Having a new senior staff member join the team is an exciting – and frightening – experience. It’s exciting and frightening for the new team member as they wonder:
- Will this be a good fit for me?
- Will I like my new team and my new clients?
- Will I like the work?
- Will I be able to contribute and make an impact?
- Will this be a good move professionally or will this set me back?
- Do I have what it takes?
It’s also exciting and frightening for the team as they anticipate the impact of the new senior staff member:
- Will they be a good fit for us?
- Will they like us and our clients?
- Will they like the work?
- Will they really be able to contribute or will they create more work for us?
- Is this simply a professional stepping stone for them or do they really want to help us?
- Do they have what it takes?
Both sides of the relationship are anxious and want a positive, smooth transition. Goodness knows, we’ve all experienced bringing new staff on only to realize soon after they arrive, it’s not a good fit. Therefore, it’s important to do what you can do to get it right before someone new joins the team. How smoothly you bring a new senior staff member on board depends upon how well you prepare the team and the new team member.
How smoothly you bring a new senior staff member on board depends upon how well you prepare the team and the new team member.
With a few of my clients currently in the process of searching for new senior staff members, I thought I’d share a few tips to help ease the process – for both sides of the relationship.
Preparing The Team
Let’s be honest, a new senior staff member can positively or negatively change the personality of the senior team, the camaraderie (or lack thereof) of the team, the ebb and flow of debates and disagreements, team and project workflows, and even the focus of the team and organization. Therefore, to help increase the chances of selecting a good-fit candidate, I’ve found it helpful for the current team to feel a part of the process. The current team won’t be involved in the final candidate selection, but they certainly can be involved in identifying key attributes they’d like to see in the new senior staff member.
This is a simple exercise of gathering the current senior staff (along with the incumbent if s/he/they are still on the team) together and asking them:
▢ What attributes does (the current incumbent) have that have allowed her/him/them to be effective in their role and on this team?
▢ What attributes does this position need going forward to help us achieve our Vision?
Just these two questions help to validate the positive attributes the current incumbent brought, while also allowing an objective discussion of which additional or different attributes will be more helpful in the new team member.
These attributes then provide the selection committee or person with additional information for more effective position refinement and interviewing with prospective candidates.
Preparing Your New Senior Staff Team Member
Once you’ve found candidates who meet the refined position’s qualifications, during the interview process, you will of course share insights into your products and services, clients, team members, facilities, and general processes/workflows. However, it’s also helpful to ensure you specifically share the following to help your prospective new team member decide more confidently if joining your team is a good fit or not for them.
- ▢ Your vision, mission, guiding principles, and organizational values (to clarify your culture)
▢ Your current strategic plan (to clarify your focus, timelines, and performance expectations)
▢ Your organizational structure and workforce plan (to clarify the team as a whole, its interdependencies, and depth)
▢ Your senior team, your board, your key support staff, and their future key team member(s) (to introduce key colleagues, influencers, gatekeepers, and the team they’ll be inheriting)
Will the above actions assure you successfully recruit and onboard the perfect new senior staff member? Of course not. However, they will reduce current team member resistance and new team member surprises.
A little work now, reduces a lot of anxiety and frustration later.
Copyright MMXXII – Liz Weber, CMC, CSP – Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!