Entrepreneurs and small business owners know that they can’t succeed alone. Delegating and leveraging specific tasks and entire positions to new team members are truly the only ways to build and scale a business.
However, I’ve found that leaders are hesitant to pull the hiring trigger because they don’t know what to do with the person once they are on board. Some of the concerns I’ve heard are:
- “I don’t have any systems in place, so they won’t know what to do.”
- “I don’t know how to train them.”
- “I don’t have time to train them.”
- “I need to create all the systems and checklists first before I make a hire.”
Well, you can either have excuses or results. Leaders can quickly mitigate these concerns with a solid plan, a model to follow and a commitment to grow their business through people. And it will be a commitment.
It’s hard, which is why so many people don’t make it over the hurdle of hiring. It seems easier to go back and do it all yourself because it’s familiar. You can control it. But that’s a short-sighted move.
If you want to build a business and find the freedom you’re looking for, you will need to have enough discipline to get there. And that all comes down to succeeding through others.
Here are three quick tips to get your new team member started the right way.
Set the stage from Day 1
Recently, my 8-year-old daughter started at a new school. The kids in her class welcomed her with a stack of handwritten notes. They made her feel special, seen and connected from the moment she walked in the door.
Are you doing that with your new hires? There is nothing worse for a new hire than to show up to an empty desk (or maybe even no desk at all), without office supplies and logins ready for them to get started. Set your new hire up for success from Day One.
Here are a few of the things we like to do:
- Have all their supplies ready to go, including a computer, phone, email, email signature, door code, etc.
- Meet in the lobby, and give a tour of the office (or during COVID, a virtual introduction to team members)
- Welcome them with a handwritten note, welcome video, office plant, and company swag like T-shirts, pens and water bottles
- Take them out to lunch
In addition to these small gestures, we also like to spend most of the day with our new hire going over company culture, setting up their calendar and getting them acclimated to the business’ rhythms.
Yes, we do the standard new hire paperwork, but I also like to give our new employee something tangible to accomplish by the end of the day. Something to show them what their position will be like (this could be reformatting a spreadsheet, posting something on social media or researching market data).
It’s essential for new employees to feel welcome, get a feel for the work and have a sense of accomplishment by the end of the day.
Set clear expectations and measures of accountability
Clarity is power. New employees need to know what to expect from their first day and how they will be held accountable for the results — from the big targets, like their monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals, all the way down to specific expectations around their schedule and communication.
You can’t expect new hires to show up and deliver the way you want them to if you haven’t clearly articulated those expectations first. From there, you have to inspect what you expect and make sure your new team members know that you will be checking in regularly on where they are at with their goals.
We like to create a 30-, 60- and 90-day plan as a road map for our new team members. This way, there is no confusion about what we expect them to accomplish and contribute during the first three months of their employment. At each milestone, we meet, discuss what got done and what didn’t, and we decide if we’re going to continue the relationship.
It comes as no surprise to the team member; we let them know from Day One that we’ll be working through this 90-day plan. It allows both of us to decide if we want to move forward and adjust any goals or expectations as needed for the next 30 days.
Don’t let go too soon
When you first make a hire, your days don’t immediately get shorter. I know, I know. That’s why you hired someone, right? To gain leverage, to stop doing the tasks that you hate (database management, anyone?)and to get time back in your day. But it doesn’t happen immediately. Too many new leaders are too eager to let go of the role.
They end up dumping many tasks and projects on their new hire’s desk without any context, resources or training. But you need to give it at least 30 days (though closer to 90) to begin to feel the benefit of the hire you made.
When you make a hire, your days get longer for a while. You’ll be slowing down, training, having your new team member shadow you, and answering questions — a lot of questions. And then, after your new team member goes home, you’ll have to catch up on your calls and emails, and get your work done for the day. Don’t let go too soon. You will be doing a disservice to your new hire and yourself if you do.
These best practices are here to get you started and help you understand that you will be investing money and time when you make a new hire. And time is the most crucial factor here. It takes time to get new employees acclimated to your company, your culture and you.
You can cut down on that lead time by setting them up for success from the first day, setting clear expectations and accountability, and not letting go too soon.
When you invest in the right person (and do your part to help them achieve success), you will receive a massive return on your time and money.
Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Adam Hergenrother Companies, the author of The Founder & The Force Multiplier, and the host of the podcast, Business Meets Spirituality. Learn more about Adam’s holistic approach to business here.