When You Add New Team Members

January 18, 2015
January 2015 is an exciting time at Knightsbridge.  Our ideas are resonating, our business is expanding, and our team is growing.  That means new people to hire and integrate.  Given that you only get one chance to start a relationship, I wanted to make sure to start off with a strong connection.

I thought I would write a letter to the new guys.  It would give me a chance to share a few thoughts and give them something to ponder in the time between getting a security badge and doing benefits enrollment.

I’m sharing it with you to inspire you to come up with your own version for the new folks who join your team.  Here’s my “Dear new guy” letter.  What would be in yours?

Dear new guy,

Hooray, you’re here!

We’re all really excited to have you on our team. Everyone is really invested in your success. Still, I know the first few days can be a bit daunting, so here are a few thoughts you can do with as you please.  I’m happy to go for coffee anytime to talk about your reflections or questions.

Here goes…

You’re smart. That’s probably not how you’re going to feel for a little while.  That’s because the folks around here are pretty awesome.  You’re awesome too, but they’re awesome plus 2, 5, or 20 years of experience here.  Remember, we were really fussy about who we hired and our winner was you!  So chin up, brave face on. In the moments you don’t believe you’re up to the job, remember that we do.

Warning! One of the reasons we’re so excited you’re here is that there’s a lot of work these days.  We’re eager to have an extra pair of hands, particularly to do the crappy stuff that we don’t like doing. You’re going to be so keen that you’ll take these tasks on gladly.  But it’s a trap. If you come out of the gates acting as our intern who can be used and abused, you’ll probably get treated that way forever. Sure, pitch in, but ask good questions about priorities and show us that you’re being deliberate right from the get go.

I bet you’re thinking a lot about the first impressions you’re making.  You certainly impressed me with the swanky suit you wore in the interview.  But the interviews are over, relax and be yourself. Now we want to know about who you are, what makes you tick, and how we can have fun together while we achieve great things.  Find your own ways of connecting, whether it’s luring us with candy on your desk, or being the one who is still in the office once it gets quiet in the evening.  And whatever you do, don’t treat your desk as a jail cell: get up, go chat with people at their desks, make yourself at home.

Have a voice.  It’s not a very hierarchical place around here. Your perspective counts and you need to make sure it’s heard.  If you sit in the back row at our team meetings, you’ll start to be a peripheral character.  Don’t be shy!  Challenge yourself to participate in discussions. 

You’re going to get lots of training and have lots of experiences that will shape you to think like we do.  That’s important.  There are some characteristics we want everyone on the team to have.  As you become more like us, never forget that diversity is what makes teams strong. Start thinking about the unique value you bring to our team and find ways to strengthen it. When you feel awkward or different, think about what is behind it. Instead of shying away from it, lean into it. If we’re all the same, some of us are redundant!

There are people around here who might seem a bit prickly at first. They are pretty much all good eggs once you get to know them, but remind me to give you a little coaching about the ones who really matter.  A few tips will save you from getting off on the wrong foot. 

I certainly don’t have it all figured out, so get some advice from other folks on the team. Some combination of our advice and your gut instincts will get you a long way…and a long way is where you’re going.  

So glad you’re here,

Liane

Your turn. What would you say to the new guy (gender neutral)?

Also, if I can use this platform for shameless promotion, we’re still hiring.  Check out the postings here.

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