Developing the right relationships with the right people across the company. So it's not just developing relationships with your team members and your boss, which if you are a leader, it's on you to continue to drive that relationship, but making sure that you do have. You know, relationships develop with your stakeholders, with senior members of the team, with anyone who's going to help you be successful.
Welcome to the managing made simple podcast, where I bring a decade of experience working in some of the most influential companies in tech to help you navigate the ins and outs of being a people manager from conflicts to feedback to delegating and more. We will leave no stone unturned when it comes to what makes us love managing, kind of hate it, and everything in between.
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But sometimes you need a little bit more support, and you don't have the time to spend researching on the internet or taking a bunch of canned trainings. That is why I am so excited to share the Managing Made Simple Hub, your one stop shop to everything you need to be a great manager. The Hub is an interactive community offering a monthly live Q& A, ask me anything call, where you can bring up anything that's top of mind, along with curated resources and tools, monthly challenges, exclusive discounts on my services, and conversations with experts.
Best thing is there's no longterm commitment and you can hop in and out anytime. Sign up today at liagarvin.com/hub. And I cannot wait to see you in our next live Q and a session. Welcome back to the show today. I am so excited to have Jess Heller with me. Jess is an executive and leadership coach.
And after 15 years in recruiting leadership, her passion for developing talent inspired her to launch Jess Heller coaching and consulting. She partners with execs, leaders, and teams to empower them to step into their full potential with more ease and impact. I love it. So Jess and I met through a mutual friend, Robin Rapp, who is soon to be a guest on the show as well.
And we're a part of an awesome community of women who run coaching and consulting practices. And Jess was sharing some of the work with me that she'd done with Leaders Focus on the topic of onboarding. And I was so eager to talk about this topic on the show because onboarding is so freaking important.
It is a key piece of my Ops Playbook program because of that. And it's often overlooked. So really excited to dive into this topic today. Jess, welcome to the show. Thank you for having me. It's great to be here. Yeah. So I'd love to start with a little bit, you know, prior to launching your coaching business, you worked in the recruiting space.
I think a lot of folks either, you know, in the corporate world or small business owners always want to learn more about, you know, what's the secret sauce behind finding great talent. How do you focus on that? And, you know, I'd love to kick things off by Just hearing from you from, you know, from the source of truth, what is the importance of onboarding in respect to recruiting great talent?
Yeah, it's huge. So I would say that you want to think of onboarding as an extension of recruiting. So what happens a lot is you spend a lot of time and energy and money and internal resources to attract top talent, to interview top talent, and then they start day one. And you throw them a two page onboarding doc about here's your benefits, here's how to set up your laptop, here are the five people that you need to meet.
And it is definitely an experience where you need to continue developing that relationship with the employee, making sure that they're set up for success, making sure that expectations are aligned, you know, what good looks like in the first 30 6090 days. And when that doesn't happen, there's a huge impact on morale.
There's a huge impact on it. Really like the support that that person feels like they're going to receive. It impacts the relationship that you have with the manager and the employee. And what happens is, especially when you have retention issues, it starts to become a bit of a leaky bucket. So if you think of it in kind of the circle, right, you spend so much time finding someone, and then maybe that person isn't set up for success or doesn't feel like.
They belong there. They end up leaving, people start talking, and then it gets more and more challenging to recruit top talent. And especially in the recruiting space, the highest percentage typically of hires come from referrals. And so you want to tap internally on your employees to have them refer top talent.
But for you, I'm sure if you have someone who's in your network and you know that they're going to come in and not be set up for success, you're probably less likely to refer them into the organization. Yes. Oh my God. So much good stuff there. And, you know, I'll quickly share a story of an onboarding experience that, you know, was the worst case scenario, just so folks can, can paint a picture of it.
Many years ago, one of my, my, my first kind of big, big roles in tech, I'll just. So, you know, people may be able to distill down which one it was. So I was living in San Francisco with my husband, we've been married only a year. He was in school and I was working a job and I got recruited to get this big job in Seattle.
So I had to move by myself across the, you know, across. Uh, the coast and he was still in school so he stayed back and I was, I was nervous about making the move. I was excited. This is such a big opportunity. So we decided, yes, I'll make the move. And I moved up there, got an apartment, I got all settled in.
And the first day I go into the office, I had gotten a relocation bonus to move there. So it was like, okay, they really want me. And I, and I walked in and the awesome admin assistant, she was there and she walked me to my desk and nobody talked to me the rest of the day. And nobody came in, I didn't have a computer, I didn't know what I was doing.
My boss never came in. And later in the afternoon, I went and talked to the admin and she said, Oh, your, your manager's um, in an offsite today and tomorrow and never reached out. And around five o'clock I just said, okay, I guess. Guess I'm leaving. I'll just go home now. I guess I shouldn't have moved by myself, you know, 800 miles away.
And I felt devastated. And I think this is just, I think sparked a lot of the passion I have around onboarding is, you know, you don't have to be there sitting, you know, arm and arm with the person the first day, but. That manager could have done so many things differently. She could have sent me an email and said, Hey, I'm going to be this offsite.
Here's a few things to look through or Hey, your computer is not set up. Here's some things I printed out for you to check out or Hey, take a day and just walk around the campus and, and you know, get to know it or had set up with some people to come and check in with me. There was so many things that she could have done even at one when she was at that offsite that would have been transformational.
And that whole day I just had the. The worst taste in my mouth about this role and had been second guessing everything and they think you know That's being physically in an office now with so many people joining Virtually, you just are in your same house, same office, same room, flip open a laptop You're kind of trying to get your head around this new company and when there's not a deliberate effort To make sure you're feeling, you know, welcome, seen, here's some things to do.
Like you said, what does success look like when you don't have that? That person's probably already going to be thinking about their next job the first five minutes of this one and , how expensive is that for, for a business owner or a team in the corporate world? Any team, it's so expensive and like you said, it's demoralizing because you want that new team member to bring that same excitement they had in the recruiting process.
to their first few weeks on the job. Yeah, you feel like you got played a little bit, right? Recording the interview process and showing kind of the best of what they offer. And then day one, you're thinking, where did I just land? And it's hard, it's harder to come back. from that versus just what I'm hearing you say is just setting expectations.
Yes, you might be offsite, not ideally a time to start, but if it is, here's your buddy, right? Here's a person. Yeah. Spend some time with you the first two days, and then we'll have time on the calendar day three, just setting those expectations saves so much of that anxiety. Totally. I mean, one thing that I, I share with business owners I work with in, in defining an onboarding plan in the ops playbook is we look at how much.
Actually, money is being kind of sunk cost of having someone sit there for, you know, one, two, three weeks without being clear. I mean, think of that new person's hourly rate or whatever you're paying them and them to not really be sure, not sure, you know, what to be diving into, if they should do this versus that.
, that's actually just money that's costing you that could be spent somewhere else. And so I think really when we, when we have a sense of what that person can be focused on, even if it is just learning and absorbing, then we just make sure we're not hemorrhaging money from the get go with a higher and starting.
It's starting to , especially if you have a finite budget, utilizing some of that spend that you could be using somewhere else. So I think even if it's, if the money incentive is what gets you, then there's a huge one there because that lost productivity, even when that team member, you want them to go to a buddy and you want them to be able to check in with other team members, but if they have no idea what they're doing.
they might keep pulling other team members off of their job or their deadlines to keep asking questions when you could have had a streamlined plan and, and set up that other team member for success of , Hey, you're the buddy checking with them during these hours. And , then you can run with your own stuff.
So, yeah. And the crazy thing is a lot of them are spending crazy recruiting agency fees. So you spend this money and then you don't have any plans for when they're in the role. Yeah. So let's talk about some of the misses, some of the things companies do right first. What are some things that you've seen companies do really well that folks listening can operate or deploy themselves in their own teams?
Yeah. So what people do well is, you know, not confusing orientation with onboarding. So orientation might be. If you're a bigger company, you might have a week long orientation. You might have a two day orientation. It's, Hey, here's all the information about your benefits. Here's how to set up your laptop.
Here's the systems and the tech stack that we use. Here's general information about the company. And so I think. Knowing that there has to be an extension of that related to your role and your team. And here's what a 30, 60, 90 day plan looks like and continuing to check in on that because things change, especially at high growth companies or startups, right?
What you, the plan that you lay out the first day might change. And so really just continuing to check in. Hey, are we working on the right things? Are we making progress where we said we wanted to make progress? So that's huge. Giving people intros to the right people. You know, so how many times do people start, especially in this remote environment?
And I heard that episode of your podcast where it's like, no one even knows who you are. So all of a sudden you're in a Slack channel and you're reaching out to people and saying, Hey, can I schedule someone on one time with you? And they're thinking. Who are you and What do you do here? And so, you know someone owning making that intro of hey, leah just started today She's gonna be focusing on x y and z would love for you to spend time together Here's what i'd love for you to talk to her about so just really Facilitating those intros, I think, are huge.
Also, not going straight into work mode, right, and really kind of stepping back, zooming out a little bit, developing a relationship with that employee, and understanding, you know, having the conversation of Like we call it in coaching, designing an alliance, but it's really just how are we going to work together?
And what are some, what's, what's your communication style? Here's my communication style. Here's how I work. And, you know, for example, I might be sending you pings at 10 o'clock at night because I get back online after I put my kids to sleep. I don't expect you to respond, turn off your notifications. And so just setting those expectations with people on your team and also just giving them, you know, kind of advice or insight, I should say, on the culture, because what worked well at another company or what you think the culture is coming in might not be the same.
And so obviously you need to figure things out on your own, but really setting people up for success. So they're not trying to figure things out. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I mean, a couple of things to build on that. I think that last point on the culture, I mean, I was working in a team a couple of years ago where a designer joined in the middle of COVID and they were at a company that was very tops down.
So the leadership always presented the work and they were joining a company that all the actual designers present on their work. And this person that joined had. No skills are on presentation skills and they were actually declining meetings where they were supposed to be Showing up and presenting because they thought it was like an FYI And yeah, that manager should have done a lot more expectations like quick feedback there But it became a really big drain on the team because this person just kept I think the perception was I should say that He just didn't get it and it was like why isn't he cooperating?
He's not showing up for things and I said to the manager Who I was coaching at the time. I said, you know, you've got to do a lot to set expectations. They came from a very different company, a lot of different structures. And how we do things here and how you can be set up for success conversation.
You got to have that a few times you have to be, you know, explaining that. And when they miss something saying, Hey, totally get that you're still adjusting, you know, not to punish that person, but, but to say, but again, you are, you do have to be presenting. You have to be at these certain meetings.
This is how we're successful and giving that personal support, but especially if they come from a very different background, industry, work styles, all of that, setting them up for success. So there isn't a perception that they just don't get it. It was just a clarification that was needed.
Yeah. And the relationship building, I would say is the biggest, the most important piece. If you don't have that foundation, if you don't have that. That's how you build trust and that's how other people build trust with you. And so really making sure that you're spending the time up front to do that. You know, I used to tell my team, it's slowing down to speed up.
So you might need to take a little more time upfront because trying to undo that or undo someone's perception of you, when they've already made up their mind that this person is not reliable or they don't get it, , that's not fair if you haven't set those expectations and it's hard to give feedback if.
What are you giving feedback on? I didn't tell you this in the first place. Yes. That is my biggest thing. There's gotta be expectations and then the feedback. Yes. Oh my God. Well, and, and this reminds me, I mean, you know, about thinking about onboarding when someone's role changes or someone becomes a manager, , or someone switches teams internally.
Like it's not just when you walk in the door the first time in a company and that's something , not that I have too much on the misses, but I think that, that teams and companies do miss. Which is when someone's job changes, they're a new hire in that job. And there's a lot of, yeah, maybe you already have a relation with them.
Maybe they understand the company culture, but the expectations are completely different. How they need to interact with their team may be very different. If there's a manager, your expectations of them are going to be very different. You know, there's a lot has changed. So to actually sort of do a clean slate, , Hey, you're in a new job, let's actually reset this.
And instead of thinking they'll just figure it out because they already were here. And I think that's something I see a lot is when someone moves into a different role and they were crushing it in one and they're kind of floundering in another. I think it's probably because there wasn't a real reset on that onboarding, like re re onboarding, or maybe there's a word for that, you know, it's re onboarding and I love onboarding coaching engagements.
So that means a lot of things. It's not just new at a company. It's a new role. Maybe you have a lateral transfer into another team. Maybe this is post acquisition and now you're working in a very different culture or a very different environment. And so making sure that people are set up for success. A lot of times what happens if they're not or expectations aren't set and they're in a very high stress.
kind of high stakes situation, they lean on what worked before, because that's all they know. And so then you come in and kind of what got you here is not necessarily gonna get you there, and then you have to unwind a lot of this behavior. Yeah, absolutely. And so managers managing managers or folks that are newly becoming managers, this is key because I think So many times we promote people into being managers or ask people to lead a team because they were great individual contributors or they've been on the team for a long time.
I think that's. You know, Gallup's data shows that's the two primary reasons that people become managers is, is, is tenure or success than previous role. And that represents zero training has been having a manager. And so this is a new job, very different skill sets. And I think with, with business owners, I work with, you know, you, you're the visionary, you, you maybe have funding or, you know, you, you launch this idea, launch this business and start hiring people because you want to scale yourself.
That doesn't mean you know how to be a manager either. It doesn't mean there's something wrong with you or you're bad at it. It's a time to say, Ooh, okay, new skill area. Let me get the support. And I think to recognize that you are not great at it and you need support, that's actually demonstrating great leadership skills in and of itself.
You got to onboard yourself into this new role of being a people leader. which is very different and it's, and it's has challenges if you're managing maybe friends or, you know, family members. I think that shows up a lot in small businesses or, you know, whatever it looks like where you're navigating a lot of different relationship tensions that requires a lot of skills and a lot of, you know, really, really deliberate work to get that right.
And once you get it, you can be humming. It's great, but you have to actually do the work. It's, when it's hard at first, it's, it's not a signal, something's wrong with you to signal. Okay. I got to get support either. You know, ideally get a coach, maybe take a course, get, get some sort of training so that you get that support.
Yeah, absolutely. And so, you know, everyone's busy right now. We got to do more with less. It's the tagline of the probably decades, years, summer, five years. So what are some quick. , if you were to say top three things, what are things people should have in every onboarding process? So have an alignment meeting and have many of them.
So when you, again, and what I talked about before is have that conversation of how are we going to work together? What's your communication style? How do you like to receive recognition? Because that's going to be different for everyone. What are learn about them? Personally, as well, especially in this world of COVID, there are people who are caretakers for their parents, and so that might impact potentially, you know, they might need to not work for two hours a day while they take them to doctor's appointments, whatever the case is, just have that conversation early, because when you don't, a lot of miscommunication happens, a lot of assumptions are being made, that turns into resentment, that turns, there's a whole cascading effect.
So really have that conversation, ask questions before you start coming in and trying to make change. And I see this a lot with leaders who are starting, right, is really owning your onboarding process as well. So. A lot of times I think they come in and it's such human nature to do this and we all do this, but it's just trying to make impact fast because you're trying to prove that you were the right hire, right?
You, you didn't make a mistake by hiring me. And so I need to. Make change fast, drive change. And they're not asking the right questions. They're not really understanding why things are the way they are before they start to try to drive some change. And not only does that waste a lot of cycles, but that also can be really demoralizing to the team who maybe built that process, right?
And so, especially as you're trying to build relationships with your team members, it's just, it's asking, it's going on that listening tour first and foremost, before you start to just make. Change for the sake of making change and then really making sure that you are, you know, developing the right relationships with the right people across the company.
So it's not just developing relationships with your team members and your boss, which if you are a leader, it's on you to continue to drive that relationship, but making sure that you do have. You know, relationships develop with your stakeholders, with senior members of the team, with anyone who's going to help you be successful.
Everyone's going to make mistakes when they start. And it's the people who have those trusted relationships where you can call on someone and say, Hey, I messed this up. Can you help me? They're going to answer that call. And so, you know, whether or not you're a new leader. And you're driving that for yourself or you're managing a team, help them develop those relationships so that they're set up for success.
And again, I would just say the last thing is just making sure that you're really aligned on expectations and continue to check in on that throughout their journey. Absolutely. And really to echo that point on, you know, coming in fired up, I'm going to make impact. I'm going to change everything right away.
There's literally no faster way to alienate your team from you. And I think as a manager to really reinforce to folks that they're in learning mode, they're absorbing mode. You know, you mentioned expectations. It's something I talk about all the time. Hey, here's what the first week looks like. Success in the first week means you got to look at all the documents in our drive folder.
You got set up in the internal systems. You know, you read this thing or you took this training, , that's all I want from you. Week one, say success in the first month is this shadow, this thing, learn this skill. But if we don't say that, as you pointed out, people think, okay, I got to prove it. I got to prove I'm going to fix this place.
I'm going to whip it in shape. And everybody looks at you like, Oh my God, this again, or , great. And you. You can really lose people. And as you called out earlier, it takes a lot of time to actually build back from that because people thought either you're arrogant or think that they weren't doing the right thing.
And it doesn't go well for you. I don't think there's really any situations where, you know, even if stuff's in really bad shape, you still want to do that listening to her because you have to understand, you know, where are the gaps, where are things falling apart? And what the first three people tell you is not the full story.
It's never the full story. So it's really does take time. And I think there was a way to do that with humility of, Hey, here's some quick wins. I see what, you know, is this something that I can. You know, start to talk about with folks, you know, where are we at with things? I think starting to ask those questions and by doing that, listening to her and by building relationships, you start to build trust that, you know, you don't look at everyone and think everyone's idiots and you're trying to fix it.
But You know, you have some things that you see. And I think for managers of newer folks to really remember that that is the expectation you set. So not to get to the end of the month or three months and say, well, does this person even do anything? I've actually heard the opposite side and that's people's worst fears is that the manager's like, I don't know.
Like. We hired this person and I've only seen anything yet. You literally already told that person to not do specific things. So to not forget the expectations that you set. So maybe you have it in a document for sure should have a document. Excuse me. , here's that 30, 60, 90 day plan. Oh yeah. Here is what I asked them to do the first month.
And it was very little. And so it's. Not where they didn't do more than that, but there's so much, I guess we're all kind of keep circling around the same thing, expectations for yourself as that leader for that person is the new hire, getting that on the same page and then, yeah, you continually checking in.
Yeah. And that's why just continuing, you said, to make sure that you're checking in on whatever plan was set out in the first place. And that also gives you an opportunity to share what you're doing in service of that plan, because sometimes it is work that you might not be able to. See the end result, but you're working towards that.
Yeah, exactly. So as we start to wrap up, I'd love to hear, you know, what, what are some things you're working on that you're excited to share with our listeners or you know, how they can get in touch with you? Yeah, I'm excited to be, continue to build my practice. So I love working with leaders, especially those in transition.
So like I said, if you're new in role, if you're. Getting ready to get a promotion or you have been promoted is really supporting people. I think coaching is huge, especially when you're in this transitional phase, because we talked about, you do have blind spots as a leader. Everyone does. And so creating, having some support where you can help someone create some of that awareness, understand kind of who they want to show up.
As in regards to their values and who are they at their best so that you're really driving that integrity and authenticity because that's huge if you're not sure if you're not able to be the greatest version of yourself in your job. It's not sustainable and it's going to be really hard to continue to drive impact there.
So really working with leaders to help them, um, in that transition. And I've been working with some amazing clients. So that's what I'm continuing to do. Yeah. And where can folks find you? Absolutely. So you can go to my website, it's jessheller.com or you can find me on LinkedIn. It's Jessica Heller, Jess Heller Coaching and Consulting.
Yay. Okay. And I'll put that in the show notes. Um, anything you want to leave our listeners with? Yes. Relationships are the most important thing. To enable success during onboarding and any transition. So make sure that you are taking the time to build those relationships, not only with your manager, not only with the rest of the team, but with the people who are going to help you be successful at that organization.
Could not agree more. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. I love talking about onboarding. I mean, I think as folks heard, this is. Such an important step. This is going to be the secret to retention, to, you know, profitability, to really getting people firing all cylinders, to referrals, to recruiting, really this, this is an important thing we do not want to overlook.
So thank you for sharing all your insights and I know folks have so many nuggets that they can apply right away. Thank you so much for having me. That's all I have for today. Thank you so much for tuning in to the Managing Made Simple podcast, where my goal is to demystify the job of people management so that together we can make the workplace somewhere everyone can thrive.
I always love to hear from you, so please reach out at Liagarvin.Com or message me on LinkedIn. See you next time.