Care and Feeding of New Employees

With two new employees coming on-board this month, I’m going to take a stab at writing how to treat new employees – and maybe this will apply to employees in general. Of course, we are individuals – some of us like pineapple on our pizza, some of us like olives. May these tips contribute to right relationships with us, the employees you care about! For today, I’ll start with just a few.


  • Explain acronyms, minimize “insider Fellowship or UU” language (not every employee is UU, though some are). Don’t be surprised if you get asked about stuff you think “everyone knows.” Remember that acronyms abound, insider phraseology takes a while to learn, and names and faces can be a blur, even after several months. Be ready to introduce yourself repeatedly. There are, after all, approx. 285 members (yay!) and 100 or more visitor participants at the Fellowship!


  • Be kind, on our first day and forever after. It takes about 6 months for a new employee to feel comfortable, and up to a year to experience the full cycle of responsibilities for their job. That’s why we hire smart, and why we want our employees to stick around. Language like “can you…?” “might you be able to…?” and “when can you…?” is helpful.


  • Remember that you represent the values of the Fellowship with each interaction. A sense of humor is appreciated, but consider would you say that “whatever it is” to your mother?


  • Give the gifts of partnership and voice. Work with the employee to determine when and how things get done – and include them when you set deadline dates in a meeting where they are not. Take time to ask what questions the employee has for you, about what you just shared, and ask for our thoughts. Employees at nonprofits work where we do because we share your values and want to contribute to the bigger picture. Reference:


Memory time: When I hired on, one of the interviewers told me that the people of the Fellowship are phenomenal. I agree, and I rest easy knowing that we are a considerate community. I hope you find these tips beneficial.


PS I’m not the one who likes pineapple on my pizza. Yikes!


~ Best, Carol Pranschke (I like to hear from you.)