Adding to a team can be tricky. So we asked 10 entrepreneurs: How do you welcome new employees and make them part of your culture?
1. Sweat the small stuff
“When someone is new to a team, the little things can be the most frustrating. That’s why we make a point to cover them -- what number to dial for an outside line, how to use the photocopier, the best locations for a quick lunch, where the restrooms are. We show them the coffeemaker … and how to refill it.” -- Morag Barrett, founder and CEO, SkyeTeam, Broomfield, Colo.
2. Pair off
“We help new hires identify team members with experience they need to learn. Mentoring can make for more competent employees. The most successful mentorships occur when both people have knowledge to share. We see ‘reversed mentoring,’ where the less experienced employee mentors on a skill they possess that’s beneficial to the business.” -- Avi Singer, founder, Showd.me, New York
3. Include partners
“Before the new hire arrives, send a note to their significant other. This builds emotional bonds and makes them feel connected and involved.” -- Dr. Linda Sharkey, co-author, The Future-Proof Workplace, Wilmington, N.C.
4. Make lunch dates
“That first day can be a doozy. Just like at summer camp, I like to implement the trusty buddy system. To empower new employees to succeed, I often request that they have a lunch partner on the first day -- someone they’ll be working with, or even a few people from the team, who can show him or her around.” -- Helena Cawley, co-founder,Uplift Studios; and CEO/founder, SweatStyle, New York
5. Get ’em moving
“We send everyone into the field for one day during their first week to see the business firsthand. No one is above getting their hands dirty, and if they come back unhappy, they might not be a good fit. Talking to real customers makes them truly understand the needs of that person on the other side of the phone.” -- Garrett O’Shea, president and CMO, PockitShip, Falls Church, Va.
6. Show, don’t tell
“Because the nuances of business models and strategies can be tripping points, showing new employees a short video to give them ‘insider’ knowledge helps them contribute more quickly. In less than 10 minutes, we cover market landscape, customer segments,positioning, value proposition -- and how they all reflect the company’s values.” -- Ted Frank, story strategist, Backstories Studio, Burlingame, Calif.
7. Get social
“We make it a fun, warm experience -- from having lunch with a C-suite member the first week, to ‘Price is Right’ group games to get to know the products, to team bonding over volleyball and SoulCycle. We welcome team members with open arms, which results in long-lasting employment.” -- Morris Panner, CEO, Ambra Health, New York
8. Caffeinate them
“When we hire someone new, they get a gift card to a local coffee shop that they’re to use for taking each person on the team out to coffee. They can talk about work -- or not. That way everyone knows each other, which makes it a more collaborative, productive and fun work environment.” -- Kelsey Doorey, founder and CEO, Vow To Be Chic, Los Angeles
9. Yield the floor
“We have a meeting called the 404 every Thursday at 4:04 p.m. Each employee gets a chance to host; they supply snacks, drinks and an icebreaker game to connect the team. A new hire typically does a competitive analysis presentation at this meeting, allowing them to quickly understand the market. It also serves as a refresh to the rest of the team.” -- Lizzy Ellingson, co-founder, Blueprint Registry, Seattle
10. Party remotely
“We like to have a virtual welcome ceremony in our Slack chat room. The hiring manager intros the new hire, ideally with a fun fact about them, and everyone else piles on with welcome messages, emoji and GIFs.” -- Matt Caywood, co-founder, TransitScreen, Washington, D.C.
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