If you think back to the last time you started a new job with a new company, you can probably recall some feelings of unease. From working out the new commute rhythm and finding your parking space, to just knowing where to get a coffee, first days are filled with questions to which you have very few answers.
Beyond the practical problems, of course, are the social ones. Despite the fact that we all think we’re past them, orientation days at a new office can transport many of us back to that first day of school when we didn’t know who to sit with at lunch.
That’s why, when you are on the other side of the hiring line that you make an effort to not only make your new hire feel relaxed, but welcome, too.
It doesn’t need to be difficult, or involve a lot of hand holding, but making a conscious effort to help your employee find their way around your office building or explaining what they can expect on an ordinary day on the job can help get off to an encouraging, productive start at your company.
Have a look at just 10 of the ways we think that you can help your new hire go from awkward to adept:
Whether it’s a phone call, email or quick ping on social media, make sure your new employee knows you are looking forward to their arrival. It may relieve some of their first day anxiety to know that they will receive a positive welcome.
Make your new hire’s desk a blank canvas. It should be neat with very few items, and there definitely should not be any loose papers from the previous employee who occupied the desk still lying around in the drawers. This will be your employee’s own space in the office, so let them feel like that from the very first time they sit down at it.
Not only will this help them know everything they may need to about the office and your typical work day, but by giving them branded items like a new notebook and set of pens, you are identifying them as a part of your company, and already a member of the team.
If you still have HR paperwork to deal with, do it now. Not only is this just good practice in your company, but it also allows your new hire to focus on settling in and getting to work, instead of the admin of their job.
A tour lets your employee get a grips of the office space and find out the essentials, such as where the bathrooms are, where to get coffee, and where to park. This also allows your employee to ask questions about things you may not have even thought to mention until you physically walked past them.
Make sure that your task is a thoughtful and important, yet not crucial, part of a current project, and that the deadline you set them is generous. This way of easing them into their work, without putting too much pressure on them, allows a new hire to get to grip with the work and the office environment, while making them feel like a valued member of the team.
Ideally, you could schedule twenty to thirty minutes in the morning to have coffee together and provide your new hire with a snapshot of each person’s role. This is best to do on a relatively low-stress day, such as a Friday when employees are already starting to wind down for the weekend and not rushing off to make deadlines and dig through their emails.
If there are any groups or chats on social media, add your new employee to them. Also, a nice touch is to organise a team lunch or night out to celebrate them joining the team, giving them more of an opportunity to connect with their coworkers and you in a zero-stress situation.
It is exceptionally important at this stage to make your new employee feel listened to and valued, so even if they don’t have all the answers, be positive and welcoming of their contributions.
Check in on how their first week has gone, and whether they have any thoughts about their orientation. Be willing to listen and prepared to put their suggestions into action, so that they know that you care about their experience and are dedicated to improving your company’s intake processes.
First impressions count, so make your company’s a good one.
Like we have already mentioned, you don’t have to be super sentimental about your welcome, but it should be warm and encouraging and you shouldn’t underestimate the effect of a kind word, a lunch invite or ten minutes of prep time before your new hire walks through the door. The most important thing to remember is that you are investing in your talent from the very beginning, and from this, you will hopefully receive the rewards of loyalty and enthusiasm in return.