Hiring Manager Tip: Start Building a Relationship Before the New Employee’s First Day


Picture this: A hiring manager is eager to fill a key role on his team, and finally finds the right candidate. An offer is made, and ultimately accepted.

(Cue the Hallelujah Chorus)

Been there, hiring managers?

As soon as that offer has been accepted, the clock is ticking. In many cases, you have about two weeks to prepare for the new employee’s arrival and craft an onboarding plan.

Yes, you. You have about two weeks, hiring manager. It’s not enough to simply plan for the new employee to attend New Employee Orientation through your trusty HR department. Oh, no. Hiring manager, you are the gateway to a positive, successful onboarding experience. 

In addition to ensuring the new employee has a workstation and appropriate equipment, you should be considering the ways you will introduce your newest team member to the company, team and role. It is also up to you to begin building a solid relationship with this quazi-stranger, who will soon be an integral part of your team’s – and let’s face it, your – success.

One of my favorite ways to accomplish this is to get to know your new employee on a personal level. This isn’t rocket science! You are not hiring a robot – you are hiring a person. Learn about this person, and use what you learn to make the new employee’s first days with your team special. After all, his/her first impressions of your company (and YOU as the manager) will impact how motivated s/he is to learn, grow and stay with your organization long-term. After all, according to 2013 research by Aberdeen, as many as 90% of organizations believe new employees make their decision to stay within the first year. The foundation set by the hiring manager is a key component to this decision.

So, the question is: “How do I get to know my new employee before the first day?”

My advice: It’s all about the communication you extend during the preboarding period – typically that two-week span of time between the offer acceptance and the new employee’s first day.

A few thoughts:

1. Make a point to let the new employee know how excited you are that s/he will be joining your team. 

Do this through an email, a phone call, or even a handwritten note via snail mail. It only takes a few moments and a small amount of effort, but the genuine, warm feeling the new employee will receive is undeniable. Make him/her excited for Day One!

2. Craft a plan for the first 1-2 weeks….and share it ahead of time.

Schedule a team lunch. Connect the new employee with key individuals s/he will be working with for informal meet-and-greet sessions. Do an office “drive-by” to make introductions to people who sit nearby. Schedule plenty of time with YOU to discuss the role, the onboarding plan, to set goals and establish expectations. Sharing this ahead of time helps relieve new-job jitters…s/he can relax, knowing you have it all under control.

3. Learn about the fun stuff.

Send an email, letting the new employee you have a very important task for him/her to complete ASAP. Attach a questionnaire for the new employee to complete, telling you about his/her favorite things.

Guess what? I’ve created one for you! Click on the image below to download!



It’s not enough to just have him/her share his favorite things with you….USE the information you gather to:

4. Make the first day special.

Have a fresh bouquet of her favorite flowers waiting on her desk. Fill a candy jar with his favorites. Treat him to lunch at his favorite restaurant. Show up with her favorite Starbucks order. Determine what works best for your style, your team and culture, and go for it!

Make that new employee ridiculously excited to work on YOUR team. Be the manager you’d like to work for!


Your turn: Managers, how do you start building a relationship with your newest employees as they join your team? Share your ideas in the comments below!


Know of a hiring manager who could benefit from these tips? Be kind and share it!



So, what’s this BIG NEWS we keep talking about?

On November 1st, registration will be LIVE for a new public workshop!

Orientation Overhaul: Re-imagining the New Employee Experience in your Organization

Seating will be limited for this interactive, roll-up-your-sleeves session, so stay tuned for more details in just a few days! Join the mailing list and be among the first to know!

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Trainers: Take Ownership of Your Development!

learning professionals are like cobblers children who have no shoes

Not long ago, I made the statement that sometimes learning professionals are so busy developing others in their organizations, that they often neglect their own development. Then I made a comparison to the old saying, “the cobbler’s children who have no shoes.”  I mentioned this to my friend Brian over at Train Like a Champion, and we had a nice discussion about it. In fact, he wrote this terrific post on the subject. His post got me thinking more about the truth to this topic.

Many of us do neglect our own growth and development for the sake of developing others.

Sure, ’tis a noble thing – that we should be so dedicated to our craft that we forego our own development to focus on the needs of others. But let’s not allow our dedication to prevent or hinder our ability or desire to sharpen our own skills.

If you checked out the link above (you did, didn’t you?), you discovered (or were reminded of) 18 places to look for professional development. Now that we have some great inspiration to look at, let’s consider WHY you should be checking those resources out. Here are 4 reasons:

1. You don’t know what you don’t know.

It’s easy to get into a rut routine at your day job. We get comfortable, creating training experiences that work because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” There are other ideas out there, many of which you may have never considered. By connecting to like-minded professionals, reading industry resources and exploring your craft, you may discover new, progressive methods to reach your learners and achieve your goals.

2. Our profession is constantly evolving.

It’s a big world out there, learning professional. There are countless tech tools and resources that can make your job easier and engage learners. Stay in the loop. It’s an exciting time for our industry – leverage industry trends and showcase your expertise to partner with business leaders – make learning come alive in your organization!

3. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Well, sure…part of it is what you know. But your Personal Learning Network should be an extension of your own knowledge and experience. Whether it’s through blogs you follow (like this one – thank you!), professionals you follow on Twitter or LinkedIn, or even through industry associations like ATD (formerly ASTD) or SHRM, there are a wealth of passionate industry thought leaders (in all areas of our field) out there who want to connect with you, are willing to share resources and expertise and, through the wonder of technology, are at your fingertips 24/7/365.

4. You can’t effectively develop others if you’re ignoring your own development needs.

Every time I’m on a flight, I mentally wrestle with the pre-flight safety spiel. When I’m told, “In the event of a loss of oxygen, masks will fall. Put on your mask first, then assist others around you,” I struggle at the thought of putting on my own mask before helping my kids, or maybe an elderly passenger seated next to me. But I see how it makes sense – how can you effectively help others, if you don’t have the capacity yourself? The same goes for professional development. If you invest in your own development, you will be in a better state to influence learning in your organization. And isn’t that what we want to achieve? To influence learning in our organizations?

Bottom line: Take ownership of your professional development. Don’t wait for others to provide development opportunities for you.

Your turn: Where do you turn for professional development? How do you sharpen your skills? How has “owning” your development helped you influence learning in your organization? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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#OneSimpleThing – Who Ya Gonna Call?

#OneSimpleThing - Who Ya Gonna Call

(Admit it, you’ve got the song running through your head now, don’t you? #SorryNotSorry)

Happy Monday! Here is the second installment of the #OneSimpleThing series. In case you missed last week’s post, the purpose of this series is to spark creativity, kickstart new ideas, overcome burnout and focus on your own development. Whether you’re a trainer/facilitator, an instructional designer, HR professional, manager or in an entirely different field, I hope you find value!

This week’s focus: From whom can you learn something?

There is always a part of our role, company or industry that is a bit of a mystery. Maybe you just haven’t had much exposure to a certain part of your business. Maybe you’re curious about how another department operates, or how you can partner cross-functionally. Maybe you want to break down those dreaded silos. Maybe you’d like to get acquainted with your company’s CEO. Maybe there’s an industry leader in your area whose brain you’d love to pick.

The point?

We all know someone who knows something we’d like to learn more about. 

So, reach out! What’s stopping you? I promise, it’s not as tough as asking your 6th grade crush to the Valentine dance. Unless the person you have in mind is a total jerk, the chances are good that s/he will oblige your request to meet for coffee, lunch or just to sit down at the office to chat one day. Advice? People are busy (I’m sure you are too!), so be patient and mindful of others’ schedules. More advice? Pick up the check. Money well spent, I promise.

Through casual breakfasts, lunches, coffee runs and other meetups, I’ve become acquainted with some pretty incredible people. Some I’ve initiated, others have been requested by others. Regardless of who reached out first, I always walk away with a renewed energy for what I do. An idea that I want to implement or a topic I want to write about. I learn something. And the best part? I’m building stronger relationships with awesome people.

So your #OneSimpleThing challenge this week is to reach out to someone you know (or know from afar) who you could help you learn something. Ask that person to meet up sometime in the next few weeks.


Your turn: After you reach out to someone, check in by posting in the comments below. Who did you contact? What are you hoping to learn? And after you met with the person, how did it go?


Be kind – please share this post with your friends and followers!


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I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

A loving home and family, two beautiful and smart kids, a sister whose cancer is in remission, a precious new nephew born 3 months ago…the list goes on and on.

Professionally, there are also numerous reasons to be grateful. For Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on that:

1. I’m grateful for opportunity.

There has never been a time when opportunity has been more abundant. Seeking out opportunities to do something I believe in and am passionate about is a blessing. Whether it’s an opportunity to facilitate a workshop, write for a publication or collaborate with other professionals, I’m thankful for every chance to stretch and grow professionally.

2. I’m grateful for technology.

Our world has become a lot “smaller” than it used to be. Technology makes geography a non-issue. As long as there is wifi, we are able to connect with others, share resources and learn from one another. I remember when I was assigned my first email address, back in the early 90s.  I was at college, and received a postcard with my “electronic mail address”.  In my 19-year old wisdom, I rolled my eyes and thought, “When will I ever use this?”  I tossed the postcard and never once logged in.  Now, twenty-ish years later, I have to laugh. How things have changed!

3. I’m grateful for relationships.

Opportunity and technology are great, but the relationships that grow as a result are what matters most of all. Maybe you’re a reader of this blog. Maybe we’ve had chatted about learning over a cup of coffee. Maybe we’ve collaborated on a project. Maybe you’ve attended a workshop I’ve facilitated. No matter how we’ve become acquainted, I’m blessed to have a circle that includes such fascinating, intelligent people.

So, thank you. Many, many times over.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear reader. I truly hope your holiday has been filled with warm memories, laughter, and an abundance of whatever makes you happy.

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