At Crowd Favorite we’re getting ready to hire several developers. I’ve been told that our on-boarding process can be stressful, but I’ve also been told that this is the case for most high performing teams. I’d like to smooth the path a little for our new hires, so I’m going to try a new approach.
Early on in the interview process I’m going to try to put a voice to things that are too often assumed and not explicitly discussed often enough. Specifically, that each new hire will have two additional jobs that come along with the job they are being hired for.
Job #1: Learn everything about how the team does things and why.
This means combing through the intranet and reading about historical decisions, talking to your colleagues and asking a bunch of questions (some of which may feel “dumb”), and learning everything you can about current processes. It means keeping an open mind, even when things seem silly, and asking questions about those situations.
It means learning which team member is the “go to” for various things, learning differing communication styles and systems, and figuring out how to be efficient within a new toolset. This can take 3-6 months; if you’re in month 9 and still struggling, that’s a concern and you need to talk to someone about it.
Job #2: Contribute by doing what you were hired to do.
This is the easiest bit – it’s the straightforward part of the gig. Here’s a project, help us build it. Along the way, make sure you’re learning and leveraging your knowledge of how the team works so that you make the jobs of the people around you easier. This means having empathy for the people whose work collides with your own; and reaching out to them in a helpful way in the areas where your work meets.
You’ll be asked to do this from day one, but you’ll struggle with it at first. It should become easier as you work through Job #1.
Job #3: Redefine your job based on your experience and unique perspective.
Once you know how the team works and you’re confident doing your job and supporting those around you, it’s time to take the next step. This might take 6 months, or it might take 2 years, but you should aspire to take your knowledge and experience and improve the way your job is executed.
This may mean proposing new processes, spearheading new training programs in areas that were important but neglected, creating new documentation and resources for important but occasionally accessed information, and working with your colleagues to understand how you can better support them.
In a nutshell, how can you make your role and yourself more valuable to team? What this means will be largely up to you.
And that’s what we want – each team member contributing to do their job and improve the team. We want every team member to succeed, which means we need them to succeed three jobs. We’ll see if this helps.