I've found lots of guidance on first meetings with a new employee joining the company/team, but what if the team is already at the company and I'm the new guy (haven't even started yet)? I have 2 specific questions:

1) In my first meetings with my directs, I want to get to know them a bit (i.e. family, hobbies etc.) but I don't want to seem invasive or if some may find it weird or inappropriate. Are there ways to introduce this such that they know I want to get to know them, but that they can decide what/when to share? It seems getting to know them naturally will take a long, long time, especially with everyone working remotely for at least several more months and even after we'll be primarily remote.

2) Is it approproate to do this as a group so they all get to know each other better? Mine is a new team being formed of existing employees. Some of them have been at the company for years, but they may not know each other, and at least one just joined the company a few months ago during remote work, so he probably knows nothing about the others and vice-versa. It might be good to give everyone a chance to get to know each other, but again I don't want it to seem invasive or inappropriate.


pwalker73's picture

Here's what worked for me (experience from about 6 new to me teams as an ex pat on assignment and one of me joining a new company)

- Remember MT advice to fit in, fit in, fit in. 

- I use a simple set of questions that I ask all members to share with me, privately in writing (as well as sharing their CV) - I may have learned it here but cannot recall. These questions (a 'where we are assessment') ask a few things - their best and worst decision in last 12-18m; the company's best and worst in same period; their strengths, the areas they want to develop and what piece of advice they want to give me as the new kid.  I have found this to be incredibly valuable - enables a starter for conversations and also engages a new team as you're keen to learn

- Don't be afraid to ask questions about people's home life, it shows you're interested in more than their performance.  If you feel you're encroaching, start with your life. (Know your people!)

- I'd recommend a group session AFTER you know a bit about them. A good approach is to use a pre-mortem exercise to get them talking to each other (even virtually)


Good luck!

raf's picture
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Mostly similar situation - existing team (all remote), new mgr (me). Diverse nonprofit environment. Starting in my 2d week on the job, I met each via zoom for a 30-min "get-to-know-you" (explicitly separate from O3s; in most cases, got through the GTKY a week or so before we started O3s) & asked them the following. I told them upfront it was an informal GTKY session, that I had a list of questions but it was fine if we diverged, and that it was informal & not an interview. Here were my questions:
1. Your background, both professionally (and what brought you to this org), and to the extent you're comfortable sharing, personally

2. Don't feel obligated to share anything you're not comfortable sharing, but: the names of the people and/or animals in your life

3. Issues that motivate you [important for non-profit; might need to adjust for for-profit]

4. What do you like best about your job?

5. Frustrations in job and/or ideas for process improvements

6. Professional goals, thinks you'd like to do new or more, areas you'd like to develop

This took 20min. Then I gave them ~10min to ask me anything. As the 30 min closed, I asked "Is there anything else about your personal or professional background that you'd like me to know?"