Starting a new job can be a massively daunting task. There is a pressing urge to impress, and a need to prove competency. But the environment is foreign, and everybody is new!
We already featured a post about building a strong overall onboarding process.
So today, I thought I’d talk to some of the employment experts out there, about some of the more specific ways you can welcome a new employee, to give them the best possible start at your company, on their first day and beyond.
1. Give them a clean and clear space to work from
This shouldn’t even need saying. But apparently, it does.
“Don’t let your new team member walk into a space that has been robbed of all essentials, or with a keyboard they wouldn’t dare touch” advises HR consultant Lisa Perez. “Yes, it really happens!”
Lisa advises that you should ensure the new appointee’s workspace is clean, is cleared of the predecessor’s clutter, and is equipped with appealing, must-have administrative supplies.
2. Provide a welcome box
As well as the essential supplies mentioned above, many experts say it is a good idea to put together a little welcome box.
“Give them their own branded mug, a tee, and a few small personalised items to make them feel home” says business advisor Mario Peshev. “Think of a photo frame they’re welcome to use, a branded stress ball, or maybe even a Rubik’s cube – something that indicates you’re a friendly team willing to work together, as compared to micromanaging from day one.”
Mario says that the contents of the new hire’s welcome box, can really set the tone for what it might be like to work at your company.
3. Throw a small welcome party
For organisational psychologist Katy Caselli, you shouldn’t forget to throw a welcome party. Why? Because the new person needs to get relationship-building fast!
“Think someplace better than the company cafeteria” she says. “A heartfelt welcome in a relaxed environment beats being shown to a dusty cubicle with a full garbage can. Try having a ‘get to know you’ conversation over a beer and some bar food.”
Katy says that doing this with a small group of colleagues, can help your new hire to establish allies fast – making room for them to focus on goals and learning. They will also be grateful of the attention, the welcome, and the friendly nature of their new team.
4. Assign a buddy or a mentor
When you welcome a new employee, you need to think beyond their first day. And that’s why it really helps to assign them with a ‘buddy’ or a ‘mentor’, who can help them acclimatise more effectively.
“We give each new hire a ‘Curiosity Captain’ during their welcome experience” says Loni Freeman, VP of HR at SSPR. “This person helps them get introduced to the culture, people and policies. It helps the new hire feel less overwhelmed, knowing they have a mentor who is not their manager, to give them special insight.”
Loni says that this mentoring should cover everything not strictly work-related, from where the bathrooms are, to where the Diet Coke stash is kept.
5. Phase in the workload gradually
Loni goes on to say that with everything going on in a new starters first few weeks, hitting them with a full workload can often be a bad idea.
“Introduce their workload slowly over the first 3 months, not on the first day” she says. “Introduce new projects over time, allowing new hires to engage and interact with their colleagues, and learn the ropes of the industry, without feeling too strapped with their workload.”
Loni adds that the first 90 days are a critical period if you want to build a culture of collaboration. She also insists that you should keep existing employees in the loop – reiterate with longstanding employees the importance of investing in new starters at the start of their employment.