Give feedback to new team members with SaMoLo

It’s helpful for new employees to get feedback on how they’re doing in order to adjust to their new workspace. In traditional companies this might be done by a team lead or superior. In Scrum – as so many other rights and duties – this falls to the team.

Although new members tend to come up as a topic in the team retrospective, it’s usually as a side note and only after they’ve just started. We felt that on boarding new colleagues is important enough to give each their own dedicated retrospective with the following structure:

All team members but the new one meet and collect feedback in 3 categories:  “Behavior we’d like to see the same amount of”, “More of” and “Less of” (SaMoLo). They discuss the issues, group them and decide who will present the feedback. Then the new colleague joins to hear and discuss what they’re doing great and where they can improve.

The closing words belong to the new hire: They can give feedback to the team. Maybe there’s something they’d like to change, too.

Maybe you’re wondering, why the new guy is not present the whole time?
I think that will probably work as long as the new member is doing well.
As soon as it’s not going so well, the group needs time to sync and make sure that the others are agreeing that something is a problem.
As we wanted the process to be consistent, we opted for the “collecting topics always without the new member” even when someone is doing great.

[Word of caution: If someone’s performance is so poor that their future in the team / company is jeopardized, most teams have trouble expressing this. If you think it didn’t become clear during the retrospective, either pick one of the group to convey the severity of the problem in private or escalate it. It’s only fair to tell the new hire that things are serious.]

We successfully used SaMoLo at my old employer. These retrospectives take about 30 minutes and we did them 1 month and 4 month after someone started. (6 month is the customary probation period for new hires in Germany.)

What do you do to make sure new employees get enough feedback?

PS: This is Activity #17 in Retr-O-Mat

2 Comments Give feedback to new team members with SaMoLo

  1. Dexter / Orszewski (@Dexterus)

    Encouraged by your post I asked for my performance feedback precisely after 3 month with a new team. I had to do it with a little help of a digital tool as I work with two other sites, but I am happy I did it anyway. Even if response rate is only about 50% (is it good or bad?) I found all answers really helpful to discover which way to go to help my peers. Thanks!

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