First impressions are sometimes the only impressions. A new hire’s first few days set the tone for how things will be during their time with the company. When a new employee is brought on board, it should be obvious that the working potential is there, otherwise they wouldn’t be hired. Making the transition smooth for new hires is about making them feel comfortable, not necessarily seeing if they have the skills to get the job done. If a new hire can’t get comfortable in the first week, that might be signs of a bumpy road ahead.
Make Connections, Not Introductions
Introducing new hires to other employees is standard. You bring them around to each team and introduce them to the employees one by one. From the new hire’s perspective, it can be overwhelming. Think about the last time you had to walk around and try to remember 20 or 30 new names and faces. It’s not the easiest thing to do.
Instead of throwing a bunch of people at your new hire, put together a list of a few key employees within the direct team, as well as one or two employees from another team, who would make the transition into the company much smoother. Look for similarities between new and old employees. If your new hire is a recent graduate, introduce them to another employee who started as a recent grad. Provide more than a name and title. Give some background information about the employee so the new hire has something to talk about with them later on.
Set Up a Work Buddy
“Work Buddy” may sound juvenile to some, so call it whatever you want. The idea behind a work buddy is to provide direct employee training. Maybe you don’t have the time to sit with every new hire and explain their daily tasks. Instead, create a training schedule for the new hire to meet with key employees from the direct team to give them a more detailed rundown of their responsibilities. Not only will your new hire be trained by employees you trust, but this will also set proper expectations for the new employee and be a good starting point in creating bonds within the team.
Make Plans for Lunch
Some people might prefer to eat lunch by themselves. It could be alone time that they don’t get otherwise. However, your new hire should never eat lunch alone during their first few days of work. Lunch is an opportunity for employees to take a break and get out of the office for a little. Have one of the key employees you connected with your new hire join them for lunch. It’s a little less intimidating than having lunch with a manager on the first day and allows the new hire to relax and open up a little more. It would be a good idea for a manager or owner to take the new hire out for lunch on a Friday when the work day is a little more laid back and some pressure might be off of the new hire after working for a couple days.
Keep Your Door Open for Help
If the new hire isn’t an extroverted social butterfly, more than likely the hiring manager will be the one they go to for basically everything. Even if you did your best to connect your new hire to other employees, they might be most comfortable going to you for help with any problems or concerns they have. Let them know that your door is always open, and if you say it is, make sure that’s the truth. Be available to talk to them and provide any guidance they need. Unless they immediately hit it off with other employees, you will be the closest person to them.
Making your new hire comfortable should be at the top of your priority list. You want them to be comfortable because you want them to stay. You are examining them during their first few days as much as they are examining you and your company. If you don’t take the time to help ease their transition, things may come to an end sooner than later.
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