Welcome Wagons Never Go Out of Style
When preparing for a new hire, sometimes it can be helpful to think of some of the struggles you faced when first starting at your company: The blank stares you got from people outside of your department who had no idea you were starting. That awkward time you hunted around for the bathroom before you finally broke down and asked someone. The first week of work when you ate Subway five days straight because you didn’t know anywhere else in the area.
With the Lapine team growing (three new employees in the last two weeks!), we’ve been focusing on creating a system for onboarding new employees and welcoming new members to our team. Because Lapine is a mid-sized company and doesn’t typically hire many people at a time, a large-scale orientation program is not a fit for us. That is why we’ve decided to concentrate on the small things that can make a big difference for a new employee’s introduction to a company.
Be Ready for Them
Nothing is worse than coming in on your first day to a desk of leftovers from the previous tenant and being told to hang out while people think of something you can do. Make new employees feel welcome by having a station and schedule ready for them. Double-check that all materials from the old owner have been removed and give the desk and drawers a good wipe down. Stock the station with new desk supplies like pens, notepads and any special things they might need, like staplers or calculators, and make sure that a computer and phone are set up and ready to roll for the first day.
Another great thing to provide, if possible, is a binder with components like company information, an office roster and map and descriptions of job roles and responsibilities that new hires can flip through during the inevitable down time on their first few days. This can also serve as reference for the first few weeks on the job and allows new hires to pay attention in introductory meetings without worrying about writing down every word that is said to them. The more you give to them, the more they can give back to you!
Finally, make sure everyone at the company is aware that a new employee will be starting. If possible, send around a company-wide announcement about the new hire with a little bit of personal information and what his or her role will be. This way, people will be ready for new faces in the office and know to welcome them. Another small gesture is making sure all contact lists are updated with the name, number and email of the new employee. This will ensure everyone knows how to reach him or her, as well as make the new hire feel included in the team before her or she even gets rolling.
Make Them Feel a Part of Things
Jumping onto a team that has been working together for any period of time can be a very intimidating thing. It is important to make new hires feel like they are part of the crew from the second they accept their job offer. Small things, like including them in all team meetings – even if they won’t really follow what’s going on – help to transition new employees into action. It also ensures they won’t be left alone when everyone shuffles into the conference room! Another great tactic is to establish a shadowing schedule so new employees can follow a fellow team member through his or her daily activities and learn first-hand how things are done.
Something else you could do to make new hires feel like team members is to give them some gear with your company logo on it. Try stocking desks with company pens or giving everyone a company tumbler for their morning coffee. People will be excited to receive small items like this and use them proudly in honor of their new job.
Your Friendly Cubicle Neighbor
It’s also important to think of the social aspect of the workplace. Eating a sad lunch alone at your desk or in your car is not the way you want to spend your first day at a new job. Inviting your new coworker to lunch or showing him or her around the area is a great way to break the ice and get to know him or her outside of the office atmosphere. Not only is it a friendly gesture, but it will help the new employee to feel more comfortable with you and at ease on the team.
Similarly, having a company happy hour or other sort of outing scheduled at a time when you know there will be a new hire is an excellent way to cap off the end of the first week on the job. A group activity gives the rest of the company that may not work directly with the new employee a chance to meet him or her and helps to foster a sense of overall company cohesiveness and team building.
These are just a few things you can do to help welcome new employees to your team. Remember – every workplace is different and onboarding should be customized to fit the nature and personality of your company. Whatever you choose to do, your new employee will probably thank you!
Written by Ashley