trade tales | Jul 29, 2022 |
5 ways to integrate a new hire

The interviews are done and the offer accepted, but now it’s time to integrate your new hire into the team. We asked five designers—Lucy O’Brien, Jerad Gardemal, Leah Atkins, Rebecca Hay and Christopher Sanders—to share how they welcome a new employee.

5 ways to integrate a new hire
Lucy O’BrienCourtesy of Tartan & Toile

Systems Check

“I believe that having an organized process and open communication is key. We lay out all the steps in our employee manual along with the employee’s key roles. We have a central portal with all of our business forms, processes and pieces. Having clear goals and a plan for each week as they are starting is important too. I also lay out very clearly what our firm is about—the culture and brand of our business—and that we operate on trust, accountability and communication. I know employees will make mistakes, and instead of getting mad or reprimanding, we discuss the issue, look at what went wrong, and then I personally look at where I or we as a firm had a hole in the process to allow [the mistake] to happen. [When I was working in] the medical world I remember constantly being in leadership meetings that discussed how errors happen because of system problems. Humans are humans, and they will make mistakes. It is up to the system to create the safeguards against errors. Sometimes you do not need to reinvent the wheel, you just need to have the process in place and the bravery and the confidence in yourself to look at things as a whole.” —Lucy O’Brien, Tartan & Toile, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

5 ways to integrate a new hire
Jerad GardemalCourtesy of JF Gardemal Designs

All Aboard

“The goal in welcoming a new team member is to ensure that from the start of their employment journey, they feel valued, educated and empowered. I don’t find that gifts are what create passion for the brand and their new position. The most effective way to create a collaborative relationship is to set expectations early on and carve out time out to complete a proper onboarding. This has been the best investment in new team members and has shown them early on that our partnership is critical to brand success.” —Jerad Gardemal, JF Gardemal Designs, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

5 ways to integrate a new hire
Leah AtkinsCourtesy of Leah Atkins Design

Skills, Set

“Welcoming new employees should be fun for everyone. Always offer training to ensure they know how to do what is expected of them. No matter how experienced they are, never just throw them into the fire. That said, it’s also important not to undervalue any previous experience they have. Let them know they are now a part of the team and that their voice matters.” —Leah Atkins, Leah Atkins Design, Atlanta

5 ways to integrate a new hire
Rebecca HayCourtesy of Rebecca Hay Designs

Circle Back

“The best way to welcome new employees is to have an onboarding process to help them feel welcome instead of overwhelmed. To be really ready, take the time in advance of their start date to set up their email and provide access to any programs you use in your business. This not only helps you welcome employees, but it makes you look professional, prepared and excited to have them join the team. And don’t assume that you can set someone up in the first week and leave them to run with the role right away. Schedule check-in meetings, and stagger your onboarding process.” —Rebecca Hay, Rebecca Hay Designs, Toronto

5 ways to integrate a new hire
Christopher SandersCourtesy of Sanders Architecture

Fresh perspective

“Periodically, we like to get out of our work environment to have lunch or happy hour together as a team. When a new staff member starts, this provides us with the perfect opportunity to get out of the office. Not only do we get to know our new colleague, but [the team] can reconnect with one another. We work closely here in the office, and most team members are aware of the names or basic details of the projects that are currently on the boards. But if someone is not on a project’s team, they likely don’t understand much about its goals and design solutions. To broaden this understanding, twice a month we chose a project for an all-office design review, which brings the office closer together—and often benefits the design of the project. For new employees, it serves to give them insight into the firm very quickly.” —Christopher Sanders, Sanders Architecture, Austin

Homepage photo: A cool shade of green paint transforms the cabinetry in a Pennsylvania home designed by Lucy O’Brien | Jon Friedrich

Want to stay informed? Sign up for our newsletter, which recaps the week’s stories, and get in-depth industry news and analysis each quarter by subscribing to our print magazine. Join BOH Insider for discounts, workshops and access to special events such as the Future of Home conference.