Rachel Folz

People, product, and process pro.

New Hires are a Focus Group

I was first introduced to the concept of Fresh Eyes when I began my work as the first ever Digital Marketing Manager for the Campbell County Public Library.

As my training period came to a close, library leaders asked me a series of pre-formatted questions about what I noticed and what I thought could be improved. These were the same questions asked of all new library staff. In the moment, I knew I was in a democratic place where all voices would be heard and respected. This was new and I was into it.

When I started at Cerkl, there were only a few of us working toward the big dream of increasing audience engagement. The culture of a small organization tends to bloom from where early leaders’ values and proficiencies lie. As one of those first few hires, I felt very connected to our mission and vision for the future. But as Cerkl grows (and grows again) I wanted a gut check on how we are progressing and if the plans and processes we’ve built are fit for the long haul. What are we missing? What did we forget in our sprint?

Recently, I got my chance to trot out Fresh Eyes when Cerkl made a few new sales hires in San Jose, Indianapolis, and Boston. Our new teammates visited Cerkl HQ for a crash course in how we work. The sales people met with each department to hear about what they do, how they contribute, what processes they use, and what their plans are for the future.

After completing my product overview, I put our new sales folks in the hot seat and asked them a few Fresh Eyes questions.

  • How well do you think the departments collaborate?
  • What department or division are you surprised we don’t yet have?
  • What did you expect to get out of this meeting that you didn’t?
  • What improvements do you think our product needs that aren’t on the roadmap?

The questions I asked were not perfect but the new folks responded with honest, and open feedback. Their answers gave me clarity and understanding and helped me reset my compass a bit as we prep for our next big sprint.

Whenever you add a new team member, be sure to take the time to ask for their unrestricted feedback on the people and processes that make up your organization. Doing so can give you fresh perspective on the status quo while making the new team member feel valued.

I am more of a high five kind of gal but I respect your preferences for celebration.