One of the great things I like about college sports is the true teamwork. What is interesting is that with more and more players turning professional early and not completing their four years of college, recruiting and keeping the team focused on the mission has become a real challenge for coaches and athletic directors.
It is a fact – team members change – sometimes they leave of their own accord and sometimes we offer what I like to call ‘career re-direction advice’. Regardless, team members change, and the trick becomes to integrate new members into an existing team successfully?
Let’s look at this from both the perspective of the new employee and how he or she can acclimate themselves into the team, and then how we can help acclimate the new employee into our team.
First, if you have been traded to a new team (excuse the sports metaphor here) what should you do to feel like you are part of the team quickly? We have all been there – started a new job or position and not known anyone on the team. Here are a few tips and tricks you can employ if indeed you find yourself in this position.
Take the initiative to meet everyone on the team. Getting to know your new teammates can be fun and when you learn something about them, and get them to talk about themselves; you have made deposits into their emotional bank account. Everyone likes to talk about themselves and when you talk casually you can ask questions. Now, the true secret is to bank this information. Don’t retain this so you can manipulate them at a later date – instead retain this information and use it to build trust and alliances.
Learn as much as you can about the organization as possible. If this is a new company for you, then you likely did some online research before the first interview. Take this several steps further. Know the big picture about the organization. Having knowledge about the organization is a critical tool in any employee’s tool belt and when you take the time to know this information early on you are demonstrating your ability to work with everyone.
Take the time to get to know the team as a whole. Find out about previous successes they have had and yes – find out some of the failures. Learn what the goals and objectives are for the future. The more you know, the greater asset you can be to them.
Know the expectations up front. Many organizations are weak at sharing very specific expectations up front. This is critical for you as you want to make sure you are on track or ahead of schedule. This will show your new team mates that you are pulling your own weight and this also builds trust among your peers.
Help new hires: Now, as my company grows and we bring on new team members, what can we do to get the new members up to speed quickly and get them to feel more comfortable and avoid ‘The Lone Ranger Syndrome’?
Make sure their work area, looks, feels, and is fresh. There is nothing like coming into a new place and feeling like it is a fresh start for you only to find a desk that has not been cleaned out, with condiment packages in the drawers and a phone that looks and smells horrible.
If possible, get the new teammate his/her computer password so he can at least get online the first day. Of course it can be changed later – this shows that you care about getting your new-hires up to speed.
Assign the new-hire a mentor to help acclimate them to the surroundings, people, and the way you do things. You may also want to provide them a mentor as it relates specifically to the job function they will be doing. Having two mentors accomplishes a couple of things – they meet more people more quickly, and it helps the existing staff assume some of the leader roles on the team and makes them feel better about working there.
If the position allows, you may want the new-hire to work with different people on the team to learn the different styles and methods of accomplishing work tasks.
Remember, it is about making sure that everyone knows, trusts, and respects each other. While you will not likely get everyone to ‘like’ everyone else – it is critical that they trust each other in order to accomplish the mission, vision, and values of the team, division, and organization.
Gregg Gregory, of Teams Rock, works with organizations to create a culture where people work together and perform at peak levels. Through his interactive workshops and consulting, Gregg’s clients achieve greater team focus, cooperation, productivity, and impact. His experience includes more than two decades of human resources, real estate, mortgage banking, as well as radio and television broadcasting. Please contact Gregg at 866-764-TEAM or firstname.lastname@example.org see how his keynote speeches and breakout training sessions can help your company or organization.