Starting a new job is a lot like your first day at a new school. Being the new kid is both stressful and scary, and if things go wrong at the very start, it can be hard to recover.
Similarly, when a new employee gets off to a less-than-smooth start, it can increase their time-to-productivity and the chances of them leaving the company. Finding ways to ease the transition into a new role should be a top priority for employers. New employees who feel welcomed into their new work environments straight away are often happier, more productive, more successful, and more likely to stay with the company for a long time.
In order to make your new employees feel welcome and valued, check out these 12 ways to give them a great start:
1. Reach Out Before Day One
When a new hire signs on, it may seem like a bit of a whirlwind. There are congratulations, lots of communication, and plenty of correspondence with you and other members of the team.
Soon, however, things slow down. The employer may go silent until the new hire’s actual first day. This can leave a new employee feeling lost or a little abandoned – a bad start for sure. Mitigate this by maintaining contact with new employees up until their first days. This means email correspondence, appropriate phone calls to express excitement or to give them pointers, and assurances that you are there to answer their questions and make the onboarding process smooth and easy.
2. Prep Yourself
There is nothing worse than showing up on your first day of work to a manager or team who does not recognize you. One way to help ease new employees into the fold is to prep yourself for them. Learn where they came from, their work experience, the position they’re filling, their hobbies, their family life, and other relevant information. Get a holistic view of the employee and approach them accordingly. They may work for you, but they’re also a person.
3. Prep the Team
Going back to the first-day-of-school analogy, the first day is always hardest when the other kids (i.e., the rest of the team) are not friendly or welcoming. Before your new employee arrives, be sure to prep the team for them. Let the team know where your new hire comes from, what position they’re filling, their credentials, and other pertinent background information. Insist that your current employees welcome your new hire with warmth, kindness, and enthusiasm. When each new employee has a warm, friendly start, they are more likely to extend that kindness to the next new employee.
4. Have a Welcome Basket Ready
Another great way to make your new employee feel welcome is to have a welcome basket ready and waiting for them. This basket can be filled with small things like office supplies, snacks, gift cards to Starbucks or Target, business cards, and even a nice welcome card from the team. You should also include a welcome letter that outlines important policies and procedures regarding dress code, daily schedules, and other details. This can be a fun and effective way to usher in a new employee on their first day.
5. Create a Schedule
The first week at a new job is often filled with lots of questions, confusion, and stress. Make things easier for your employee by streamlining their first day or week with a schedule. A helpful schedule should strike a good balance between the onboarding process and the actual tasks of the employee’s position. This way, your new hire will steadily integrate into their new environment while also feeling productive in their new workspace.
6. Introduce Them to the Team
Make a point to get the team together and formally introduce them to your new hire. This fosters a certain level of unity and helps the new hire meet everyone in one fell swoop. Be sure this introduction does not take place at a party or similar setting, as this can be overwhelming. Instead, get everyone together, offer introductions, and maybe even do a few icebreakers. Help your employee get a feel for their new coworkers without overloading them with activities and social interaction. Simple, yet intentional introductions can make a lasting impression.
7. Don’t Tiptoe Around Benefits, Compensation, and Amenities
When someone signs on for a new job, they often have a lot of questions about compensation, benefits, and similar topics. Unfortunately, it is seen as bad form to ask questions about these things too soon. To help your new hire, have them meet with human resources as soon as possible to discuss the questions they may have.
8. Utilize the Buddy System
Similar to how a teacher may pair up a new a student with a buddy to show them the ropes, you can match your new hire up with a mentor. The mentor should be someone with experience within the company who can answer questions, offer advice, and generally help the new hire acclimate. Starting your new hire out with a mentor gives them someone they can turn to when things get confusing or overwhelming.
9. Invite Them to Lunch
Inviting your new hire to lunch each day of their first week is a great way to show them you’re happy they are a part of the organization. Lunchtime can be stressful for the new employee, and there’s nothing worse than eating alone in a room full of people who already know each other. Be intentional about setting up these lunches, and ensure the new hire’s mentor is also in attendance. Having a familiar face around while they meet new coworkers and learn more about the workplace can put a new hire at ease.
10. Start Them Off Strong
Give your new hire a task you know they can complete during their first day or week. This early win will give the new hire a feeling of purpose and confidence. When your new hire feels like they know what they’re doing and they’re doing it well, they will settle into their new role faster and more efficiently.
11. Check in After the First Week
Don’t forget about your new hire after their first week is over! Show them that you really do care about how they’re settling in beyond the fanfare of week one.
The check-in can be as simple as sending an email, popping into the new hire’s office to chat, or setting up a meeting to discuss their progress so far. This check-in can also count as an informal type of performance review. Remember, a small gesture can go a long way, so make it a point to check up on your new hire when you can.
12. Commemorate Their First Month
The first month at a new job can really fly by, but that doesn’t mean all the stress, confusion, and anxiety are forgotten. Show your new hire you’re happy they are with the company and you’re excited for what’s to come by commemorating their first month on the job.
Again, this can be super simple: Send a celebratory email, write a nice letter, or set up a lunch with the rest of the team. By this time, your new hire should be settled in and feeling like part of the team.
If you have a new hire coming into your company soon, consider trying one or all of these twelve ways to make them feel welcome. A bit of kindness goes a long way, and you’ll be amazed by how well a company does when the employees feel happy and appreciated.
Sara Pollock is head of the marketing department at ClearCompany.