Lessons in Leadership: Communicating with New Hires

In a world where more people are working remotely or in a hybrid situation, it is even more challenging to hire, train and retain great people. And, how you communicate with your new hires greatly impacts the odds of their success. It is one thing to communicate in writing through a job description what is expected and required of the new team member in terms of performance, but such formal and static communication isn’t nearly enough. Often, employees can become disillusioned if there is little informal and proactive communication coming from colleagues or their direct supervisor. This can lead to feelings of isolation, which in turn can have a negative impact on the new team member’s performance.

With that said, let’s consider some lessons when it comes to effectively and proactively communicating with a new employee:

–Check in regularly. Schedule weekly meetings with the new employee to ask what they are accomplishing and what confusion they may be having. Press the issue. Don’t let them simply say, “Everything is fine.” Ask probing, open-ended questions like, “What is the most rewarding part of the job so far?” Then, follow up with; “What one area do you find the most challenging?” The key is to get the new employee talking by using open-ended questions and creating an environment where they feel comfortable and secure in sharing.

–Create a two-way communication street. It is not enough that you proactively communicate with the new employee, but they must know and feel confident that they can come to you and others with a question, concern, or issue. Make sure you make it clear the mode of communication that is most effective. If Bob (as the boss) would prefer to get an e-mail from Jane in which she asks for some time with him and schedules it, then that has to be directly communicated as opposed to assuming the new employee understands the culture of communication in the office.

–Ask for feedback. Consistently seek out recommendations as to how the organization can improve its effectiveness, even if some of the recommendations are not implemented. If certain ideas are not implemented, communicate directly why they may not work. Further, one of the keys to having a new employee succeed is to have their colleagues go into “teaching mode” in which they are constantly seeking to help them better understand how the organization operates.

–Pair new employees with a peer mentor. While communication with you as the leader of the organization is important, you can’t always be as accessible as their peers. To help new employees assimilate to the organization, connect the new employee with a peer. This mentor can help by providing insight or answering questions, introducing the new employee to key stakeholders and help them through their first few weeks on the job.

–Get together for lunch. Clearly, it is more challenging than ever to take time away from your daily responsibilities to break bread with colleagues. And in a remote or hybrid situation, it is even more complicated. But in many ways, this can be one of the most valuable investments you can make with your new employee. It is more informal, and people get to know each other, which will make them more confident in the way they communicate about business to their colleagues and other leaders in the organization. If you are working in a hybrid or full remote situation, be sure to intentionally schedule breakfast or lunch meetings in person on a regular basis so the team can connect in person.

In the first half of this edition of “Steve Adubato’s Lessons in Leadership,” Steve Adubato and Mary Gamba sit down with Carolyn Welsh, President & CEO, NJ Sharing Network, about the importance of developing your people and the link between leadership, resilience and grit. Then, Steve and Mary talk about Steve’s new book, “Lessons in Leadership 2.0: The Tough Stuff,” and offer tips and tools on confrontation, the art of the Q & A, relationship building and more.

Steve Adubato, PhD, is the author of five books including, "Lessons in Leadership.” His sixth book, "Lessons in Leadership 2.0: The Tough Stuff," will be released in summer 2023. He is an Emmy® Award-winning anchor with programs airing on Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJ PBS. He has also appeared on CNN, NPR and NBC’s Today show. Steve Adubato's "Lessons in Leadership" video podcast with co-host Mary Gamba airs Sundays at 10:00 a.m. on News 12+. For more information visit www.Stand-Deliver.com