How to Hire Hourly Team Members part 15… Don’t Onboard… Indoctrinate!
OK… so look. Here’s what let’s do. I’m kind of caught in the middle of finishing up our hiring process and the beginning of how to create a leadership team (which is necessary to keep these great hires and turn our team into a leadership development machine), so… I’ll take a very short time (hopefully just one post) to go over the process of indoctrinating our new hire, and then get back to building our team. K? K.
As homework, you should start reading one of two books… your choice.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie or
Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell.
We need to start developing the foundations of your Leadership. Now…
We’ve talked about the need to personally indoctrinate our new team members, and I know what some (many? ALL?) of you are thinking. You are thinking WHAT? Steve, I have way too many important things to do. I cannot sit here for what now, a total of 2 hours talking to this one hire! That’s crazy! I’ll just have one of my apprentices do it, and it won’t take more than 10, maybe 20 minutes. So I’ll say you can certainly do that. And… you might as well put all of your energy into meditation and other ways to accept what is, because nothing is going to change on your team. This new hire will join the ranks and your team will continue along it’s current trajectory. If everything is going exactly the way you want it to, and you are achieving all of your goals, you certainly don’t need me telling you what you need to change.
On the of chance you are not achieving all of your goals, and your team is not as high functioning as you’d like, then please read on…
We need to start where we are. You may have inherited this team, you may have done your best to build it from scratch, and it really doesn’t matter… You’ve done the best you could with the tools you had. So we probably have a mixed team. If you graded each team member from 1 to 10 (10 always being best) and graphed the results it would likely look like a parabola. A couple of great people, a lot of mediocre people, and a few you really regret hiring… if you could you would wish them into the corn field! Wishing won’t change anything, so we have to work with what we have.
We cannot just throw our new, better than average hire, that we’ve spent so much time and energy on, to the wolves so to speak, and hope they help us turn the team around. It simply does not work that way. It’s kind of like driving up a long steep grade in a vehicle with an underpowered engine. You have to stay on it if you want to keep up a reasonable speed and reach the top.
So… we will indoctrinate our new hire for many reasons. We need to get them excited about working on our team (we’re excited about the team and where it’s going, right!?). We also need to set expectations for them from the start. In many companies there is a delay between hiring and any ‘orientation’ and training, and you may not even be involved with either one (this will make it harder, and not impossible to achieve greatness). So… it’s even more important that you get your new hire on board knowing how you define a good job; your idea of when a good team member shows up to work; your idea of why a person might call out, and how often is too often; your idea of how a person behaves when part of a team at work (this is going to be a large part of our talk, so I’ll continue it below); your interest in their feedback on workplace safety, the tasks of the job, and even how this new team member sees your impact as a leader on the morale of the team; reiterate their goals (long and short team) and talk about how you are going to help them achieve those goals (and you actually have to do it!); how other team members have moved up on the team and have earned their way into different roles, with more responsibility and money (you may not be able to do this yet, and you will); how they will be judged during a review; how their job, no matter what job it is, is a very important part of the success of the team (if this job had no impact on the success of the team you would not be paying someone to do it!); how the team’s goals came to be, and why we are all excited about them; how much you are depending on them, and how happy you are to have them on the team!
What you are doing is pretending to be (unless you are in fact) Tony Robbins… we need to excite and invigorate our new hire. We want them so happy to have found a workplace and Leader who cares about them and their goals, who values them, who understands what they have to offer, who knows they can and will succeed, and have them filled with that excitement and energy when they come back to start working.
Another key… To have a high functioning team every team member needs to feel that they are an important part of the team, and it’s your job as the leader to see that they believe it. Now back to it…
As team leaders (owners, managers, however you define your role), you probably feel that you take more ownership than anyone else. You likely feel that you care more, put in more energy, work harder, are more vested (and perhaps literally invested), and are faster at many tasks, and there are probably many more you can add… than anyone else. So… you are the only one who can infect our new hire with your energy, interest, and expectations for the team. Please do not make the mistake of leaving this all-important role to a team member, apprentice, or worse yet someone who doesn’t even work on your team (like an HR team member). Have your apprentices there to learn, and you must deliver the message. Otherwise the message will be uninspired, get watered down, and fail to have the impact we need.
From this moment forward you will be the inspiration for all of the good things that will be happening on your team. You will have to stay positive 100% of the time at work. You CANNOT bitch or complain to anyone at work! So if you do not currently have someone (probably not your spouse or partner at home) to talk to about your frustrations and issues at work, get one now. It can be a trusted peer, however they should probably not work along side you (you will end up talking about something negative at work), a professional coach, or a friend with lots of time on their hands. Work on this today.
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I want to include a link to an HBR article Why Good Managers are So Rare. We will end up talking about the points made here later on, and for now it’s good food for thought.