5 Great Ways to Welcome New Employees to the Workplace
Let’s take a look at this from the new employee’s perspective first. You’ve finally made it through an intense hiring process and can’t wait to get stuck into your dream role at an exciting company. It’s your first day on the job, and when you arrive in the office, reception doesn’t know who you are, your desk isn’t ready, you don’t have an email login and your supervisor is in meetings all day. You leave at the end of the day feeling a little worse for wear over the whole experience.
Now, from the employer’s perspective. Making sure your new employee feels welcome is incredibly important. Ensuring your employees feel welcome will result in high employee loyalty, a lower staff turnover and will reflect in your bottom line. Don’t let your strategy for welcoming new employees get left to last when you’ve gone to the effort of recruiting a valuable team member.
Follow these tips to make sure your new employee’s first weeks at work are a positive experience.
1. Plan your welcome strategy
Start by surveying your current team on their own onboarding experience. What was their first day or week like? What could have been done differently? Did they immediately feel welcomed into the team and a part of the company’s culture? Take this advice and let it inform your new welcome strategy.
Having an agreed strategy in place and in writing will ensure that new hires won’t slip through the cracks. If you don’t have dedicated recruitment staff onsite, allocate this task to an appropriate team member to ensure that the agreed plan is implemented. This being said, every current team member (including management) involved with a new employee has a role to play, ensuring that new staff are welcomed into the team.
Make it a rule to schedule a meeting or conference call whenever a new team member starts to give them a warm welcome, no matter how hectic work is that day. It can be brief, but remember – you only get one chance at making a first impression.
2. Give a name, get a name
It’s all well and good to send out an email encouraging the team to welcome ‘Dan, the new Marketing Assistant’, but unless Dan is physically introduced to his team, that e-introduction will have gone to waste! This one is particularly important in larger teams.
Instead of providing your new hire list of names, roles and phone extensions, try using an organisational collage. The stress of learning names and fitting in will impede on your new staff member’s ability to settle in and learn workflows. A collage of photos of staff and fun personal facts, (as well as the boring stuff like their email address and phone line) will help your newbie learn who they’re working with, and not just their role. Put a human face on your team, and help your new hire to feel like they’re joining a family.
3. Be prepared
This one should go without saying, but having a totally functional workstation ready to go is the best way to get your new hire on the ground running from their first day. Take the time, before they start to learn their preferences on hardware and software. Do they prefer using Mac or PC? Are they left-handed? Will they require headphones or a webcam for video conferences?
Get all of their login credentials prepared by IT in advance, especially email and phone extension. Creating a template for these logins will ensure that nothing gets missed – and don’t forget the WIFI password!
4. Bring in the welcome wagon
Nothing makes an employee feel more at home than a bundle of company swag! Put together a welcome kit full of everything they need to get started, beyond the basics like swipe cards and email logins. Think coffee mugs, a fridge magnet with their staff photo on it, and healthy snacks to store in their top drawer.
Get creative. Does your office have a ping pong table? Give them their own paddle. Make it personalised with a handwritten welcome note from your CEO, or an item relevant to your new employee’s interests. What did you learn about them in the interview process? Say they love to travel – include a mini-globe for their desk.
5. Let your team give them the inside scoop
There is no information more valuable than the trick to get the photocopier going when it gets stuck, or which local coffee shop does the best latte. A team-led tour is a great ice-breaker and will provide a more practical lay of the land than a sterile induction focused on bathrooms and fire exits.
Implementing a buddy system is also a great tool to ensure that your new hire feels like they have a back up at work. They won’t want to bother their new supervisor asking where the copy paper is stored, but having a buddy working by their side is the perfect person to go to for tips and tricks to learn the ropes.
Keep the dialogue going
Remember, it’s critical to follow up on all of the effort you’ve made to welcome your new team member. Be sure to get involved in their progress and set aside one on one time to touch base on their experience and goals in the company. Creating a memorable welcome experience for your employees will go a long way in reaping benefits for your team’s productivity.
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