Have you ever started a new job and had second thoughts in your first week or two? Disappointed with your first few days and unsure you made the right decision to join?
Over the years I have worked with a large number of organisations in several parts of the world ranging from small, independently owned businesses working out of a converted barn in the depths of the countryside through to huge, corporate industry giants in swanky city central locations. The ways in which a new member of staff are welcomed into the business (or not!) differ hugely from company to company and from what I have seen, the size, location or type of company have nothing to do with how well this is done.
Some of the most highly regarded companies out there in terms of market reputation are terrible at onboarding new recruits and making their new staff member feel welcomed whereas some of the smallest, most unheard of names in an industry can make the best employers when it comes to helping their new employee settle in quickly.
If you are a manager and responsible for new recruits coming into the business, here are 5 simple ways to make your newbie feel welcomed and comfortable quickly:
It sounds basic but all too often the new starter on Monday is the last of priorities for a manager. This will speak volumes to your new starter and create a negative first impression when they walk in the door. Make sure a desk has been assigned, cleared and cleaned. Ensure a computer and/or phone has been set-up complete with log-ins or speak to IT in time if there is a department to do this. Pull some stationery together and lay it out on the desk all ready. This sounds rudimentary but when a new recruit starts, no matter their level, scrabbling around for pens and a notepad after finding the stationery cupboard in the first place is a laborious start to a first day in the new job. Moreover, it creates the right impression of you as a boss - that no matter how busy or important you are, you have considered your new member of staff and made the effort to do this (even if it was via your PA!)
In the same light, show your new employee that you are happy to give them your time. Take them for a coffee on their first morning or to lunch. This gives you the chance to reaffirm the rapport established during the interview stages and offer process. This is especially crucial where your new starter has had to work a long notice period at their previous company as it may have been some time ago that you last saw them and it will quickly remind them of the reasons they said yes to the job in the first place.
This also sets the tone that you care about your new employee and it's not a case of just having turned on the charm to get them in the door, only to throw them in and let them fend for themselves now that they are over the line and have turned up for work.
Hold a team meeting the first day someone new starts. This gives the new starter a chance to introduce themselves to those with whom they will be working closely, learn a few names and feel part of the team quickly. Where this bit is skipped, it may otherwise take weeks before they have met everyone around them. It also gives you a good excuse to hold a team meeting in the first place which you could also use as a vessel for each staff member to explain what they do, talk about upcoming projects or what they are currently working on. This provides an extra opportunity for each person in the team to review their own position and take some accountability on where they are up to with their own work.
Organise for one or two of the team to take your new starter out to lunch within their first week, with or without you. So long as you have managed to have a quick coffee with them solo, not going to lunch may indeed give your newbie a chance to have an off-the-record chat with their peers, where some informal insight into the challenges ahead can be garnered.
If a team meeting or lunch really can't be afforded, at the very least, send an email around on the first morning to make sure the team knows a bit more about the new face they will be seeing around the office so that physical introductions are then a little less stiff.
Make sure you give your new employee a proper tour around the office. Showing them the kitchen area, etc may also remind you to let them know about any protocol or office etiquette that they will not then have to figure out for themselves or feel awkward about asking. Introducing them to the receptionist, other teams or a couple of other prominent figures in other departments will help them feel more at home in their new environment.
Sit with your new staff member on day one and establish some expectations together. Let them know what the plan is for their first day, week, month or even the three months ahead. Or ask them to come back to you with what their own plan is if more appropriate. This may have been touched on during the interview process but this ensures parameters are set early on and your expectations as the boss are clear. Define the criteria against which you will be reviewing their progress during the probation period. Let them know the next time you will be sitting down together to review things.
Given one of the most common reason someone leaves their job is down to their boss or line manager, carrying out all of the above will certainly help set your relationship off on the right foot. Give your new employee the time and consideration early on and you are all set to get the best out of them. You have both taken a leap and invested in each other, recognising the value in this from day one with every new employee will increase your company's chance of attracting and retaining top talent as an employer of choice.