Mentor Moment: How Do I Onboard New Team Members To Encourage Collaboration?

Person on Blue background in frame, Mentorship and advice

In our Mentor Moment series on the Creative Confidence Podcast, listeners share a challenge they’re facing at work and we match them with an IDEO mentor with relevant experience so they can explore possible solutions together. 

In our latest episode, Kathleen asks: 

How do I onboard several new team members and set the stage for a collaborative and successful team dynamic?

IDEO U’s Lead Learning Architect Meg Rice guides a conversation with Heather Currier Hunt, IDEO’s executive talent director and global head of learning and development, where the three explore ideas and human-centered activities for onboarding Kathleen’s team. Learn more from Heather in our course Cultivating Creative Collaboration, where she’s an instructor. 

Listen on Spotify or Apple Podcasts

3 ways to encourage collaboration when onboarding new team members

  1. Be the bridge — Create connections between the new people and the existing team by honoring the skills and expertise each person brings to the table. 
  1. Co-design team rituals — From high investment (team agreements) to easy lift (a quick ice breaker in a meeting), rituals help to activate each individual and create moments of alignment and acknowledgement. 
  1. Reduce uncertainty wherever you can — Define the collective goal you have and the roles that everyone will play towards that goal. Don’t leave anyone wondering about their purpose. 

Heather shares tactical ways to approach each of these topics in the podcast episode. 

Submit your challenge

Are you struggling with a challenge at work and wish you could get some words of wisdom from someone who’s been there? We’d love to hear from you! Send a voice memo to with details on your work challenge and include “Mentor Moment” in the subject line. 

Please include: 

  • Your first name, role and company description (leave out the company name). Give us a little background on what you do.
  • A description of your work challenge. 
    • Is there a specific instance where this challenge showed up for you?
    • How is this challenge limiting your impact at work? 
    • What kinds of things have you tried to overcome this challenge? 
  • If you could ask an IDEO mentor one question about your challenge, what would it be?

We’re looking for real stories from our community on topics like:

  • Pushback on new ways of working
  • Difficulty collaborating across distance
  • Desire to have more impact at work
  • Lack of fresh ideas
  • Other challenges related to creativity, leadership, growth, and innovation

We’ll be in touch if we’re able to feature your question on the podcast series. If you submit a recording, we may use the audio in a podcast episode. 

We want your feedback!

What did you like about this episode? What would you change? Share your thoughts in this quick survey

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