Remember being new?
How managers can help

Ah, the memories of being new. Who could forget the nerves, the uncertainty, and, of course, the obligatory sales conference fancy dress outfits!? Throwback to my second sales conference ever (no photographic evidence of me dressed as an astronaut from the first time!) They were always fancy dress and fun! But, as a Graduate, it was a bit of a social and professional minefield. I lived in fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. I’d forgotten I’d felt like that.

Reminiscing about my early days of corporate life, I’m reminded of the challenges that come with stepping into a new role. From deciphering office culture to understanding team dynamics, the journey of a newcomer is filled with twists and turns.

It’s easy to lose sight of these challenges as we scale the career ladder and take up leadership positions. However, it’s crucial to empathise with those who are embarking on their own journey into uncharted territory, no matter how experienced or senior they are. After all, we were all new once and we’re all on a learning journey!

According to a survey conducted by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), 50% of new hires fail to reach their eighteen-month anniversary due to a lack of support and guidance. This stat underscores the importance of managers playing an active role in fully onboarding new team members. Working with organisations, I often see managers who don’t have the time and headspace to consider their new starter but carving out some time to think and plan well ahead of a new team member starting can make a big impact on how they feel and how long they stay (so you don’t have to recruit…again!).

So, what can managers do in the first few weeks to support those who are navigating new roles?

Extend a warm welcome ahead of time:

A small gesture can greatly ease the transition for newcomers. Send a goodie bag and note to their home, offer an introductory coffee/call, and personally greet them when they arrive (don’t delegate it!). Take the time to introduce yourself, show genuine interest in their background, and make them feel part of the team from day one.

Provide clear expectations:

“Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind” – Brené Brown. Ambiguity causes confusion and frustration. Be upfront about what is expected of the new team member in terms of their induction, goals, responsibilities, KPIs and ways of working. Consider sharing your KPIs and working preferences to further build trust.

Facilitate networking:

Introduce the newcomer to key stakeholders within the organisation and encourage them to build relationships beyond their immediate team. Networking not only expands their professional circle but also enhances their understanding of the company culture and helps them get things done quickly. Weave your introductions into practical discussions so they are more productive and less awkward.

Provide ongoing support and feedback:

Transitioning into a new role is ongoing: it takes a month to figure out what is going on, three months to start feeling like you know what you’re doing, a year to feel confident in the business cycle and up to three years to embed culturally. So, check in regularly with the new team member to address any concerns, provide constructive feedback, and celebrate milestones. Don’t forget to regularly ask them for feedback too – they will have a unique perspective.

Offer a support crew:

Start with buddying as new starters often aren’t aware of what they don’t know and introduce mentoring as they are more settled and can make better use of a mentor. External coaching complements this, providing confidential, objective thinking space and preparation for challenges. Employees who receive coaching are 50% more likely to reach full productivity in their first 90 days.

By taking the time to focus on and prepare for a new team member, managers can create an environment where newcomers feel valued, supported, and empowered.

Need support with your onboarding? Contact me or book a complimentary exploratory call here.

References:

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – “Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success”

Manchester Review – “The Impact of Executive Coaching”.

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