Welcome aboard: Tips to orientate your new project team member

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Managing a project team requires a whole host of characteristics, not least of all the ability to build a team that can effectively deliver every element of your project that you need. This can often mean recruiting in people from other departments, or maybe even brand new employees from outside of the company.

When you bring in a new person to the team, it is essential that you set aside some time to orientate them effectively, otherwise you risk leaving them feeling lost and confused, and not in a good position to start functioning as part of the team. Depending on the size of your company you don’t necessarily have to have a lengthy or formal orientation process, but you do need to pay a mind to those elements and nuances of your business that you take for granted, and which your employee will need to know about before they start work.

Seven steps to successful orientation

Here are a few key steps in the orientation process you should try to build in. Of course there will be more specific ones to add in that relate to your own organisation or industry, but this should give you a framework from which to start.

  1. The welcome: Welcome your new team member to your company, and give them an overview of the company history as well as the general values, missions and vision of the organisation. Demonstrate to them how their role will contribute to the mission of the business. This doesn’t have to be a two hour presentation, just a 15 minute chat will do. It can be nice to give a welcome ‘gift’ at this point too, even if it’s just a notepad and pen.
  2. The organisational structure: Your new team member will need to know who they work for, and how the company structure works. Tell them who owns the company and who the senior management team is. Let them know about any other departments or divisions.
  3. Company policies: Go through the general company policies, in particular those that relate to their job. If you have an employee handbook to give them, now is a good time to do this. It can also be a good opportunity to introduce the intranet or file system you have at work, and to show them where information about the company and its policies are stored for future reference.
  4. Their job: Make sure they understand their role, what is expected of them and who is on hand to answer any questions they may have. If you have a supervisor working under you who will be their first port of call, ensure they are around to meet and greet them too.
  5. The building: Share important information about the building with them such as where the keys are kept, what to do in the event of a fire and anything else they need to know.
  6. The tour: Show them around the office, or ask someone else to do this, to geographically orientate themselves with the layout of the building. Make sure they know where the toilets, photocopier and lunch room is, as well as any other key areas they may need to visit regularly.
  7. The coffee: Show them their desk and bring them a coffee. Add a biscuit if you want to be really nice!
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