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Orienting a New Supervisor to the Job

The First Week

There is much for a new supervisor to accomplish in the role. In order to set them on the path to success in a supervisory role, ensure that the first week on the job enables them to acclimate to the organization and the supervisory role.

During the first week on the job consider the following as essential to get the individual off to a good start. But first, send all relevant paperwork to be completed to the new supervisor’s home prior to day one so that she can bring the documentation to the office. This enables the supervisor to take her time filling out paperwork and enables for more important orientation on day one.

Best Practice

Consider the following to be included as part of orientation during the first week on the job:

  • Ensure the office is set up so the new supervisor feels welcomed – this includes the phone, desk, computer, etc. Have someone from IT or facilities to meet with the new supervisor to help her get everything set up (passwords, etc.)
  • Introduce the new supervisor around the office – not just in her department, but throughout the entire office.
  • Arrange for a mentor (another supervisor or manager who has been around awhile.) This mentor will guide the new supervisor for at least the first 90 days on the job.
  • Arrange for a meeting  with Human Resources to discuss key policies and procedures (and for the new supervisor to turn in paperwork completed prior to day one)
  • Arrange for lunch with the new supervisor and her boss as well as a few peers on day one.
  • Introduce the new supervisor to her direct reports and let her spend time talking with each direct report one-on-one. This enables for the new supervisor to build relationships with her staff and vice versa.
  • Arrange for a meeting with the new supervisor and her boss to begin to set expectations for the role.
  • Arrange for lunch with the new supervisor and her direct reports throughout the week – one-on-one lunches or the new supervisor with 2 – 3 direct reports (depending on the size of the staff.) Smaller groups enable for stronger building of relationships.
  • Arrange for the new supervisor to spend a day during the week with her mentor, who will show her around and help her to understand how things really get done in the organization.

While the first five days helps to set the stage, the first 90 days on the job are essential to truly get a new supervisor (or any other new employee) acclimated to the culture of the organization. A supportive manager, peers willing to help out and a mentor enable for increasing the success of the new supervisor in her role. Areas of focus should be on developing relationships with others in the organization, developing goals and objectives for the role, ensuring understanding of the strategy of the organization and working with the mentor, her boss and her team to ensure that the goals and objectives determined for the group align with the strategy of the organization. Certainly every organization has both formal and informal rules – processes and procedures, or ways, of getting decisions made and getting work done. Those 90 days are essential to understand the formal and informal culture within the organization.

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