3 ways to onboard new team members in a meaningful way

Jun 27, 2022

I am often asked by leaders how to create more connectivity in their workplace culture, particularly as they are scaling.  When I ask about how they onboard someone new since meaningful connection starts the moment they start, I often hear “we have been working on a process and creating a manual!” 

While a system can certainly be a valuable framework, I highly recommend starting by getting focused and creative on the human to human interaction experience. 

When new members join a company or start a new role on a different team, it’s so critical to have real conversations, fast, to accelerate getting to know them for who they are, what they care about, what their strengths are and what their experiences are that influence their skills and views.  

Rather than just jumping into the tasks, I recommend a few key steps for more meaningful connection that will help people feel empowered, that they can be their full authentic selves, and you take the time for people to get to know each other so they see that the environment fosters that, which then will create strong connectivity.  

Here are a few ways to make your onboarding interactions more powerful:


1) Lead a 1:1 Onboarding Conversation with Insightful & Empowering Questions

Great leaders hire great people and then ask them powerful questions to unlock learning, change and empower them to share ideas and take action to deliver desired business outcomes.  So it’s important to remember you don’t have to know everything ;)  And to quickly get below the surface to learn others’ strengths and also where they need support.  

Some insightful and empowering questions to ask starting Day 1 are:

  • What do you love to do the most? 
  • When are you at your best? 
  • What can the team super rely on you for? 
  • Where are you a deer in the headlights that you may need support in? 


2) Organize a Team Connection Gathering

The faster the new team members get to know the rest of the team in a real way to build understanding and trust, the faster they will be successful because they have built collaborative and supportive relationships.   

Organize a session where the new team member can share about themselves and some of the answers to the above questions, as well as give the team the opportunity to do so, to enable everyone to quickly get on the same page. 


3) Share Appreciations with “Love Notes”

As humans, we all have a basic need to feel love.  At work, when we feel appreciated, we feel seen for the value we are bringing which motivates us to continue to thrive. While this is important all the time, when joining a team, it can be extra powerful to do it early and often to help quickly create a sense of value and belonging.  

Write some “Love Notes” to new team members - can be text, email, hand-written post-it notes or cards - whatever works for you!  


“I love it when…”

Can be anything!  “I love it when you really listened to the challenge I was having to learn about my area….I love it when you share experiences you’ve had in the past and how they could help where we need to go…I love it when you come prepared to our meetings and ask for support!...I love it when you…”


You can also do a team lunch to share these with each other as we often make assumptions about what we appreciate about each other!  It’s a great way to be open and bond quickly.  


And if you have a remote/hybrid team and need support creating a powerful virtual experience to connect new hires or team members who step into a different role so you as the leader can just kick-back and participate, and enjoy meaningful conversation that will dramatically accelerate your new team members’s relationships with their team and all the entire team to also enjoy connecting, I can also support with a New Team Member Connection Social.  


One company client team member said:


“Loved this!  It was great to get to know our new team member and to also have a space to connect and learn more about each other. Learning about the internal state of other team members creates a common foundation for more effective communication!" Board Member, YYC Growers


The questions I shared are great to ask any of your colleagues to learn more about them! This will also give you insight as to what lights them up, their strengths, and their experiences.  Ask someone today this question and have them share a recent story about when they were doing what they really love and notice what you learn about them from it!

Complimentary gift: To help you accelerate and strengthen your relationships click here to download a free toolkit on the 3 Simple Ways to Connect Better, including some of her favorite conversation starter questions!

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