One of the biggest roadblocks for new employees transitioning to new workplaces is culture shock. Among other concerns, policies in the new business could be vastly different from what new hires are used to. In fact, new employees may even be moving to new cities or states at the same time that they are adjusting to new workplaces.
Mitigating this shock can boost your new employee’s morale and allow them to hit the ground running. And, as America’s workforce becomes more and more mobile, helping employees deal with culture shock becomes increasingly important.
Here are some ways to make your new hire feel right at home on their first day.
1. Implement an Ambassador
It can be daunting to walk through the door on your first day and see no familiar faces. Help a new hire acclimate by assigning them a company ambassador who will show them the ropes. The ambassador can act as a liaison between the new hire and other employees, introduce the new hire to coworkers, and work side-by-side with the new hire until they’re adjusted to the environment.
2. Host After-Work Rendezvous
New hires coming from out of town not only have to learn the ways of a new workplace, but also a new city. Help them out by organizing regular outings around town they can participate in. Group dinners are a great way to foster communication among your team members, or you could arrange sports outings where your crew meets at a local park for a game of softball. Not only are these events a great way for the team to get to know one another, but they make the new employee feel like their coworkers care about them.
3. Give Them a Lift
Rally employees who might be interested in carpooling to work and have them give the new employee a ride. This will help the new members of the team get to work on time each day without trying to navigate their new city, while also allowing the team to chat and get to know one another.
4. Lay Out the Lingo
Each business tends to have a certain set of phrases or sayings with which existing employees are familiar. New hires, however, may have a tough time learning their new office’s workplace vocabulary. Fill your employee in right off the bat about these special slang terms so they can join in the conversation without feeling left out. It might help to give new hires a cheat sheet during orientation so they can refer to it as they get used to the office.
5. Offer Group Volunteer Projects
Studies show that employers who allow their workers to volunteer during office hours have happier employees and better overall production rates. People like to know their efforts are going to a good cause. Set up group volunteer projects your new hire can be a part. Not only will these projects foster happiness at the new workplace, but they will also allow the new hire to spend time interacting with their coworkers.
6. Create a Welcoming Kit
This sounds a tad cheesy, but in the same way decorating can make a house feel more like a home, sprucing up an employee’s cubicle might make it feel more familiar and friendly to them. Implement a policy of giving welcoming kits to new employees. These kits could include fun trinkets like plants for their desk, photo frames, and silly calendars, along with more business-related items, like an employee roster with phone numbers and fun facts about their coworkers.
7. Set Daily Tasks Ahead of Time
Rather than allow a new employee to face the oncoming workflow without a plan, managers should set specific goals for each day for the employee’s first few weeks, and possibly the entire first month. Allowing new employees to waffle about when they start work disempowers them. Employees function better with clearly defined goals and tasks, and outlining exactly what is expected for new hires can allow them to focus on the tasks at hand, rather than worry about what might be coming next.
8. Bridge the Gap Through Mentorship
Studies show there’s a growing divide between the workplace expectations of older managers and younger workers. If this divide contributes to new employee’s culture shock, it needs to be counteracted. To do so, implement a system of mentorship between management and new employees. Have new hires work one-on-one with their management mentors to learn the ropes and expectations of the office. You can also use this mentorship to hear feedback from new hires about ways you could make their experiences there more inviting.
It’s good to get out of your comfort zone, as it helps you grow as a person and an employee. However, too much of a culture shock could lead to lower employee retention rates. Set up a system that helps minimize new-employee culture shock. By implementing a few simple programs, your may see your employees becoming more productive — and your new hires sticking around longer.