Investing in your staff is one of the best things you can do for your business. If you’ve got happy (and competent) staff, you’ll have happy clients, and if you have happy clients, your business will grow. The only downside to this is the time it will take for you to develop their skills and abilities when they join. This article gives you 4 ways for you to onboard new team members as quickly and effectively as possible.
4 essentials when you onboard new team members
Set short-term, realistic performance targets
When you onboard new team members, your first priority should be to help them understand how their role fits in with your practice and what their link is with your One Big Focus. This helps them know how they will be making a difference. It also immediately makes them feel like a valuable part of the team. which is highly motivating.
Don’t underestimate the time that it will take a new member to get up to speed, whether they have previous accounting experience or not, they will need time to get used to your ways of working and the processes. Help them adjust by setting:
- Daily objectives
- Weekly objectives after a couple of days
- Monthly objectives after you’ve reviewed a few weeks
- Longer-term objectives like the rest of your team
Making short-term, realistic, performance goals straight away will help them see clearly how their day-to-day activities tie into your overall vision and growth plans for the practice.
Have mini performance reviews during their probation period
Another way to help new team members get up to speed quickly is to schedule mini performance reviews during their probation period. You can use these to check in with them and review their progress resolve any niggles from both sides. You can also help overcome any obstacles by providing them with more training and support where needed.
A typical review schedule could look something like this:
- Meet at the end of week 1.
- Meet again at the end of week 2.
- A meeting at the end of week 4.
- Then start spreading out meetings. Meet at the end of week 8.
- Meet at the end of week 12.
When you onboard new team members, be sure to make the most of these review performance meetings. They could make the difference between a staff member becoming a valuable member of the team or one that hinders growth; it could even be the difference between them deciding to stay with the firm or to leave.
Build a structured training plan
If you onboard new team members without a training plan, the likely result will be a reduction in productivity and growth.
Imagine all your team working in their own way without knowing anything about how the practice is run as a whole. Even worse, imagine you not knowing that they need more support! No business could successfully grow this way.
That’s why building a structured training plan is so important. You need to be sure that all new members are knowledgeable and working towards the same vision. Consider a training plan that involves these key factors:
- Technical training on software and key processes.
- Have new members meet your key stakeholders, your top clients, and some of the key people in your firm.
- Arrange regular 1:2:1s with the line manager to check in with how things are.
- Set up mentoring and shadowing sessions where another team member can show the ropes of the business and how they do their part of the job.
- Ensure they have the right level and kind of support (e.g. tools, training, colleagues).
Immerse them in the firm’s culture
Lastly, but just as importantly, is helping your new team members settle in and feel like a part of your firm. Why? Because building relationships is where you start to build a strong team that is invaluable to your firm.
You want your new joiner to be happy, engaged, and to feel supported. You want them to be able to come to you or any colleague for help and you absolutely want to avoid any feelings of “buyers remorse.”
To prevent this, let them know that you are happy that they are a part of your team. Involve them in the firm’s culture and check in with them. Celebrate their joining with a team lunch, invite them to social occasions, encourage them to meet with people and take tea breaks with their colleagues. It really is that easy.
Always start developing your new team members immediately
The quicker you apply these 4 methods when you onboard new team members, the quicker they will learn and develop within your firm. Just remember that this is a 2-way process that you need to be involved in. Set short-term realistic targets, schedule mini performance reviews, create a training plan, and immerse them in your firm’s culture. You’ll soon find that investing your time in your new staff from the point of hiring will have benefits for everyone.