Collaborating with New Team Members

A lot of emphasis is placed on advancing collaboration within your current team. But what do you do when you have a new employee who has to pick up wherever the last person left off? The on-boarding process can slow any team’s work down, but there are several things that can be done to fight this.

Mark Morrell (who will be speaking at the Social Workplace Conference) offers many tips in a series on his blog Intranet Pioneer about “how to engage employees and improve collaboration.”

He says that by allowing a new employee to continue using sites they are used to (like Facebook and Twitter) while offering them immediate access to the company’s internal forums, blogs, and other resources can be extremeley beneficial.

Having an already established page for frequently asked qusetions, commonly used documents, and other resources (perhaps a dictionary of office jargon) provides the new employee a way to learn themselves, instead of wasting the time of his/her boss. Having an officewide microblogging service like Yammer also gives the employee somewhere to ask a question that can be quickly answered by anyone in the company, instead of forcing the newcomer to wait until his/her manager answers their email or walks by.

Morrell lists even more social tools that can help integrate a new employee into your work team. Having wikis set up tracking current projects allows them to quickly see where their department’s work fits in with the rest of the organization. Allowing the new employee to regularly sit in on video conferences gives them the opportunity to familiarize themself with the people they will be working with.

All of the above tools provide the opportunity a new employee to integrate themselves into the team, isntead of waiting for the team to catch the new person up. This allows the team to carry on with their work, instead of slowing down while they answer questions or explain policies.

For more on this subject, check out Mashable’s post with “5 ways tech can make new hires feel like part of the team.”