Blog Post

Business Strategy
5 MIN READ

How we do things around here and why

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Terry-Bell
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2 months ago

You don’t need us to tell you how important your people are.

After all, they represent the biggest and most strategically important investment any firm can make; their salaries comprise, on average, 44.9% of a practice’s revenue, representing more than 60% of total expenses. And with 68% of firms telling us that they’re looking to hire in the next 12 months, the battle for talent rages on.

Finding the person who is "just right" for your business – and keeping them productively engaged – is the challenge for every business owner.

So, when you hire someone, it’s critically important to make every step of your onboarding process a winner to ensure their introduction to your business is efficient, effective and painless. This way, the new hire feels justified in (and excited by) their decision to join your business.

For the purposes of this article, it makes no difference if the job is on-site, remote or hybrid, junior or senior, part- or full-time, casual or permanent. The objective and underlying principles for a successful onboarding/induction (read: introduction) of someone new to a business are the same – adapted certainly, ignored never.

From an employee’s perspective, a successful introduction will ensure they start their new position in an organised and professional manner. It will also ensure they feel comfortable about what is expected of them from day one, through to the time they're expected to be a fully-functioning team member.

There's often a great deal of apprehension when starting a new job; a well-implemented introduction can take away a lot of that unnecessary stress and ensure the working relationship starts off on the right foot.

For the business, a successful introduction allows the new hire to settle into the work and team environment quickly and happily. It also gives them the opportunity to become a productive member of the team in the quickest time possible – meaning less "downtime" spent on training and educating new hires about "the way we do things".

And when mergers and acquisitions occur, it’s crucial that the different sets of staff are "introduced" to their new environment as quickly as possible. This means training to bring people up to speed with new systems, standards, policies – even the language. Use teams drawn from both sides to address specific areas and to share knowledge and ideas. 

Putting all this together, here are 10 tips to ensure a successful "introduction": 

1: Checking in

Appreciate that the introduction process begins when the person accepts the role. Because of this, it's prudent to make a check-in call – to see how they’re feeling about joining your firm (and how their notice period is working out).

2: Stay in the loop

Communication doesn't end with the check-in call. Keep communicating throughout the entire introduction process – conduct regular drop-ins, whether they're planned or ad-hoc, over the phone or in-person. 

Ask them how they're feeling. Do they have any questions? Do they need anything clarified? While there's no need to featherbed new team members, it's vital that they know their new boss is looking out for them. Even experienced and confident individuals can feel unsure in a new environment.

3: A team effort

As much as possible, involve existing staff in the process. This will not only introduce the new employee to staff members but also give existing staff ownership in the induction of the new employee.

Importantly, this will also recognise the impact a new arrival could have on existing staff – perhaps by adding to their workload or (unintentionally) threatening an existing role.  

4: The basics

Be prepared for when your new person starts. Prepare a "welcome pack" ready for your new employee. Think back to when you were new to a firm: what were the things that you needed to know?

If they're going to be working from the office, do they have a designated space? The right technology? An ergonomic chair? It's the same principle for people working externally. Do they have the things they need to start straight away?

There are at least three distinct areas to address in this pack:

  • Personal: the basic terms, conditions and policies of employment. These include the business’s approach to working hours, annual and sick leave, training and development, OHS rules and so on. 

    Hopefully these have been covered in your offer letter (terms of engagement), which should also address your IP, probationary period, termination and client ownership.
  • The business: its values, the type of clients it serves (and why), CVP, range of services, systems, processes and policies technology, cyber and security protocols and its various communication forums.

    Incoming staff will also appreciate an overview of the current business and longer-term strategic plans (and year-to-date progress towards them). And if your firm uses a lot of acronyms – they all do – why not provide a glossary?
  • Technology: every business uses it but very few seem to devote sufficient time and focus on it up front for new staff. If a lap-top or mobile phone is being provided, what’s the firm’s approach for use, training, access, security and cyber for example.
5: Buddy system

Why not appoint an internal "buddy" to help the new hire navigate their new workplace? This isn't necessarily their manager; it just needs to be someone who can share the background of the firm and provide insight and guidance as required.

6: Keep it simple

Don't schedule a heavy workload for the first few weeks. Training, education and familiarisation (meeting the people with whom they’ll be working) should be the overriding objective for the first few weeks. As the saying goes – measure twice, cut once.

7: The announcement

Make sure you announce the new hire's arrival: at the next team meeting, through your various communications to staff, clients and business partners alike and, if appropriate, through the business’s website and socials.

8: The welcome mat

This one might seem trivial, but it isn't: make sure that your new colleague actually feels welcome. Can someone take them for a sandwich/coffee and a "how’s it going" chat? If they’re employed remotely, why not DoorDash them?

9: Stick to the plan

Everything above requires thought and planning – and the best way to ensure nothing is overlooked and everything is accomplished is, no surprises here, through an introduction plan. Ideally, this plan has been specifically personalised to the new hire.

The introduction plan will need to be designed well in advance because it will necessarily involve other people's time and availability. While role-dependent, the plan will probably extend over a number of weeks, progressively reducing the pre-arranged induction content as the person settles into their job.

10: Get feedback

Finally, seek your new hire’s views and feedback. Why did they join you? What did they like about your selection and onboarding process? What could have been done better? Is the job/company what they expected?

While the above may seem relatively simple and intuitive, as our Future Ready IX report demonstrates, the majority of Australian practices still have some way to go towards productive people management.

For your consideration.

Updated 2 months ago
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