Blogs by InnovatorsBox®

Rethinking Rapidly Growing Teams: Mindful Remote Hiring & Interviews & Onboarding

While many companies are struggling to find new talent, others are growing their teams incredibly fast! Companies like Instacart, Lowes, and many grocery stores all announced team growth by over 300,000 employees this year. And it’s not just corporations. A Wall Street Journal report concluded that small businesses are hiring even faster than corporations right now as the  “shop small” movement has reinvigorated many local economies. That’s huge!

Even before the pandemic rapid growth requires mindfulness as more team members also means more of a need to rapidly change how you work, engage, and design your whole workflow. And now, doing this online requires extra thoughtfulness as people expect more flexibility, support, equity, and attention to well-being. I’m eager to dive into how we could rethink hiring, onboarding, boundary settings, and team development where everyone could thrive no matter where they work.

First, let’s talk about how we can hire & interview mindfully in this exciting time of growth.

To hire and attract top talent is hard, especially when you grow fast. How can you resist the temptation of hiring simply to fill an urgent gap versus finding the right person? What we see on paper (on the resume) isn’t everything. How one navigates uncertainty or change, and communicates online are all nuances that are crucial to understand if this is the right person that complements your team overall. In other words, that person may be great on paper but may still not be the best team member. Also when we rush we forget to fully explore all the best ways to find our people. We go back to what we are used to instead of accounting for diverse ways to find diverse talent. Here are some ways to rethink further. 

Optimize a Flow That Gives You Time To Hire The Right Person

It’s tempting to hire the first person who fits the bill, especially when the team is growing fast. But it’s important to prioritize hiring the right person over speed. First focus on optimizing the flow so that you give yourself time and space to find the right person instead of rushing to fill the gap.

Questions To Help You Optimise The Hiring Workflow:

I want to especially emphasize question five and rethink where you envision job posting locations. When we post only where we are used to applying, we are limiting our options to find new people but also for diverse talent to reach us as well as understand that we are willing to meet where they are to find them.

Think “Beyond The Resume” In Your Evaluation of Candidatesas

How are you evaluating your candidates? How do you wonder what’s beyond the resume? Open ended questions are a powerful way to explore a person beyond the resume and really get to know them. When you ask them questions like “What is your core value in life?” or “How do you handle communication when you disagree with someone and even with leadership” don’t just look at what they say but get curious about how they say it. Are they reflective? Are they a learner mindset? How did they respond when you asked a difficult question? How do they answer and how does their body language respond? 

These are all cues for how they may digest, work, collaborate, and communicate which are key information to how you’d want to see how the new person can work with you well.

Check Your Unconscious Bias As You Make Your Decision

Creating a process for vetting people out and in is difficult, especially where there are 13 types of documented unconscious biases when hiring, such as naturally hiring people who are closer to your background and discourse. 

One good question to ask yourself is are you judging unconsciously based on what you think is professional or is that really the right way? Double check your list of “no’s” — see any trends? 

In order to reduce as much bias as possible, it’s helpful to design a multi-tiered hiring process with diverse people involved. That way, people of different perspectives can have input on the talent and their cultural fit.

Once you’ve hired people, it’s important that they stick around, and they’ll do so if you create an inclusive environment. And that cue starts from how you then do the onboarding. How can you bring them on so that they have all the information to feel empowered to lead, show up, and engage fully while brought on as a new team member remotely? Despite good intentions, doing this online hasn’t felt the same as in-person and we either easily overwhelm new hires or feel them completely without any tasks. And the pandemic only accelerated our hunger of wanting such support and care.

A study shows how 67 percent of employees are ready to resign if employers did not fulfill their promise of care during the pandemic.

So it’s time we rethink how to onboard as people come in fast. How do we navigate making people feel like they are a part of the team digitally? 

Operationally, it’s important to first streamline their projects before they even sign in for their first day:

A Gallup poll found that 88 percent of organizations don’t onboard well because it felt rushed, paperwork-heavy, for example. Almost 90 percent of onboarding processes just fall flat?!? That’s mind boggling.

Use this team growth opportunity to reflect on your own onboarding processes — talk to some of your other team members and get insight into what went well / didn’t go well in their own onboarding process. What were their pain points? Apply that to the new. 

It’s an investment in time, but it can pay off in the long-run. Great employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82 percent.

It’s an investment in time, but it can pay off in the long-run. Great employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82 percent.

Greet Them With A Celebratory Moment, Not A Barrage of Emails

We’re not saying you have to throw a formal party for every single new member, but consider a small delight – a gift to welcome them. Why? Because gift-giving, no matter how small, actually strengthens psychological bonds, especially if the gift is thoughtful. This is quite a conundrum because new hires are often basically strangers, but you can still show thoughtfulness without personalization.

Something like a personalized video from you that thanks them for being a part of the team is very thoughtful.

“The reason people hate meetings is that emotion is deliberately squeezed out. Participants sit and listen to programmed presentations. But this is a choice, not an inevitability. You can just as easily conduct a meeting that has drama, meaning, and connection. You cannot bring two teams together by simply talking about unity. They must experience unity. That’s what makes it a defining moment.”

Chip & Dan Heath in the book, The Power of Moments

Creating a Sense of Belonging

The loneliness of joining a new team can be overwhelming. Can you remember that feeling? At its core, a sense of belonging occurs when an individual feels included and accepted for their authentic self. Fostering belonging in your onboarding process means that people of all backgrounds get a seat at the table and feel heard, seen, and recognized for their contributions from the start.

In 2020, belonging became more critical than ever as teams started working remotely. Research  shows that belonging became 12% more important for employee happiness during COVID-19. And a Gallup study found that engaged employees are 22% more profitable. Belonging plays a fundamental role in employee engagement, so it pays to foster belonging in your company culture.

A sense of belonging starts with making your team members feel you have invested In them: their passion and purpose. Ask them about their dreams, their aspirations, their curiosities. It will make them feel less like employee #12 and more like part of a team. 

Ask your team about their dreams, their aspirations, their curiosities. It will make them feel less like employee #12 and more like part of a team.

Plus, more opportunities for your team to collaborate on things make the environment seem less alienating. The key is that we take every interaction as an opportunity to create moments that we could treasure and build relationships. And it’s going to require even more intentionally as we engage online. 

What does that look like for you and your team?

About the Author

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

All Posts

Leave a Comment

Sign up for our Newsletter

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit