How to Integrate a New Team Member

Leading a team has many nuances – but effectively our job as leaders boils down to 3 skills – getting people, connecting people and keeping people. (Click to tweet) While some people have a natural ability when it comes to connecting, ultimately I consider the work of “connection” to be a skill in which anyone can excel.   Helping someone go from disconnected to connected means finding a way to help him or her integrate onto your team.

So someone new is interested in your team – now what? Having a system for integration is one of the most important things you can do as a leader. Without a good system you leave connection up to chance. The pull of life moves people towards disconnection – so a clear and crisp system for integration is foundational when it comes to team leadership.

My friend Andy says that systems are a bit like rungs on a ladder. If people aren’t easily moving up the ladder the problem is not the people on the ladder, but the ladder itself. For your team you want to have a ladder (system) that natural moves people forward towards full integration.

A good system has 3 qualities:

  • Clarity in Communication – when someone wants to join your team have a clear communication strategy for getting him or her in the loop. Whether it is a form email that you send out, a text or a call – have a premeditated plan to engage new people. And remember that people subtly tell you the best way to communicate with them. Once you find their preferred communication method then leverage it! Do not rely on one mode of communication – use all the tools at your disposal to offer clear communication.
  • Consistency in Follow-up – Timeliness and diligence in follow-up make all the difference in the world. Be quick with follow-up. The speed at which you respond communicates the value you place on a potential team member. (Click to tweet) Diligence is required in the follow-up process. Sending a message does not ensure that the message is received. 70% of emails go unopened, phone calls are often missed – continue following up with people until it leads to interaction.
  • Competency in the Process – Once you have followed up and helped the new team member show up you need a competent process to help them land. I love using this simple 3 step process to complete the connection process on teams:
    • Give them someone to know (Relationships)
    • Give them something to do (Tasks)
    • Give them something to own (Responsibility)

If you find ways to offer clear communication, consistent follow-up and a competent process your team will have a high sticky factor and be a model of good integration.

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