The faster companies assimilate new hires into the team, the faster they benefit from these new talents. But considering all these new hires have to adjust to—the company culture, standard processes and more—it may be months before they feel comfortable pitching and executing their ideas.
Tech employees, specifically, need training to situate themselves on their team, as well as other departments, to get the bigger picture of the company vision. So how can you set them up for success? Ten members of the Young Entrepreneur Council weigh in. Whether they’re owners of creative agencies or tech companies, they’ve had their share of experience onboarding crucial tech hires.
Make Them Take Customer Service Calls
Supporting new team members is about education, training and culture. We make every new hire take customer service calls for a few days no matter what role they will do full time. This works because it quickly gets them to think in terms of our customers. Our culture is built around helping customers, and we want to help new hires embrace the customer as soon as possible. – Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Doorbell
Give Them a ‘Buddy’
A great way to support new tech team members is by giving them a ‘buddy’—a senior team member who can answer questions and provide your new hire with additional insight and information. This practice ensures new team members receive consistent information and also makes it easier for them to form relationships with senior staff. – Jared Brown, Hubstaff Talent
Have Them Create a ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ Document
We have all new tech team members create a standard operating procedure (SOP) document for their position if one doesn’t exist. If they’re coming into an existing position, they need to review and improve their SOP document. Our procedures and workflows are all living documents that are continually improved so each team member is focused on better, more efficient and effective ways to operate. – Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
Hold a Meet and Greet
Create quarterly meet and greets that offer a way for new team members to share more about themselves as well as for the team in place to get to know them better. This social time helps support team members by getting them more comfortable and connected to the organization, including culture, environment and processes. – Peter Daisyme, Due
Give Them Room to Flex Their Muscles
Once hiring is done and expectations for a given time period are communicated, we sit back and let them grow into their role. When a need for guidance is clear, we come in but try not to micromanage their work processes as that can be stifling and may suppress their own ambitions of how to excel in the role. – Peggy Shell, Creative Alignments
Gather Their Input
When I bring someone new in, it’s because I like their ideas and work ethic, so I want to get their take on how we operate and see if they have any suggestions on how we can improve. Sometimes an outside opinion will shine some light on something you’ve been missing from the inside. – Abhilash Patel, Recovery Brands
Give Them the Best Tools
Productivity increases incrementally for tech teams when they are using the best tools available to them. Conversely, tools that are slow, small or convoluted create frustration and reduce the efficiency of their work. Make the investment and buy them the best tools you can afford. They will feel proud of the work they do for you and, best of all, will perform better. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors
Throw Them Into New Situations
By putting your new team members into situations they might not be familiar with, like having an entry-level coder sit in on an operations meeting with executives, it’ll teach them to think about problems from a different viewpoint and help develop their understanding of the organization as a whole. – Stan Garber, Scout RFP
Set Up Cross-Functional One-on-Ones
Before a new tech team member digs into regular tasks, set up a handful of one-on-one meetings with non-tech teams. This speeds up onboarding and provides much more context for their future contributions. In my experience, tech team members are some of the best problem solvers in the company, and information is their economy. If possible, introduce them to some clients or end users as well. – Ryan MacCarthy, KickFactory
Reward Them With Flexible Hours
At our company, team members are provided a percentage of on-the-job research and training time and don’t have to be 100% billable. We also motivate employees to become certified in their skill by rewarding a bonus upon completion of certification exams. Finally, we offer some flexibility in hours half the year, so employees can leave early on Friday if their work is done. – Joe Beccalori, Interact Marketing
The answers above are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.