Most organizations know how to celebrate their departing veteran employees, but on the whole, they’re not too good at welcoming new recruits. This is a mistake. If we want our new hires to feel valued, if we are truly invested in their growth and development, if we want them to stick around for the long haul, we need to show it when they join the team—not when they leave it. We recently picked up a copy of Dawn McCooey’s book, Keeping Good Employees On Board, and wanted to share 12 of her simple steps organizations can take to orient new employees and offer them a warm welcome.
12 simple ways to welcome new employees
- Have new employees start on a day when their immediate supervisor is open and available to give them undivided attention.
- If it is absolutely impossible for the supervisor to be there, arrange for a “welcome aboard” phone call from the supervisor and pair the new employee with a trusted colleague who can give him or her the welcoming s/he deserves.
- Avoid starting the new employee on the busiest day of the week. It’s usually better to start on a Tuesday or Wednesday than it is a Monday or Friday.
- The first day usually includes a round of introductions. As you introduce the new employee to the team, pay attention to your tone and body language. New employees are going to be listening and looking hard for implicit messages. As McCooey suggests, “Our tone and mannerisms and choice of words have real, opinion-forming power, especially in the early stages with a new employee.”
- Always match the new employee with a colleague who embodies the culture of your company. Pairing him/her with a grumbling member of the peanut gallery may tarnish his/her view of the company right off the bat.
- Take note of your new recruit’s comments, observations and questions. This will give insight into what excites this employee and may disclose information about her work values. You may also gain insight into what interests her and learn about the areas she needs more training in.
- Be honest. It’s easy to regurgitate popular buzz phrases about teamwork, or proclaim that you welcome feedback, but if your organization isn’t overtly team-based, if you don’t truly welcome feedback, don’t create unrealistic expectations.
- Make safety a priority. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13 percent of all injuries occur within 90 days of hire; 23 percent occur within the first four hours on the job. Avoid unnecessary injuries by doing the following: Show the new hire—like, actually take a walk with him or her—around the entire premises. Where are the fire escapes, the exits, the first aid equipment, the fire extinguishers, the bathrooms?
- Encourage the employee to ask questions. This reinforces not only that s/he doesn’t have to have all the answers, but that it’s OK to make mistakes.
- Celebrate the new arrival of the employee. Try having pizza delivered to the lunch room, place a snack or breakfast item near the employee’s workspace so that your team has more incentive to stop by and chat, or offer inexpensive gestures like flowers or a welcome banner.
- Be sure that the new hire’s work space has been cleaned and stocked with work supplies. A small, welcome aboard gift is always a nice touch.
- Make sure the new employee has access to a “welcome binder”; this should include any pertinent information for the new hire.