A Discussion of Ownership with the Philadelphia Eagles
Ownership: it was a word we heard repeatedly during our visit with the Philadelphia Eagles. When we asked what ownership looks like in action for them they shared a simple, yet impactful strategy when it comes to bringing on a new team member.
When a new team member is being considered, it truly is a team decision for the Philadelphia Eagles. Players are asked their opinion and if they object to a particular recruit, that athlete is not offered a position on the team. If everyone agrees, then the recruit is welcomed to the squad. Here’s the catch: everyone, and they mean everyone, is responsible for onboarding that new player. No benchwarmers allowed. Everyone plays a role in helping the new player assimilate to the process and people, and most importantly the culture.
In our experience we have found that it’s the lack of an effective on-boarding process that can truly make or break the success of an individual joining a team. Too often, the approach is, “There’s your desk; get on with it,” together with the tendency to throw the new employee in at the deep end.
Tips from Stacey Cunningham about Successful Onboarding
In order to truly create an experience that makes your new employee want to stay and not run for the nearest exit:
1. Reach out.
From the moment a candidate accepts your offer, it becomes your job to connect with that individual. You should begin by having teammates reach out to introduce themselves. Share information about the organization, your culture and people.
For example, we once worked with an organization that has an exceptionally long onboarding time due to licensing and their credentialing process. For this organization, we built a 12-week onboarding process using micro learning. Each week, a new hire receives a micro assignment. These assignments ranged from a welcome video for the leaders and team, to a virtual walk through of the facility to a list of fun things to do in the area, all with the intention of making slowly but consistently introducing them to the organization.
2. Meet and Greets.
The first few days and weeks of a new job can be full of stress and uncertainty for new hires. Their minds may be filled with thoughts like, “what do I do, who is who, etc.?”
Take out the mystery. Assign them a mentor/buddy who can meet them at the door, show them the ropes and be that person to field all those informal questions. Also create a relationship map and then set up meet and greets over then first two weeks so the new hire begins creating those critical connections and relationships. Be sure to check in with them throughout the day to see how it’s going and what you can do to support them. Assign each member on your team with a role or task so they have a role in welcoming the new hire.
3. Jargon busting.
I’ve yet to find a company that doesn’t have its own language and jargon. Whether it’s those pesky acronyms that people use (but can’t always explain!) or in-jokes and phrases, create a translation dictionary and share some context for your in-jokes so that your new hire can join in the laughter (and not worry about it’s being directed at him or her!).
4. Understanding the characters on the team.
In a nutshell, this is about spending time sharing your style and expectations, your hot buttons, strengths and blind spots. Provide your new team member with the information needed to successfully work with you and not have to guess (or misunderstand) your style and approach.
We use a great assessment that not only allows the new hire to understand their style and how it fits into the culture but we also do a review of their style along with their new leader, so they can see how to best work together, getting the relationship off on the right foot!
5. Recognize excellence.
Be sure to recognize new hires as they pass milestones. Recognition by coworkers can be a particularly powerful way for new hires to feel like they’ve become part of the team. Also ask them for their observations and perspectives. Many times, new hires have a great and fresh vantage point. They’ve not fallen into the “that’s’ how it’s always been done around here” trap. One of the greatest ways to bring them into the fold is to help them share their perspective. Their ideas and observations can be a powerful teaching tool and will also allow them to contribute to making your team and organization “even better”!
A Lesson on Effective Onboarding
It was our meet and greet with the Eagles that led us to this determination that the onboarding process is most effective when treated as a team responsibility. Afterall, the success of your organization depends upon the relationship of the team as a whole, right?
So, when onboarding a new hire, it is our recommendation to keep your team as involved as possible, by following the 5 tips above. By doing so, you can help to ensure that your new hire is primed for success in their new role with your organization!