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Onboarding a New Team Member

When we hire a new team member, it can be easy to get caught up in what we think it SHOULD look like that we can be blindsided by what it actually looks like. Today, I’m helping to set some expectations for anyone who’s hiring a new team member so that you both start out on the right foot. Ready? Let’s get started. 

In this episode:

  • 4 things to remember when hiring someone to set yourself up for a successful working relationship
  • How long the onboarding process should take for a new hire
  • How to determine if your should implement suggestions presented by a new hire 

Listen to the podcast here:

What To Expect When Onboarding A New Team Member

Hello, hello! So you’ve written a fantastic job description. You’ve vetted, interviewed, eliminated red flags, and made an offer to a new team member. They said yes! So…now what?

Some of what to expect in the first 60 to 90 days of working with a new team member will depend on who you hired and for what role. Someone in the OBM role is going to have a different process and different needs when they first start vs someone in the admin VA or Facebook ads space.

And you should—as a business owner who’s just hired a competent and values-aligned team member—expect that the incoming team member will have their own process to get the ball rolling. But it’s always helpful for you to know some of the most basic expectations to have when you start off with someone new.

Because if your expectations are too high or unrealistic or you don’t clearly communicate what you need with this new team member then you’re setting the both of you up for failure. And then you’re right back in the position of having to hire someone new because it’s not working out. We want to avoid that revolving door scenario.

The biggest issue I see from the service pro side of the equation is the business owner who hires someone when they’re completely overwhelmed and their hair is on fire so they expect someone to jump right in and organize the chaos while simultaneously implementing the 15 ideas you haven’t had time for because you’ve been so swamped.

The biggest issue I see from the service pro side of the equation is the business owner who hires someone when they’re completely overwhelmed and their hair is on fire. Click To Tweet

No. If that is you. Stop that right now. That scenario is exactly why I coach and encourage CEOs to NOT wait until they are drowning in work and ideas to hire someone to help them. Your goal should always be to hire proactively instead of reactively so that you are planning to scale instead of filling gaps on the team because everyone—you included—are maxed out and exhausted.

So if you are expecting someone to come in and do every fucking thing in the first thirty days that you have been waiting six months or more to do then you need to pump the brakes and take a step back.

A brand new team member needs time to learn your business, your working style, your communication style, your services, your offerings, and on and on. Your business has a lot of moving pieces and parts and no one is going to be able to jump right in and fix anything until they know what they’re working with. Whether they’re hopping into the customer service inbox or stepping into an operations management role.

Expect that process to take at least 30 to 60 days. At least. Can they put out URGENT fires for you? Sure. And good team members probably will because they want to 1) impress you and 2) make their lives easier. But do not expect them to come in and fix every single problem you have in the first month. It won’t happen and all that will happen is you’ll be upset that things don’t seem to be moving forward and they’ll be stressed out.

Do not expect them to come in and fix every single problem you have in the first month. Click To Tweet

Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that.

Now that you know you didn’t hire a magical miracle working unicorn (because unicorns don’t exist…check out the episode on that if you don’t believe me) be prepared to answer questions.

New team members will have questions. They just met you! They don’t know your business yet or how you do things! I give all my clients a welcome onboarding packet to help ease this transition and provide the hire with some helpful details about the client’s business but if you don’t have something like this then you’ll need to be prepared to answer questions. 

And honestly, even if you do have something like this, questions are normal. They’re to be expected. Especially if your backend is a mess and even you have trouble finding stuff. The more open you are to answering questions, the faster they can acclimate and get to know you. 

And then you want to be open to suggestions. Or at the very least keep an open mind. You’re hiring someone because you need support because the way you are currently doing things isn’t working for you anymore. A fresh set of eyes almost always means a fresh perspective. 

You’re hiring someone because you need support because the way you are currently doing things isn’t working for you anymore. A fresh set of eyes almost always means a fresh perspective. Click To Tweet

So be open to changes if that means the process or the system becomes more efficient or saves you money. Don’t get stuck in a rut of one way of doing something just because the idea of changes makes you cringe. Or you’ll have to adjust to a slightly new way of doing things.

That is to say that you don’t HAVE to say yes to all suggested changes. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a service pro comes in and suggests moving the entire business to a new tool simply because they don’t like working in the tool you’ve already got. So of course, make sure that the suggestions are in the best interest of you and your business because there’s a better feature or a better organizational structure, but you don’t have to change something just for change’s sake either.

And then closely related to that is to be open to working differently. For example, if you’re used to writing your newsletter the night before you send it out and scheduling it yourself and then you hire someone to proof, create, and schedule that newsletter for you, then you will no longer be able to write it at midnight the night before it has to go out.

Or if you have hired someone to come in and manage your team then you will need to step back as the direct point of contact for your existing team members and direct them to your new manager so that your team understands, respects, and gets used to the hierarchy of your new business structure. 

From my time as an OBM, this piece can often be one of the hardest shifts for business owners. Bringing in a new team member, depending on what stage of business you’re in and what kind of team member you’ve hired, might mean shifting your processes and that is a learning curve.

Bringing in a new team member...might mean shifting your processes and that is a learning curve. Click To Tweet

And this happens with specialized team members, too, like Facebook ads people. For every client I’ve worked with as an OBM, bringing in a Facebook ads team has meant that our timeline for things like launches would change and so the workflow had to change. Things needed to be ready earlier so that the ads team had time to create assets for the campaign.

When I’ve hired in my own business, I’ve had to change my flow. Some changes have been easier than others but it’s still a change I had to prepare myself for.

Those are my four things that you should really keep in mind when you are hiring a new team member. No matter what role or skill set they are filling in your business.

Keeping these four things in mind will help level your expectations from the very beginning and not leave you stuck in overwhelm or unsatisfied that things aren’t moving along as fast as you expected or bristling because someone is telling you that something isn’t working as best as it could be.

A great team member wants what’s best for you and your business so you’re already on the same page there. Being open to change is being open to growth. Alright. That’s it for me today. Bye, y’all.

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