Living and Giving

Bringing New Members To Your Team

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I\’m a member of Bridgestar\’s LinkedIn Group, and there was recently a very interesting discussion featured there.  Bridgestar asked for stories about helping new hires succeed as they join a nonprofit organization–what helps, and what doesn\’t?  What can the organization do to create a smooth transition?

I responded with some information about orientation at UniversalGiving™, which I\’m happy to share here also.

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At UniversalGiving™, orientation is important, and ongoing coaching. We\’re continually expanding our program because there are always ways we can increase our client service internally.

So whether it\’s an executive or an intern, everyone gets a thorough orientation. All of our materials are in a manual; we also update it based on each new individual\’s feedback. We then have one point person who leads that orientation process, and is also their coach for the first month. At the same time, they work in a certain business unit. We have people in each business unit available to help with questions.

We maintain documents covering everything from overall strategy to how to operate the fax machine at the office. Our Effectiveness Tips document is especially important as it highlights key areas that are important to us, usually on a day-to-day basis. These actually serve two purposes: They are valuable for setting up new team members with a foundation of basic knowledge, as well as serving as reminders to team members who have been with us longer.

We also ensure each long-time team member has a Workplan. This workplan helps each person maintain their projects, deadline dates and priorities. They then have a weekly meeting with a manager or their business unit.

So it\’s important for us that when we bring on a new team member we make sure they receive our documents covering basic procedure and operations for the organization, and yet also have a \’warm\’ contact who can help.

One of the areas that can sometimes be hard for smaller organizations, is a clear point of contact, and one who has the time since people are often playing multiple roles. We have defined managers, who then communicate with them one-on-one to handle any questions and provide direction and feedback. As they move forward in their work with us, we continue to maintain open communication, to watch how people are progressing, and to make any adjustments based on their ability, execution, attitude, and specific areas where they would like to grow.

We believe in giving people responsibility, with support. In fact, I\’d say it\’s important at UniversalGiving that executives as well as interns are able to handle high level work. People\’s capabilities are not only due to age, but talent, attitude and desire to serve. We provide our interns the management, support and guidance they need, doing all we can to help them succeed as much as possible.

An area we need to improve upon is our UniversalGiving Culture statements. We have them, we try to emphasize them as a team, but they need to be included in our Orientation; and reemphasized on email, verbally and our day to day, much more often. It\’s something I will be working on as CEO as our culture is so important, and important to maintain.