Erfolgreich durchgeführte Einzelcoachings
people I have been supporting as a coach

Questions of a newly appointed leader: how do I manage the onboarding of my new team member? #3

Since our last conversation, the workplace situation in Hannahs office has been well sorted out. The team of the other supervisor (Kerstin) has gladly helped with the process and together they found a solution, which at least did not trigger any big resistances, even though not everyone is completely satisfied every day. Also Hannahs worries to do her new employee justice in terms of where there is need of more specific or less specific instructions and training, have almost completely dissolved. 


Now - shortly before the employment of the new colleague starts - the question arises how to organize such an onboarding? What is important, if someone new joins the team and especially if the position was newly created and maybe not all aspects are clear or even forseeable? In fact, beyond the topic of the concretization vs. "what is even micro-management then" ... 

Hannah is thinking a lot and pressures herself almost a bit too much (in my own opinion) about the start of her future colleague, and how she will succeed in creating a good working atmosphere right at the beginning, in which the new colleague feels comfortable, can work well and productively, and can quickly take over her own area of responsibility, in order to then also create the relief for which this new position was set up in the first place. The pressure is fueled by the fact that Hannah already has in mind what will also be expected of her in a few weeks or months, because not only she is looking forward to the support, but also her boss is already full of anticipation for all the activities that Hannah will then take on in the future, since a new position has now been created specifically for this purpose 🙂 

Hannah has already set up all the structures for the idea of the "90 days plan" and how she can start to integrate her new colleague contentwise. But onboarding is not just about content, it's also about the organizational aspects. 


What do I have to organize in order to enable a good start? A checklist


    • What kind of technical equipment is needed, so that the new colleague can directly start on the first day? What tools / resources have to be provided and how is the in-house process for this? 

      • Is there an internal process for onboarding, which is controlled by the HR department for example? If yes, what tasks and allocations are already regulated and which ones are in my field of responsibility?

        • Do accesses have to be procured in advance, i.e. purely physical access cards or keys, or technically a log-in option for the company computer/laptop, an e-mail address, etc.? How long does the provisioning take, and when do I have to initiate it, or who is responsible for it?

          • Do you have all the furniture that is needed? If necessary, a desk with desk chair (yes, the other day we talked about the space that may be needed for a completely new workstation), is a shelf needed, something for personal items (handbag?), is there a need for storage of physical documents (papers) and should any of it be lockable?

            • Do colleagues and/or other departments have to be informed, that and when a new colleague is coming on board? Is there perhaps even an announcement within the company, and what is the process for it? Who sends out announcements, are there templates for what they should look like, distribution lists? Or is this regulated on a case-specific, individual basis, or perhaps not at all? 

              • Do I want to have something ready for the new colleague to welcome them? What is customary in the company or organization, and for the role? Do we even start together as a team with a work-breakfast, or do we simply have our marketing materials on display so that the new colleague can familiarize herself with them right away, if that was not part of the interview? 

                • Am I present? Physically present to personally welcome the new employee? Or do I have to organize a substitution and is this the impression that I want to leave behind for the start into the joint work?

                  • What is already clearly regulated in the team / in the department, and how can I inform the new colleague about it? For example, how is the coffee/tea kitchen handled? What is provided, what does everyone bring on their own? What is the etiquette regarding cleaning up, putting things away, reorganizing consumables, etc.? What does the new employee simply need to know and where does she have rights and duties?

                    • Have I planned enough time on the first day to support the new employee if there are questions or problems with the start, for example setting up the devices (laptop, cell phone,...), or who will take over this task in the team?

                      • Is there a buddy-concept, i.e. someone who is available as a direct contact person, and how do we deal with questions? Should they be collected and asked bundled or should they always be asked directly? 


                      And of course there are countless more aspects that might be important or useful. And maybe some points of this checklist aren't even relevant for you. 

                      Perhaps the suggestion to share something like this is simple: think in a timely manner about what it takes to receive someone well prepared on the first day of work. Or, if it is much more important in your organization to be able to improvise well, then think about how you can organize the first day of work so that this quality comes out well. 


                      My recommendation as coach: 

                      Design the day the way you want your new employee to start - and according to the values and aspects that are important in your organization. This is sometimes a little bit more complicated than we think at first, because it means that we have to deal with how we actually want to work and based on which values we design cooperation in the team. 

                      Build your own checklist (which you can always come back to, adjust, or simply work through), and actively deal with what the onboarding of a new colleague is all about - the "priming" for any further collaboration.