People want to make personal connections — we all do. Despite all the texting and the social media, we crave feeling understood on an emotional level.
New hires are no different. In fact, they want to feel welcomed and leave their first day with the promise that when they return the next day, they’ll feel like they belong and their coworkers are happy they’re there.
Not feeling accepted in with the existing team can actually hold new hires back from becoming productive. It’s our job (and hopefully you have an awesome team that also cares about new hires’ happiness) to make sure new hires get what they need.
Here are some ways your new hires can have “insider tips” to support them on their first several days on the job:
- Before the new hire’s first day, schedule appointments to have him or her meet with people from different departments they’ll be working with. Really, people need to know who they can go to for this and who to talk to for that.
- Taking new hires on an office tour to show them where things are and who sits where can help them start off feeling more confident. Your new hires won’t be able to remember everyone they meet during the tour, though, so it’s not a bad idea to follow up with a list of names (or an easily accessible company directory) to help your new hire remember them.
- Ask coworkers to help out. Those who are sitting near a new hire can be especially helpful. Choose seating arrangements thoughtfully so people sitting around the new hire can answer questions—and maybe even be observant enough to notice when he or she needs help.
- Arrange to have the new hire shadow you (or another employee who has a similar job function). It’s always much easier to remember things when you observe them first-hand than just being told.
- Schedule frequent check-ins with the new hire to make sure things are going smoothly. Sometimes all the new information shared during onboarding can be quite overwhelming. These check-ins can help ease the new hire’s worries and gives them an open forum to ask questions or learn from you.
- Work buddies or mentors are a great idea because they give the new hire an automatic “friend” to answer questions, help them know who to go to for certain needs, as well as have a deeper investment in making sure the new hire is learning at appropriate increments. The employee you ask to mentor the new hire will also feel that you trust them with stretch assignments and an added responsibility. It’s a win-win!
- An internal social site can help employees feel connected easily—even with those outside of the new hire’s department. This should be a place where employees can get to know each other on a level that’s not only work-related. Your new hire can loosen up and get to know coworkers here.
- You can also encourage new hires to follow your company on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter—and connect with other employees on these social networks when appropriate. Social media is also a great way to stay up-to-date on industry topics and company news that will give new hires things to talk about with other employees—and will probably inspire interesting questions that show the new hire is diving in completely. Don’t stop there: New hires can read your company’s blog. It’s amazing all the “insider tips” they’ll get by using these simple resources.
- Provide opportunities for people in different departments to mingle. Often in large companies, other departments are on other floors or completely different areas, which means the physical aspects alone are working against you. But even employees in different departments can feel cohesive. At BambooHR, a group of employees from different departments come together to play board games or work out together at lunch. At Google, the cafeteria is set up with lines that encourage employees to mingle with one another.
For more HR best practices, see How to Build Employee Loyalty for Life.
Jeana Quigley is the brand journalist for BambooHR, the No. 1 online HR software for small and medium-sized businesses that have outgrown using spreadsheets to manage their employee information. Check out the BambooHR blog.