One thing every one of us has in common, regardless of rank or position, is the fact that at one time or another we’ve all been the new guy: the new hire that comes in green, a bit nervous, but excited nonetheless to start a new career. For many new hires, the first day is often defined by anxious energy and it can be a little overwhelming. Here are a few proven strategies for how to onboard new employees from the first day that are sure to make a challenging process easier, less stressful and a more enjoyable for everyone.
Let Your Team Know
An easy way to avoid those awkward first introductions is to make sure everyone is fully aware there’s a new employee coming on board. This replaces blank stares, whispers and comments with “Hi, I’m Bob, I heard you were coming today.” Make it a point to have someone at the door to walk them in and give them the lay of the land. Introduce them to your senior leadership team – even if they will never see them again. It gives them a sense of belonging right from the top of the organization.
Have a Mentor Available
It is essential to have a mentor or a contact person available from day one for a new employee to go to with questions or concerns. Designating a point person and letting that person know ahead of time that they should expect to get questions takes the pressure off a new hire. If in the coming days or weeks, they’re unsure of something, they don’t have to struggle to find a resolution because they have a trusted resource to go to.
Clearly Define Roles and Responsibilities
From day one, make certain to let new hires know exactly what their responsibilities are and how their role fits into the overall strategic framework of the business. This is your opportunity to communicate to them what you expect in terms of targets, benchmarks, or sales goals. Tie it back to their job description and be very clear about policies and procedures, but give them time to digest. No one will memorize all of the policies and procedures the first day; make sure to give them the information and then step back.
Remember, this person is here because they want to work for you and your company. Be hospitable and make them feel as welcome as possible. Have their desk space ready and waiting with phone lines set up and messaging or voice mail activated. Have their computer ready to go and an email account created. Consider taking them to lunch and introduce them to any idiosyncrasies of the office that will make them more comfortable developing relationships with coworkers.
Organizations hire new employees all the time and it’s never easy being the new guy on the block. Make the experience easier and more productive for everyone involved by taking a few steps to ensure your new employee feels welcome on his first day. Prepare your team in advance and have a mentor available as a “go-to” person to field questions. Make sure to communicate clearly what’s expected of them, but don’t forget to be hospitable. You’re employees will only have one first day: make it the best it can be.