My manager represents the organization to me. It is true for every new joiner at any level or in any role. These are such powerful words that while at one end they do place a huge responsibility on managers. On the other hand, a significant opportunity to create the right experiences for the new joiners, which can ensure a solid connection with the organization at the right time, and one which has a huge influence on how they think of shaping their journey in it. A bond that at one end not only facilitates but accelerates performance but more importantly has a direct positive impact on employee retention.
In these times of the pandemic the role of the manager for a new joinee has been even more pivotal. Here are a few ingredients when added correctly and at just the right time, can be the recipe for an everlasting positive impression on a new joinee which further cements their bond with the organization.
- Create Belongingness:
The more a new joinee identifies with the organization, the more there is a sense of safety and of being part of the larger ecosystem. The manager should consciously create Belongingness for the new joinee within the team and with the larger organization. When a new joinee comes in the team, making them a part of the tribe, not just sharing processes and templates, namely what is its fabric, what works well when interacting with team members, and what does not, and more such nuiances. Ensuring enough thought is put into this, spending enough time to know and understand a person’s way of operating what motivates them and what is their “why” of work and life. What are their interests outside of work? Guiding them to identify with aspects of work, culture, and team that exist within the organization, who are the most apt people who can step in as support groups and mentors for the person in this phase. What are the other groups and activities within the organization that a person can participate in.
While ensuring Belongingness, the manager also needs to make sure that the individual is understood well and feels that they can be themselves within the organization. Of valuing their opinion, their experiences of the past and creating an environment where they can be expressed freely and debated on constructively. This part of the onboarding cannot be templatised but when done well with the clear intent to enhance the sense of “I feel at home” for the new joinee, can have differentiated positive impact on the stickiness and appreciation of the new joinee for the organization.
Belongingness has to be further strengthened by Assimilation, to ensure a comprehensive understanding of what is expected and how. Gathering the required knowledge and information, knowing the stakeholders, understanding the operating styles, and how one’s role is expected to create and add value. More so, an understanding of the culture, the values, and thus, the right behaviours. This is a crucial step as, here the manager must structurally plan for the new joinee to ensure these learnings. They have to align all parties in the ecosystem to support this. A clear line of sight for the new joinee as to how their role and results add to the team, the function and the larger organization drives higher engagement and motivation among them. Thus, presence of the needed information and understanding for the new joinee, concretely adds to them being able to accelerate results from their end which creates a clear win – win for the organization and the person.
- Setting one up for Success:
In addition to Assimilation, it’s the intent of Setting up for Success, that managers should build on, While ensuring information and knowledge download, are they also ensuring enough resources, support, guidance on areas which a person may need to work on, stakeholder alignment, also quick wins a person can pick up to showcase their capability. Most importantly showing the trust in one’s ability and allowing them freedom and independence to operate.
- Being the Role Model:
This part has enhanced manifold in these times of the pandemic my manager is the face of the organization to me. Thus, are the managers able to Role Model the culture, behaviors, and spirit of the organization. Is it imbibed in them? Is what is expected from a team member showcased by them? can their team members look up to them? Are questions that all managers should always keep answering as they operate with their team members. Creating the right examples for one’s team members especially new joiners, never getting them in a situation where the manager does not behave in line with what is told to them as the right behavior, something which leads to an instant disconnect for a person, and more so can be for a new joinee who understands the organization maximum through their interaction with their line managers.
Being a manager is a tough tough job, but one which has the capability to shape careers and inspire people. One which needs to be done well with the right intent, as it is one of the main criteria for every organization’s sustained success and employee wellbeing. Thus, if the above four roles of a Manager for a new joinee are focussed and delivered well then, the start for a new joinees will be solid enough to ensure a successful and satisfying journey for them within the organization.