Being a Better Boss With a New Hire

At some point, as the boss, you get a new person in your group. He may be brand new, or he may be from some other department or made available after a reorganization. Regardless, a new personality is present. A good boss would, if possible, let all affected team members know about the new person in advance.

Understanding Skill Sets
A good boss wants to get to know the new person as quickly and as thoroughly as possible, understand what skills he has, what are his strengths and weaknesses in the skill sets he has, what motivates him, and what expectations he has in the new position.

A good boss wants to catalog the skill sets and skill levels that are relevant for each new hire or person added to her team.

Replacing a Team Member
If someone is fired, there is usually time to start actively looking for a replacement, internally or externally. If someone quits, leaving a void that must be filled, it may be possible to find or actively solicit known candidates amongst local or corporate staff (this may be considered ‘raiding’ other departments! Be careful, play fair).

A good boss might already know possible candidates within the company because he is constantly looking ahead, constantly thinking long term and constantly looking at and for talent in others.

If the person is transferred from another department, there may be current corporate human resource files to glean skills, past bosses, past accomplishments, and past other experiences. There may be other reasons this person is suddenly available. A good boss would find out all he can about this person from HR, previous bosses, and others including references.

Getting Up to Speed
A new hire presents a larger set of issues. Can she replace her predecessor quickly?

A good boss asks the new hire questions to clarify what needed skills may be on his resume. Mentoring and/or some specific form of training will almost certainly be needed.

Mentoring is an excellent way to make sure the new hire can actually do some or all of the necessary jobs more quickly. The issue is finding someone to do the mentoring and perform the mentoring well. Not everyone can mentor (teach, show and tell, train) another person. Just because someone can do her job does not mean she can, or will, pass policies and procedure information on to someone else. Mentoring is a skill set that good bosses and managers should have… but not all do.

If we hire someone with experience, we still need some mentoring in regards to local corporate policies and procedures. He still needs to be shown the ropes, introduced to people, policies, procedures and expectations while being able to do his job without taking on more than he can handle.

Getting to Know You…
And a good boss remembers to introduce the new person to the rest of the team as soon as possible. A good boss might even try to prepare his team before the new arrival to facilitate acceptance and as smooth a transition as possible.

A good boss would think about the team and be cognizant of how this new person will or should fit into the team. It is rare to be able to find someone who can seamlessly pick up the work load of the person he is replacing! This is where the good boss would know to have a training and/or mentoring plan of action ready to go.

A good boss is always thinking ahead, trying to see into the future of the new team with the new person. Without the right training and ground rules, the transition will be rough: wasted time, the feeling of being left out, surprises around every corner with something or someone new, unable to cope with any required tasks and becoming less and less productive instead of more productive. Being left to drift around will generally drag her level of confidence and connection down to the point of being useless.

Imagine what that would do to your team moral!

Be a good boss and PLAN any transitions as you would plan any other project… know the requirements for success, have a good plan that ensures all developmental requirements are met in a timely fashion.

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