Trish Barnes on April 21, 2016
How to Create a Welcoming Environment for New Employees
Bringing a new employee on board involves transition time. During this time, new employees may feel anxious, overwhelmed and even a little lonely while they’re getting up to speed and finding a place within your company. To get new hires started out on the right foot, it’s important to create a welcoming environment and equip them with the necessary tools to succeed.
Prepare Their Workspace
Perhaps the best place to start is with a new hire’s workspace. For example, you could set up her desk and stock it with items like a phone, computer, tablet, file cabinet, writing utensils, etc. so everything’s ready to go. It should also be free of clutter and nicely organized to help boost productivity. You may also want to present a new employee with a little gift such as a company coffee cup, t-shirt or gift card to show that you’re happy to have him as part of your team.
Make Introductions During Downtime
Quickly familiarizing a new hire with your company and allowing him to meet the rest of your staff is important for building relationships. The problem is that this isn’t always done at the most opportune time, which can create friction. For example, it might be your first instinct to make introductions first thing in the morning on a Monday before the day gets in full swing.
However, this may not be the best timing because things can be chaotic, and your staff might need some time to get in a rhythm. Another and perhaps better option would be to make introductions during a period of downtime such as Friday afternoon when things are a bit more relaxed.
Offer a Mentor for Support
There’s nothing that can ease someone’s anxious and overwhelmed mind more than a personal mentor who’s readily available to answer questions, offer guidance and provide support. Do a new employee (and yourself) a favor by appointing a mentor to work one-on-one with a new hire to help them get the hang of things. Ideally, a mentor will be seasoned, highly knowledgeable and have a friendly, empathetic personality.
It’s common for a new employee to feel like she’s on the outside looking in during her first few days. You can reduce or eliminate any sense of isolation she may feel by fully encouraging her to participate and immediately be part of the team. Here are some examples:
- Ask him about his personal and professional goals
- Hold team building activities
- Ask for his input on issues
- Genuinely listen to what she has to say
- Get to know her on a personal level
- Get him involved in social events
Effective onboarding and ensuring that you create a welcoming environment for new employees is integral to the success of individual employees as well as your business as a whole. In fact, information from the Society for Human Resource Management found that “New employees who attended a structured orientation program were 69 percent more likely to remain at the company up to three years.”
They also found that “Losing employees because they are confused, feel alienated or lack confidence indicates inadequate onboarding.” Everyone benefits by going the extra mile to make new employees feel welcomed, and it eases the transition process dramatically.