So you’ve just made what you believe is a great hire. The new staff member is talented, experienced, and they fit the culture of your church. They’re really going to help you get where you believe God wants you to go. They’re hired! What’s next?
Churches are notorious for racing to the finish line of a hiring process, getting the newly hired candidate in the room and breathing a collective sigh of relief. The typical church basically says, “Congratulations, you’re hired! Here are your keys. Now go figure it out.” Once the new hire is made, you’re not done. If you don’t intentionally think through the first days of their employment it can leave a sour taste for the remainder of their employment relationship with you. While they may love working at your church in five years, they’ll always remember their first impression as being negative. Below are five steps you can take to set your new hire up for success!
1. The First Day in the Office
The dating is over. Now you’re married. But just like marriages fall apart due to a lack of dating, employment relationships go south when employers stop pursuing their employees. Intentionally think through what you want their first experience and day in the office to be like. There is definitely standard first-day orientation stuff like keys, security codes, computer, introductions, etc. A welcome basket, lunch with the team, Starbucks and a personal card are all simple things that anyone can do. What can you do to make it positive and memorable? If you don’t plan for it to go well, then it won’t. You want them going home saying, “This is going to be a great place to work. I’m so glad I took this job!”
2. Public Communication Plan
How are you going to communicate the hire, when are you going to communicate it, and whom are you going to communicate it to? Does your church announce each new hire from the stage? Is it a simple verbal announcement, a printed piece, does it go on the website or social media, do you do a video? If you’re trying to figure out how to communicate the hire, a general rule of thumb to go by is, “The more public the role, the more public the communication.”
3. Manage Expectations
There are always expectations associated with a new hire; in a church setting some of those expectations are realistic, many are not. Unfortunately most are unspoken, and usually have to do with growth and an extraordinary move of God. Having a clear conversation about realistic expectations over the first 90 days and the first year is critical for long-term success. By the way, getting their family settled and acculturated to the church and the community should be at the top of the list if you want them on the team for the long run.
4. Opportunities for Wins
Identifying opportunities for wins is essential during the first 12 months of employment. Although your new staff member is incredible (that’s why you hired them), they don’t know what you know about your people and your context. So while they have “fresh eyes” that you need to leverage, you also have knowledge that you need to use to set them up for success. To have your new team member experiencing wins in their first 12 months puts credit in their pocket and makes you look like you made a great hire. Which you did!
5. Build Leadership and Relational Equity
For the typical new church staff member there are three circles of influence that they need to build leadership and relational equity with. The church staff, their volunteer team and the audience their particular ministry affects. Your job is to help them by putting them in the right situation with the right people to set them up for long-term success.
I’d love to hear about some other things you’ve done or have seen employers do to set new hires up for success over the first 90 days and first 12 months! Leave a comment!