dig further.
Hiring and training a new employee are exciting and challenging undertakings. As a manager, your job is to introduce your new hire to the company and guide him or her to success in the new role. But don’t forget to take advantage of the training process itself—from the planning process to letting your new hire’s enthusiasm rub off on you. Keeping an open mind during the onboarding process can have huge benefits for your team.