Making good decisions when bringing on new people is one of the critical issues that come up over and over in my coaching. Selecting the wrong person can, over time, derail most everything you are trying to achieve and dreaming about. Justin Anderson shares six things to consider when making these all important decisions. Read and heed!

Originally published by Justin Anderson at Context

Want to know a dirty secret about hiring at churches? Very few do it well. Most of us don’t really search far and wide for the right person, our vetting processes are inconsistent and we usually just end up hiring whoever happens to be around. The worst part though? We don’t know how to onboard new hires.

When a new person joins your team, it is essential for that person’s long-term success that you intentionally plan the first 90 days. When a person starts a new role, they are often unsure what to even do in the first couple of weeks. At other times a new team member gets thrown into the deep end immediately, which is also not good. But there is a better way. Let’s start by working through a few mistakes that you want to avoid with a new hire, and then we will work on precisely what to do instead.

Here are six mistakes to avoid with a new hire:

Mistake 1: Building a team without a staffing plan

WITHOUT a staffing plan, you are nearly guaranteed to make wrong hires that will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars and bring broken relationships. WITH a staffing plan, you start with a solid foundation to build an excellent team.

Mistake 2: Hiring without vetting character, chemistry, and competence

There is too much at stake to hire a person without a careful vetting of character, chemistry, and competence. We like to hire people we like, which isn’t a bad start, but it’s not enough to guarantee a good hire.

Mistake 3: Not having a clear role description for a new hire

One of the signs of a miserable job is the lack of a clear job description. Every person has the right to know what they are expected to do, what they are being held accountable for, and what success looks like for them. It’s your job to provide that role clarity.

Mistake 4: Throwing a new person into the deep end to figure it out. Sink or swim leadership development does not work.

Just because you were thrown into the deep end and had to sink or swim does not mean that this is the way to start with a new team member. Sink or Swim leads to Sink for most people. You need to build an onboarding process to help your new hire acclimate to your environment.

Mistake 5: Expecting a person to make an immediate impact in a new role before learning

When a new person starts in a new role, she cannot be expected to make an immediate impact. There must be a learning period and a ramp-up period. It often takes 90 days before a new hire begins to be effective. Plan for that and set reasonable expectations.

Mistake 6: Being absent after hiring

You will never build a quality team if you are absent. One of your top two or three priorities is for you to invest in your team. You must be present and engaged with your team – especially with a new team member.

Here is what to do instead:

1) Have your new team member spend the first few weeks of a new role learning

Not one or two weeks but six to eight weeks. Don’t expect a new team member to make an impact right away. Instead, expect him to learn everything he can about the ministry he will be leading. Have him meet with everyone involved, ask a lot of questions, and learn everything he can. Have him study the current state of the ministry, the culture, and the leaders and become an expert on the ministry. The first thing a new hire needs to do is listen, learn, and become an expert on the ministry he will lead. Once this is done, a new hire can move on to the second part of his first 90 days.

2) Have your new team member write an annual plan for where the ministry needs to go. 

The best time to write this new annual plan is at the end of 60 days or 90 days. The timing of this depends on the complexity of the ministry and how long it takes your new team member to learn the ministry. Once she has done so, have her write a comprehensive ministry plan at the end of her first 60 or 90 days.

3) Spend a lot of time with your new hire over the first 90 days. Talk a lot about your culture. 

Explain expectations. Take him with you to meetings. Ensure that you are thoroughly involved in the first ninety days, from beginning to end, until your new team member has built an excellent annual plan and is ready to run.  

We can help you through the whole process of adding AND ONBOARDING a new team member! We started Context Staffing to help you find the right leader. We specialize in finding leaders for churches. Our team spends hundreds of hours searching, recruiting, and vetting potential leaders for your church so that you can confidently build your dream team.