All change: integrating new team members into your small business

My business, modern PR agency Moja, is still firmly in start-up mode. We started with three employees in March 2022 and have recently made three new hires. It’s so easy to assume that because new people have the skills you’ve hired them for, that they will instantly fit in and make an impact

Integrating new team members into your small business

Founders must remember that anyone joining the business needs to hear about what’s in your head. So, take the time to share those thoughts, articulate where the business is going and get them excited about the roles they will be playing.

We did a team day recently that went so well I thought I’d share the format, as it’s easy to pick up and adapt to suit any business. 

Past and future triumphs

Like most great days, we started with lots of coffee and some gentle chat. Each team member shared their greatest hit from their time with us so far and what they hoped their greatest hit would be a year from now. This was useful as it showed even the newest team members were already contributing to the business’s success.

Discovering journeys together

We then moved on to a paired activity where team members interviewed each other on what they had done so far to arrive at the point where they joined Moja. Much of this was professional, but there were some personal bits in there, and I learned new things about even my longest serving team mate. 

Setting the vision and clarifying roles

I had a presentation I’d done for an investor, which I adapted to use with the team, showing where the business is and where we want to go. Going through this was a lightbulb moment for our newbies, who fed back that they were now clear on how their roles supported the wider business. The lesson here for me – don’t assume people just know these things – you have to tell them!

Crafting our values

One of my favourite parts of the day was looking at our values, initially as a personal exercise, which we then shared as a group, helping us to understand more about each other. As a team, we then came up with our Moja values. Everyone felt that our values needed to be relevant to how we work with clients and each other and not boring. We nailed this and have been quoting values at each other across the office ever since!

Setting our 90-day sprints

Finishing up the formal part of the day, we looked at our 90-day sprint and what each of us wanted to take on to get closer to our goals. We’ll review this next quarter, celebrate achieving these and set some new ones.

Strengthening bonds and building relationships

No team day is complete without an activity. This time we headed to an escape room where we were completely rubbish and only (after receiving a lot of clues) managed to save Ronnie from imminent death. Phew! After all that, dinner and drinks rounded off what was a great day.

Often, we get stuck in delivery mode and see time out of the business as a distraction. This was a brilliant reminder that time invested in people always pays dividends. Teams need time to bond, and time spent understanding the business priorities. Would this outline work for your business? Try it out and let me know how you get on!

Sophie Milliken
Sophie Milliken

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