Congratulations, you are starting a new role. You’ve made it through the selection process, accepted the offer, and signed the paperwork. You will be working with a new team at a new company in an IT Leadership role. The only thing left is to anticipate the first day.
Do you know what to expect on the first day? Your company’s employee onboarding process is typically designed to make a good impression on you. There is a perception that the higher up in the organization you go, the less importance onboarding plays in your success. Not true!
First impressions can have a lasting impact. The onboarding process should be about making you, the new employee, feel welcomed, valued, and prepared to succeed in your new role.
What about your new employees? How do they feel about your arrival? They know the new boss is arriving. The water cooler talk is abuzz wondering what you are all about, who might know someone who knows you, and what changes will you bring about. Do you know what they have been told about you?
Impressions go both ways. Onboarding is an opportunity to make your new employees feel good about you. Here are eight ways to move your new team from anxious to eager anticipation of your arrival. It will not only make them feel better; it will set you up for success.
- Participate in preparing for your arrival. Work with HR and your hiring manager to prepare your employees for your arrival. Request that an announcement is sent and make sure to have a hand in its content. The communication will surely share your role, responsibilities, and experience. Push for it to include as much of your personal information as you are willing to disclose – your family, your favorite activities, the things that bring you joy. Express your philosophies about life and work. Invite new team members to connect with you on LinkedIn. Encourage them to stop by to meet you on your first day. Let your authenticity and transparency show through. When employees are made aware of their new boss, they are better prepared to assist you on your first day.
- Get to know your direct reports. Get to know your direct reports by taking the time to learn more about them outside of the interview process. When an employee feels valued by their team on both a personal and professional level, they are more likely to stick around for the long haul.
- Get to know your team. Ask for a team roster that includes names, titles, and responsibilities. Look them up on LinkedIn with the intent of putting a face to a name. Enlist your new direct reports to walk you through their organization. Not only will you learn who is who, but, but you will also be better prepared to meet with them. It will also reveal a lot about your direct reports’ management and working style. The more they can share, the more engaged they will be. The more engaged they are, the more engaged their employees will be.
- Workstation. Be proactive in assuring your new workstation is ready to go. Ask to interact with the end user team to understand what technologies are deployed and to assure the desktops and mobility tools you need will be available. As a new employee, nothing is worse than not having access to the tools you need to be successful. Taking a proactive approach not only sets you up for success, but it also enables one or two of the employees to meet you before your arrival. You can count on your behavior and treatment of them to be relayed to their peers.
- Systems and tools. Know what systems you will need to access and use as part of your job. In line with assuring that your workstation meets your needs, you should also make sure you know what programs, software, and electronic files you will need during your first days. Ask for training materials that can be accessed offline. Assure that you have an “app mentor” for each of the tools, even if you have used them before since every application has the opportunity to be configured to the needs of the company. Taking this action will reduce the stress of your learning curve as well as enable you to be productive sooner.
- Introductions. Manage the introduction process by seeking help from your new manager or assistant in scheduling meetings with key people and departments during your first day. You may not remember everyone’s name, but this exercise will give you a good start in understanding how the company works and who does what. It will also allow key people to meet you and start the relationships off on a positive note.
- Plan a team gathering. Work with your new manager or administrative assistant to schedule a team gathering with your direct reports and their team members the first week. Ask them to come prepared with their questions for you. If your team members are remote, make it a virtual gathering using video Skype or what ever video conferencing tools you have available. This will help break the ice and allow the employees to get to know you, their new leader, in a relaxed environment. You don’t even need to leave the office to do this. It could be a bagel breakfast or employees could bring their lunch and gather in a conference room (or online if that is the only way to gather). There should not be a formal agenda. Share a little about yourself. Include fun facts and then allow them to ask their questions. Keep it light and make it fun.
- Last but not least – your boss. Get to know your new boss on a deeper level than possible during the interview process. It is best if you have at least one conversation before your first day exploring his or her needs, expectations, and communication style. Be very cautious not to use this meeting as an opportunity to show how ready or smart you are. Make the conversation about them – asking open–ended questions will reveal so much more.
Successful on-boarding sets you up for success. Why leave it to chance?
I am here if you have questions.
Until next week!
ITeffectivity LLC was founded in 2013 with the mission of helping IT Leaders bring order to their ever–changing world. Since then, Mary has advised over 80 leaders as well on behalf of Fortune 100 firms to small non-profits.
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach
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