How to help your new teammate get off to a good start

Jennifer Dennard
Mar 16, 2018 · 2 min read
Photo by Adam Solomon on Unsplash

You’ve finally found the right person to join your team, and you want to help them get started. 🎉 We all know onboarding is important—it impacts how likely a person is to stay at your company and how quickly they become productive. But as a small startup, it can feel daunting.

It’s easy to skip over, or assume an onboarding process is not a priority — especially if you’re only hiring a few people a quarter. But if anything, at an early stage company where each new hire has a significant impact on runway, successful onboardings can be even more impactful.

What an onboarding should and shouldn’t do

Onboardings should provide the information a new hire needs to succeed during their first few weeks and help them feel at ease. You also want to equip them to find information and answer their own questions in the future.

A good onboarding gives a new hire:

  • basic info like where’s the bathroom? when do we eat lunch?
  • an overview of HR benefits and policies
  • an introduction to the team members they’ll be working with
  • context on where the team has been and where it’s going
  • an introduction to the values and the mission of the company
  • a sense of belonging and psychological safety
  • and perhaps most important, who to ask for help

Onboardings shouldn’t overwhelm the new teammate with information or create a competitive dynamic between a new teammate and existing team members (especially if a new teammate is hired to take on some of the work of existing folks).

Critically, onboarding isn’t just about new hires, it also gives existing employees an introduction to their new teammate, context for their working relationship (i.e. what will this person be working on? and will I be working with them?), and the chance to share knowledge they’ve gained.

Start small, scale up

Onboardings can feel like a lot for small teams to do, but a process can be relatively simple and still meet all these needs.

At Range, we do the following:

  • a lunch with the team
  • 1:1s with each person on the team
  • a walk through of the office
  • a chat about the team’s history and mission
  • a chat about company resources (we have a doc with links to all the important google drive artifacts, a walk through of our Asana, etc.)
  • a chat about benefits, perks, and HR policies
  • who to ask questions (we assign an onboarding buddy)

It doesn’t have to be perfect to start, but getting something in place early on can drastically increase the productivity, autonomy, and happiness of your new teammate.

Good luck! We’ll be continuing to explore topics around HR, culture, psychological safety, operations, and more—let us know if there’s something you’d like us to write about. :)

Range

Stories and lessons from your friends at Range Labs. We're exploring how software can cultivate healthy, inclusive, and creative organizations.

Thanks to Dan Pupius and Kate Mason

Jennifer Dennard

Written by

Co-founder, Range. Currently thinking about: teamwork, emotional health, and sour patch kids.

Range

Range

Stories and lessons from your friends at Range Labs. We're exploring how software can cultivate healthy, inclusive, and creative organizations.

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