Episode 167: Navigating the New Hire: Onboarding Done Right

In this episode, we talk with Rob Dyer and Anthony Prince and take a deep dive into the art of onboarding a new staff member. We’ll go beyond administrative checklists, focusing on building genuine relationships, fostering open communication, and giving tips that can help create momentum throughout the onboarding process.

Show Notes

  • Getting onboarding right is important! It sets expectations and gets them moving forward from day 1. Doing it poorly loses trust with the person you brought on as well as with the congregation. If you have a plan and follow it, you can even build momentum while in the midst of a transition.
  • It’s important to clearly communicate the norms of the environments early on.
  • We should think about onboarding a new employee just like we do building a new relationship.
  • There are some administrative onboarding foundations that need to be systematized. That serves as the starting point of getting them up to speed.
    • Then we can build more around the relational side of things: their supervisor, their teams, the entire church and church staff. “We just got a new family member!”
  • Another great idea is to invite another staff member into a lot of the onboarding discussions. This helps keep us honest and accountable and also give the new person someone else they can get to know and connect with.
  • Remember that welcoming is a season, not an event!
  • Give someone new the space to ask questions. Don’t make them feel like they’re on an island. Don’t force them to speak up and ask for a meeting. Instead, schedule that meeting in advance: “Here is when we’ll meet back up and I’ll check in and see how things are going.” We are opening the door to them and giving them a voice and that is healthy.
  • ONLY communicate with someone before they start if they are fully onboard with that. There should be no pressure to begin working, talking, or even thinking about a new role until they are being paid for their work.
  • If you’re someone who is being onboarded and you’re seeing or feeling issues, that is the perfect time to express that! If you discover that being a little nervous or overwhelmed is unwelcome, this might not be the right place for you long-term.
  • As you hire someone, be clear with stakeholders(leaders, volunteers, congregation, team members, etc.) that it will take this person time to be up to speed and ready to move and change things. We’re not looking for a superhero to come swooping in to fix everything in the first few months. It might be 6 to 12 months before this person can even be fully integrated.
  • While hiring/onboarding someone new, also make sure that you are off-boarding the person who WAS doing this. Especially if it’s a congregant or volunteer that has stepped in for a while, make sure they are thanked and celebrated. Realize that they might have some mixed feelings about someone else coming in and taking over this thing that they have poured a lot of time and energy into.
  • When bringing in someone new, if you’re going to try something new in how you lead them, let them know!
  • Pay attention to little things: name tags, names on the door, business cards, etc. Make sure to get all of that stuff set up ASAP!
  • If you want to improve your system, go interview your newest staff members and ask them two questions:
    • What’s one thing we did well when you were coming onboard?
    • What’s one thing you would want us to change for the next person.
  • Contact Rob Dyer
  • Contact Anthony Prince
  • Connect with Renee: renee.wilson@ministryarchitects.com
  • Connect with Brandon: brandoncollins.orgbrandon.collins@ministryarchitects.com