1. It will make your new starter better at their job
Whether your company makes marketing campaign software for businesses, a personal finance tracking app for individuals or delicious baked goods you have an end consumer of your product.
Not all of your teams will directly interact with that consumer. Those teams that do don’t all interact with them in the same way. A sales call runs very differently to a support call.
If a new developer joining the company has spent some time with the support team and heard customers getting stuck with a product they’re starting to work on - they’ll have a much better insight on where things need to improve and how to make decisions in the customers interest.
If a new sales person can spend some time with the dev team they’ll understand how there’s a balance between building the new features they’re promising customers and keeping the current product stable.
Giving your new starters that context early on will enable them to make better decisions as part of the role you’ve hired them to do.
2. It will build empathy between teams
If your new starter has sat with a different team, learnt about how it fits into the wider company as well seen what their day to day involves it’s going to be much easier to understand why things can go wrong.
Sales: The people team entered our bonuses wrong but I sat with them while they did payroll last month and that is more complex than any business process should be. We really need to change when we report bonuses to them so they have enough time to work with their payroll system.
Tech: Sales are pushing us on the new dash. Since we sat in on those calls I know they’re feeling our competitor breathing down their neck. We need to get better at communicating what we’re working on to the wider company so they can manage expectations when things get delayed.
Marketing: Those landing pages haven’t been finished for the newsletter deadline. I know the dev team are doing some big infrastructure changes this quarter so new projects are taking a backseat. I’ll chat to them and see if they there’s a tool we can use to create landing pages for testing without their input.
Early stage companies are always going to be an exercise in managing evolving priorities. That won’t change. What can change is the empathy and respect teams have for each other when deadlines slip.
3. It sets them up for cross functional working
When a new starter has spent some time with all the different teams in their first month it sets them up to know who is responsible for the different parts of the company.
It’s not just about giving them the context. It means later on when they come across a problem, have a question or suggestion they’ll have met that person previously.
That makes it much easier for them to send a message to that person - Hey! Quick question, I was thinking about XYZ and I know that’s a big push for you this quarter so I had a suggestion based on (thing I learned in my role that you don’t know about). Happy to talk you through it.
This means that your teams are now getting insights they wouldn’t otherwise have had and can make better decisions because of it.
4. It sets people up to build networks within the company - especially if it’s not natural to them.
If someone joins a company and a lot of people are similar to them it’s easy to approach people and start a conversation. It’s natural for them to learn who everyone is, what their role is and who to call on in the future.
Whereas if someone joins a company and most people are similar to each other but not to them this is much more difficult to do. They’re less comfortable with what the social norms are so it’s easier to only socialise within your immediate team.
If their first months at the company is set up with pre-arranged sessions with the new colleagues they wouldn’t normally go up and strike a conversation they’ll learn more about them without the onus being on them to initiate. It just becomes part of the process. Then after that they’ll feel a lot more comfortable having a conversation and more likely to see if they can answer a couple of questions they had after their presentation in the all hands last week.
How am I going to convince my teams to do this?
I know. You’re going to have to sell this to some already stretched teams.
Then, rely on those already busy people to arrange the sessions themselves - and keep checking if it’s done. Or, checking 18 different people’s calendars and arranging it for them (though we can automate this for you).
It’s much quicker to bring in your new starter in, cover the HR basics and then let their manager train them up alongside their immediate team. The new starter won’t really know what they’ve missed. Especially for the first couple of months.
But, by doing this, you lose the opportunity to integrate them deeply into the company and the compounding benefits that come with that.
It’s worth the time investment to integrate people this way.