New employees are usually excited and optimistic as they accept a job offer and schedule a start date. In most cases, it’s safe to assume they wouldn’t have applied or said yes if their hearts weren’t in it. So, during their first week (or day or month) on the job, it’s your responsibility as an employer to make sure their energy and optimism carry them over the threshold into the established fabric of the workplace.
Unfortunately, many employers overlook this responsibility and they begin the relationship by handing the new employee a thread they’ll eventually follow to disillusionment, disengagement or even eventual burnout. Don’t just “welcome” your new employee by pointing them toward their desk and expecting them to find their own way. Instead, follow these onboarding guidelines.
Make a big deal out of them.
Everyone likes to feel appreciated, especially when they’re new to the social order and uncertain of their place in larger machine. Treat the first day like a birthday; encourage others on the team to feel excited about the change and interested in learning more about the new person. Cultivate this attitude in each person who will show the newbie around, teach them how to access the company database, and give them the background on their new client accounts.
When something goes wrong (anything from a wobbly office chair to an assigned system password that isn’t working), new employees don’t like being made to feel as if the hold-up is somehow their fault. Don’t let these minor hassles contribute to the sense that they are getting off on the wrong foot or making an awkward impression. Sail through them and make sure the new employee feels great (not regretful) about her decision to join the team.
Be ready before the new employee arrives.
Everyone in HR and on the team should know the new employee’s start date well in advance. It’s unpleasant—and expensive—to keep the person waiting and idling for hours while the company scrambles to set up a workstation and training schedule. While you’re at it, use the days and weeks leading to the moment to generate positive buzz and interest in the new arrival.
Make sure everyone knows their role.
Who will meet the new employee in the lobby? Who will take her to lunch on her first day? Who will invite her along to the department meeting? Who will take her from desk to desk introducing other members of the company? Make sure these people who they are and what they’re expected to do.
For more on how to make your new employee feel relaxed, confident, welcome and ready to work, turn to the staffing pros at Extension.