Starting a new job can be a pretty stressful experience. You want it to go smoothly so that your new hire feels happy and welcomed, and settles into the position as quickly as possible. While onboarding can be an effective way of achieving this, it won’t work well if it’s boring or regimented. Let’s look beyond the usual checklists and documentation, training, and tours, to find other, more creative things you can do to help employees adjust to their new work environment successfully.
Get the timing right
A busy Monday morning isn’t always the best time to introduce a new hire to their colleagues. Consider starting them later in the week, or, if possible, on a Friday when everyone is more relaxed and can bond more easily. If there’s a team outing or night out planned, you could always invite the person to come along before they start on their first day. Informal meetings are great for getting to know people. Plus, being able to then walk into a new working environment and see a few familiar faces can be very reassuring.
Use the buddy system
There is always a lot to take in when you’re starting a new job, so pair your new hire with a buddy or mentor. Typically the buddy should be a more experienced staff member who doesn’t have a managerial relationship with your new employee. A buddy will be able to answer questions, provide support, and help establish rapport with other staff members. Remember, everyone needs a friend at work, even if it’s just to ask where the best places are to get lunch.
Set up their workspace
This isn’t just about making sure the new person has everything they might need to perform their job. Think outside the box to make them feel really welcome. That might mean creating a welcome pack that’s filled with items branded with the company logo. Everyone likes presents and with a little attention to detail you can make your new hire feel special and like they’re a valued part of the team.
Establish a tradition
Maybe it’s bringing in coffee and donuts every time someone new starts, or the team all going out for lunch together to a favorite spot. Food and conversation helps break down barriers and offers everyone a social break away from their work. If your company has happy hour, invite the new person along for a drink in their honor.
Give them something to do
If the day isn’t filled with training and onboarding activities, give your new hire some small tasks related to their role to get them started. The first day can leave new employees feeling that they haven’t achieved very much, so giving them work to do will ease them into the job. That way they can leave with a sense of accomplishment and with an eye toward what they will be working on next.
End the day with a chat
Before they leave for the day, ask new hires how they’re making out. How was their first day? Do they have any questions or concerns? Briefly outline what they can expect to be doing in the next week so they know what to expect or look forward to. Thanking them for coming on board and reassuring them that the first day can be a little overwhelming can go a long way toward making people feel comfortable and positive about their new role.
There are plenty of small, thoughtful things that can be easily integrated into the more formal aspects of the onboarding process to help make starting a new job smooth and easy.
Amanda Groves is the marketing manager at Jazz (www.jazzhr.com), the first performance recruiting platform. Jazz is on a mission to make recruiting and hiring easy, effective, and scalable no matter what growth looks like at your company. The Jazz Performer Platform doesn't just help your company grow, it can help your recruiting process grow up, putting you on the path to hiring “Performers Only.”
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