Walk the Talk.

It’s time to put my onboarding chops to work.  I received confirmation today that I will be getting a new employee on my team!  Now, he’s not a “new” employee at all.  He has been with our company for a long time, but has always reported to another department. He will be doing essentially the same job, just reporting to me. So, let me rephrase: I’m getting a new employee on my team…along with all of his current responsibilities!  I’m excited to continue the great work he has accomplished in the past, while providing new opportunities to utilize his strengths in the future.  It’s a very cool thing.

Naturally, the learning geek in me comes out, and gets me thinking of those 3 critical phases of onboarding…welcoming a new employee to the company, to the team, and to the job.  Often, we put our focus, our effort, and our resources toward new-to-the-organization employees.  But what about this situation?  As a manager, how can I effectively nurture and engage this new transitioning employee when he’s already acclimated to both the company and the job?  Simple.

The focus is on the team.

Here are a few strategies I plan to explore to get started:

1. Let’s get acquainted.  Change isn’t always easy. I’ve worked “around” this employee before, but at a distance. It’s going to be important to get to know him as an employee and as a person, to better understand what matters to him, and he can understand why I am the way I am (and good luck to him with that).

2. Set expectations.  The way I do things is not likely to be the way his former manager did things.  And the way he operates is not necessarily the same way that my other employee works.  And that’s okay!  Putting it out there – setting clear expectations, is essential from the very beginning.  Clarity breeds understanding. Understanding breeds engagement. Engagement breeds productivity.

And productivity breeds results.

3. Prioritize.  The goal-setting process will help keep us all on the same page. What projects are on his plate right now? How can I assist? Can we divide and conquer?  Are there any projects or tasks that don’t fit into our departmental objectives?  We will need to make sure we’re well aligned, and working on projects that need our focus and attention.  This will be a tough one, as there is much to be done!

4. Engage!  I am curious to know what his thoughts are, his vision for his role, and what he would like to bring to our evolving team. It’s not the manager’s job to simply pass down ideas.  As a manager, my vision should encompass the vision of my team.  As the leader of the team, it’s my responsibility to see that our objectives are met with the resources we have available.  Each of us brings unique strengths and talents to the table; I’d be silly not to capitalize on that.

Over the next few weeks, I will be working out the details for my new employee’s transition plan. It’s a very exciting time for my small (but mighty!) team, and I’ll certainly keep you posted!

To all you managers out there, new and veteran…how have you managed these transitions in the past?  How did you set your “new-to-you” employee up for success?  Talk to me…

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