Considering How New Hires Affect Your Team

By Sean Gordon

As managers, we spend tons of time writing job postings and sending them out to the digital world, hoping we will find the “right” team members. We do this because we imagine that the right person will fit into our team and change our level of productivity for the better. We want to think of ourselves as great judges of people’s abilities and personalities and that we can select the right people the first time around. In reality, managers will make some great hiring decisions and some bad ones because people don’t always turn out to be what they portrayed themselves to be during the recruitment process. Managers have a tough job because we must give adequate attention to hiring practices and take a purposeful approach. We aren’t only responsible for hiring. We are the people with the biggest potential benefit to good hiring decisions. In essence, hiring the right people means that we’ll spend less training and give corrective feedback.

Why New Team Members Matter

You will have people leave your organization on their own or at your invitation. This creates a vacancy on your team, which prompts you to find a replacement for that person as soon as possible. A new team member brings additional knowledge and capacity to a team. With another team member, a team can potentially increase its collective output. This is all good for you as the manager, but it’s easy to focus on finding the right talent and to forget that team dynamics will change once the new hire arrives.

The Question of Cultural Fit

Many business writers will go on and on about the importance of cultural fit. They will comment on how small business owners make big mistakes in their hiring practices, which then greatly impacts how the startup phase evolves. When you’re hiring for a growing organization, you are probably worried more that the person will fit into your team. You might worry less about how that individual will fit into the broader company culture. In this post, we want to focus more on avoiding team clashes than we want to focus on harmony.

Make a List of Competencies

One of the ways that you can hire a new person to fit into a team, regardless of the business type or length of time that your company has existed, is to list all of its existing competencies. This includes your own competencies as well as the competencies of team members. When you look through this list, you may see some skills that multiple team members share. It’s important to look for the competencies that the team lacks. Try to bring in someone who adds new competencies to the team and whose personality will mix well with the other personalities.

Try People on For Size

When you go through the interview process, you may believe you’ve found a person who is right for the current opening on the team. Because you have other management tasks to complete, you could easily decide to skip the step of having a finalist (or two or three finalists) spend the day with your current team. Consider the need to try each finalist on for size. You could compensate a person for his or her time, if that option is desired, for working with the team without actually hiring him. Or, you could negotiate a trial period (i.e. 90 days) and give the new person a chance to fit into your team. Because we work in a world with more flexible work schedules and staffing practices, you could commit to a recruit and invest some training resources in her, but that doesn’t mean that you must hire her on a long-term basis without first seeing how she affects your team’s dynamics. For more details on hiring trends, please contact us today.

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