The Dangerous New Person on the Team

You’ve done it. You have seen the need for more talent in your team. You have taken the bold step of advertising or letting people know you are hiring. You have screened, interviewed, interviewed again, worried, calculated, negotiated a remuneration package and agreed on a start date. All done.

Except for the ticking time bomb that is the new hire.

For the past few weeks you have been focusing on your candidate. Now you are focused on the orientation process and setting up the workplace for the new person. Admin are sorting the payroll and appointment lists, other clinicians are making space in the office and fridge and some are having to reschedule their hours to fit around the hew hire.

Day One: orientation, light work load, problem solving and hovering by you (rightly) with all the attention on the new arrival. Introducing them to clients, referrers, work mates, baristas and other essential components of the business.  You monitor and provide feedback on a daily basis helping them get used to the way things are done around here. They feel special, important and vital to the enterprise.

Meanwhile your troops on the ground are curious, concerned and perhaps a little worried. They may welcome the additional help but it might also challenge their professional and personal comfort.

Change is generally uncomfortable, especially a change over which we have little influence. I remember being a young physio in a hospital department when a new hire arrived full of confidence, skills, post-grad training and I realised my place in the pecking order was up for resetting. It all worked out easily as the new physio was happy to acknowledge my ‘seniority’ and share her knowledge freely. But it doesn’t always work like this. I have seen situations where the new hire imposes his or her presence on the new workplace with little regard for other clinicians or admin staff, perhaps as an overcompensation for their own apprehension (in which case it can be down-trained) or just a personality trait reinforced by their recent success of getting the new job (harder to reconcile).

While you are busy with on-boarding the new hire, your existing staff are looking for signals of their status in the new line up. As many of them are human all it takes is some mindfulness on your part to include them in the bedding down process and reassure them publicly of their ongoing value.

  • As you introduce existing staff to the new hire, reinforce their importance and unique contribution to the clinic. Don’t be vague, be very specific regarding their special skills whether they be phone conversions, ability to sell products, consistent rebooking of clients, go-to person for difficult cases or whatever.
  • When finding physical or diary space for the new hire, try not to displace anyone else without them being part of the decision.
  • I find it useful to have a new clinician to spend an hour or so watching and listening at the reception desk to learn how complex and demanding this work-space is and also how things are done around here.
  • Utilise relevant skills in existing staff when on-boarding the new hire. Share the load and show how much you trust the team you already have in place.
  • In the first staff meeting after the new hire starts, be sure to recognise other staff members for their work rather than focus only on welcoming the newbie.

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Exciting times – a new staff member bringing new competencies and increased capacity. Don’t mess it up. No point welcoming one and alienating others.