Let’s face it. Being the new guy/gal can produce any number of less-than-pleasant emotions: anxiety, confusion, fear, awkwardness, and downright overwhelmed-ness. But you hold the key to making that first day an experience to remember, when you offer the warmth of a genuine welcome. By rolling out the welcome mat and preparing for the new hire’s first day, many of those emotions can be quelled. A sincere welcome-to-the-team will pave the way for many desirable scenarios in the future, such as happier and more productive workers and new hires that thrive, not to mention the forever-sought-after increased retention rate.
Consider these outside-of-the-box tactics for creating a winning welcome.1. Avoid a Monday OR Busiest-Day-of-the-Week start day
Often Monday mornings come with a lengthy to-do list of necessary chores. Or maybe Wednesdays are typically the day for chaos at your company. Take note of which days and times of day will provide the new hire with the best experience. Avoid everyone-important-is-in-a-meeting days. Line up the best person to give the mandatory tour. Instruct the new hire’s department to be on-the-ready to roll out the red carpet.
2. Dispense with paperwork ASAP
To get onto bigger, better, and more exciting first-day events, streamline the required paperwork as much as possible. Even better, handle this essential task before the start date, either via electronic means or a brief drop-by before the official first day. Consider forwarding other documents—the employee handbook and benefits information, for example—ahead of time as well, so that new hires can peruse them at their leisure.
3. Demonstrate permission to ask, ask, ask
Be mindful that first day/first-week questions, and jitters, really shouldn’t have an expiration date. It’s easy for those who “know the ropes” to forget what it’s like to be unfamiliar and how uncomfortable that can be. Assure all new hires that questions are always acceptable and remind the team to welcome any opportunities to assist new employees in the days, weeks, and yes, months after their hire.
4. Arrange lunch plans for the first week
Avoid the awkwardness of the lunchtime scene by arranging either a group or one-on-one lunch that crucial first day. Perhaps the department plans a lunch the second day. A different member of management could take day three. Call on the team from an associated department for day four. Casual times of sharing a meal provide an exceptional opportunity to get to know each other.
5. Check-in after a week, a month, and three months
Schedule a time to check in with the new hire after a week to answer additional questions as well as to listen to and encourage feedback. Setting aside time for this type of session demonstrates that management is invested in this employee’s future with the company. Repeat the sit-down after one month and again at the three-month milestone. And at each meeting, assure that anytime is the right time to bring questions, comments, and concerns to the attention of company leaders.
All the thought, time, and effort invested in those first hours, days, and weeks of a new hire’s time with your organization will pay dividends on both sides of the hiring table. Make 2020 the year your company shines at rolling out the new employee welcome mat. For additional tips, check out this additional article on onboarding.