When a new employee starts at your company, do they feel like you’ve rolled out the welcome mat or like they’re just another number?
A new employee’s first few days can be critical to their longterm success and engagement. They are gauging whether they’ve made the right decision to come and work for you and probably feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information they’re taking in. Here are some tips to help make your orientation program effective and engaging.
Paperwork, Policies and Purpose!
On your employee’s first day, of course you need to make sure they’ve completed all necessary paperwork and that you’ve covered critical policies and legislated information with your new employee, such as safety information and WHMIS training. But Orientation should be about more than just policies and paperwork.
New employees should be introduced to the mission and purpose of the organization. Do you have a culture video or a vision presentation that you can share with them? Hopefully your organization’s values were shared in the interview process to help ensure a good fit, but review them again. Discuss what the new employee’s role in helping the organization achieve its goals are. Provide purpose for them. Feeling as though you are making valuable contributions and that your work has purpose is a key driver of engagement.
The Grand Tour
An employee’s should get a tour of the location early on during their first day. Again, there are some basic legislated things to cover including health and safety information, but make sure your tour also helps them to feel at home. Cover things like where to put their coat/lunch/personal items, what door to come in, where to park, where washrooms are. Introduce them to key people outside your department, like mailroom personnel, the receptionist, IT support people. This will help them to know who to speak to when they need help with something.
It can be lonely joining a new company, where everyone already has their network of “work-friends”. Invite your new team member for lunch, stop by their cubicle or office just to say hello, continue to introduce them to people outside their immediate work group. A “Buddy” system is a great way to make sure new employees aren’t left out. Appoint various friendly peers who live your company’s values to act as “buddies” for new employees. Give them a budget for lunch out once in a while as a perquisite. You’ll gain the money back tenfold in engagement and productivity levels as your new employees feel comfortable and confident more quickly.
We tend to do a great job making people feel like appreciated when they tell us they’re leaving. Have you ever been to a “send off” party for someone who has gotten another job, or have you been the recipient of one of those parties? I know how it feels to be blown away by the kind words and gifts from bosses and coworkers when I was leaving to go to another job. I have always thought how much more effective those gestures would have been while I was working there, or when I joined the company. Do what you can to wow your new employee. The basics are to make sure their business cards are ready and their nameplate printed and hanging. If there are other things you can do, like take them to lunch with the team in their first week, or present them with a company coffee mug or piece of swag to welcome them, they will be wowed. Don’t save these things for the next time someone leaves!
How do you make new employees feel welcomed and appreciated? Share your best practices in the comments.