So, I’ve Got a New Direct Report

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You are so excited because you (finally!!) have someone new you are bringing onto your team!

You’ve been waiting a LONG time for them – and want to make this transition as smooth and seamless as possible.

As you are prepping to bring them on, we’ve got a couple of tips on things to think about!

First, they don’t know what they don’t know. You’ve been here for a while. You know the ins and outs of the company. You know that Bob never has matching socks and that on Friday’s, everyone goes to happy hour at 6.

Take a couple of minutes this week to really think about those things. Reflect on your days and weeks and think about those “things that you just know” and try to capture them.

Next, identify your expectations—because you’ve got ‘em (we all do!)

Schedule some time in your calendar this week and think about this:

  • What are the “shoulds” that you think of for this person?

That is, when you think about them, do you think “they should know this”, or “they should be ready for their first client call by X date”, or “their primary resource for questions should be Sally”.

Write all those out and then think about what is the best way (and time) to communicate all those to your new direct.

We’d recommend to not do it all at once, and also to make sure you ACTUALLY communicate all those expectations.

Last, consider the experience you want them to have.

Yes, this will all be new and it will likely be overwhelming. And in the midst of that, what do you want them to remember or experience?

Maybe you want them to know that they’ve got you as a support, so you’re going to coordinate team lunches once a week for the next few weeks to help the whole team get to know each other better.

Or maybe you want them to know that you really value their opinion, so every couple of days you’ll set up structured time to ask them what is going well and what else they would like or need.

You have the opportunity to create the experience you want them to have. So think about what that overall experience is and then a couple of practical ways that you can make that happen!

We’re excited for your new direct and would love to hear your best ideas in on-boarding someone new!

Slow Hires



The cost of a bad hire is shocking. But anyone that has had the misfortune of making a bad hire knows the pain behind it. Aside from the mental anguish of all involved, calculating the cost as an actual number involves including productivity lost from the individual, from the team, salary costs, costs of training, HR staffing costs, recruiting costs, relocation costs, and loss of goodwill and damage done to the team in the process.

I’m a big believer in slow hiring. I don’t mean dragging your feet here. I mean being intentional and taking the time to hire for the position you need to fill correctly. And then taking additional time to onboard thoughtfully.

Essential parts of the slow hire:

  • Understand your needs – Why do you need to hire anyway? What is the job this person is to fill and why? Consider who and what competencies already exist on the team.
  • Write the job description – Write this description not to fulfill just the baseline needs of the job, but to describe the ideal person for the job. What would they do? As an example, I recently changed part of a job description I was reviewing from “attends meetings” to “is a key contributor and collaborator in meetings”. Use competencies as well as skills and experience to describe the job.
  • Recruit – Not only post the job, but ask around. Your existing team members may know the perfect person. There may be internal candidates. Sometimes, the best hires are not looking for a job but will apply when recruited.
  • Interview – Interview for the job description. It’s easy to fall into the trap of interviewing for chemistry and charm. It’s also easy to talk too much about the job in the interview. Take the time to understand the candidates.
  • Check references – Check references given by your final candidates, and check ‘back door’ references. If you still have questions, ask for more references to confirm the story you’ve heard.
  • Hire – Pay attention to more than the salary. A good hire will match both sides and their desires on the full compensation package, relocation, and start dates.
  • Onboard – This is way more than verifying I-9’s, filling out W-9’s, and other onboarding paperwork. A productive new hire needs an orientation and warm welcome to the company, the culture, and the team. Where is your new hire going to work? Will they have the tools and information they need to succeed? Time should be spent early on setting goals – near term and longer term.