I remember starting a new job once a few years ago. I was so excited to start that I went shopping for new clothes. On my first day, I got up early to look as professional as I could, but when I showed up, I was horrified to find that I had worn the EXACT same outfit as my new boss. Both the shirt and the slacks were identical. Now, we can’t guarantee to save your new employee from having some embarrassing moments on his or her first day, but we can give you some tips on preparing your office to welcome them and make them feel more comfortable.
Prepare the Workspace and Environment
We like working in office spaces that are open, without desks clustered together. When employees sit out in the open with their team members, they feel more of a part of something big instead of an exclusive limb left off somewhere.
Welcome and Equip New Employees for Success
Equip your new employee with a welcome packet of sorts- include a history of the company, a mission statement, goals, values, and maybe some press releases or media attention. Let them know important things like where the restrooms and cafeterias are, a list of other employees and team members or who they can go to for answers to certain questions. I would have liked to have a map of everyone’s work spaces and offices to avoid other embarrassing work situations, but that is for another blog! Allow your new employees to know when important weekly meetings are, and what they can expect in their first days or weeks, as well. This takes away some of the anxiety that comes with unfamiliar places and customs.
Train Team Members Together
If you are hiring more than one person at a time, it is a good idea to have them start at the same time. This provides an immediate opportunity for new employees to create a relationship with someone they can identify with (each other) and it helps them feel a little more integrated when they aren’t “the only ones”. This also allows trainers to work with more than one person at a time, making this process cost- and time-efficient.
Establish Expectations and Responsibilities
This part isn’t much fun, but it is a crucial element in both individual and organizational development, establishing a foundation for future success.
A new employee should feel welcomed, and comfortable, but once they are in the door, it is time to work! Make sure to take the time to establish all of their responsibilities- daily, weekly, and monthly. Make sure they understand deadlines, who they report to, what their exact job description is (if it was not discussed in detail before), and current processes. Let them know whether a process is open for improvement or customization or if a process must not be changed. Some team members like the ability to be creative and find solutions, but some bosses prefer that processes stay the way they are unless discussed. (I learned this the hard way years ago.)
Integrate Newby’s with the Team
A developer at Warby Parker created a little program called “Lunch Roulette.” After each weekly team meeting, this software application randomly selects two groups of four people to go to lunch on the company’s tab, so that no more than one person from each department is in a group.
Other companies hold “team-building” meetings where they are all encouraged to work together to solve problems or mysteries. These can be fun! Often times, companies will rent a space for team-building games every few months so that new employees get a chance to bond with their co-workers, and existing employees have the opportunity to strengthen their bond.
We would like to hear your stories and tips on how you integrate new employees into your business. What has and hasn’t worked for you? Leave your comments below or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love to hear from our readers!